Friday, July 1, 2005

Not so lovely thoughts from lovely Munich...

I was not having a great day on June 28... this was the day I was scheduled to leave for Munich, but as of that morning, I hadn't heard about the status of my Schengen Visa application. I made it a point to wake up at 8 AM, just to start calling. It's never too early in the day to get obnoxious with the German Embassy. So, while waiting for the news, I started packing -- halfheartedly, due to the possibility that I wasn't going to fly that evening -- and texting my friends to de-stress myself. After finally getting the news from the Visa department that my passport would be released at noon that day and be ready for pick up anytime after 2 PM, immediately the relaxation went through my body like a gentle wave. I was incredibly relieved, so my packing task went much more quickly, and even pleasantly. All this of course, while texting my friends, one of whom was confident that I would depart that evening. She was, of course, right.

Fast forward to sitting in the Frankfurt airport waiting to board the short flight to Munich. Rob and I are sitting in the airport's business class lounge when I start getting the news (via text and the internet) that Susan Sonora Poe (aka Susan Roces) is on the warpath. Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had, the night before, admitted on national television that it was indeed her voice on the "Hello, Garci" wiretap recording. It is alleged that this phone call with an election official was to guarantee that she would win the election by a margin of 1,000,000 (I haven't heard the recording, so I have no comment as to what was said and by whom). In her public apology, Pres. Arroyo asked the country to forgive her, and hopes that she can get back to the business of governing the country. Headlines two days later scream that Mrs. Poe does not accept Pres. Arroyo's apology, and accuses her of stealing the presidency not once, but twice (from her late husband Ronnie Poe and former president Joseph Estrada).

Political instability seems to be the only stable thing in the Philippines.

As a Filipino living abroad, I am frustrated with the Philippines. I am frustrated that we seem so "trigger happy" to have another uprising like People Power and EDSA II. I am frustrated that the rest of the world seems to have overtaken us. I am frustrated that cooler heads aren't prevailing. I am frustrated that we make it so much harder for ourselves to stabilize the country, thereby stabilizing our economy. I am frustrated that the value of the peso has gone down. I am frustrated that no one seems to give a fuck (another uprising... so what else is new?).

So what are we supposed to do? Cory Aquino asks us to pray. Well, you know what? Jesus Christ isn't going to all of a sudden come down from heaven and fix everything for us. I hear these words at mass during the Prayers of the Faithful: "we pray for political stability... we pray for a stable economy... we pray you come down here and fix everything." Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.

The impression I'm getting is that we as a people are passive, passing on all the responsibility on our government, and very quick to place the blame on said government when things screw up. Whatever happened to personal culpability and responsibility? Whatever happened to taking charge, grabbing the bull by the horns and fixing what we can to the best of our ability? I'm not saying we have to go out there and change the entire world; rather, I ask to change our own little corners of the world, in the hope that these little changes add up to something that truly makes a difference. Each of us was placed on this good earth for a specific reason: some of us are artists... some are doctors... lawyers... economists... businessmen... gardeners... street sweepers... drivers (personal, taxi, jeep or bus)... bellhops... waiters... pilots... policemen... computer programmers... housewives. Each of us has the ability to change our own little corner of the world. We have the power and the knowledge to effect change.

If there's something we can pray for, it's for the strength and the proverbial kick in the ass to stop blaming others for what's happening, and do something for ourselves and one another. In turn, we'll be doing our country a huge favor. Perhaps then we'll then catch up with the rest of the world. It may take a while, but we can do it.

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