When in Rome do as the Romans!

From an e-mail making the rounds:

YOU say that our government is inefficient.

YOU say that our laws are too old.

YOU say that the our local government does not pick up the garbage and does not manage well the cleanliness of the land.

YOU say that the phones don't work, the traffic is a joke, mails never reach their destination.

YOU say that the country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.

YOU say, say, and say.

What do YOU do about it?

Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name - YOURS. Give him a face - YOURS.

YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your international best. In Singapore YOU don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground Links as they are. YOU pay S$5 (approx. PhP 140) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent to EDSA) between 5 PM and 8 PM. YOU come back to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have overstayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective of your status/identity. In Singapore you don't say anything, DO YOU?

YOU wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai. YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah.

YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (PhP 740) a month to, "see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else."

YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 kph) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop, "Alam mo kung sino ako ? (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son. Take your fifty bucks and get lost."

Why don't YOU spit and throw your cigarette butts on the streets of Tokyo?

Why don't YOU use, buy fake certificates in Boston like you do in Recto?

We are still talking of the same YOU.

YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in your own.

YOU who will throw papers and cigarettes (and empty peanut shells and candy wrappers and fruit peelings?) on the road the moment you touch Philippine ground.

If YOU can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same in the Philippines?

Once in an interview, the famous Subic administrator Gordon had a point to make. "Rich people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the place," he said. "And then the same people turn around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty pavements. What do they expect the officers to do!? Go down with a broom everytime the dog feels the pressure in his bowels? In America, every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan. Will the Filipino citizen do that here?"

He's right.

We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative.

We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stoop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin.

When it comes to burning social issues like those related to extramarital relationship, unwed mothers, pre-marital sex and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. The moment we feel lonely outside the Philippines we seek pleasure from others, commonly to fellow Filipinos, WITHOUT minding the commitment we made back home to our true family. Then we blame the government for juvenile VIOLENCE, drug addiction, etc. but we started it ourselves by neglecting the need of our sons and daugthers of real paternal guidance and responsibility.

Our excuse? "It's the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my sons' rights to a dowry." So who's going to change the system?

What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbors, other households, other cities, other communities and the government.

But definitely not me and YOU.

When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along and work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand. Or we leave the country and run away. Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to Japan or HONG KONG. When Hong Kong experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Middle East. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Philippine government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.

Dear fellow Filipinos,

The article is highly thought-inductive, calls for a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too.... I am echoing J.F.Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to us Filipinos..


I say to myself that in my forthcoming vacation next year....at least, for the time being, I can be a SINGAPOREAN, an EMIRATI, a SAUDI, or an AMERICAN citizen in the Philippines.

Email me!


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