Apatetiko

May magandang sinabi ang playwright na si Bertolt Brecht tungkol sa apathy:

bertolt-brecht-1352087

Ganda, ‘no? Medyo antagonistiko nga lang. Naalala ko ang sinabi sa akin ni Gui noong college: “Masakit kayang maparatangan na apathetic.” I get it, man. Nakakapikon nga siguro ang ma-reduce agad sa “apathy” ang kawalan natin ng tindig sa mga bagay-bagay. Sa dami ng mga inaalala natin — trabaho, pamilya, pag-ibig, etc — minsan wala na talagang oras para magmuni at umaksyon ukol sa mga nangyayari sa lipunan.

Pero may mga tao rin namang sadyang ayaw makisangkot sa kahit anong usaping pulitikal. Karaniwang argumento ang “may iba kasi kaming paraan ng pagsilbi sa bayan.” Madalas nababanggit ang pagbayad ng tamang buwis at pagsunod sa mga batas trapiko. “Being a law-abiding citizen is our way of subversion,” anila.

Minsan ko na ring sinabi ‘yan sa sarili. Kahit ngayon naman, sinusubukan ko pa ring maging mabuting Pilipino ayon sa mga batayang para sa akin ay superpisyal: tinatangkilik ko ang obra ng mga Pilipinong manunulat, nakikinig at bumibili ako ng OPM, hindi pa rin ako nagpapalit ng citizenship. Pero kailanman, hindi ako nakumbinsi sa retorikang “change must start from within.” At malinaw na sa akin ngayon kung bakit: wala kasi itong material basis na kumikilala sa existing power relations sa lipunan.

Ang siste, para bang nasa vacuum ang bawat indibidwal at walang kahit anong external factor ang nakaaapekto sa mga desisyong ginagawa natin. Drug user ako, kasi wala akong willpower to resist addiction. Magnanakaw ako, kasi masama ugali ko. Mahirap ako, kasi tamad ako.

E paano naman ang kawalan ng maayos na agrarian program para sa mga magsasakang kumakayod 10 hours a day? Paano ang complicity ng gobyerno sa contractualization policies ng mga kumpanya, o ang anti-environment practices ng mining companies na sumisira sa kalikasan at kabuhayan ng mga tao? Wala bang kinalaman ang mga ‘yan kung bakit marami ang nagugutom at napipilitang tumikim o gumawa ng bawal?

Personal ang pagpapasya, I know. Pero sa tuwing minamaliit natin ang hinaing ng ibang tao at inuugat ito sa kawalan nila ng perseverance sa buhay, ano ba naman ‘yung kilalanin din natin na hindi lahat ay may oportunidad na meron tayo? At sa tuwing dinideklara nating “nasa tao ang problema,” hindi ba dapat tanungin din natin kung “bakit nga ba tayo ganito”?

At kahit pa sabihing may mga tao talagang sira-ulo for sira-ulo’s sake, hindi pa rin ako kumbinsido na sa behavioral changes nakasalalay ang pagbabagong panlipunan. Masarap lang pakinggan kasi pwedeng empowering (“nasa kamay ko ang pagbabago”), at pwede ring low-key accusatory (“tingnan muna natin sarili natin sa salamin”). But really, this change-from-within argument only promotes the status quo because it encourages us to retreat into our personal bubbles instead of understanding the bigger external factors that cause our struggles. When we resort to individualist solutions, we disregard our capacity to unite and fight together as a people.

Convenient na panawagan ang pagiging mabuting tao — maging masipag, tumawid sa tamang daanan, mag-aral nang mabuti. Hindi ko rin naman sinasabing maging basagulero na lang tayong lahat. Pero kahit mamakyaw pa tayo ng Guimaras mangoes at mag-po at opo sa nakakatanda, kung magkaiba naman ang interes ng mga makapangyarihan sa interes ng nakararami, sa tingin ko, wala ring magbabago. #


Dito ko nakuha ang featured image. Mula umano ang quote sa Terra Nosa, pero wala akong mahanap na kopya.

