Sunday, June 12, 2005

independence ramblings

So just what does a “damaged culture” celebrate on Independence Day? A continuance of our erratic and awkward meandering towards nationhood, towards a sense of who we are as a people?

Politicians cut from the traditional self-serving cloth perpetuate a manner of government that does nothing truly of worth, enriching themselves and their families and friends instead of uplifting the lives of the people they are supposed to serve, regardless of whether or not their election was clean or fraught with suspicion. We have leaders who do not lead, who know nothing of the concept of leading by example. We have officials for whom leadership is equated with political dynasties, who have divided the nation into personal fiefdoms.

Our literature and artwork, even our popular culture, rely heavily on the hegemony of other countries. Everyday we permit the erosion of our cultural traditions, and we sit back and lament them over mocha fraps at Starbucks. Where is the art that captures the Filipino soul? Where is the Great Filipino Novel (and just how many of us particularly believe in the confluence of fate involving F. Sionel Jose and the Nobel Prize for Literature)?

Our history of leaving the Philippines to find better work and opportunities in other countries continues unabated. Our best minds and skilled hands work elsewhere, for someone else. Who is left behind?

What has really changed?

We are still angry. We are still lost. We are still easily distracted. We are still unable to think in broader terms. We still look elsewhere for direction.

Is America’s one and only (ex-)colony truly independent in ways deeper than the obvious existence of the Republic of the Philippines?


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