Friday, August 27, 2010

Zip it


But there is something else that I noticed during the aftermath of that awful, awful tragedy that happened on Monday: a fundamental lack of empathy. It was extremely evident on my Facebook feed, where amid the messages of outrage and disbelief and anger were far more common sentiments of "nakakahiya na naman ang Pilipinas" or "Only in da Pilipins" or "What a shame for our country." I found it really galling that instead of thinking of those poor victims of that bus hijacking, the pain and the torture that they must've went through, those tense hours of what must have been extreme mental and psychological stress, the first thing in a lot of people's heads was "What will this make us look like to outsiders." What a lack of concern, and what a misplaced sense of "saving face." Oh yes, we're awash with self pity and pathos and inundated with a flair for drama. We're very good at being critical when it comes to how our standing is being perceived by outsiders and exaggerating our faults. But at the end of the day, we really don't care much about other people.

Do continue to read the rest of her post as I couldn't help but nod in agreement while I was reading her entry.

My gad, I was completely aghast to find Twitter posts with the tag #ManilaIsSafe immediately after the massacre, together with pleas that not all Filipinos are like that hostage taker, or that it was an isolated incident, or that we are intrinsically peace-lovers—terribly obnoxious. At the same time, I don't think we should keep beating ourselves up, trolling hate pages by Hong Kong nationals on Facebook and posting on their walls, profusely apologizing for what we had not done. (As perfectly summed up in this quote: "Ako ay narito nang naganap ang napakasakit na trahedya. Nakita ninyo wala akong kinalaman doon."; see Pinoys in HK to forego Sunday celebs to mourn hostage victims.) And the third kind: As I tweeted yesterday, we're supposedly a nation that hates Kris Aquino for being KSP; why, isn't everyone being KSP these days with their finger-pointing and 'expert' opinions?

As far as the KΓΌbler-Ross model is concerned, they are still on the second stage. Let them grieve; if your tweet/post can't help repair Filipino-Chinese relations, then shut the fuck up let us keep silent.

* * * *

On the same topic but different perspective, here's a Filipino expat's take:

As a Filipino working overseas, I am a relentless cheerleader for our country, often replying to questions like "Are you from the Philippines?" from foreigners with "Yes! Have you been? You should visit!" I take the pains to send detailed emails full of suggestions and advice to acquaintances who tell me they are considering a visit, and I often tell coworkers about life back home, not just all its absurdities, but all the things I love about it.

Sinisikap kong maging magaling sa trabaho para makilala tayong mga Pinoy bilang magaling, masayahin, mabait at mapagkakatiwalaang mga empleyado at katrabaho. And all it takes is one rotten egg to ruin all the efforts I, and many overseas Filipinos like me, have made.

5 * :

Pajammy said...

and that is why, while planning this week's issue, i asked myself - "do we have something to say that can help?"

the answer was no. there was nothing to say that hasn't been said, nothing to write that could change what happened. so we kept mum on the issue.

I'm Razielle, I love hopia. said...

I thought the ManilaisSafe hashtag was ridiculous. Someone threatened to 'unfollow' me when I said so.

I blogged about the incident because for the first time in my life, I had this strong urge to leave. I had to process my own thoughts and feelings about the incident and about being in this country.

Iggy said...

thanks J., great point too about keeping mum for the moment.

Ana Filibini said...

Like the last blogger featured, as an OFW I made it a point to be like a walking billboard for tourism Philippines. Surprisingly, the foreigners/ expats are the easiest to convince compared to the OFW children who grew up abroad. I could not understand the disdain they have for our country when they don't even stay there for more than a month for their yearly vacation.

During the sad event last week - this same Kabayan's watching TFC at a famous Filipino resto here said - "this event is not surprising, that country asked for it." I was so mad I could kill buti na lang palabas na sila nung sinabi un. A little empathy for the victims and a little patriotism naman po!

Jason said...

Saw some opinion pieces on the South China Morning Post -- two wrote that they (Hongkongers) should be careful not to direct their anger toward Filipinos. (Although what normally follows after such calls is a bitter pill to swallow... "because it's not their fault that they live in a such a failed state.")

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