23 thoughts on “Apatetiko”

  1. There’s this thing called Social Determinants of Health. It’s the new school of thought within health studies circles and it, as its name implies, identifies the social and environmental factors that determine one’s health status such as precarious housing and employment, and access to primary care and nutritious food. It strongly relates to what you’re saying about “change comes from within” eklavu, because before SDOH there was the behavioural perspective in health. This is the perspective that tells you “if you exercise and eat nutritious food and get rid of your vices, you will live longer” without examining what pushes one to not exercise and not eat healthy food or what drives one to smoke in the first place? If it’s any consolation, there are people out there who question and fight for changes in the system that’s brought us to our tragic outcomes today.

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    1. Interesting! I like how SDOH is deliberately materialist. I’ve always been partial to materialist paradigms in whatever field, kaya rin nakokornihan / nabababawan ako sa change-from-within chururu.

      About your last point, hmm, not sure which groups you’re referring to. I suppose there are different ways to pursue systemic change and there’s not a lot of clear alternatives available (if not capitalism, then what?). Madugo-dugong issue ito haha.

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      1. I can only speak in the Canadian healthcare context since I studied that. But I know that systemic change is very hard to achieve. If I were to follow my public policy class, it goes through phases. It starts at a micro-level. Then it goes onto revising a huge chunk of the current policy. If the second phase is successful, you might get enough support to revise the whole thing. The best example for this was the creation of Canadian healthcare. If you look at its history, it has its roots from farming communities in Saskatchewan. It started as a reform on medical insurance. Then it became publicly funded in Saskatchewan later. Finally it reaches the national level and we have what we have today. Of course I’m simplifying. But, I figured, IMO the best way to start this change is attending town halls and keeping tabs on your local representatives because they have to tell you first what they are planning to bring to the city hall, provincial govt, or the parliament. If you express your concerns while they are there in person, you have a better chance of being heard.

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      2. Oh, I was actually referring to an entire political-economic system overhaul (i.e. completely shifting out of the capitalist system, which I know will probably never happen in my lifetime haha).

        But even if we apply this micro-to-macro policy change tactic onto the Philippine context, it’s important to consider the class interests of our lawmakers and other influential powers-that-be. One of the biggest issues in the country, for example, is the lack of a decent agrarian reform program (and this is huge because a big chunk of our people are farmers or farm-workers). But micro-changes like establishing a farming cooperative that promotes equitable exchanges of farming equipment or distributing idle properties to farmers will never go past the Congress, a body primarily composed of landowners and local oligarchs. What congressman-slash-landowner, then, would support a bill that empowers and justly compensates our farmers?

        And it’s not like we have a variety of choice during the elections either. Most of the people running are cut from the same class (the 1 %, ika nga). And unfortunately dialogs and in-person lobbying rarely work to convince our leaders to care more about their people. Ewan ko anyare kay Duterte, pero siya mismo ang nagsabi sa Piston na mag-strike during a dialog. Tapos n’ung nag-strike na, pinagmumumura bigla? Labo haha.

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      3. That overhaul will not happen in our lifetime. Sobrang labo. Kaya I look at politics on a very baby-steps kinda way.

        When it comes to policy changes in the Philippines, malabo rin. We’re not involved with the policy process. We’re only needed during election and that’s it. The thing is we’re not educated with our own government. I didn’t take a government class in school. I learnt everything from my mom who worked for DSWD and my dad who worked for Agri. Tsaka hindi streamlined ang processes sa’tin. Kaya I didn’t even get to attend a city council meeting if there ever was one because they probably don’t care to open it to the public. Or there was just no way to let the public know. Sure, maybe sa barangay level meron but nope to national level.

        Tsaka walang accountability in all levels. The culture tolerates small acts of corruption here and there, like lahat ng empleyado sa city hall ay kamag-anak ni mayor. Or, paunahin si tita sa linya kasi pamangkin nya yung kahera. If we can’t be trusted to change those bad habits, asa pa sa bigger bad habits like bribery. I don’t know kung sobrang bait lang ba natin o sadyang manhid na tayo kasi we’ve been let down for centuries.

