Wednesday, April 23, 2014

“All you adults are fake”

“My father is a fake. My mother is a fake. You are a fake, all you adults are fake!” [Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it, Avie Gochoco-Perez, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 17th Apr 2014] “I wanted to strangle her! This was annoying! But I tried my best to sincerely listen to her. I asked myself: Is she an enemy with all her irreverence? I realized she was not an enemy, she was a friend. She was looking for someone she could trust, people with integrity, parents to lead her to her true humanity.”

It reminded me of my late Jesuit friend, instead of being direct and saying fake, he would say “plastic.” But I was so dense that it took me a while to realize that indeed we adults are fake? Who could the girl Cardinal Tagle talked about trust? Or more to the point, who in PHL is with integrity or could lead young people to their true humanity? In the first place, we like to think we’re blessed – if not holier than thou – because we’re the only Catholic nation in this part of the world while closing our eyes to our culture of impunity? An Australian public servant resigned for accepting a supposedly expensive wine; and how many of our public servants ought to resign if that is the yardstick of integrity?

But can we pin it solely on them or are we complicit? It takes two to tango – and not surprisingly PHL has been unable to build the strong institutions imperative in a functioning democracy. We can wail “inclusive” (growth and development) but if we keep to our cultural bias, of a hierarchal and a cacique system and structure – as in an oligarchy – we are simply shooting ourselves in the foot! Put another way, it is not about inclusive growth but the imperative of building strong institutions that level the playing field. It is again, sadly, another illustration of missing the cause for the effect?

“[T]rue progress in the Philippines would be out of reach unless the improbable was achieved: Dismantling of oligarchies that control both politics and business.” [No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled, Paolo G. Montecillo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 17th Apr 2014] Are we a fake?

“More and more, our economic and political elites seem to be solely treating this archipelago solely as a market or a fiefdom, not caring about its future as at least half of their wealth is abroad. Both elites and the middle class have lost their sense of nationalism.” [America’s colonial burden, Rigoberto Tiglao, The Manila Times, 15th Apr 2014]

“And of course, in such a culture, prominent are the luxury, gated communities, inside which the wealthy can escape the dysfunctional environment through life-support systems . . . This is a bad Latin American economy, not an Asian one . . . It’s true that the Philippines was not much affected by the global recession of 2008, but that’s only because it was never integrate into the global economy in the first place.”

“Whereas the Asian tiger economies have strong manufacturing bases, and are consequently built on export, in the Philippines exports account for only 25 percent of economic activity as opposed to the standard Asian model of 75 percent. And that 25 percent consists of low-value electronic components, bananas, and coconuts mainly.”

“No country in Asia, with the possible exceptions of Myanmar, Cambodia, and Indonesia, has weaker, more feckless institutions . . . The Philippines has remained among the most corrupt, dysfunctional, intractable, and poverty-stricken societies in maritime Asia, with Africa-like slums and Latin American-style fatalism and class divides. Indeed, the Philippines has been described as a “gambling republic” where politicians “hold power with virtue,” dominating by means of “capital” and “crime.” Are we a fake?

Be that as it may, the resurrection of the Lord is a reminder that “the improbable” is achievable, including the rebirth of Juan de la Cruz . . . Happy Easter to all!

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