Weeks ago, me and a friend had a rigorous debate about politics . Considering that  just in a few months, that small island in the Pacific is gonna have its long-awaited Presidential election and according to some, a turning point in our republic.

Somehow, along the conversation my friend accused me of being a cynic referring to my lack of belief on politicians and my absence in voting during my 20-year residence in the country; said that it is our social obligation to pass our vote and choose the bestest candidate, for he/she can reshape our beloved Philippines into something better.

if you have read my previous post regarding my country’s political status, you might understand where I’m going  with this. Politics in my country, has, is and always will be corrupt. It has been like that to a  highest degree that even a simple transaction as to taking a driver’s test requires you to pay a hefty amount. failing to do so would deny you a licence. it’s not optional either, like a tip, it’s a requirement, more like a standard in operation. A friend of mine tried to test that system  once and chose to take the regular test without paying shady personnel for it. and as expected, failed the test in all counts.

To be considerably wealthy in my country, and to do it in the shortest time, one must become a political officer. nothing boosts your general income as fast as jueteng payoffs, invisible housing funds, unfinished road repairs, and unnamed employees clocked in, to name a few. But of course, not all so called-“servants of the people” are like that, there are a few who are doing their services diligently and have Rizal’s flame in their hearts.  A few.

And how much difference can that few make? for some, like my friend there, they’d say, “enough”, enough to start a ripple of change, a ripple of hope.

Actually, that few begun  their ripples centuries back.  But 200 years later, now, how many ripples are left creating influence? have they increased ten-fold or decrease to a heartbreaking low?

like echoes from a loud cry, our voices of change have slowly faded in time.

On the 7,107 islands, how many care enough to live honestly in life’s difficulties? live in virtue without selling or bribing for a quick meal or convinience?how many leaders give their best in service without asking for anything back?or graciously turns over their position at the end of their term? still a few. We all heard the cry, the silent echos in our corridors, everybody did. We all heard the stories but somehow we are too preoccupied digging ourselves out from our own personal troubles that we forget that these problems are interconnected, that we, as a people,  are in this shit  hole together.

The hard truth is that ripples of good ideals and trumpets of patriotism doesn’t affect poor and hungry people anymore. No matter how hard we fight to change it, our efforts would always, I’ll repeat, “always”, come short ether because a.) people are too miserable to change or, b.) there will always be a majority who’d rather meet their greediness first before the common good.

To anchor your dreams on them, on our government, waiting for things and people to change would be like riding  a sinking ship with you vigorously trying to scoop the water out while the rest of the people are busy poking holes on it.

For me, the best way to survive this jungle of a country, where the weak gets eaten and the rich becomes richer, is to stop relying on others and gear up for yourself. Your mayors, your congressmen…your president care for you only until their campaign ends, only when your vote and support is needed for their poll ratings to go up. This is reality, not the make-believe world we dream of when we were toddlers in the safety of our parent’s arms.

I believe the room for change, unfortunately, has become as narrow as a needle’s eye-maybe too much for one president and a devoted few to chew on.

If being realistic and practical is being cynical, then how can you not be? how can you stay naive and live as if you are an outsider? how can you pretend to?

Reform can only start when one sees the problem.

Today i heard is the anniversary of People’s Power in my country. it was in this date, some 20 something years ago,that a majority of Filipinos stopped whatever they were doing- laundry, chikitcha, mahjong, lunch, even their low paying jobs to stand  at EDSA to impose their will to the government. This was the only day in  Philippines’ history that a majority of its citizens unified  for a cause…without external influence.. without being paid by oppossing parties. they just dropped everything and decided to storm the palace and demanded for a change.

this is rare  character for a filipino. naturally, we are considerate creatures. hospitality is our best asset, if someone urges his will, we’d politely say our approval disregarding  how we oppose it deep inside. that’s what we did when the Spaniards came, also to tsinelas bringing  Chinese and Japanese. they heartlessly imposed their will on us, but we just rolled over and went with it, complaining deep inside?Yes. Going out and fighting them away? No. For a filipino to scream his will to someone would be like micheal jackson going white. unnatural. to do something like that in unison would mean something out of character ….to do something like the “86 EDSA would mean something gravely bad was going on.

it is facinating to think that after two decades, influencial people have made the EDSA movement a propaganda…no, more like a show. they pay groups of people to start a rally so to advertise their point of view, make up some dull reason as to how the present government has somehow, like the original EDSA, transressed the people’s will and after offering a nostalgic aura of the previous succesfful rally  spark another EDSA run, a sickening cheap imitation- just so their political will can be catapulted to more power. and like the lowly, obedient citizens that we are, we roll over, join in and buy the cherade. Like actors in a circus show, they wave their political wands at us. entertained and decieved, we savor the superficial happiness and refuse the will to wake up and notice how its effects are rotting our very culture.

And what makes this Political show so irresistable? a drop of the  holy peso, paid to  peniless, politically-gullible citizens, who’ll do anything for the right amount just to survive… even for just a day.

Will is no longer guided by principles nor by patriotism. the EDSA rallies are now run by money as everything in this dying country is . Patriotism is a word found only in books, not in  hearts anymore.

is this our dying note?our dying culture? did our love for this country die with Ninoy in that airport? Did his will to come back from exile to show  Filipinos that one man can change a nation got sucked out together with his blood and dreams as he lay there on the tracks?or did it vanish a long time ago, with Rizal. cold.damped.

are we like the stuborn citizens of Ember city, refuse to get out and rather collect parsels of bread to live long enough in their slowly dying underground city, even when a solution for a better life is right there with them?

there is something greater than ourselves that is at stake here. something a few penies, a few sacrifices now can bring. dont sell yourself.

So, as you pass by the streets today and see those people wearing yellow colored shirts waving flags and shouting something about freedom and change, slap yourself in the cheek  and wake up. Don’t be another political- zombie fulfilling somebody else’s greed.