        I remember one of my ex-friends told me that the only way to get rid of corruption in the Philippines is to kill every single one of us except the babies, because, according to him, corruption is so ingrained it’s so hard to take it out. I agree with the ingrained corruption but there’s a reason he’s an ex-friend. It’s a sad situation overall.

        I once attempted to read the Philippine constitution and laws because I was so frustrated at my own ignorance at something that affected me greatly. It’s too thick. Sigh. I was left feeling that I had no sense of agency because I wasn’t well-equipped.

        Sorry sobrang haba pero I like this discussion.

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      4. I think many congressional hearings are open to the public naman. Obviously individuals don’t carry as much impact, hence the need to organize in groups (many active lobbyists are interest groups like NGO’s). I have friends who work in Congress and man, OA daw talaga ang corruption. Hay.

        And I wouldn’t blame our shitty-ness on culture per se. People cut in line because of bureaucratic inefficiencies, and families get preferential treatment because there’s not a lot of employment opportunities available. Although kung may delicadeza ka hindi ka sisingit at hindi mo tatanggapin ang posisyon dahil lang pinsan mo yung konsehal — but to some people this is the only way they could feed their families. This is what I meant when I said I’m not comfortable blaming our woes solely on individual decisions (e.g. kawalan ng disiplina). For every 1 person who cuts in line, hundreds of us stay and patiently wait for our turn. And even if we all start lining up like well-behaved humans, it won’t magically create jobs and solve the red-tape problem.

        To me, there is value in strong institutional leadership and proper enforcement of the laws. Hire more employees, create more satellite offices, and penalize your kaheras who don’t respect the throngs of people they’re mandated to serve. Create policies to avoid inefficient and unfair treatment. Many leaders have already tried to do this before. Most recently, former DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo issued an anti-padrino memo that invalidates ‘referral letters’ from congressmen as an integral aspect when approving beneficiaries of the PSP. A few months later and boom, CA kicked her out of power. Gina Lopez also tried to close down abusive mining conglomerates pero nasoplak din siya — the changes that benefit the people but threaten the country’s oligarchs have no chance to prosper at all.

        At this point palagay ko wala talagang clout ang legislative solutions. Kasi kahit makahanap ka ng loophole sa batas, none of them would get approved by our leaders who are also oligarchs themselves.

        At ang OA naman n’ung ‘kill all of us.’ Even if we start over with the babies, some of these shit-and-puke machines will grow up and start monopolizing the resources. May magiging Hari ng Diaper at maniningil siya nang mataas sa mga kapwa niya kiddos para lang kumita. (Potah, this is like a sicker parody of Lord of the Flies haha).

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      5. IKR?! And to think na hindi sya Philippine citizen to say something like that (neither born nor raised, not even a descendant), ang laking insulto. Sya pa nagalit sa’kin nung iniwasan ko na. Entitled si kuya.

        Parang ang chaotic lang if legislation can’t do anything. Kasi, I think this will just go down as a popularity contest – whoever collects either the most money or most people can do what they want. It’s sort-of the ugly side of democracy. Naalala ko pa dati may namimigay ng groceries at pera habang nagbabahay-bahay before election. Syempre kung poor ka, tatanggapin mo kasi minsan ka nga lang namang makakain.

        I admit that I’m quite ignorant regarding a lot of these issues kasi I am in a place of privilege now. It took a while for us to flee but my mom wanted us out of there, so we fled.

        Anyway, if you were given the power to create one big change in PH, what will you do? Maybe just one that will do the first cut through the heart of the systemic problem. And what do you think of a federal government for PH?

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      6. Ay, banyaga siya? Ngek. May problema naman sa lahat ng bansa e, so mag-self annihilate na lang tayo haha.

