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When our positivity becomes an exorcism

August 7, 2013

I’m informed that the present lunar month (starting today) is Ghost Month in Taiwan. According to folk tradition, Taiwan will be haunted all through this month by the spirits of the dead, because the gates of Hell would be opened. So we expect streets all around this island to be very quiet by now.

Manila residents though, be suspicious of the strange noises you hear. It might not just be your neighbors making out or, well, “doing stuff”. Good luck, and don’t go out at night! (It’s actually because of holdups, rapes, and stuff like this.)

Metro Manila (according to some author, the gates of Hell) has this Ghost Month thing all year, every year. No sitting chief of police could have claimed to reduce these incidences, because it is not the people doing these things, but the spirits – of apathy, ignorance, despair. These things haunt not only Manila, but the rest of the Philippines.

We need an exorcism, but the religious leaders are only interested in politics and being in the know. Maybe we are all deluding ourselves that this is just a “ghost month”, every turn of the month. But it never appears this way. And each election season we are being tortured by campaign jingles and platforms that make absolutely no sense. But we elect into position people that make life harder for us. Good luck, my native land.

I say ‘we’ because we tend to blame the people who are not like us and who voted for Nancy Binay and such other people to get positions that require foresight, planning, and experience. It’s their fault, but then it’s also ours. Come on, middle-class people, there’s no use demonizing the poor, the people in the squatter areas for voting for someone we regard as ‘bobo’. We can’t demonize them without demonizing ourselves also – that we have not spoken out against these politicians in private and public circles, that we have done nothing of a civic nature, but just sit back and type our emotional rants, without even giving any solutions to the problems at hand. A waste of computer space! A waste of brain power! If they are to blame, we are also to blame. And maybe we are – all of us.

I’m not saying (of course, as a blogger, I post things on the Net) that we should abscond with all these Internet resources and help out. I am not trying to shame anyone by saying “What did you do for the country anyway other than complain on the Internet?” The Net is one platform we should exploit to promote ideas that can be worked at. Someone might have the resources with which to promote our ideas. But then there must be ideas first.

The verdict was handed down regarding the killing of the Taiwanese fisherman, and there were crazed comments about how “Abnoy” (this is how certain people refer to the sitting, duly-elected president) was selling the military out – an emotional appeal. But no solutions.

Filipinos are good trolls, and very savvy netizens, but very few people are actually interested in providing workable ideas. And we are part of the problem by ranting irresponsibly. Analyses must be made, solutions must be proposed and discussed rationally, but ranting might be better if done privately.

Our positive and expansive ideas, and the will to connect and put them together, and the planning of something beneficial for the country, are the exorcists for these spirits that shake us down every month, every year. The specter of more bad news from the courts and the government, and from the streets, are ineffective against the willingness of the people to rise up and plan, and to never get discouraged permanently.

We are down, and we are going up. There is no place to go but up. We never belonged to Hell, anyway.

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