Why Bother To "Get Real"?

The ever-affable commentator Conyo asks “Why do you bother nagging Pinoys to Get Real? “. He goes even further to ask

Do you have a nostalgic loyalty to your country of birth? The typical Jolog argument says that we must serve our country of birth which nourished us. Really? Any well traveled person (such as you and I) could easily conclude from observation that our country of birth has shortchanged us, inhibited our potential, and stunted our personal growth by force feeding us archaic belief systems and self-limiting values. And we are supposed to be loyal for that? One of my relatives born and raised in a First World Country is doing work with lasers while another seeks medical cures through genetic manipulation. And what do I get for being a loyal Pinoy? What are my “opportunities” in this hell hole? I can’t even get reliable DSL service!

What is “country” anyway? Is it not an allegiance to an idea or a set of principles by a certain group of people spread over a certain geographical region so that, through their collective efforts, they may improve their quality of life? And if this alliance of people fails to achieve its purpose, does one not have the right to “opt out” and seek an alliance elsewhere (as many Pinoys have done) to pursue a better life? Or stated another way, should a former fed-up-with-the-bullsh!t Catholic, after converting to Buddhism, maintain a sense of loyalty to the Vatican because it was his Religion of Birth that nourished him? The whole country of birth argument is based on emotion. Once you tackle the argument with pure reason, the power of the emotional appeal is easily dispelled.

So do you blog out of a loyalty to your culture perhaps? What is culture anyway? Is it not the “software” that we use to drive the “hardware” that is our physical bodies? And if you can upgrade your software, one module at a time, to improve the effectiveness of your interaction with the environment and other people, would you not do it? So if a Realist Pinoy decides to “uninstall” Tagalog and replace this with English, does this not infinitely improve his ability to interface with the world? So let us stop this notion that culture is “sacred” and that it needs to be preserved. Culture is supposed to serve the individual not the other way around.

So do you blog out of a sense of altruism perhaps? Do you do it to serve a high moral or religious purpose? Well, my friend, if you want to serve humanity, you are not doing it very efficiently. Your efforts will be better served in helping Africa for the Misery Index there is much higher where people are dying by the thousands every day. Also, comparing the exchange rate and cost of living, you will get more bang for your buck sending it to Zimbabwe, Congo, or Somalia rather than the Philippines. (I donated to Haiti).

The best answer I could find is a page on Why Climb Everest?

Climbing Mt. Everest is the supreme symbol of man’s personal struggle to achieve. As a metaphor; Everest is simple and pure, man versus nature, it approaches a universal understanding of our primal desire to conquer and will eternally stand as a symbol for triumph and failure. As long as Everest and man exist, it will draw adventurers without mercy, leaving no culture nor people untouched. Those who have summitted the mountain seem unable to forget it for a moment, as if the mountain has seeped into their genetic fiber. Others who attempt or merely visit Everest are often equally affected.

Shrouded in mythos and legend, certain peaks reign over a landscape with such dominance they become inseparable from the land and people. While Denali is inseparable from Native Alaskan lore, Everest has dominated the cultures of Tibet and Nepal, long before it was ‘discovered’ to be the world’s highest mountain. Tibetans call it Chomolungma, Mother Goddess of the Universe and to the Sherpa people of Nepal it is Sagarmatha, The Churning Stick in the Sea of Existence. These reverences, add to the magnetic nature of the Everest and the Himalayan Range.

There is something about Everest and its neighboring cultures that intensify our desire to better understand it. The more we learn, the more we need to know. Its profound presence, geography, glaciology, Sherpa tradition, Buddhism, the mighty Yak and even legend of the Yeti draw us deeper into Everest’s mystique. By the time most people attempt to climb or visit base camp, they are so obsessed with Everest, the physical challenges are almost forgotten, until of course they reach the Himalayas. It is truly the stuff dreams are made of.

Mallory and the Statement:

When George Mallory responded “Because it is there” to the ‘Why climb Everest question’, he passed on a sort of permanent approval to those who wished to risk their lives climbing. But one should really have asked Mallory and his predecessors, “How did you know it was there?” Possibly “Why climb Everest?” is best answered, “because we found it.”

The long and short reply is “I blog about the Pinoy malaise because I can. Because I choose to. Because it’s there. And because I find it liberating, enriching, rewarding to find and share a truth”.

Where do we go from here?

Homer also asks

Actually, I’m also wondering how far this site is expected to go.
Can the site sustain the momentum it’s gaining, especially after the elections are over?
Traffic is up, and more are (supposedly) enlightened. So what now? It won’t change the fact that the majority of people are still idiots.
What is expected of AP readers to actually influence “change”?