        Ang hebi naman ng tanong mo haha. Pero I do have an answer, actually. But first, linawin ko muna definition ko ng progress. Hindi kasi ako naniniwala na reflected ang progress sa yearly GDP/GNP reports. Hindi rin ako naniniwala na dahil mas marami na ang kotse sa EDSA, mas maunlad na ang Pinas (true story, some people actually equate cars = progress).

        Para sa akin, progress means better living conditions for the majority of our population. Better, hindi lavish (i.e. access to basic social services, hindi sports cars o house-na-may-pool). At kasama dapat lahat, hindi lang ‘yung mga tiga-Metro Manila.

        To this day, many of our people are either farmers or labor-workers (manggagawa sa factory, sa construction, sa service sector, etc). So if it’s up to me, I would pass the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (http://www.congress.gov.ph/legisdocs/basic_17/HB00555.pdf). It’s a land reform bill that’s being forwarded by the Leftist block in Congress. Leftists are generally unpopular among the middle class and this bill aims to break the monopolies of landowners in the country — obviously its passage is close to impossible, but to me GARB is a solid, genuine solution. Imagine those idle lands that are left to dry by the landowners (or land-grabbers, really) — imagine if they’re distributed for the farmers to cultivate and plant food on. Baks, no need to import rice! Hindi na magugutom ang mga magsasaka at ang mga Pilipino in general.

        But oh how sweet the thought. Kung maipapasa itong GARB in my lifetime — ewan ko, hindi ko pa alam. Haha. Tingin ko kasi malabo e, pero who knows.

        And I am against federalism in Pinas. My friend is actually developing a position paper on this; haven’t read the paper yet, but I also haven’t heard a good argument that supports federalism. To me, the ones who would benefit from federalism the most are the political dynasties — federalism will only solidify the already entrenched power of the local elites. They will have almost-full control of the resources in their areas, they can tailor the rules to their liking, and they can all have private armies to silence anyone who complains and cries abuse. Federalism will essentially render them kings and queens of their respective regions.

        Kung wala ang mga Ampatuan sa Maguindanao o ang mga Marcos-Fariñas sa Ilocos Norte, ang saya siguro ng federalism. Lalo culture-wise? Would be nice to break up the duopoly of ABS and GMA in popular media hahaha.

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      7. (Mali ata yung pagkaka-reply ko dun sa taas… disapproved mo na lang, Jolens)

        Problema rin kasi na hindi popular ang Left sa Pinas. Idagdag mo pa ang disinformation at ang mababaw na pang unawa natin sa mga usaping tungkol dito. Malaking puntos sana kung yung mga progressives ay natuloy na maupo sa gabinete ng kasalukuyang admin. Pero wala. Tingin mo, dapat magsimula tayo dun sa pag-educate sa mga tao tungkol sa politics? O hindi rin sya posible dahil sa kasalukuyang sistema? Na dapat education system muna.

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      8. Sayang sina Manay Judy at Ka Paeng, ‘no? 😦

        Hmm. Hindi naman kasi lahat ng nakapag-aral, edukado. Tertiary education is ideally about higher learning. Pero dahil market-based ang kasalukuyang educ system, nagiging daan na lang ang college para magka-diploma at magkatrabaho tayo.

        Marami ang technically skilled pero walang appreciation sa critical thinking — ayaw magpalawak ng kaalaman (“Di ko gets ang imperialism so shut up!”) at walang konsepto ng logical fallacies (“Magaling umarte si Kim Chiu kasi payat siya.”). To many, having the analytical tools so we can better understand society, or pop culture, or anything at all, is just not worth the effort (“para ‘yan sa mga nagmamarunong!”). Hindi rin naman natin kasalanan kasi ini-encourage tayo on all fronts na mag-aral primarily to have a better chance at life and nothing more.

        But, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with analysis if I had not gone to college, hehe. So naniniwala naman ako that education is a good starting point, but it has to be reoriented so it empowers the people with knowledge instead of turning us into subservient citizens. Masaya namang matuto e — mas marami tayong natututunan, mas lalong tumatagos sa atin na mas marami pa rin ang hindi natin alam. Haha.

