Sunday, October 21, 2007

Indomitable Apathy and The New Normal

A few months ago, blogger Dave Llorito proclaimed that "we have become a normal country with very normal problems...And that’s great!". The other day, the same blogger almost became a victim of the Glorietta Blast. I'm glad he's ok, but i wonder if last Friday's incident still falls within the range of what he considers "very normal problems". IMHO, he should.

This is precisely the kind of normalcy our Society would arrive at given the Middle Class' muted reaction to the political leadership's ongoing acts of impunity. Twenty months ago, over at mlq3's blog, commenter Geo recounted how the "middle class, white collar, technocrat entrepreneurs" lashed out at the Black and White Movement for "forcing the middle classes to the brink".

"I have just spent two full days and nights at the e-Services exhibition/seminar (for the BPO industry) — which was full of middle class, white collar, technocrat entrepreneurs and SME’s — and everyone I met was complaining about the negative effects the extremists have created for the Philippines’ best ever economic opportunity.

Lots of venom, especially for the B&W gang — the 'middle forces who are forcing the middle classes to the brink' was one line I caught. I’m sure if Bill Luz’s name was brought up, more scathing remarks would have ensued...

...A huge high-margin multi-billion dollar industry that is inherently pro-people, decidedly non-A/non-upper B class, beneficial to the second-tier cities…and which all global analysts say is perfectly suited for the Philippines (ranked as 1st or 2nd in the world for a variety of BPO sub-sectors). This industry alone could raise the economic welfare of the country and help expand the middle class quickly and substantially.

And all the parties concerned kept talking about how they wished all the political BS could just go away and let the administration continue it’s policies.

To tell you the truth, I was shocked. All along I thought I was in the minority…with elloi, joey, acidboy and carl. But wow, there are a lot of intelligent, incredibly hard-working, stay-in-country, build-the-country types out there who think along the same lines as we few posters have.

Too bad the noise has overshadowed the great efforts and capabilities that “regular folk” bring to the party.

Based on my knowledge and experience in the global economy and the global marketplace, I continue to believe that this is the last chance for the Philippines to pull itself out of the fire. It’s now or never. And it would be so sad for everyone if the opportunity is squashed because of a loud few who want to “search for the truth” and destroy the nation with their empty, anti-constitutional and hypocritical blathering (not to mention the opposition politicians and their wild goose chases when the TV’s red light is on).

mlq3 — I, too, like you and respect you. But I fear you are getting carried away. Are you thinking with your heart? Isn’t the analyst supposed to feel with his heart and think with his brain? I have read that you might now think that Lacson could be the answer? Back off and come down from the ledge, my friend…please. The nation needs you to be clear and thoughful; to be a leader, not a destroyer.

Pls excuse my rant. I try to avoid them. My heart just hurts so much after seeing the worry lines on the usually optimistic faces of the fearless Pinoy entrepreneurs…and hearing the foreign investors’ negative words about coups and irrational politics while they concurrently effused the attractions of 'what the Philippines can be; is…but isn’t'.

Let’s just all ship our money and our hopes to India; let’s just all throw away our future. Later, we can ask: 'Why did we do that?'…and spend endless hours blaming one another. A-yay-yay.

Time to wake up and smell the coffee, folks. It’s now or never. Now vs Never — You choose.
- Geo at February 17th, 2006, 10:55 pm "
So in the name of economic stability, these businessmen and professionals decided to look the other way. What these otherwise decent folks of the Middle Class did not realize (and probably still do not) is that the existence of a Public Sphere that keeps the State accountable is in their self-interest. If Society were likened to the human body, the Black and White Movement and other such groups function as the Middle Class' immune system.

We in the Middle Class have an important stake in supporting such Civil Society groups because, as i pointed out to blogger Big Mango before:

Unlike the upper class, we do not have the resources. Unlike the poor, we do not have the numbers. The only thing we can offer are our values. According to conventional wisdom, it is the middle class that defines the nation. Where our values go, our country goes. Let's not throw these away in the name of expediency.

True, because of Civil Society groups' protest activities, just like the human body, our Society may run a fever, but it would be foolish to mistake the fever itself as the problem and lash out and make fun of these groups as Geo and like-minded members of the Philippine Middle Class have done. Now it's their turn to wake up and smell the coffee. They (and we) are now reaping the rewards of such expediency. We have now arrived at a point where the State, which is supposed to protect our way of life, can no longer be excluded from the list of prime suspects*.

Still, this realization that the State is controlled by thugs has not prevented members of the middle class from displaying what commenter Cogs in Torn & Frayed's blog labeled as the Filipino's spirit of indomitable apathy. Over at Manolo's, blogger JC John SESE Cuneta was of the opinion that we should leave the truth where it is:
"...Granted, there’s a conspiracy, the government did planted that bomb, but also granted, we will never know it. So what now? We’ll keep living everyday trying to solve something that was hidden well and revolve around it forever?

The truth will come in its due time, when it does, we need to make sure that we are a Nation capable of handling such (grave) truths. Maybe the truth chose not to reveal itself today because it will only cause more problems for our country - another People Power or perhaps Martial Law or worst, a Civil War? We won’t be able to handle the truth today...
" - JC John SESE Cuneta at October 20th, 2007, 2:05 pm
That's the spirit. Perhaps, it's true what commenter hvrds said...

"We allow small acts of evil as long as it is far from affecting us and it starts to have a life of its own and this apathy allows it to come right to our doorstep." which case, welcome to the new normal.

*Hat tip to Manolo for the links.


Unknown said...

Typical American middle class attitude: "For as long as the war on Iraq reach my doorstep, everything's fine... "

Unknown said...

Ooops, "For as long as the war on Iraq hasn't reached my doorstep or affects my personal pocket, everything's fine... "