Seen On Q&A site: Why are Filipinos very proud of their country even though it is relatively poor?One of the respondents addressed this inquiry by slicing it into two. She first argued that the Philippines is not a poor country at all, citing our rich natural resources. It was simply unfortunate enough that we Filipinos had to endure long, cruel years of colonization, not to mention during the dawn of the Marcos era. Then she proceeded to address the reason why Filipinos are still proud of their country despite its flaws. Filipinos, she emphasizes, are a people of humility and of talent, who still endure despite the odds. And we deserve to be treated better.
A different perspective
Let me create another angle and dissect the question further before answering it. The first clause why are Filipinos very proud of their country seems to pose a presupposition and an underlying sweeping generalization that most Filipinos are not proud or are not supposed to be proud of their country for some reason. Isn’t it a little weird to ask someone why he should be proud of his own country? This is further emphasized by the conditioning clause even though it is relatively poor. This already seems to feed a badly made assumption that Filipinos should not be proud of their country because it is relatively poor (this claim is already even wrong, as argued by the respondent above). The question then, becomes a little leading and further misleading at the same time.
A deeper analysis
The respondent had presented a more or less general view of the roots of why the Philippines remains to be far behind its other Southeast Asian countries. She is right to point out the long, harsh, and punishing years of colonization under the Spanish and American regimes. It was a very bad combination of foreign colonization that has sucked the very souls and true identities of the Filipinos. This is evident from the fact that until now, we are still struggling to rediscover and reconcile with our roots and to firmly establish our own identities.
The Spaniards had maliciously owned and stolen our lands, our languages and cultures, and our own identities. Worst of all, they had severely imposed their repulsive behaviors that have become one of the major cause of our worsening cultural demise: ningas cogon, bahala na attitude, and crab mentality.
And the Americans have injected a far lethal poison and invaded the Filipino mind through what they deceitfully offered as “free education” and “benevolent assimilation.”
The respondent was right as well, to include the analysis of late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew about the Philippines: it is imprisoned in a system that constantly promotes corruption, which ultimately prevents the country from developing socially and economically.
The Way Forward
A saying goes:
Now is the time that we must constantly be aware of what had happened to us and to our country, forgive ourselves for not doing enough and for not having fought back hard enough, and must take a step back to learn from our past so we can fix the present and preserve the future that we deserve.
Today we pose a better question and try every single day to become better versions of ourselves, the way a Filipino will always be. The better question can be:
What makes a Filipino proud of his country?
And then we assess ourselves, because we ourselves are the best reason why we are proud of the Philippines. The Filipino himself, who, despite the many odds and the disasters and the suffering and the pain that are consistently inflicted upon himself, remains steadfast in his belief that his country, someday, shall reap true freedom. It is because of this constant suffering and hardships that the Filipino has become one of the most resilient human beings in the world.
And this unique identity of resiliency is one good enough reason for a Filipino to be proud of his motherland, the Philippines.
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