I very rarely blog about anything of REAL depth. Today however I think I should make an exception. A good friend of mine wrote the letter below because of todays events.
I think it's the best place to start rebuilding our country's already tarnished reputation.
A Letter to the Filipino Youth
I would like this entry to be a vessel of words that every unassuming, Filipino youth can call his or her own.
Today I witnessed one of the most atrocious acts humanity has ever seen. Blood spilt, fingers pointed in all directions, and so much compassion and sympathy turning into spite and anger. Fellow Filipinos, I feel your pain. I feel your anger. Whether it is with the media, whose blind incompetence further fed a madman’s blood lust. Or Manila’s Finest, whose obvious lack of training has made a possibly peaceful exchange into a bloody altercation. We are even angry at our leaders, our politicians, who seemingly did nothing but throw out words and blame at each other, and exclaim the sorry state of our mother nation. Yes, I, as you, am deeply livid. Livid to the point of shame towards my nationality. But as I cursed and screamed and cried, I came to realize something: I have been looking through a telescope. Quirino Grandstand is miles away as I wept in distance. Truth be told, it is very easy not to care. How will this really affect the food I eat, the job or school I go to, or the people I say my hello’s and goodnight’s to? But to hell with that! The fact of the matter is, I DO care. There is a sense of nationalistic altruism in my blood somehow.
If only though a telescope.
I urge you, fellow Filipinos, to look at a mirror instead.
I have come to recognize that none of this would’ve happened if it weren’t for me. I am to blame. And I accept all the repercussions this event entails. I have not always REALLY cared for this country. This morning, I was not thinking about the inherent problems of social media. I was not pondering on answers for poverty. I was not thinking of how I could be a part of the solution for corruption and street violence. This morning, I had my own life. And suddenly, with the whole world watching, with the problem growing out of proportion, and with my fellow Filipinos affected, I began to care like a mother to her crying child. I am a sleeping giant, poked by a pin. Now, all my thoughts are dedicated to the flaws of Philippine government and media. And all my emotions are dedicated towards nationalism and unity. I am angered and displeased. But what have I done? I’ve simply tweeted some curses, blamed some people, offered a few well wishes and prayers, and that’s it.
One month from now, I will not think of Captain Mendoza or the people who have died and suffered in this ordeal. And why should I? Life goes on. But I ask you, fellow Filipinos, WHERE do we move on to? How do we live our lives from here? I believe that today was a message from God. Maybe I SHOULD think about the country more often. Maybe I SHOULD start doing something of my own to remedy the problems plaguing our nation. Maybe I SHOULD add the country to my nightly prayers. Right after I pray for my parents. My brothers. My sisters. All of whom I love dearly. Maybe I SHOULD start loving the country like I love them.
I place blame on myself because had I been doing all these things, had I lived my life even 10% more towards Nationalism and the improvement of my environment, I think maybe people like Captain Mendoza wouldn’t exist. Maybe media wouldn’t be so defective. Maybe our police officers would be more adept. And maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have to have my telescopic sympathy turn into blind rage.
When Ondoy struck, I wept for this country. I handed out my donations, did volunteer work, and helped rebuild our city. But what then? What now? Honestly speaking, for me, Ondoy is past and I have not really done anything to remedy the situation. I am not even close to ready in case another storm of that magnitude hits. I’ve stopped caring. Even when deep inside me, I know I should care more. And even when, back then, I felt like I wanted to help the entire world. And for this, I am truly sorry.
Conversely, this is why I am truly sorry for the events that transpired today. I am at fault. I promise to do better. I promise to be a beacon of change. I promise to admit my faults and my selective sympathy. I promise that I will live my life, even to the least extent, making sure that something like this will never happen again.
I am deeply sorry, humanity. I ask that you forgive not only Captain Mendoza, or the media, or the police, but I as well. I am at debt to you and I can only hope that my words can help my fellow youth feel as I do.
I am Jay Abastillas. A Filipino. 22 years old. And I am sorry that I don’t pray for the country enough.