.A Wall Within A WallJoshua 6:20when the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. There are still many walls today in the Philippines, not the walls of Intramuros which have become irrelevant, even if before natives had to leave by dusk.

  • The walls of poverty. People are still kept from reaching their full potential by lack of opportunity. Human resources are still under-utilized (link).
  • The walls of ignorance. While many remain very ignorant, some still use knowledge as form of ritual intimidation instead of enlightenment (link).
  • The walls of exclusion. People are still kept from participating, but they are slowly learning to help themselves instead of just waiting for saviours (link).

The K-12 program has many detractors. Yet it is a major change from the old rote-based learning. That was probably started in Spanish times when Queen Isabel introduced public schooling in 1863. The American Thomasites may have meant well, but who knows how much they had to rely on local teachers with a less enlightened mindset in the far-flung Philippine archipelago. K-12 Plus (link) with German help, German factories like Stihl (link) and Dual Training programs like Grohe in Tondo (link) are creating jobs for more skilled and finally more confident workers.

I remember how some educated Filipinos from the “top schools” living in Germany were annoyed by the confidence of working-class Filipino families who had found jobs and a better life here. Backward thinking is not just a preserve of the oligarchy, but lives in many parts among the entrenched.

  • Those afraid of others coming up are probably not truly competitive (link). Many of us from the “good schools” were just small fish in the big pond that is Europe. We had to work harder.
  • Crabbing from above AND below are both symptoms of a zero-sum mentality (link). Some “elite” might prefer to be like planters in the Deep South before, privileged but backward (link).

Being “Up North”, I have been able to see the pretentiousness of some “elite” people (link) – even if now the Filipinos that come are way more global than before, which I think is a good thing. Achieving true modernity takes some time (link).  Now I agree with Joe America that the Philippines is on its way up (link), but I truly hope that these trends will become durable in the future.

Some have already sounded the trumpet (link) and the walls (link) may well be getting some cracks. Will there someday be a true civitas (link)? Will the walls someday be just like Intramuros?

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 28. February 2016