Friday, May 25, 2012

A Culture of Hatred

About a year ago, I remember arising from cyberspace hiatus after meeting three committed public school teachers in distant Sitio Kamugna during a combat operation somewhere in the hinterland of Davao del Sur. The talk of the town at that time was the scandal that involved a young boy named Janjan and Willie Revillame. I felt that people campaigning against Willie Revillame and his show was missing the point of why the incident happened. Today, I write this blog amidst various controversies, the Panatag Shoal Stand-off, the Lady Gaga controversy, the impeachment trial and Jessica Sanchez's runner up finish to season 11 of American Idol. In these controversies, I realized that similar to what happened a year ago to Janjan and Willie Revillame, it exposes the very culture of our people. I am calling it now a Culture of Hate.

Then assigned in various Muslim Communities in South Central Mindanao, my favorite task was to lecture the History of Mindanao Conflict to the people. This lecture traces the history of the development of Mindanao to be able to see how the conflict has come to its present level. At the end of the lecture, I would encourage people not to be victim of the biases that has been handed down to us by previous generation and instead cultivate a culture of peace; a culture that tolerates diversity amongst our people and acceptance of what we have become; and more importantly work to succeed celebrating this diversity. Thinking about that experience, I have come to understand my own biases and have learned to change it. Today, I see the opposite of that culture embedded within the controversies that I have enumerated above: the Culture of Hate.

In previous years, I have observed how our people have somewhat improved. Today, it has become very noticeable how many of our countrymen has realized their role in their democracy. Today we see, business people, ordinary students, social activists and many others from all walks of life care for a certain advocacy. I personally feel that these are indications of a maturing democracy as illustrated by the increase of public participation to the affairs of the state. However, recent controversies has exposed something that could lead again to our downfall.

Psychologists would tell us that there are two ways of looking at a glass half filled with water. It could be half full or half empty. While one would appreciate the water that is in the glass, another would see that there isn't enough water to fill the glass. In recent controversies, it has been obvious that there is so much attention on that what have not than that what we have. Sadder is that while many claim of their "concern" they totally miss the point of why they should be concerned in the first place. Many instead of trying to help out, they stop at just their advocacy. It starts and ends with being concerned JUST THAT.

Instead of us campaigning to uphold our national sovereignty against Chinese bullying, we launch hate campaigns against anything that is Chinese as if the Chinese people really care if we do not like them. We campaign against a multi awarded recording artist for her alleged indecency when no one forces us to watch her concert or even listen to her songs. What is more troubling is that we blame Lady Gaga for the inability of parents to nurture their children so that they will grow up to be decent individuals. Lady Gaga did not bring indecency to this country, irresponsible parenting brought indecency upon us. To single out Lady Gaga is hypocrisy since lewdness and indecency is an everyday treat around us. Do we actually think that dancers in variety shows wear those skimpy outfits for art's sake?

Then there is also the impeachment trial. Are those throwing remarks against major players from both sides actually understand the whole point of the Impeachment process? As far as I am concerned, our role as people is to protect the Impeachment court for it to be able to decide well. More than anything, we should safeguard our democratic institution not crucify those who we believe is guilty to the point of destroying their reputation and dignity. The sad thing is that there is no decision yet. With the way our people are going about their "advocacy" everybody loses for in the end every body's dirt is exposed, everybody is labeled a thief, liar, corrupt and so forth and nothing is done to advance the democratic maturity of our people. (I particularly take offense on @vicegandako 's twitter message saying to the tune of "lahat ng taga gobyerno corrupt iba't ibang level lang)

Then of course, there is also the success (or not-so) of Jessica Sanchez. The support that she has received from our countrymen is both admirable and amazing, but hating Philip Philips is just uncalled for. Both contestants are there for the win and everybody knows that American Idol chooses their winner through votation, had it been not for the judges who saw Jessica Sanchez's talent as remarkable, she would not have even be in the Finale. I feel bad that she was not declared the winner but it is also unfair to hate the winner.

The thing is, our culture seem to dwell on a culture of hatred. With the advent of social media, it becomes a royal rumble of some sort of throwing hatred at almost anything without really thinking of the implications of our actions. Our advocacy has become counterproductive for we, in fact, do not achieve anything other than accumulate more date into cyberspace. I wonder, how many of those who are so active in these advocacies bothered to really sit down and figure out how they can be part of solutions to the problems they so strongly feel about? When Japan was hit by a tsunami, there was no hatred of this kind, no fingers pointing to whose fault it is, it united a whole country to rebuild not just their destroyed properties but become a stronger nation When the country was devastated by typhoons and the recent earthquake, although any people helped those who were affected, many still posted hate comments regarding the faults of government, the corruption and even take advantage of the situation to forward their political ambitions. Such is another irony in saying "it's more fun in the Philippines". And even that tourism slogan wasn't spared. Instead of helping make that slogan successful, there are those who posted hate comments saying that it was copied from an old Swiss slogan (so what?). Bottom line, although our people started to notice that there is actually a glass with water, many see it as half empty rather than half full. I say that if we are not ready to take part of the solution to our country's problems we might as well SHUT UP.

We are living in a generation where it is so easy to do things. Problem is, it becomes so easy also to shed the responsibility associated with our actions. Voluntarily or otherwise we have used our new found freedom to cultivate a culture of hatred that although has somewhat awakened our collective spirit; is bringing us to doom. Can there be more positivity rather than just negativism. I am praying that there will be... in the coming days.... I hope.

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