Friday, April 10, 2009

Our Voice Can Make a Difference

And I say, shame on me because I’m not as updated as I was then. Ask me about the current situation in the country and I’d have to answer you back with a question that goes like this, “Ano nga bang bago?”

Case Number 1: Early this week, I went somewhere outside the office. When I came back, my officemate asked me if I have any idea about the latest news about the beheading of the ICRC volunteers who was kidnapped by the rebel group Abu Sayaf. I was so lost that I answered him, “Anong beheading? May ganun?” He answered me back saying, “Di ba nga binigyan nila ng ultimatum hanggang 2PM today ang government para paalisin yung mga soldiers sa area? If not, pupugutan yung isa sa mga bihag.”

All of a sudden I felt sooo lost. As in. I’ve never felt this lost before. I’ve always been the ma-news type of person. I’ve always been aware of what’s going on around me. Not until these days. I really, really, really felt so sorry and ashamed [at the same time] about knowing nothing at all.

Case Number 2: Also just this week, I heard about the Japanese writer thing. Thanks to that certain bus I rode who apparently was tuning in to Unang Hirit. If not for that, I wouldn’t know that there’s this person who underestimated Filipinos. I wouldn’t know that there’s someone spitting over our hardworking Overseas Filipino Workers. I wouldn’t know that someone is bombarding nasty facts about us. I wouldn’t know that I need [not have but need] to speak up.

I have always been idealistic and nationalistic [though it seems not that visible to me, but I am]. I guess I was born to be one, really. I hate it when people cheat their fellows. I hate it when others spread rumors [that aren’t true of course] about someone. I hate it when people break their promises. I hate it when people thought they’re superiors. I hate it when others thought they’re the most of the mosts in the world. I hate it when someone degrades the morals of other people.

On the first note, I would want to comment about the kidnapping thing. It saddens me – and I guess a lot of people as well – that we, Filipinos are fighting each other. More than anyone else in the world, why do we have to do these things to our fellows? We have the same blood running through our veins yet we harm each other.

I know I am but a small voice. I know I’m not influential unlike other bloggers in this cyberspace. I know nobody would care to spare a little time to read this blog. But why am I writing or blogging anyway? Why do I have to waste [if this is wasting] my time in commenting about something when in fact it’s just a dot on cyberspace that no one would dare to listen or read my views anyway? Why?

Honestly, I do not know as well. All I know is, I want to speak up. I want my voice to be heard even just by a single person. I want my opinion to be read at least by one person, and apparently, there’s a big difference to that. I made a difference already. I don’t care if this won’t be read by people residing at the palace. I don’t care if the rebels won’t be able to read this. All I care is, I was able to share how disgusted I am with this so old-school stuff going on with our country.

This crisis won’t stop unless someone sacrifices and let go of his belief. This crisis will go on up to the next generations unless someone realizes his fault. This crisis will continue unless someone starts to change.

More blood to come. More Filipinos will suffer. More innocent civilians will continuously feel frightened and unsecured. More of our brothers and sisters all over and outside the country will feel the same feeling over and over again. More Filipinos would rather leave their Mother Nation than settle here. And that saddens me more.

All I have is again, a small voice. A voice of a youth seeking for peace and serenity for her native country. A voice that maybe, as she believes could make a big difference. A voice that should be heard. I am actually just one of the many voices of the youths seeking for the good and glory of our Mother Land .

On the second note, I felt nothing but anger towards Mr. Chip Tsao upon reading his article. I felt nothing but shame on him who doesn’t know how wonderful Filipinos are [in spite all the not-so-thing happening right now]. Shame on him for he showed how rude he could be. Shame on him because he showed that he has no ethics.

Just in case this blog post reaches him [though I know it’s so far from reality, but who knows anyway?], I would want him to try to know his restrictions as a jounalist. He must have forgotten or maybe, he was absent during the time this was discussed [if it was discussed] to his class. But wait, I do not know his college course, but whether he is a journalism grad or not, as he calls himself a journalist, it only means that he ‘must’ or ‘should’ have showed some ethics.

I am an aspiring journalist. And sad to say, I hate how this kind of journalist who thinks he has all the freedom in the world to say something rude about other people. I hate how he stained the reputation a journalist should have and acquire. I hate how he wrote that kind of biased, degrading, and shameful article. I hate how he calls himself a journalist [period].

While doing this entry, I have heard in the news last night that Mr. Tsao has asked for an apology at the Philippine Consulate already. If my recollection is right, that was either yesterday or the other day. Though he apologized already, nothing could change the fact that he has wounded us and has left a huge scar. A wound brought by writing that irresponsible article.

We can forgive. That’s given. But the scar he has left in our hearts will be left as a scar. That goes with what’s going on in Mindanao as well. Whether the fight against the two parties end, the fact is, it has brought scars already. Scars that will be part of our history. Scars that won’t be gone forever.

NOTE: For those who want the complete copy of the write up of Mr. Tsao, here it is:

The War At Home
March 27th, 2009

The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen on board. We can live with that—Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island . That’s no big problem—we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on—even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong . As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila , hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China .

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East . They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout “ China , Madam/Sir” loudly whenever they hear the word “Spratly.” They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, “Long live Chairman Mao!” at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that’s going a bit too far, at least for the time being.

Chip Tsao is a best-selling author and columnist. A former reporter for the BBC, his columns have also appeared in Apple Daily, Next Magazine and CUP Magazine, among others.


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