        Ikaw, ano ang posisyon mo on educ? 😀

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      9. Yup. Sayang sila. Kasi tingin ko magiiba tingin ng mga tao sa mga nag rarally kung sakaling natuloy silang ma appoint. Something to that effect. That these people are actually fighting for your rights. Ok lang yung tulad ng iba na dedma lang na ‘sige trip nyo yan e, makibaka kayo.’ Pero yung mangangatwiran pa ng baluktot, dun ako naiinis. Gustong sapakin “digitally” kung merong ganun (joke lang). Actually nagulat ako nung minsan na may nabasa ako na may union pala US. Sabi ko, paurong talaga tayo. Hindi ako samali sa mga ganito nung college. Pero dahil sa pagkalat sa internet ng mga historical ekek, at nadismaya ako na ang daming naniwala at mga kaibigan, kakilala, kaklase mo pa. Nahikayat akong magbasa pa tungkol dito (mostly mga links sa FB lang). I agree dun sa sinabi mo na nag aaral lang tayo para makapagtrabaho, at may nabasa ako na ang K to 12 ay lalo nang magpapalala ng sitwasyong ito, which I agree at nangyayari na nga na tayo ay manpower source na lang ng mga mayayamang bansa.

        Tungkol dun sa critical thinking naman, may mga nagsabi sakin dati nung nakakanood pa ko sa mga film fest, meron isa nagtaka sya kasi engineering grad ako. Na parang there should be a divide between technical and art, left vs. right brain. At siguro ganun nga, we’re conditioned to just focus on your work, forget about the issues as long as they directly affect you.

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      10. Sa Canada rin, maraming unyon. Hindi alien dito ang lobbying, ang pagrarali, pati ang labor strikes. Hay. Sana maunawaan pa ng mas marami ang value ng union organizing sa pag-angat ng standard of living ng mga manggagawa. 😦

        Wala namang divide dapat. ‘Yung critical thinking naman ay hindi function ng chosen career e. May mga hindi nga nakaabot sa college pero mas matalas pang magsuri kaysa sa mga nakapagtapos.

        True din ‘yang forgetting about the issues that don’t directly affect us. Nauunawaan ko pa kung generally lampake e. Pero ‘yung selective at walang sense of empathy? Passionate sa Uber-Grabe issue pero galit sa jeepney drivers? Hayayay. 😦

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      11. “Marami ang technically skilled pero walang appreciation sa critical thinking”

        Truer words have never been written. I remember growing up teased by my extended relatives for being ‘smart’ or speaking English relatively well. Or shushed when I asked too many questions ’cause that apparently looks whiny. ‘Ba’t di mo na lang gawin, daming satsat eh,’ wika nila.

        Kaya when I learnt of critical thinking since high school, I sort of had to have a double life. At home, I can’t ask too many questions. At school, I’m supposed to ask as many questions as I could. I don’t think my cousins ever learnt critical thinking at their schools, and especially neither introspection nor tact (sounds bitter no? But f*** it).

        I don’t blame them. The system is broken and has been for a very long time. For example, my textbooks in grade school and high school made me memorize all the dates for when we were conquered, fought and independent pero it didn’t make us question why colonial systems are still in place and ask whether we’re really independent or not. I even had a professor in a certain university (when I did a second degree attempt) one time tell the class about Moro uprisings as if they just got angry for no reason. No context – parang she just said it and we’re supposed to just remember it as if it was some person’s phone number. I had an argument with her in class and dropped it afterwards. The same university also made its students sign a document that basically states we’re not allowed to organize or be part of a rally, upon registration. How is that even allowed? I don’t know. I’m just glad to be out of there.

        But I guess this is what happens when the gap between the poor and the rich is so large. You get a sense of collective helplessness (accepting the broken system as it is) translating into nepotism, corruption, crab mentality, or escape (as in going abroad where your skills are valued) amongst many others.