These are just some of the thoughts that enter my mind when I try to make sense on why I keep coming back here.”

And Conyo chimes in

At best, this site will AWAKEN, perhaps a hundred or thousand people “wired” to be independent thinkers. But you are right, so let me repeat what you said:

“It won’t change the fact that the majority of people are still idiots.”

The message of this site is beyond the comprehension of these idiots.

Having said that, I wish them the best of luck in their efforts.

The flow of the conversation reminds me of “the Matrix” – One of my all-time favorites – It’s one scifi action flick laden with kick-ass parables:

Trinity: I know why you’re here, Neo. I know what you’ve been doing… why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer. You’re looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn’t really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us, Neo. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.

Neo: What is the Matrix?

Trinity: The answer is out there, Neo, and it’s looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.

***

Morpheus: I imagine that right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?

Neo: You could say that.

Morpheus: I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that’s not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?

Neo: No.

Morpheus: Why not?

Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.

Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Neo: The Matrix.

Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?

Neo: Yes.

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

***

Morpheus: I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.

Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Morpheus: [to Neo who is choosing the red pill] Remember… all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.

*****

Morpheus: What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this.
[holds up a Duracell battery]

Neo: No, I don’t believe it. It’s not possible.

Morpheus: I didn’t say it would be easy, Neo. I just said it would be the truth.

***

Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

[Neo’s eyes suddenly wander towards a woman in a red dress]

Morpheus: Were you listening to me, Neo? Or were you looking at the woman in the red dress?

Neo: I was…

Morpheus: [gestures with one hand] Look again.

[the woman in the red dress is now Agent Smith, pointing a gun at Neo’s head; Neo ducks]

Morpheus: Freeze it.

[Everybody and everything besides Neo and Morpheus freezes in time]

Neo: This… this isn’t the Matrix?

Morpheus: No. It is another training program designed to teach you one thing: if you are not one of us, you are one of them.

****

Agent Smith: But, as you well know, appearances can be deceiving, which brings me back to the reason why we’re here. We’re not here because we’re free. We’re here because we’re not free. There is no escaping reason; no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist.
[Several Agent Smith Clones walk in]
Agent Smith Clone 1: It is purpose that created us.
Agent Smith Clone 2: Purpose that connects us.
Agent Smith Clone 3: Purpose that pulls us.
Agent Smith Clone 4: That guides us.
Agent Smith Clone 5: That drives us.
Agent Smith Clone 6: It is purpose that defines us.
Agent Smith Clone 7: Purpose that binds us.
Agent Smith: We are here because of you, Mr Anderson. We’re here to take from you what you tried to take from us.
[Attempts to copy himself into Neo]
Agent Smith: Purpose.

Blog to Unplug

I blog to unplug myself from Da Pinoy Matrix. If by blogging I help unplug some more – that’s a perk.

There are many questions, many truths waiting to be uncovered. It is a great opportunity for learning, for discovery, for finding and crafting solutions that work.

Moving forward there’s a lot of stuff to do after the elections. the campaign to bring in better candidates does not end with the elections.

Consider that currently – our politicians buy our voters. how come in other countries – voters “buy” their candidates? what can we do to bring about can grassroots-funded politics – similar to the PACs in the US.

I am also looking at tighter integration of AP and SNK – and introducing tagalog and english programs on tuesdays and thursdays. we would like to bring in callers from overseas – check out leadphil.blogspot.com – arnel and iya are our hosts.

I want to bring in younger voices. Kahlil – maybe you can be a film critic? Or give a heads up on indie film gatherings. maybe consider doing a youtube playlist of pinoy indie movies?

Or alternative business models that have shown profitability and sustainability – which can be applicable to subsistence farmers in the philippines – an online agricultural commodity exchange for farmers from aparri to jolo – as spinoffs.. anything’s possible.

Let me put it this way – When Obama spoke about “the world as it is” and “the world as it should be.” , when he was articulating that too often, we accept the distance between the two, and we settle for the world as it is — even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations. To be reminded that we know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. To urge our countrymen to believe in themselves and to find the strength to strive for the world as it should be – Barack was preaching to the choir, he wasn’t the first person to utter such words. We have uttered and lived those words one time or another, and perhaps still living it.

What am I Fighting For?

So what am I fighting for (I speak for myself and myself alone)?  The Philippines as it should be – Prosperous, Huge Middle Class, Politically Vibrant, Globally Integrated Economy.

