Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We're so, so, so young!

I cannot help but realize that we're a very young independent nation, this Philippines that we claim our own.

June 12, 1898. Was this really the day we became a nation? All you have to do is go to the Ayala Museum (see my earlier post) and see the beautiful dioramas there, and somehow you just get the feel of the continuous stream of events that transpired since 1898. You will realize that we have never really been an independent nation then.

No, we have not been. Even Emilio Aguinaldo has admitted that it was "snatched" from us. The year 1898 was a terrible year for us. It was the year we declared Independence from Spain, it was the year Spain sold us to the Americans, and it was the year the Americans took over us as colonizers. The independence movement was practically nipped in the bud.

No, I don't think we were an independent nation by then, much less a nation. The dream of nationhood was there, but were we a nation indeed? We did not have a common language outside of Spanish, which were taught only to the elite. We did not have our own government. We did not have our own centralized army that controlled the archipelago. We were not even Filipinos then. We were Indios.

July 4, 1946. This has been the day when we really began self-rule, and even that is debatable. But granted, how old are we as an independent nation? Right, 62 years old! That may be "old" for a man, but for a nation?

Take out 20 years out of the 62 years, the time when one man ruled our country as dictator, and during which time many national leaders, young or old, were either subdued or killed. So that leaves us with how many years? Yes, 42 years to build a nation.

If we forfeit the years prior to the one-man rule, because 20 years has been a very very long time! No old guards have survived and the young and idealistic ones have been suppressed. That leaves us with how many years to build a nation? You must be a genius, yes, we've got 22 years.

Some would want take out ten years more to account for the years GMA has reigned, but I won't go there. I'm sticking to 22 years. She's the President we've got and let's learn the art of accepting the outcome of our collective will. Yes, we elected here there. Didn't you know? Oh! now you know. Congratulations.

I'm 39 years old. How about you? Gosh, our country at 22 years is so, so, so young!

Think about it.

Sometimes we have too much expectations of ourselves and if we don't tame our expectations a bit, our resentments can do us more harm than good, during the delicate period of our country's "birth" in the world.

"Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." Someone said that a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away. That guy actually sounds like my friend Bong Montessa these days. It is hard to swallow at first, but that indeed is a question to ask. We're not babies anymore, asking for milk. It's time to ask, what can I do for my mother?

I cannot answer for you. You have to answer the question for yourself.

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