        On the other hand, have you seen this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbpY-2nOYRI

        Liked by 2 people

      12. Hay, privilege nga talaga ang quality education, ‘no? 😦

        Interesting video! I’m not quite comfortable with the diction — do you know why they use the words “winner” and “loser”? Winners and losers result from a competition, but the video claims — and rightly so — that both of these states are essentially predetermined at birth (“being a loser is the norm”).

        I hope I don’t come off as nitpick-y ha; I just think lexical choices are important in assertions like theirs. Hehe. I also clicked the link in the video description and found their book on “Good Capitalism.” I’m not familiar with the concept at all, but I kinda want to read more about it. Offhand, though, iniisip ko: is “good capitalism” even possible as a world order? Hrmm.

        Ewan pa, haha. But thanks for the link, Bessy! Cool shit. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      13. I don’t know why they used those words but my best guess is they’re taking a dig at Trump. I don’t know anything about good capitalism. Maybe it has something to do with social democracies like the Nordic countries.

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  2. Nabasa ko ‘tong post mo kahapon pero hindi ko alam paano magreply. Sa totoo lang hanggang ngayon hindi ko pa din alam paano magreply. Pero, I’ll give it a shot. 🙂

    Naniniwala ako na yung gobyerno namin dito basura. Lahat sila na inelect namin (not sure if you vote over there) may baho, may sikreto, may dumi, at yung sarili lamang iniisip. Kapag na-elect na sila, madalas kalimutan na. Ganyan ang democracy dito sa Pilipinas. Kaya kung gusto talaga natin ng pagbabago, kailangan manggaling sa kanila. Kailangan sila mismo yung magsimula. Kailangan sa taas manggaling. Pero hindi mangyayari yun, not in our lifetime, not in our children’s lifetime. Bakit? Kasi ganon ang sistema at wala sa kanila na gusto magbago. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. It’s a eat or be eaten kind of world. Nobody wants to rock the boat – perfect example, Gina Lopez.

    Kaya ako mas gugustuhin ko na lang gumawa ng sarili kong version to help the Philippines. Follow the law, pay my taxes, support local goods, etc. Kasi tinanggap ko na yung katotohanan na walang pag-asa hanggang baguhin lahat and I mean lahat. Pero sino nga ba ang willing magsacrifice ng nakasanayan na para sa kapakanan ng nakararami? Definitely not the Filipinos. Araw araw akong stuck in traffic, 5-6 hours daily akong stuck sa traffic. Ang pinakamalaking problema na nakikita ko? Ang daming private vehicles (puro isa sakay) at ang daming reckless drivers (swerve galore, singit at cut pa). Walang disiplina, ayaw magsacrifice ng onti para lumuwang ang traffic. Ayaw mag public transport, na inefficient man, tntry ayusin ng gobyerno (sa sobrang dami nga ng pakulo nila kaming commuters ang naguguluhan). ANYWAY hahaha, ang point ko lang dito, given yung kultura ng Pilipino, change must come from every single one of us. Hindi lang yung mga mahihirap dapat, pati yung mga mayayaman, lalong lalo na yung mga middle class. Kung gusto namin ng pagbabago, kailangan lahat mag chip in, lahat sumunod sa batas, lahat gumawa ng sariling share nila para mapaganda yung Pilipinas. Hindi ako naniniwala na yung solusyon nasa taas lang, dapat lahat gumawa ng fair share nila. Ito rin siguro yung pinaka-totoong reason kung bakit apathetic yung marami sa Pilipino. Ineexpect kasi nila nila na sa iba manggaling yung change. Pero kapag andyan na yung change, inuuna pa ang reklamo or worse, ayaw subukan.

    Madugong usapan ‘to Jolens. At the end of the day, mas malaki ang responsibility ng gobyerno to change the Philippines but every single Filipino has the responsibility to support the government and help in their own way. But no one’s willing. Kanya-kanya na kami dito kasi nobody really cares for us – not our fellow Filipinos, not the government.

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    1. I do agree that everybody has to contribute. What bothers me, though, is the idea that we must do all these as individuals, separately, without the need to organize at all. And I think that’s what the “change must start from within” rhetoric is saying.

