Monday, November 10, 2008

Rizal: A Liar?

essay : Our country is tormented with various social afflictions – poverty, crime, corruption, and indifference. Just as Jose Rizal exclaimed, the task of cultivating the motherland is burdened upon the youth. Rizal was never wrong when he said that. The youth, which comprises almost one-third of the country's population, are the harbingers of change. They could inspire both hope and fear in the society. Fear in the form of apathy, criminality, and immorality. Hope in the form of participation, concern and volunteerism. As a youth, what role do I play in all these? Do I make Rizal a liar?

I always think I can do something for my country. It may be insignificant compared to what other people may be doing but at least on a small scale I know that I am a "pag-asa ng bayan". The fact that I have this mentality is already a glint of hope for our country. Nevertheless, I am going to reiterate more concrete examples of what I do for my country to justify Rizal's belief in me:

1. Study hard and finish it. It is a fact that a person with a college degree is different from a person without. An educated person has more opportunities to help our country and to possibly make a dent in the world. This is a big leap from minuscule helps to big helps. I was a law student from a Jesuit institution but I flunked. Nevertheless, I shall continue and find my way again to become a lawyer. God knows the Philippines needs good lawyers these days and we can all use one someday.

2. Participate, participate, and participate. Find what pinches your heart and support. The "walkathon" stunt by the Sumilao farmers pinched my heart so I am one of the millions of Filipinos who supported their petition.

3. Safe sex. We all know that the Philippines is an over-populated, third-world country and experts say that over-population is the culprit to poverty.

4. Be positive. A little positivity can bring you a long way. Despite reports of rampant corruption and immorality in our government and all other things which make us wish we are Americans or Japanese, I always look on the brighter side. I welcome those reports no matter how much negativity they emit. If there were no such reports, the Filipinos would have remained apathetic to our country's plight. I would have remained the sheltered girl that I am whose only concern is the latest fashion trend and the super coolest hang-out places in the metro. When the Estrada plundering stunt caught the media, I realized I have to be informed on these matters. Eventually, I myself began to think that something has to be done and changes in the government have to be made. It was an eye-opener.

5. Stay informed. I read a lot. I read books, newspapers, magazines, blogs---basically anything that is not trash. Knowledge is everything.

6. Grow and develop culturally. I expand my horizons. I study foreign languages, taste different kinds of wine, eat foreign foods, attend cultural shows, travel the world, and learn and appreciate art. Indirectly, it is doing a favor to your Mother Country. A person who is cultured (cultivé as we say in French) commands high respect. I believe you should immerse yourself on things which would not only heighten your intelligence and know-how but also your "market value". Excuse me for being snooty but I mean well.

7. Know your values. No matter how much I have been influenced by foreign culture due to the books I read, the shows I watch, the things I eat, the places I go to, and the people I talk with, I can say that I am still a true Filipina because of the values unique to Filipinos that I choose not to cast off. This is being nationalistic I dare say. I still use "po" and "opo" whenever I speak to elders. I still also make "mano" to my parents, grandparents and my "titos "and "titas". I value my family more than anything else in the world too. I am also docile and "mahinhin" that I have been dubbed by my peers as the modern "Maria Clara".

I believe that I am not the only one. I believe that there are many Filipino youths who also don't want to fail our national hero. I truly hope that, although we are already old and already far from being classified as youths, we could continue on believing, serving and making sacrifices for our country---living by John F. Kennedy's statement, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

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