Saturday, April 4, 2009

From slaves to servant-leaders

When the Philippines imported “amahs” for its elite families and the US indentured Chinese coolies by the tens of thousands to work on its railroad system in the 18th Century, the term “nation of servants” could have been hung on the necks of the Chinese people. But then a revolution transpired in China after a few hundred years, and today, no one can describe the Chinese as a “nation of servants” anymore. 

The Chinese know that Filipinos are a nation of servants because they see them in this role everywhere--from house maids in Hong Kong to lounge act entertainers in mainland China . How then can we Filipinos argue against this fact? Why, we even tout with pride the millions of our countrymen slaving away in foreign lands as our national “heroes.” So if we don’t relish such an image, we should have our “revolution” first, as the Chinese did, and set up a strong, independent economy. 

It is, thus, silly for some sectors to protest that “insult” from a Hong Kong columnist since they have done nothing to raise the standing of our nation in the world stage. Looking especially ridiculous is the Blas Ople Institute because the late labor minister and senator was one of the architects of RP’s “labor export” industry. Another one that doth protest too much is Sen. Pia Cayetano, who has only jogged for pet causes (like breast-feeding and cancer awareness) and stood as product endorser for a fabric conditioner, but has totally not championed any legislation to industrialize our economy to create employment so that OFWs may return home. 

Filipinos have been insulted ever since the first white man stepped on our island shores. The Spaniards called our natives ladrones while the Americans labeled us as “monkeys.” From the US media, we can come up with an almost endless list of anti-Filipino insults as well. In recent memory, American radio sensation Howard Stern said that Filipinos “…eat their young and sell their daughters for sex,” which riled local radio anchor Rene Sta. Cruz, who challenged Stern to a square off in the US of A. However, this Rene, whom I have partnered with on DZXL, was always the first to denigrate Filipinos too with his “Only in the Philippines ” tag for every fault he saw. The Congress of Filipino-American Citizens, meanwhile, had filed a $65-million lawsuit against Stern, but 16 years later, nothing has really changed--except that now, a Filipina chef serves the White House kitchen. Then, there’s the Desperate Housewives TV series, which, in one of its episodes, cast aspersions on RP medical schools churning out phony doctors’ diplomas, which we all know has basis in fact. 

In all these instances, Filipinos would rage yet do nothing about the roots of the continuing economic crises that have led to the deterioration of jobs and the erosion of our social and moral fabric. Even though we’ve had some leading lights in the cultural scene, like Freddie Aguilar with his opus “Anak,” they seem to be all but forgotten today. 

If Filipinos want to finally end the insults to our nation and race, we should wage a social and national revolution; and not just stay on the level of rage without addressing the main reasons for our low self- and global-esteem. If not, then we’re just stuck in a sadomasochistic theater of the absurd. To assert our national dignity, we must hoist the flag of revolution by installing genuine Filipino public servants or servant-leaders such as President Joseph Estrada, Gen. Danilo Lim, Sen. Sonny Trillanes, Gen. Miranda, the Magdalos or Bagong Katipuneros, Maj. Jason Aquino, Capt. Nic Faeldon, and the like. 

If we want radical change in our society, we have to reject all insults to our intelligence, such as the coming farcical 2010 elections and all such exercises under prevailing neo-colonial conditions--which limit the field of aspirants to only those who kowtow to the neo-colonial system. 

Just taking a look at the present instance, from the advancement of the date for the filing of candidacies, to the SWS survey that deceptively solicited three multiple choices for a single presidential post, we can see how everything is being set to block the return of one genuine alternative leader, President Estrada. This recent survey, despite being presented as a non-commissioned, “academic” exercise, is especially insidious given the track record of SWS, which, in its 2004 exit poll made Gloria Arroyo lead FPJ in Metro Manila, only to be debunked by FPJ’s overwhelming win except in Villar’s Las PiƱas. 

All these, however, will be under the water as the real plan of the GMA regime, as floated by National (In)Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, is a “transition (read: holdover) government” to pre-empt the elections. I am not automatically against a transition government per se. In fact, we have been pushing for it since 2005. But that can only come after a “regime change,” which all patriotic Filipinos have desired since “Hello Garci.” If we are ready to transition from a state of servitude to a noble nation of servant-leaders, then let’s do the revolution now!