I refuse to believe that the Philippines is hopeless because the Philippines can turn itself around within a generation – if it really wanted to. There are mini-mes of the future Philippines in the country – Subic, Marikina, Cebu, Davao, Makati – we need to replicate those throughout the islands.  I have had the great fortune of knowing it can be done. Why? Because we did it in Davao. From a basketcase, a communist laboratory to Asiaweek’s Most Liveable City in the Philippines in less than 9 years!!!

Failure’s greatest gift is that it motivates us to try harder. To find new ways – To ask if we are asking the right question even? Failure only becomes failure when we give up and stop trying.

Come to think of it, between now and until the day we die – and that can be anytime – we have a choice – that in the choices that we make, we take control of our destiny, we create our own destiny based on the choices that we make today . So if we are to make choices – go for choices that bring out the best on us. Bring out the gold, let the dross go through the fire.

You have to go beyond the blah blah blah – and put a quantity and quality behind it.

What the Philippines Stands For

Such question has indeed been taken for granted. That such question is being raised brings out the fact that we don’t really know what the Filipino stands for – precisely because it is an artificial entity created by colonial edict.

The reality is here we are at this juncture in history – we have no commonality except that we are stuck in this 7100 islands, had a shared experience dealing with expeditionary colonial occupation forces,  and we carry or used to carry a passport which states that we are citizens of the Philippines. Obviously we are stuck with each other – all this various tribes and ethnocentric regional groupings that make up what is known as the Philippines.

We can go about in our usual way of politicking – in a mutually assured destruction kind of way. Or, we can start hewing the path to the Philippines as it should be. And like any other action, it begins with the awareness, leading to an interest, which generates a desire to take action. The action need not be spectacular but comes in the choices that we make as individuals and as a community that works for mutual benefits – everybody wins.

What the Philippines CAN Stand For

There are a lot of values I can claim ownership of as an individual, but as a member of this community that carries the passport of the GRP, what do I stand for, or to be more precise, what values do I, BongV as Filipino, stand for?

In molding an identity I ask whether it involves aspiring to meet an image that is unattainable for most ? Should this be quantified by a standard imposed by those around us or by us? Most of our lives we will be pursuing  goals, not attaining it. Therefore, enjoying the journey is as much fun as achieving the goal.

The problem, of course, is that an over reliance on external perceptions, and how it pertains to self esteem, often results in psychological problems. Indeed too much of a reliance on glowing feedback from others puts us in an environment in which others can make or break us. But, an acceptance and an appreciation of ourselves, along with our flaws, will help navigate the individual corridors through this labyrinthine world we live in.

Now being fully aware of where the Filipino comes from, and knowing the dearth of identity of what the Filipino stands for, we have this unique opportunity to define what the Filipino stands for.  Apparently each generation defines “Filipino” in its own way. It is ironic that a need for defining the Filipino or redefining the core values that make the Filipino -well… the Filipino, became more glaring to me, after I headed overseas.

You see, to a non-Filipino, there is no distinction whether you are from Luzon or Mindanao. Whether you speak Tagalog, Ilonggo, Cebuano, or Ilocano. To the rest of the world – I am “Filipino”. At the very least, I am Asian.

As this amorphous formless newly created entity called “Filipino” – I don’t know who I am, or have come to know who I am, that I have so much potential that needs to be realized, that needs to be defined, a representation of my core values. But what are my core values really? Americans are all about freedom. The Germans are all about engineering. The Swiss are all about precision. The Japanese are all about honor and efficiency. What do I, as Filipino, stand for – diligence? perseverance?

The current state of affairs in the Philippines is disturbing, and the impression it gives of what the Filipino stands for – corruption, impunity, idiocracy –  is unsettling.  And so here I am on AntiPinoy, with nothing but my keyboard, my Internet access, and my truth. Raging with the dying of the light, hitting the keys for digital posterity.  Being on AntiPinoy is a declaration, an act of taking ownership of what the Filipino CAN BE (already is – for some individuals) , in contrast to what the FILIPINO IS .

I write what I write because I love the land of my birth unconditionally. It may look like I am harsh on its flaws, but you misunderstand, I see its flaws too clearly,I grieve to see a nation that has all the potential to be great, keeps on selling itself short in a perpetual failure to launch. What gives? So I undertake this journey and have come to meet the Anti-Pinoy, he is us, we are him. If we don’t like what we see, then we can change our ways, but first we have to “see” and meet the anti-pinoy. After all how can we master the destiny of a community if we can’t even control our own selves. This my friends is the journey I undertake on Antipinoy.

