by Eric Santillan
The other day, I attended my friends’ daughter’s first birthday. My godson is turning three this year. And my nephew will be born in a few months.
Reading about the news on FB, Rappler and Google News, I cannot help but ask myself what kind of world we are bringing our children into? Are we bringing them into a world better than the one we found?
It is a world so different from the one I grew up in. It is a world where they now have to buy water to drink. Where natural disasters are so eerily close to home and has become quite routine. Where people spend more time watching tv than reading books. It is a world of FB and ipads (computers are soo 90’s). It is a world where more is better and faster is great. There’s a lot to process and so little time to do it.
It doesn’t help that we hear a lot of governmental bungles and private sector inefficiencies.
My nephew doesn’t deserve the long lines that his father goes through every time he leaves the country to work on a ship abroad. He doesn’t deserve the sickness inside government–the old and tired employees who just wait for their paychecks (some of them don’t even go to work but get paid anyway). He doesn’t deserve the traffic we are experiencing because those older than us did not have the foresight to build better roads (not thinned out by kickbacks), and limit car registrations and better the public transportation system. He doesn’t deserve the trash on the road he will see on the way to school because people don’t throw their trash properly and because government waste disposal don’t work. He doesn’t deserve the corruption, dishonesty, inefficiency and the lack of systems in services that have been perfected in countries near us like Singapore and Thailand and Indonesia.
We will have a hard time teaching our kids discipline, because they will see older Filipinos cutting lines, not waiting their turn, breaking rules. Or to teach them to do their best, because they will see older people not caring about their jobs, and older students not caring about school, and just waiting for the final bell to ring so they can go to the mall. Or to teach them to value money, because they will see older kids spending like there’s no tomorrow, like money comes from trees. It will be hard to say that the Philippines is a good country, because they will see older people talking about corruption like it’s something to be proud of and nothing to be ashamed of.
We are sick to the core. We rally around Manny Pacquiao every quarter, and feel good about ourselves and then go back to our old ways. Our self-congratulations extend to Jessica Sanchez (and before her Charice Pempengco, and before her Lea Salonga). They are exceptions. Not the rule. Maybe that is our problem. We are spectators. Not spec-actors. We like to watch. But we don’t do anything more than that. We like to rally against common enemies like Floyd Mayweather or PGMA or China. But we are the enemy. Every time we cut corners. Every time we pay a traffic officer to get us off the hook. Every time we bring home office materials for personal use. Every time we pay our way to get government deals. Every time we give a judge a gift so he would look the other way. Every time we cheat. And every time our kids see us do that, we tell them it is alright to grow up like us. Corruption is not just in the Supreme Court. It starts in the barangay. It starts in the Sangguniang Kabataan. It starts in the family.
We have to realize that while our kids are the country’s hope for tomorrow, we are making such a big mess of the country today.