Thursday, 15 November 2012

Proud to be Pinoy?

‘Proud to be Pinoy (Filipino)’ is a phrase that I never quite understood. What have I done to deserve that pride, never mind what has my country of 7,000 islands in the southwest of the Pacific Ocean, contributed to world history that should make me proud to be its citizen?

Does this claim of national pride take on the Word Web definition of nationalism as ‘the doctrine that your natural culture and interests are superior to any other’ as opposed to ‘love of country & willingness to sacrifice for it’? But if it is, then how come we as a nation have blatantly embraced American culture with no qualms and secretly declaring our country as the 51st state of our previous (and perhaps on-going) oppressor.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my home land. I am grateful for the two greatest gifts it has given me if none other: roots and wings. But I am not proud of what it is – a Third World Catholic nation in the Far East with a highly corrupt political system and an ever-growing population that shows no signs of slowing down. That it is named one of the fastest growing economies in Asia mean little when social and environmental issues are being swept under the carpet, when human rights violations are being brushed aside and where political powers are used to promote personal gains.

So no, I don’t understand what ‘Proud to be Pinoy’ is all about but if I am open-minded enough as I claim to be, maybe I do not really need to understand it.

‘One’s nationality is an accident of history and it is difficult to justify being proud of a heritage. One never did anything to deserve being Scottish or American or whatever one was. But national pride was something that people feel – they could not help it. And it was a form of love; loving one’s country, one’s culture, amounting to loving a particular group of people, and that, surely, was not something for which one had to apologise’ ~ The Lost Art of Gratitude, Alexander McCall Smith
And yet I still hope that this overwhelming sense of national pride that a lot of my countrymen claim to have would not blind them of the things we shouldn’t be proud of and perhaps propel them to aspire for a country that is truly free and just.

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