February 14 is day of love and it is fast approaching.
Being dubbed as the “Ultimate Single Girl” by most colleagues and some friends, I cannot really speak about Valentine ’s Day from the vantage point of those who are in a committed relationship. But love in general, love I could. After all, love isn’t always about two people falling in love.
Sometimes love is about a 25 year old (for the lack of a better word) patriot who dreams of becoming a lawyer but by some curious stroke of luck was sent abroad to work and help the family for a while and is now stuck behind a desk, a mere spectator to the life of her nation.
Now that 25 year old patriot would be me. Working abroad gave me the impression that anyone who would come to work abroad and agree to spend his/her prime years keeping the job and enduring the loneliness away from home would really be able to save up somehow. To top that off, there is always the possibility of relocating to another country. You can spend the rest of your life living and working from one country to another, absorbing culture, absorbing a way of life. It is enough for one to not anymore worry about the fate of the Philippines and the plight of fellow Filipinos back home.
Apart from that, there are also days when reading the news on the administration’s most recent showcase of indecency and the president’s most recent exhibition of his lunacy, one could only sigh in exasperation and wish that the next four years would go by fast.
I have deactivated my Facebook account for nearly two months now but I have this dummy account that I created about a year ago with my name and picture on it but I never really post anything in it. In that account, I added strangers and confirmed friend requests from strangers without a care as apart from my name and picture, I haven’t really added any relevant information about me. I use that account for one purpose.
I use it to see how the “common tao” think. You see, my genuine account is where I am friends with former professors, journalists who mentored me, journalists who mentored those journalists who mentored me, other professionals whose talk I once listened to, former colleagues and classmates in the University, government officials who created accounts to get in touch with the citizens of their city… Those sorts of people.
Those people in my genuine account, even if I differ with their views 80 percent of the time, are educated and have been exposed to the academe. Their ideas are in constant collision with other ideas and are thus challenged, their minds are cultivated, and their manners often refined or at least show a semblance of refinement.
During arguments, most of the people in my genuine account would be able to toss each other ideas, always in the attempt to make one agree to the other. Sometimes there is a clear winner, most of the time the comment thread gets so long you no longer get to the bottom of it.
But when you are exposed only to this side of humanity, you will never truly understand Filipinos as a people.
So I created another account just to see how the others think. I am not sure if I regret doing so.
Since August of 2016 I have kept this column with Watchmen, an opportunity extended to me by my former boss. And since that time, I made it a point to always try to knock some sense into the society. I think I fail more often than I succeed. Reading posts of the Filipino masa in my dummy account, and even just reading their comments on another stranger’s post makes me want to go boxing sometimes just so I could sublime the anger into something productive.
But the thing is, this is the masa. They aren’t always refined, aren’t always cultured, aren’t as exposed to enlightened ideas as the people we rub elbows with in the academe. Just in case this would come off as “elitist”, let me clarify that that isn’t the impression I want to make and totally far from the point I intend to arrive at.
You see, the masa can be annoying because they are stubborn and they refuse to believe facts which are almost always just staring them at the face. Many of them would taunt you with nonsensical and childish gibberish when you correct their oftentimes dangerous ideas. They would make you lose your patience and wonder how someone so stupid could reach the age of maturity without tripping to his/her death. They’d make you lose your poise in an argument, they’d make you question why you had to force yourself to study when being an idiot would have been less stressful. They’d make you swear, and make you swear some more. But at the end of the day, they are the masa. And you too, are part of the masa.
There is a greater evil that threatens us all. Some of us could see it for what it is, the others still cannot recognize it and are under the delusion that it restores and changes things for the better when clearly, it destroys.
The fight against the injustices in this current administration will last a while longer. It worries me that while it goes on crippling our democracy one limb at a time, we fight each other instead. The only way to defeat this evil, cheesy as it may sound, is together.
However as differences always spring up like mushrooms, and patience always runs out, loving my fellow Filipinos has indeed become quite a task these days.
But like in all other sorts of love, I haven’t completely given up yet./WDJ