As you must've heard by now, Las Islas Filipinas was ravaged by a typhoon last weekend with0 record-breaking rainfall causing severe flooding in Metro Manila and the neighboring cities. Pictures of people wading in deep, muddy water, or perching on the roof of their houses were splayed in newspapers all over the world these past days.
I only realized the extent of the damage when I checked Facebook last Saturday evening. Many of my friends stated on their status messages the situation of the flood. The updates just kept on pouring in (together with the heavy rains). Thank god all of my amigas are unaffected.
A few hours after the flood subsided, I was very pleased to see many status messages on Facebook urging volunteers to help in the relief operations. Some were posting telephone numbers of rescue groups and organizations that accept donations of food, clothing, medicines, water, and other necessities.
In the following days, some of my friends have volunteered in relief work. Some Filipino bloggers continue to call for more donations, especially from Filipinos overseas.
It's always heartening to see the compassion and sympathy of Filipinos for their fellowmen during trying times. With the many calamities we experience year in and year out, the outpouring of help from many concerned citizens has largely been consistent. In fact, in many instances in the past, only in these cases do I see Filipinos unite for a common cause.
Well, let me take that back because afterall we have had two bloodless revolutions that were mainly driven by "people power". These are the two prime examples that I could think of.
The recent death of Cory Aquino was also another hallmark of Filipino unity, which honestly surprised me. Not only were Filipinos united in grief, her death became a platform for national consolidation as well as the reawakening of national pride.
Indeed it is quite rare for me to see Filipinos having such a heightened sense of solidarity. We are not exactly the most patriotic lot and I will not go to such lengths as explaining that coz numerous comments have been written about it.
In many ways, we are fragmented country. Our sense of identity is mostly focused on which province, island, or clan you come from. I'm always tempted to compare the Filipino's nationalism with its neighbors in the region and the more I see of the latter the more I realize how flimsy Filipino nationalism is.
But then, maybe I'm wrong about my impression of our love for country because clearly the examples of volunteerism in Ketsana's wake and unity after Cory's death prove that we do have a sense of solidarity, although perhaps not under the same line as "traditional" nationalism (e.g. a strong national identity and pride).
What is troubling, however, about these show of fellowship and harmony is that these are rare. It takes some catastrophe to hit us or the demise of an established national symbol for us to get our act together.
When our lives get back to "normal" we soon forget that there are far more many causes that should bind us, primary of which is how to combat poverty, promote social justice and equity, and bring peace to Mindanao, among many others.
This clearly shows how tenuous Filipino unity is. I don't know why but we badly need to prove that we can build on the momentum of these rare, but nonetheless powerful, instances when we actually find a common cause.
In less than a year we would have to contend with the circus that is the national elections. Never are we so good at showing how fragmented we exactly are than during the elections. Good god, even just thinking about it now drives me insane and depressed. Seriously. I'm always tempted to slit my wrists instead!
I'm beginning to think that we're a schizophrenic country. We perennially live in contradictions, lack of logic, and delusions.
Well, I wish I can end this post on a more hopeful note. God, I'm trying. Should explain why I hardly write about politics; make that one post a year. Maybe I should stop altogether until something more positive comes up soon.
Oh, ironically, tomorrow I'm heading to the Philippine embassy to renew my passport.
To lift my mood from my political gloom, tomorrow I'd also leave for an island getaway with the primera Pinay socialites of BangCock, namely Liwayway and Bubbles.
Enough of politics for now (maybe forever). Faggotry shall resume next week.