is the message of Pentecost. Filipinos prefer the Lenten season of pasyon and victimhood to even Easter which is rising from victimhood (link to article). During Pentecost the apostles “began to speak with other languages”… and “every man heard them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:1-6). President-elect Duterte speaks Visayan which many Filipinos speak, Tagalog and English. But generally Filipinos have a weakness when it comes to communicating with others outside their own circles – Duterte when he was in front of the Makati Business Club, Aquino to the common man.
Communication has many aspects – empathy (understanding the feelings of others), emotional intelligence (knowing what you feel, owning up to it but not letting it affect you), listening, explaining in such a way that the other side understands you (the right memes, words, feelings) and bringing things back to facts and to find constructive solutions to problems. With so many Filipinos working in call centers and trained at least in theory on how to communicate, they should be masters of communicating among themselves, but obviously they are not yet there.
India has over 10 times as many languages and people than the Philippines yet is successful. What I have seen of Indian IT teams is – they work together, could that be a difference in attitude? Filipino IT teams I have experienced tended to crab and play one-upmanship and ganging up games. Heneral Luna the movie is a perfect lesson of how such games damaged the Philippines. Heneral Luna himself quarreled with Mascardo via telegram – the social media of those days – and left an important battlefront (link). Aguinaldo had to send an order for the two men to stop.
There are signs of hope though. Tonyo Cruz wrote a letter to Duterte supporters to not act arrogant – as the “New Yellow” on Twitter (link). Well, the LP has been seen as arrogant by many and some of them were. A bit better than most of the KBL (I also knew good loyalists) which was downright domineering in power. Filipinos often tend to abuse power given them, didn’t Rizal himself say “what if the slaves of today become the tyrants of tomorrow”? Power always comes with responsibility – it is not a license to abuse or denigrate those not in power, like internal colonialists.
Crabbing and destructiveness by those outside power is also wrong. Peter Tiu Laviña, Duterte’s adviser, admonished the leftists today not to be just trapos demolishing the country (link). Joe America has told the mainly Aquino/Roxas supporters on his blog to be constructive and not become another Get Real Philippines (link). Politics can be for the “polis” (Greek for city) like in the original democracy, or it can degenerate into a Game of Thrones (link). Pentecost was the birth of Christianity – a community. Can Filipinos finally learn to truly communicate and work together?
Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2016.