I am a mixture of two racial flavors. My father came from the ethnic stock of domestic helpers and my mother from frugal industrialists. I was not born with blue pupils and was supposed to be born Chinky-eyed. It was not winter either when my parents celebrated the birth of my existence. I did not know myself, not until I saw my body-build—short, black-haired, and brown-skinned. The world filled with impartialities bestowed me my identity. I was told then that only one world was allotted for mankind, that only one domain was created for the offspring to multiply. However, the rays of the sun have shed luminousness. There is a third world, a world created by disparities. And no matter how often I close and open my eyes, the sun is too intense for the blatant fact. True, I am one of the 75 million who dwell in one of the 7,107 islands of a third world’s archipelago. Thanks be to Spaniards, Americans, and Japanese for giving me a nationality.
I am in a country where foreign elements are never out of the ordinary. I hate to say this but my nation is such a tail of world’s crouching tigers. Ask the children of today what they want to do in the future. Three among the five of them would long to go abroad. Forgive them if they see a faint hope in this land for they are just the adherents of their parents who are engineers or doctors by profession but are made to be servants of foreign men. See the penetration of Filipino Diaspora. Passports have become a primary stipulation, illegal agencies have sprouted, and marriage contracts across cultures have been an assurance of well-off future. Yet no one can blame these people going overseas for they still want to eat three times a day and sleep in serenity. Somehow, getting out of the country is such a revolt, a revolt for a turtle-like progress.
Look at the whole shebang. Notice the giants in their towers led by a midget whose obsession to power will never step down. Politics is what satiates their appetite to prime seat. Blood is no waste at all. And yet inequitable justice can easily efface the stain in the name of the murderers. 57 clean-handed lives were taken out through carnage by the people who think they are worthy enough to be called valiant leaders, 31 journalists were ceased to string out the truth, but more voices will be heard as much as screams have become earsplitting.
I am a Filipino. I feel outraged that my country has finally dislodged Iraq as the most dangerous country for journalists. I even once dreamt of becoming a potent catalyst for change, a watchdog of the irrational government. Yet a yellow backhoe would seem to have surrogated the swords of vindictive minds. Gunshots might not be heeded. But pen would still be the mightier; its blots will be as grimy as the plans of greedy.
These days, the streets have been botched up with placards of lies and pretenses. Notable faces of promise-makers are displayed on TV screens. Each of them has shattered millions of pesos to back up the mass campaigns. See how speedy the government projects are being finished, because these are where our taxes go, perhaps a portion. And to avoid fraudulent voting, election automation has marked off the scene. This will remove the potential for human cheating, just as how often our teachers remind us that cheating is a crime. Yet criminals ought to be in jail, not in the palace or session house. Sabotage in keyboards will make a lot of sense, as problems in chairs are not even yet resolved. Tricksters are wise, good enough to betray our reliance and delude our innocence.
It is going to be my first time to participate in the national elections. Yet it is never my first time to make a choice. Whether you are the great heroes’ son, real estate giant, gifted international lawyer, former president, religious leader, women rights advocate, tourism promoter, or a local lawmaker, trust is something I cannot just give easily even to my girlfriend. I once studied in an unfinished classroom, waited in the NSO for two days for an authenticated birth certificate, cried because of my stolen money, and for now, I hope to make even a bit of difference. Otherwise, I may pack my bags and line up for visa, just like what the six to seven million Filipinos did.
For once, I want to feel the way first-world citizens feel about their countries. I want to at least revitalize the principle of nationalism, just as when former President Carlos P. Garcia implemented the Filipino First Policy. At the end of the day, I want to see the short, black-haired, and brown-skinned citizens live with genuine Filipino identity.
Cheers to the 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines.