What’s Wrong With Us?
By Apolinario Villalobos
Man is a rational being, intelligent and at the center of his consciousness is the conscience which guides him in his decisions. God has reasons for His creations, each with a place in the universe. More so with us whom He created in his image We are like Him. We should exude his image which bursts with goodness. But what is wrong with us?
Without regard to what will happen next, some of us just let go of our lustful emotion that bring forth, what are called “unwanted” children. Unprepared mothers throw the innocent bundle of joy away – leave it in garbage dumps, in waiting sheds, or flush it down the toilet! What a crime in exchange for a few minutes of happiness! When allowed to grow, the child is neglected. Everyday we see many of them roaming the streets begging or picking morsels of food in garbage bins and dumps.
The lucky child who comes forth into this world with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth grows up pampered by his “loving” parents. These parents mistake pamper for love. They forgot that the growing child needs to be developed and this effort concerns all aspects of his personality. If a child grows in a pampered atmosphere, it will be ingrained in his consciousness that he can get anything he wants. His childish demands overwhelm the values that the parents are supposed to have taught him. Add to this the influence of the environment. A child who recognizes the golden arch that heralds fried chicken, spaghetti and burghers as it appears on TV ads is cute. But is the same child made to recognize the taste of more nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables? Later on, the parents become frustrated when the same child would raise hell when served foods other than those advertised. Or the parents wonder how their child could become sick when he does not go hungry at all with all those spaghetti or hamburger or pizza or fried chicken given to him every time he asks for them. Poor “loving” parents! Before they knew it, they are faced with sky-high cost of medicines and hospitalization for the child!
Some wives seem lazy to try other options to be able to reduce their home expenses. Yet, they pester their husbands for additional allowance. Some of these same kind of wives never miss regular treks to the beauty parlor for weekly make-over including the clipping of their nails complete with fresh swabs of expensive polish. One was seen on TV being interviewed about the issue on rising prices. As she wiped her tears, she inadvertently displayed her fingernails polished in blazing green with dots of black, one of the fingers sporting a ring with sparkling gems and from her wrist dangled a gold bracelet. Do we wonder now why some wives are abandoned by their husbands?
Despite a small take home pay, some still have “enough” for several bottles of beer every Friday or Saturday and then cry their heart out when the pay time for the rent, electric and water bills, kids’ tuition come. At the end, the government gets the blame for their misfortune after leaving their provinces to live in depressed areas in Manila, supposedly to seek a greener pasture. Is it the government’s fault when their family bloats with many offspring because of lust and for these children grow on empty stomach? Is it the government’s fault when those who grumble, deliberately miss some job opportunities by spending more time with their drinking buddies in street corners?
When shopping either for clothes or grocery, why can’t others check first those with drastically cut price, instead of going straight to the regularly priced sections? Why insist on preparing meat-based meals almost every day of the week, when it can be alternated with fish and vegetables? At the end, they wonder why they have developed diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and many other illnesses. Or cry to heaven about the high prices of commodities. There has been so much brouhaha over the rising prices of rice. But the varieties of the rice in question belong to the high- end level, sweet smelling rice that are intended for the filthy rich, while most of the regular well- milled rice are still pegged within the same range of old prices. Or better yet, why not resort to some kind of resourcefulness by mixing NFA rice with the regular milled rice? Why can’t some of us just live within our means?
Home remedies in the form of condiments, herbs and vegetables that may prevent sicknesses are just lying around for our use anytime. Vegetables considered before as just food, are now regarded as preventive cure for diseases. Information about these proliferates in the internet and shared by friends even verbally, but why do others refuse to try them? Why wait until diseases have developed into advanced stages in their body before they think of trying the alternative prevention? Are they just playing dumb to the high cost of western medications that will eat up a big slice of their budget later on? Or they can’t just imagine themselves partaking of the lowly yet nutritious vegetables and fish, thereby, choose to indulge in the greasy lusciousness of hotdogs, adobo, barbecue, ham, etc? Well, realization and regrets always come late – at the time when an appointment with the dialysis machine, or scalpel and the operating table becomes inevitable!
For some office workers, Mondays are days of called-in sick leave, late arrival in the office and worst, outright absence. Why? Because the day before was Sunday – family day or gimmick day! Too tired yet, they want to have more rest on the first day of the work week – Monday. Then, there’s the Friday sickness that again necessitates called-in excuses in the desire to start a long weekend. If they are serious with their jobs why not treat those days just like the rest of the work days? Why vehemently refuse to accept the fact that regular work week starts with the Monday and ends with the Friday or Saturday? Why not see to it that enough time for rest is allotted every Sunday even without sacrificing the gimmick or activities with the family? Why can’t some inject a bit of common sense into their lives?
Before the arrival of computers, students were contented with books, magazines, journals, newspapers and other printed materials as references for their research and thesis. Now, there is the internet which flashes information as soon as tags are encoded in search bars. The internet is a great bank of information that in one instance, the researcher can have as much information as he wanted. But why do students prefer to devote more time in browsing the pages of peers in social networks such as facebook for posted photos, or play games, than enhance their knowledge on matters taken up in school by surfing the electronic web for information so that when asked for reports they will not scramble at the last minute for these to be “copied and pasted” to comprise their submission? Why do professors allow this to happen? Can’t they tell the difference between an honest-to-goodness write up and a copied one? Or are they guilty, too, of this crime called plagiarism? A question of a viewer about my blog on plagiarism is this: “what if the teacher plagiarizes the work of his student?”. The viewer must be a student whose work was plagiarized by his teacher but could not do anything about it. I deliberately did not answer the question to check the reaction and comments of other viewers on his question. When I checked again days later, the guy who asked the question, deleted his post, afraid perhaps that it will reach the attention of his teacher. For now, all I could do is draw a long heavy sigh from my heavy chest.