      But you yourself said it — there are reasons why certain people behave a certain way. Bakit kupal ang mga tao sa daan? Kasi ang dami-daming sasakyan. Bakit ayaw mag-commute ng mga may sasakyan? Kasi inefficient ang mass transportation system. Itaas pa natin ang tanong: bakit inefficient ang mass transport system? Dahil sa public-private ownership, dahil walang transparency kung saan napupunta ang budget for renovations, etc.

      So band-aid solution lang ang pagiging mabuting driver, ang hindi pag-cut at ang hindi pag-swerve. Yes, it will ease the stress you experience on the road, but no, it will not fix the dysfunctional trains.

      And I don’t agree that nobody really cares for Filipinos. I actively fought for free tertiary education when I was there — nagrali kami, sumama sa mga dialog, nagsulat ng mga statement. I know there are still ways to go to ensure that quality education will continue to become more accessible to more students. But the fact that we got to this point — that this year many college students did not have to pay tuition — was due to the efforts of people who genuinely cared.

      There was even an interview with one of the senators, and he said something like, “Ultimately, it was really due to the efforts of the students who fought for this.” And that fight was not fought as individuals. We were an organized front, with representatives from many colleges and universities nationwide. Other sectors also joined in as well.

      Because really, this united struggle applies not just to education. We went to Hacienda Luisita and to other agri communities, and I saw people from our ranks (middle class) constantly organizing and living among the farmers to understand what they can do to help. From the 8-hour maximum work days, to the Magna Carta of Women, and to the many other conveniences that we, or you, or the people we both know enjoy today — these were all fought through a joint, united struggle.

      I hope you understand where I’m coming from, Kat. I’ve been surrounded by people, many of them privileged university students, who have been deeply involved in political struggle in many ways. So to me, the Brecht quote resonated so loud because while many kids choose to look away from political issues, I, on the other hand, see politics everywhere. I try not to — it’s easier on my conscience — but once you’ve seen parents who feed their children with rat meat and mothers who die because they don’t have access to a kumadrona, much less a hospital — hay, kung kaya ko lang pumikit. Ang layo ko na nga o, pero apektado pa rin ako.

      Even the OFW’s here in Canada have their own issues (ex. changing government policies on contract workers) and the volunteers of the lobby groups — permanent residents, naturalized citizens — are not even affected by these rules. They just organize and fight for their fellow Filipinos. Wala namang personal gains, but they do it anyway because they care.

      But I’m not forcing you to care the way I do, and you don’t have to believe that I care because I live abroad. I support your way of trying to help out. But if there’s any takeaway I wish you get from this post, I hope it’s this: that there will always be people who care, who will choose to face these social ills head-on, and who will continue to help the country in ways bigger than their personal capacities. You may never directly feel the fruits of their struggle, but I promise you — they’re there.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks Jolens (or is Kat your real name?) for always making me think outside my box. Yung posts mo laging pinupush yung boundaries ko. Even if politics yung pinaguusapan natin.

        Siguro let me simplify na lang yung point ko, at yun pa din yung magbago dapat ang lahat ng Pilipino para maging successful at maging progressive yung bansa. Yes, I still believe that it includes yung band aid solutions na sinabi ko. Why? It’s simple, kasi most Filipinos don’t care about the Philippines and their countrymen anymore. I don’t know how it was when you were here. It sounds like a good time to be alive, pero ngayon, most if not all are just fed up with the government (and their fellow Filipinos) at kanya kanya na lang. Sure there are still a handful that think of the majority, but that’s a rarity. And when the handful eventually get into position, they get eaten by the system or worse turn into everything they were fighting against.

        Ang negative ko ata pakinggan pero, imagine this, ako na simpleng way lang tumulong sa bansa, still know a handful of people who don’t do their share. I know a certain scholar (pinagaral ng government institution to ah, as in agency, hindi lang public school) who currently works and doesn’t pay his taxes! His salary is twice as mine. I told this person up front that he should pay his dues pero nope, he still chooses not too. Kapal ng mukha! Bakit ganon?