But most of all – I am on Antipinoy because of one simple reason.  Finally, I found my voice.  To me, it doesn’t get any more real than this – I have fun blogging on AP.

I hope you, dear readers, also have fun reading our travails on this journey and our encounters with the anti-pinoy.

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19 comments

  1. You know what would be great though? If we could translate and publish this in localized languages.

  2. Free please elaborate.

  3. Very well said BongV. Some people say that we “Get Realists” are pessimists and have lost hope in The Filipino. On the contrary, to be a Get Realist is a sign of having hope in them. It is a declaration of our faith in his ability to change for the better.

    The polar opposite of a Get Realist is a Triumphalist. The latter group believes that Filipinos should be immune to ciriticism (especially self-criticism) and that it is mostly external factors that are to blame for their fate. This shows lack of personal accountability and the desire to expect such a virtue from everyone else. Triumphalism is slave mentality at its worst, because it numbs people’s minds into believing that their destinies depend on the whims and caprices of masters who have control over their entire being. Therefore the courses of action they take will be to attempt to blame or even change those masters without any thoughts that their problems are from within themselves.

    One does not have to wonder why being “anti corruption” or “anti GMA” is a more popular battlecry than “a change in man” because Filipinos are too cowardly to fight his own monsters from within. That is the hardest thing to do and sadly, only a few are willing to do it and GET REAL.

  4. We could always publish this in Cebuano, Ilocano, Waray. To get the message clearer to those who can’t read English. the problem with ‘elitist’ movements is that they reach only what the people who already have the capacity to learn for themselves. What about the rest of the country?

    Therein lies the power of populism. If we make efforts to educate patiently the masses on our agenda then a lot more people would become “Getrealists”.

    Just a thought

  5. Going back to Conyo’s hardwired, I mentioned the general mathematical expression (http://thoughtsofmrbon.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html) that humans have no escape to the general expression that

    Noble > Objective > Beast

    Filipinos are in the Beast stage but it doesn’t mean they’ll forever stays with it. To echo Condrado de Quiroz, “if we refused to fight, then our children will”.

  6. The elections are really just a blip in the overall AP (and the rest of GRP) radar. Many commentors and readers who have come on board or discovered AP happened to do so in the midst of the election campaign and the months leading up to it. As such, they don’t see the bigger landscape over which AP (and GRP overall) extends its social commentary.

    Election fever is really a special case for us. After the elections it really becomes business as usual for AP and the rest of GRP. Perhaps the traffic won’t be as spectacular as it is today. Indeed, I’ve seen this trend over the last 10 years. Crises, ocho-ocho rallies, and — yes — elections are good for traffic for social commentary sites, just like Christmas and Valentines are always good for the retail industry. That’s the reality of the market.

    When we go back to business as usual (the part where everyone hunkers down to do the real work), many who had exhibited the loudest voices during the elections simply disappear back into the woodwork of small-minded bliss.

    AP and the rest of GRP do not do that. Our voice remains LOUD whether we be in the midst of the fiestas of elections or the quiet of relative stability. This consistency and grounding in clear principles across ANY topic is what makes us different from all the rest.

  7. My answer to, why bother, is that we are attempting to prevent the nation from loining the lemmings in going over the cliff. After all, the Filipinos are human beings, not lemmings. Problem is, they sure like to act like lemmings.

    I use the analogy of caring for an autistic, developmentally disabled or person. It’s like, why bother with them? They’re no use to use, they take up resources, and we could save a lot if we eliminate them? Why not go a la Nazi and blow away all the invalids? Or if that’s too evil, why not just leave them behind and let ’em die? Basically, it’s because they are human beings and there is a moral responsibility to care for them and love them. That is similar to caring for the country; we have a moral responsibility to care for our country and keep it from going to pieces.

    I think we could diversify in topics, guys. I myself like to see more of articles like Iya’s… about Filipino behavior and criticism of this behavior. It’s the much-needed whack in the pwit.

  8. i echo this. this article is excellent, and could start embers of pinoy passion. kudos, bongv!

    however the issue is reach. i’ve seen a lot of intelligent pinoys around the web, with great ideas but there’s a big wall between them and those whom these kinds of messages should reach. wowowee is way too intoxicating.

    if ideas are being sought for, it would be great to have a weekly publication (tagalog version) of these ideas to the masses. make the people who are well off fund it, and give it free to those who need to be enlightened.

  9. it was an interesting read, albeit really long.

    if you really want to take this to the grassroots level it may help to condense this or cut this up in more digestible parts.