Why do some of our countrymen scramble for elected posts in the government? Why do they spend millions way beyond what is allowed during the campaign period and deny this violation when found out by the COMELEC? Why do they hold on to their post despite the COMELEC’s finding a reason for them to come down? Is it because of the people’s money waiting for their taking without questions due to the loopholes in the control system of the agencies which are supposed to protect it? And, their opportunistic perception saw the possibility that people who are supposed to protect it are, themselves involved, too? Why do elected and appointed government officials blatantly deny their corrupt practices, a denial that insults the intelligence of the Filipinos? Is it because they have a feeling that nothing will come out of the investigations being made or yet to be made? Is it because if a serious investigation shall be made resulting to the booting out of the guilty, only a handful honest officials will be left? That this crisis situation shall never be allowed to happen? How in the world can all those vanloads of testimonies be checked to prove the crime that is now hugging the limelight? Are all these investigations just for show? I am wondering if not only the eyes of the Lady Justice are covered, but her ears, too, because even the obvious lies of lawyers who earn millions from corrupt clients, sound true to some unsuspecting Filipinos.
What is wrong with the Congress? the Senate? the President? Why did it take several long years for Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill to be discussed by the Senate with seriousness? Is it because with such to become law later if it luckily gets the fancy of the President, the media will be able to access more revealing records about mishandled funds? Who are being protected by whom? What happened to the Ninoy/Cory magic? Went pufffff? Where did their ideals go?… ideals that were made as the foundation of the Filipinos in scrapping Martial Law? What went wrong in the administrations that followed Cory’s? Why can’t some of the elected officials be contented with moderate SOPs (commission) which virtually is an accepted norm in any government anyway? Before, the commissions were rebated, hence, “kicked” back to the concerned parties, after projects were implemented, covered with turnover documents or accomplishment reports. Today, they are given in cold cash even before a project is implemented – given by the project fund “shoppers”. But worse, some projects are only on papers – ghosts, though, with authentic and appropriate approvals.
The Philippines is not the only country beset with corruption, a grave political disease. That is our consolation – our country is not alone. The big difference, however, is in the way investigations are conducted. In other countries, honest- to -goodness investigations are conducted by the government followed by the swift imposition of the penalty to the guilty party… there is urgency. In the Philippines, before anything is done, a press conference is held, announcing to the world the discovery of the anomaly, the probability of violation, yes, probability!…and what the investigators will do to arrest the culprits. As expected by even a simple – minded Filipino, before these limelight- hungry and “wise” investigating guys could again blink their eyes, the suspects are out of the country!
If ever investigators are quick enough to do their act, not a single day is missed for the photo opportunities and press conferences where plans are proudly fed to the media, an idiotic act of exposure contrary to a sound investigative strategy. When something goes awry along the way, they foolishly ask themselves what happened. It is a sickening display of amateurish acts of some agencies in our government.
Lately, the Chairman of the poor Filipinos’ cooperative umbrella, the SSS, under the supposedly protective management of the government, announced the need to increase monthly premium or contribution of the members. The “revenue”, being much needed to raise the ceiling of loanable amounts by members. Unfortunately for the agency, information on the millions that it appropriated to its executives and employees as their bonus leaked to the media, putting it in an embarrassing situation. The executive who faced the media justified their questionable decision with statements such as, the bonuses being needed by the employees to be competitive with other private agencies and as a reward for doing their job well – performance bonus. How can he invoke “competition” and “performance” when what the SSS is getting as clients are considered belonging to the “captive market”, meaning, whether they like it or not, prospective members are required to become such before they can even apply for any job? The SSS does not belong to an industry where components such as airlines or shipping lines or communications service providers, etc. cut each other’s throat in a fit of sales competition! Worst, many, many, many members until now have not received their IDs after applying for it one or two years ago, yet! When a member applies for pension or other appropriate benefits, he gets the feeling that what he is asking for is not due him as a member. The snooty attitude of its employees, makes the SSS give an impression that it does not operate on the members’ money. Arrogance has just taken over the agency! Seldom can a member see a smiling employee to make him feel at ease. It has acted like a dog that bites the hand that feeds it. Where is the diligent performance that SSS is professing? Those guys running the people’s SSS are presuming that the members are dumb!
At the rate things are happening for us Filipinos, we might find ourselves one day, totally under the economic bondage of another country. Intrusions in this regard are very evident around us – from the bustling business enterprises and malls that have mushroomed and owned by foreign proprietors, to our marine boundaries that we cannot even protect. Our country is reach in natural resources and that fact is acknowledged by the world, a reason, enough, for others to throw us a covetous glance. Those concerned must change their ways before it becomes too late for us to show the world that we are a cohesive nation of respectable race. We cannot just let others perceive us as a people with disheveled values, otherwise, we shall be forever asking, what is wrong with us??!!