Wednesday, September 15, 2010

People and their expectations

Sometimes it's ridiculous. 

I live in a country that is in the general public's eye third world. We've survived dictators, anarchists, and perhaps even one of the worst presidents in the history of this country. I voted for PNoy last elections not because he was the public favorite (in fact I don't really rely on public opinion), but because I felt in my gut that it was actually possible to bring this country up to its potential through him. But I hate politics. And in fact I can't look a politician in the eye and not think that there is some sort of hidden agenda behind his actions, some hidden motive that we will only discover when it is too late. It's the sort of trauma that has been instilled in me when I think about politics of any kind. That's why I never really bother with it. But I do care about my country, and I do care about its future, and this is what drives me to consider keeping an eye on the politicians.

I'm not saying that the politicians should be blamed entirely for the state the country is in today. Sure, they played a big part, so much so than the powerless citizens who can only rally and get beaten up by the police. The citizens can only stand by as these midnight dealings are made, and the money of the nation is transported into a Swiss account under a false name. It's not fair for the people of the Philippines. Here, politicians are regarded not with respect but with credulity and a sarcastic remark. And the few politicians who we do respect, well, they seem to be getting fewer and fewer by the day. I don't suppose it takes much to fall into the snares of money and power, with the excuse that we are only human. But aside from the politicians, the citizens are not completely innocent either.

I've learned to live with a lot of things in this country, like the ill-mannered tricycle, pedicab and jeepney drivers who lack road etiquette and disregard traffic rules; the people who ignore environmental warnings and throw garbage into the rivers (or everywhere); the parents who send their children out to the streets to beg for money even though it's dangerous. And here they are doing all sorts of things they could change and yet they prefer sitting back and blaming the government. I really don't know how to put into their heads that change goes two ways. For one thing, the government can keep implementing clean up drives but it will never work as long as people continue dumping their garbage anywhere they please. And then they say none of the government projects work.

People have become too attached to convenience. It is so convenient for them to blame the government for every wrong thing that occurs in their life. Granted the hostage-taking situation could have been handled better by the government, can you really even blame them for sacking the policeman? They tried him and found out that he wrongly imprisoned a student because this student refused to pay P200,000 to the police for some sort of bullshit charge. And then because they couldn't get the money, this man and his accomplices decided to drag the student into jail and forced him to swallow some drugs, just so he would appear to have tested positive for drug use and therefore have reason to be imprisoned. People pull this crap everywhere I'm sure. Maybe they do a better job, or the people they've pulled this trick on do not have connections to city officials. Heck the only wrong thing the government did was that they didn't put these men in jail.

The shortcomings of the previous leaders include allowing the Police to do whatever they want, to take money from whoever they want by saying whatever they want. I'm guessing they're playing follow the leader, since the previous president was so very good at taking what was not hers. And then there is the issue of the people who are at this moment I would call stubborn. They still don't understand that they have to play a part in all this. How can we expect change to come so quickly?

I know a lot of people had high hopes for President Noynoy Aquino when they voted him in, just like they had high hopes with President Obama. But we have to understand that such a destructive state is difficult to repair. When President Obama did not pull out the troops from Iraq right away, people were complaining. It's not simple to just drag people out of there like that. People don't understand the underlying factors because they only see what is on the surface. We should be glad though that the soldiers are finally home. When GMA started appointing her stylist and manicurist into Cabinet just days before she had to step down from Presidency, anyone could tell she was purposefully messing things up as a welcome present for PNoy. She just had to go out with a bang didn't she? As if all the damage she did the past 9 years weren't enough.

We are like a country savaged by war. It never takes 100 days to rebuild anything into grandeur. People want things resolved fast because they are afraid the situation might fester. I understand that. But I can feel the progress. It is coming, albeit slowly, but it by no means signals incompetence on the part of the new administration. I am not defending PNoy because I voted for him. This is true for all leaders. It's hard to fix something so rotten to the core. And in fact I would prefer to have a good, solid and clean foundation in every organization if it means real support for the country, even if it takes some time; rather than be shown what appears to be everyone doing their jobs but in reality the stain is still there, kept hidden under pretenses of hard work and commendations, kept hidden under the rug.

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