Questions for My Country, Questions for Myself.

Tonight I ask myself these questions–I have more of them than answers.

Why do people think that only money can solve development problems? Why is the aid discourse here and elsewhere limited only to who gives and how much is given? Why is there such an aversion to bringing “poor people” to the decision-making table? Why do we so harshly judge the monsters we create–that goes for cab drivers, people who live in slums, and any other Juan that’s found loitering the streets? Why do so many people waste resources on “communicating a message” when the message isn’t even clear–or right? Why do we believe in people who don’t pay taxes and argue that they don’t because government is corrupt? Why do we overburden government with bureaucracy and trust laws that don’t serve the people? (…And in the event that we do hire lawyers) Why do we only need them to game the system–especially when we already know that we’ve done wrong? Why is justice and the notion of right and wrong only true in the classroom but not in real life? Why do we only believe in international organizations who function within neoliberal systems? Why don’t we WORK with government? Why do we complain so much online but do so little off-line? Why don’t we treat our people with a little more respect seeing as it is their hard work–here and abroad–that keeps our economy afloat? Why do the educated choose to sin via omission? Why are we so religious yet faithless and lacking in compassion? Why do we worship false prophets? Why is life so cheap in the Philippines? Why is it so expensive to give simple folk a decent life and access to enriching work? Why does the Philippine narrative always read like metafiction where we know what’s wrong and we see it, yet, we do nothing and regard ourselves in third person, detached from everything? Why doesn’t our news inform us? Why do we keep making the same mistakes? Why can’t we educate our children–teach them to read, write, and count? Why are farmers still unable to feed themselves despite working harder than their own beasts of burden? Why is art fart? Why do so many emperors walk naked? And why do so many of us still applaud them? Why are we so opposed to being Filipino–we still consume a predominantly western set of cultural artifacts? Why do we know so little about being truly Pinoy? For such a small country, why do we know more about the geography of the US compared to our own isles? Why do we yearn for a democracy we can’t actualize (because we feel too entitled)? Why don’t we ever listen to the poorest of the poor and the most marginalized? Why do we allow the decisions of few affect millions so negatively? Why don’t we ever do honest to goodness assessments and evaluations? Why do regime changes mean starting from scratch? Why is there no continuity in projects both national and local? Why do we love the sound of our own voices? Why don’t artists–those given the title of “National Artist” especially–“contribute to the creation of a just society?” Why do we dream so little for our country?

What does it mean for me to be so privileged?

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