Monday, November 9, 2009

What Citizenship Means To Me

Eating the dust of the burgeoning economic progress of once crippled nations and the consistently dominant big players is what I see in the desperate soul of our motherland. Breathing slowly as she rides in the winged chariots of the fast race of global advancements and complex yet trendy world systems. Opportunities have migrated to somewhere else they call the greener pasture. This has invited and even transported a number of our talented fellows as they were persuaded with reasons of futuristic contentment for themselves and most importantly for their loved ones. Without a single drop of hesitation, motherland kisses them good luck. She taps the shoulder of each trying to verbalize her assurance that soon we will be reunited.

It feels sad to witness this happening just right under my nose. The archipelago is slowly getting lonely. Childhood friends and some recent comrades have and will soon be away by ocean miles. Honed skills will be shared in a different place far from the motherland’s terrain where it was learned and perfected. This is a piece of reality where most of us are brought in a crossroad.

In as much as I would like to hold their backs and insist that they should stay, I am strength-less. I cannot compete with the noble reasons tagged in their hearts – their and their family’s future. They deserve no judgment. They have promises to fulfill and responsibilities to shoulder. I feel I am being slowly left alone until the time I found myself in the crib of history. It refreshes my memory of the highlights of revolution and the blood shed by the unsung heroes. The struggle under the intimidating oppression was as sorrowful as the way of cross. The colonizers insults were as sharp as Herod’s soldier’s bayonets that sliced the innocent babies into halves. History made me realize how solid the foundation of our country through the solidarity and the intellect of our forefathers. The strength of their character plus the unity they have achieved formed into a diamond-like key that liberated our race from the merciless captive.

Alas, we were freed. We smell the morning dew in the dawn of independence. The overwhelming joy brought the enthusiastic souls of the countrymen to double their efforts to propel the wheels of growth of the nation. It paved way for unique values to flourish like “bayanihan”. The passionate leadership of the young republic that time encouraged the mob to give full cooperation and support the economic plans. Recovery was speedy. Growth was fast. The economic figures as reflection of the republic’s performance skyrocketed. The life in the country was simple yet the people were contented. The children dreamed of growing up fast to be like their idols and worked nowhere but here. Indeed, they were the hope of the nation.

Sadly, the speed towards the pinnacle poisoned some ideologies. It insidiously put off the fire of genuine motivation to move forward as a nation. The leaders have evolved into aliens with massive personal dreams. Fearless they become as they continue to drink from the cup of greed and self satisfaction. Seemingly, black magic lurks in the hearts of many. It gives promise of personal fame and fortune. Political dynasty propagated in the archipelago making unborn babies seated to positions already. Power intoxicates and too much power is addictive. The supposed guidance of the flock has lived in luxury and has become a penumbra of deceit and ruthlessness. The “bayanihan” has torn into pieces of lonely garbage scattered in the slums and suburbs. The economy is suffering. The mob almost healed from the history of tortured colonization left unattended. This is the present. Motherland is sick. I don’t know if she is dying. But yet, the strength of her character from time to time is reflected in the windows of her soul.

We are in a dilemma. Many say that the future has lost its meaning here. Success bid goodbye to its definition in the pearl of the orient seas. People go out of the country to look for where they can shake hand with comfort. The nationalists blame some. The western dreamers call names of the ones left. Exchange of views is as perennial as the dessert’s wave. Division exists.

This has led me to introspect. Questions of different intensities wander inside my triangle of consciousness. I was tempted to pass judgment on those who decided to leave the country and herald those who chose to stay. I dig deeper and found out that the opinion that is beginning to cloud my self is based on the loneliness that is getting under my skin due to the parting ways of some childhood and friendship bonds. I then realize that I need to search the meaning of what is going on. I need to understand why things have fallen this way.

In the middle of this chain of events, our motherland cries. I feel that she deserves an understanding beyond comprehension. What had happened and what is happening are the ultimate reminders to each of us that sincere appreciation of our history dawns in ourselves. We have to value the veins of our past that led us to experience the roller coaster ride. We also need to enjoy the few victories of the recent past to keep ourselves motivated that we still can do it and soon the sun will rise not in the east but in the midst of our motherland. Our present failures, endless as they appear, should be considered something positive, that they are part of life cycle and soon they will give us insights on how to be stronger in facing the gargantuan challenges soon to visit us.

It is now our duty as her citizens to take pride of ourselves as offspring of history and the modern times. No more rooms for finger pointing of who are the loyalists and backsliders. We have to be committed to the idea that our collective uniqueness who has come to mature brought us so many things that we can share to the people around the world. It does not matter if one is located above or below the equator or just right inside the oriental shell. What matters most now is for us to consistently strive for excellence in the best way that we can, making our Filipino linkage as a point of reference in every step that we take. Nothing has to be ashamed of – political frailties will always be around. We just have to make sure that it is not and will never be intentionally repetitive. All we need to do is to make sure that our being Filipino is in our ventricles as we tenderly touch other people’s lives wherever our fate will lead us.

I call this citizenship.

A state where we have come into terms with the persons we have become as a result from our own societal metamorphosis.

This is the blend of nationalism, dependability, integrity and open-mindedness. As responsible citizens, we have to show our respect to our cultural heritage. We have to embrace our past wholeheartedly including the most painful ones. We have to accept the present and won’t leave it as is. We need to do something special for ourselves and our children’s children. Now.

Our responsibilities, either as an employee or a spouse or a brother or even as a friend, are to be fulfilled conscientiously. I am pretty sure that the sum of these small dedicated efforts will contribute to making the lives in the community meaningful. We have to give kudos to our unique set of values. We have to align them to the declared universal goodness. They will be our medium to communicate selflessly to our fellows and to our friends of different colors and beliefs.

Also, the challenge of advancement is for us to consume. Innovation and re-inventing things to suit to the present and future’s requirements should be our slogan as we get immersed with the global race. Our minds, though sometimes peculiarly tired, should welcome new thoughts and the idea of intricate changes. We should allow our stream of consciousness to be flooded with rain water resulting from the numerous summits in the international arena.

We need to exert a conscious effort of learning from the successes of our neighbors so we can localize it within our society. It is our tall order to replicate and propagate little victories within our reach to inspire our brothers to also do the same. Simply, a pat on each other’s back is desired for us not to lose any single drop of hope as we continue to give full service to our motherland.

It is a tattoo that embodies our burning love to our motherland translated into simple actions that give impact on humanity. It is a pure fluid that powers the neurons of interrelations of the societies within our society directed towards growth and development for the present and the succession of generations.

It emanates from within. Its parents are the memories of the old times and the struggle of the present. It is something beyond words. It is felt. It is a drive. It transcends beyond geography. It is our placenta.

This is citizenship, for me.

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