  10. Zadkiel · ·

    This is off topic but still somehow connected with the topic. The Americans have this Manifest Destiny. Those who believed in that ideal made the USA a prosperous country, save for the recent Global Financial Crisis. They believed in something because it was destined and yet it was merely a self-fulfilling prophecy that it happens because you believe it can happen.

    Why can’t Filipinos just believe in something that they can do and achieve?

  11. HusengBatute · ·

    Well the differences between the Americans and Filipinos are that:

    Americans are doers, independent thinkers, and are not easily swayed by the masses, while Filipinos are dreamers who wait for the guava to fall from the tree (hence the Anti-Pinoy logo) and think with the mentality of the rest of the herd just because it is popular or “winnable.”

    Americans create the future, while Filipinos just create kids, even without much money to feed them much less send them to college, thinking that their kids will take care of them in the future when they grow old.

  12. I’ve encountered this writer before and I swear, the only friggin job he can get is in this anti-pinoy website.

    You are of the Philippines A-Hole, and my oh my, am I glad you are no longer Filipino? I sure hope the Philippines will revoke your dual citizenship status if you ever have one so you can never return to this country you hate so much.

    If you are incapable to contribute anything positive for my country, then shut the hell up. You people are a bunch of losers. Your articles are no eye opener. Yes, you have a point but you killed all of them by your condescending presumptuous claims.

    What have you guys done for the country? seriously? show me one positive effect of your racist bashing against Filipinos? don’t you dare claim that more Filipinos are now educated? there are other political forums here that are working positively for Filipinos. It is obvious how these writers don’t have a friggin clue of what is happening in the Philippines outside of Luzon.

    Idiots! if you have never traveled the 7107 islands in the country, DO NOT PRESUME you know the Philippines. Your articles are so revealing.

    Idiots!

  13. FYI: I don’t think America value people like you. You should be shipped off to Guantanamo bay- too bad its already closed.

    I don’t think you bring value anywhere and your area of expertise is to bash the Philippines because that is all you know. 

    The more you “love America” show the more you don’t matter there. If you are really educated in the American system – your language would reflect it. It doesn’t, you know why? because your write up are full of political bullshit, condescension and racist comments.

    You are an American-wannabee who is lost and psychotic and want to blame the whole friggin country for your own failures and frustrations.

    Get some help idiot! I mean, psychological help. You need to be institutionalized before you take hostages with you. 

  14. Your second half of the write-up appears to pacify all the hurtful and racist comments you wrote on the first half. It doesn’t quite follow.

    The second half is almost like its written by a completely different person. Much too late. Some of those points on the second half, should already be in the first half – given that this is a really long article. 

  15. Is there a delete option for my above comments? My sincere apologies. I suggest you re-write this write up and put a little of your later half comments in the middle (before your morpheous matrix thread). I can see how you enjoy it but it overshadows all of your good points in the second half and if the dsl connection as you pointed out, keeps on fluctuating, an overzealous reader like myself is already quite ready to pounce on the comment section. FYI, after the first half, passionate pinoys like myself is already boiling especially if one have a previous history with your blogs that didn’t quite make a good first impression.

  16. Curb your enthusiasm and try going first with your mind than your heart. If anything, its usually my bullsh*t meter that goes off in my head before other emotions. Sounds a bit stoic but it help when trying to look over information and trying to analyze its worth.

    Besides, the first parts were setting up to the actual argument which is the reason. Some look at AP and say they are very idealistic and they are out of touch from reality. Honestly, reality couldn’t be any closer when you unplug yourself from certain media sources and look for the information. When it comes to discussing the country in an objective manner, people tend to see the Philippines for everything else BUT the corruption, arrogance and ineptitude. They get everything pleasant, surprising and shocking but miss the real details where it matters in the simple issue of the objective truth.

  17. Oh and truncate my message as well. Thanks mods.

  18. No need to delete. Keeping this will show the evolution of your ideas and beliefs. You can look back and say, “I’m glad I changed.”

  19. the counter area · ·

    I’m with you dude. Heard loud and clear whatcha say.

    At some point these buncha creeps are trying to present their valid arguments (throughout this website and in Facebook / Twitter / Blogger) that reflect the sad hurtful realities of our beloved motherland in the way that dead-brain sky high neurotics / psychotics do, like your accusation.

    With most of America they treat many foreigners equally in the racist fashion thingy, not just these psycho scatwags you’re accusing of your comment. I didn’t notice that these haters are “the American-wannabee”; are they that cunning to mislead me?

    Dude I’d need to stick with ya.

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