Friday, August 27, 2010

Manila Hostage event

I have not posted a number of weeks because I was preoccupied with other things. I really did not want to write about something so negative but admist the debate, I felt I have to bring my perspective on it.

Basically what happened was that things got out of control and it was not handled well. The details of the event is actually almost a soap opera, a drama. You really have to wonder why did it have to be so?

At the core of the issue is how could the career of a policeman and his pension money result in death of so many innocent lives? In the end, can't individual values protect each other from such extremes? Isn't such behaviour just a form of modern cannabalism?

The police officer was a college graduate and decorated officer, in 1986 voted one of top ten outstanding policeman by Jaycee International. BUT he did wrong and was dismissed and pension taken away. How he could not accept what happened to him, given that he is a career policeman, in essentially a corrupt system in this country for so long, is a testament that no matter who we are or how strong we are, all of us depend on society and systems for support as well as checks and balance. Most of us can easily get trap with entitlement and corrupt ourselves to losing perpective of the larger picture.

AND I am not talking about just the police officer.

What happened here is not unique. You constantly hear of extreme behaviour by individuals who have been unjustly done by China's corrupt and fast change of its economy and society. Oklahoma bombing, Colombine High School. What happened in Thailand recently over politics is not that different. Its just that in this case, guns was available to a particular individual and systems failure by decades of poor governance.

Lets take the raging debate in Hong Kong, China and other jurisdiction. ALL the people who make heavy criticism of what happened should ask themselves how much do they know about the Philippines other than their maids and call operators they deal with on occasion. How much do they know of the country, people, history, systems, social behaviour, education?

What has happened is something that most Pinoys regret and they themselves are torn about it. They debate here is just as fierce as anywhere. It does not help the situation that outsiders who knows little about them are bringing 21st century instant response impatience into the issues which has deep implications.

Do Hong Kongers/Chinese have a right to criticize? Yes. Do they have a right to debate it? Yes. Do the Philippines owe an explanation and duty to correct their problems? Yes. BUT do even Hong Kongers/Chinese who are not family members have a right to be impatient about it? No.

Many of the problems of the Philippines began with the failure of leadership starting from Marcos days that continued to this day. The elites of this country failed to lead a people not suited to suffer what they have had to suffer. In some way its remarkable this country has not turned communist and in fact a vibrant growing democracy that is slowly and increasing gaining its footing.

As I said, the kinds of things that happen here also happen in other places if you know where to look and give it a fair context. I would turn the problem to Hong Kongers and Chinese - is the senselessnes that happened here this week any more senseless than those that happened during the Cultural Revolution in China? if there is a similar failure of elites in China, are they so sure they won't turn back to communism? If the economy of China collapsed for two decades today would China remain capitalist and where would Hong Kong be? If those things happened, are you so sure the senselessness in China/HK would not be EVEN WORST? Just because the scenario are highly unlikely, does not give anyone any entitlement.

Put it in the right context and then make a judgement that you have a right to. Be careful of entitlement whether its someone with a gun or even if its just expressing it.

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