Carex aurea inflorescence at maturityHow politically mature is the Philippines? Not very. Maybe I have lived abroad too long. Not that things are perfect over here. But I do see this:

Sure, there is some bayanihan at the level of practical matters. But the mindset when it comes to politics seems to be: follow the herd. There are some independent thinkers, but a true revolution in mind that is necessary has not yet started. There are groups that Joe America has called Filipino 100%ers. Conformity to a thought leader and his followers is expected, like in a church or sect.

You easily get labeled some color or group. Guess that is because in old Filipino culture, you were a follower of this datu or the other. The Spanish priests came and also had their followers. Schools of thought in the Philippines usually freeze up and become rigid repetitions of what their founders might once have had as original ideas, no further development. Could it be that it never was about the truth anyway, anytime – but just about face and power? Because the actions of followers of whatever group often do not match the meaning of words – not only in split-level Christianity:

  • Those who call themselves Communist rebels are often just extortionist bandits – nothing to do with Che Guevara ideals
  • Those who call themselves democratic are often just oligarchs and elitists – the system is there to perpetuate their power
  • Those who call themselves disciplinarians are often out to discipline everybody else, but are not very disciplined themselves

How often is politics in the Philippines NOT about getting things done in a better way, but just about one’s own skin at the expense of everybody else? Zero sum games.

It has its historical reasons. But I wonder if enough will be smart enough to finally get the country off that vicious carousel? I am happy I am not in the Philippines – yet sad for the people there.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, Mรผnchen, 12. February 2016

P.S. Jose Rizal was an independent thinker. Now he is a statue, an anito worshipped like the Black Nazarene by many but probably still only understood by a minority until now.