        Ayun, ang point ko siguro is madaming may paki, pero mas madami na yung wala. And I think yung change from within needs to happen first before aiming for an organized and bigger fight.

        Ps. Feel ko ang layo na nung mga comment ko sa original post mo, pero it’s always good to have a discussion kahit dito lang sa internet 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Interesting naman ang politics kahit paano, ‘di ba? Haha.

        Unfortunately, baks, it was not a good time to be alive during the Arroyo and PNoy regimes. Issues like labor abuses and landless-ness may not be as prominent in social media, but they are just as horrific today as they were 5, 10 years ago.

        And I agree that there are significantly more people who don’t care — kaya nga relevant pa rin ang quote ni Brecht e. I even understand the people who are apathetic by default. I get confused, though, when people take pride in their apathy by hating on others who make a political stand. Mas marami na nga ang walang paki, aawayin pa ba natin ‘yung kakaunting may paki? We can oppose their views and criticize their positions — I just don’t get the desire to shut them up.

        And it’s not like being a Good Citizen and taking a political stance are mutually exclusive — you can follow the traffic rules and still criticize the inefficiency of the mass transport system. There’s no single definition of a Good Citizen anyway, so who’s to say how we should all behave?

        But I concede naman, baks, that ultimately the choice to be politically active must come from within. I can’t convince you to join political orgs, but I hope you’re at least more open to political discussions this time? Hehehe.

        Like

  3. I guess I am what you may call a political illiterate. It’s because I seem to see nothing and hear nothing, and I don’t take part in any political activity. I am apathetic but it will not offend me to be branded as such because it’s true. I wish I am not indifferent and there are a lot of things happening in our country now that I wish would be different, be better, but I say nothing about them and do nothing except the little things I can do within my own bubble. Things like not littering, conserving water and electricity, and giving change/food to the beggars. Inside, I care a lot about a lot of things. I care that the ice caps are melting by metric tons causing the oceans to rise, I care about global warming, I care about the rising prices of petrol and commodities in PH, I care that PH government is a preposterous political arena that serves as an avenue of vengeful acts for those in power, where Solons act like blind rats following the pipe piper, but what can I do when I cannot bite the hand that feeds me? Or risk losing some so-called friends in FB or engage in a war of words with people with opposing beliefs on social media. I’ve lost the energy for it. It’s just so convenient to be indifferent but I know it’s not helping me or the future generation when Ph is full of people who choose not to care. I admire the people who are brave enough to take a stand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely understand what you mean! I think many of us echo your sentiments. We know there’s a problem and we would love to see things change — we just don’t know how else we can contribute on top of doing the little things you mentioned (not littering, etc).

      Based on your comment ha, I wouldn’t say you’re indifferent, not even apathetic. You do care, you have an your own beliefs, and you recognize and admire the people who take a stand (you probably even agree or disagree with their stances).

      Maybe you’re not willing to lose FB friends over your beliefs or to lose a day’s worth of productivity by joining protest actions. Still, you remain bothered by issues that may not directly affect you, like ocean tides rising and the power-play among our elites — that, to me, is the opposite of apathy. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Materialist”, ito pala yung tinutukoy nung friend ko na prof. na mahilig magbasa at magpost sa FB ng mga nabasa nyang libro tungkol sa Marxist, neoliberalism, etc. na minsan hindi ko talaga ma-gets, pero hindi ko rin ma-resist na hindi basahin at pilit unawain. Na-miss ko ang mga posts mo. At ang ganda ng nasulat mo. Sana maraming pang makabasa nito.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sinong prof ito? Haha, tsismosa.

      Oy, alam mo, ang dami ko ring teoryang hindi ma-gets. At gaya mo, hindi ko rin ma-resist na pilitin silang unawain. Sakit sa ulo at sa ego, ‘no? Haha.

      Miss ko rin posts mo! Ngayon ko lang nakita ‘yung hanash on Infinity War, teka basahin ko muna. 😀

      Like

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