Pop nationalism/activism is really at its highest when election comes closer by the minute. Before, we have these politicians calling for a 'new Philippines' or an 'anti-corruption crusade' that would wipe out the problems of this cursed land. Lately, we have the padyak and i-hope-the-whole-country-would-be-like-this ads. Now we have Ako Mismo.
A call for change in the country - sponsored by two telecommunications companies.
It seems that everyone is riding on the bandwagon of nationalism to change the country. It is so popular that even multinational companies are jumping in. The often call this as 'corporate social responsibility'. There's nothing about it if indeed they have clean and sincere intentions in reaching out to help others. I just hope that this is not just gimmickry or a way to urge consumers to buy their products because 'a part of their money goes to this good deed.' I also hope that they are not doing this for the sake of evading taxes.
On the other hand, maybe it would be a lot better than paying the taxes to the government. That way, these companies can be sure that the money goes straight to the people who needs them most - not in the pockets of corrupt gov't officials.
A lot had been said on Ako Mismo. In fact, there had been lots of similar campaigns in the past. Some of them have gone away into oblivion while some are still there - gasping for their final breath. Is there anything wrong with these campaigns? There is. They are very much self-centered.
We have lots of Filipino sayings that would tell us that we can only do much when we are one. An example of this is our very own walis tingting. A single tingting cannot clean up our backyards but if we have a bunch of tingtings, then you can easily clean up the mess.
Although this Ako Mismo campaign is daring its visitors to 'make a change' by making a pledge on what they are going to do for the Philippines, the campaign is also creating a wrong impression that the 'pagbabago' that we've all been looking for can be achieved by individual acts.
Small acts like obeying traffic rules can do something for our country. We'll no longer have long traffics in the morning. But these are things that we should be doing in the first place. Things that are expected from a good citizen.
But if we really want to change our society, it cannot be achieved alone. It would be like trying to break through a wall using a toothpick. It cannot also be achieved by doing these small acts. We need to get out of our comfort zone, be one with everybody and act on it.
We have a great Filipino value that had been forgotten in the past few years that needs to be revived - bayanihan.
Remember the old picture of men, and some women, carrying a bahay kubo on their back that would be moved to another place. It would be impossible to carry such if the owner would do it alone. He would instead call his relatives, neighbors and friends to help him. They would all be happy to help. They would even sing songs in unison to show how sincere and happy they are in helping to move the bahay kubo.
That is what we need to change our country.
Off topic: This Filipino value have been gravely disregarded by the people who were in charge of the preparations for the centennial celebrations of our barangay's Kapisanang Anak Pawis. They assumed responsibility for everything - from the funds to the line up of activities. They keep on bragging that they've got LOTS of money to make the celebrations extravagant. They had even made a press release that it would be covered by people from GMA7.
Then came May 1st, the supposedly extravagant celebration was a flop. Many organizations in our barangay have decided not join in the traditional parade because of the arrogance of the organizers. Some have even left the centennial committee because their opinion does not matter anymore. And the crew and van of GMA7 is nowhere to be found.
To save themselves from humiliation, they have instead invited other barangays to send a delegation to join the parade. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity ruined by their pride and selfish intentions of taking credit for the succes of the celebration.
We were willing to help - but they refused. The end result? Nobody wants to talk about it anymore.
This is just one simple example that doing everything alone can never have good results.
How can you be one with everybody else who wants to change this country? There are numerous ways for you to be one with others in changing our society.
If you're that radical type who believes that change is something of a 'national democratic struggle', then the militant groups would be willing to embrace you into their organization. If you're the civic-minded one, then NGOs would be for you. If you're the religious type, then you may join different church organizations.
Just know what your calling is. I sincerely believe that despite the different paths that these groups are taking, what is important is that they all aim for change and the better of this country.
We have all created this mess. So it is imperative for us to clean it up.