Yes, I’m calling it out – and I’m calling it exactly how I see it.

First and foremost, so the context is made clear, I am a Filipino-American – I am a proud Filipino. And I am proud to be Filipino. But it seems I have a different interpretation of what Filipino means. My pride in being Filipino blossomed as I began to understand the true meaning of words like heroism, bayani, selflessness, love for the poor and learned how the Filipino spirit truly cares. I thank Gawad Kalinga for that. I have witnessed “selflessness” manifest. I have witnessed the aweing power of determination when the ambition is beyond ones goals but for the greater goal of national progress. And these things I have witnessed are there because there is a problem to respond to that beyond being Filipino, every human being on the planet must eventually respect, the problem of undignified, extreme poverty…just simply having children starve and live in the most putrid of conditions is enough for me.

But there’s more to it isn’t there? There always is.

I am not a politician. I am certain that those skilled in this field believe they understand the maneuvers of “war” through words, possibly pride themselves in comprehending some “Machiavellian” principle, and feel they have some charismatic aura to compensate for mistakes. All well and good. But a clever mind and a concerned citizen can easily see past the bullshit. Not the politician – the bullshit politics.

Watching the situation with China unfold has given us an opportunity to understand who we are as a people. Tony Meloto once told me that “the strength of a people are reflected through the strength of their leaders – a strong people will elect strong leaders – and a weak people will elect weak leaders.” Well put sir. So then let us judge who we have become through our leaders today.

(No Filipinas were harmed in the making of this image.
In fact, I think she is even Chinese.  Children, these are
trained professionals, please do not attempt unless under
adult supervision.)

In my novice assessment, for whatever its worth, I have come to see the Philippines as “the battered wife.” Let’s see the similarities shall we?

(1) When our neighbor China, or let’s say our “Sugar Daddy” since we seem to borrow a lot of money from them, insults us, slaps us in the face and exposes us to global humiliation (see my previous note for reference) – what do we do? – We tell ourselves (translation – our leaders tell us) – “It’s not that bad.”, “We need him (China).”, “We deserved that – we (..shouldn’t have gone in his space).”, “Let’s wait till he calms down.”, “Let’s not make a big deal out of it.”

(2) We then LIE to our selves to calm ourselves down – I saw an article where Noynoy said that “the structures (Garrisons) were there for years – they are not new – we shouldn’t overreact.” He is right – it began in 1995 when the China attacked our fishermen, and then started building on those occupied islands telling the Philippines they were shelters for their fishermen. They are of course military installations that are weaponized as we know today. Hmm…They lied to us then, they lie to us now. But we lie to ourselves (translation: Our leaders feel they need to lie to us for the sake of what – peace?) We tell ourselves, “He’s not doing anything wrong….he’s good inside…he really loves me.”

(3) Then we, of course, like the faithful battered wife, must forgive ever so quickly. We are enamored by our calm beater as they smile and give us hugs. (Latest Article on Phil-Chinese Happy Relations) They say things like “let’s keep it friendly, baby – sends us flowers
and we say things to ourselves like “China’s NPC has always attached importance to friendly exchanges with the Philippines’ Congress, and is willing to keep expanding multi-level, multi-form exchanges and cooperation between the two legislative bodies, and make fresh contribution to the development of Sino-Philippine relations.”

(4) And finally my favorite. As the truth surfaces slowly towards the realization of our helpless and shameful state – as our actions that reflected our lack of self-confidence reinforce our already damaged self-perception come to mind – we must make sure we do not go insane – so let’s have a drink. Let’s get DRUNK WITH DISTRACTION. There’s certainly no shortage of that with typhoons, internal fighting and of course…celebrity gossip.

. . .

As a Filipino American – the Filipino in me does not want to see a conflict and ruin the moment – the American in me wants to see us ASSERT ourselves. I want to remind the Philippines that the they are NOT ALONE. There are 12 million+ Filipinos abroad. There are 4 million alone here in America. As ONE Filipino, let us all contribute towards the global culture and brand of the Filipino. Generations before me have been colonized to the point that they have engrained in their hearts the curse of limiting beliefs. Second and third gens in the US rebel as they pull away to join the Americans who celebrate the freedom from thinking of limitless possibility.

I wish for the country to ASSERT ITS DESTINY so we all may open the floodgates of limitless possibility. I wish for leaders that inspire us with honorable and wise actions that help us rise as a people. And there is no destiny for a nation that exists in the silo of our own tiny islands. A national destiny is our destiny in relation to the world. Yes there will be opposition, conflicts of interest and tensions. The Filipino spirit knows how to handle that. But let us learn and feed from each other globally. Let us ASSERT OUR DESTINY to greatness.

So – leaders of the Philippine people, were watching to see what you do from this side of the planet- because you help to tell us who we are. Meanwhile you must tell the world who we are.

Here’s an idea: How about a statement that sounds like “We seek diplomacy to resolve the matter, meanwhile, get the F*** out of our territory.”

Please stop making us look like a bunch of bitches. Thanks.