11/08/2016
This is why we don't deserve anything good

A few months ago, SM decided to start an experiment in their malls. What if, I assume the buildings said to each other, we force people to form a queue while on escalators? Right side for those standing, left side for those who need to walk on the escalators. They do it in other countries, after all.

And so, they did. Overnight the signs went up on every mall. "Stand on the right side. Walk on the left side." An attempt to bring order.

Nobody followed.

Well, not everybody followed. But imagine the frustration of standing on the right, only to see someone stand to your left, because, why the hell not, right? It's our thing, let us do our thing.

It was yet another iteration of what we're apparently calling the culture wars now. One guy was critical. "We've always done this for the longest time," he argued, "so why take a foreign concept and bring it here? Besides, we're all just chilling!"

Another was distraught. "This is why we don't deserve anything good," she lamented. "We can't even follow the rules!"

Today the Supreme Court voted, 9-5, with one abstention, to allow former president Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, despite the massive opposition against it - the opposition citing his plunder of the country's coffers, human rights violations, essentially just not really being worthy of being called a hero.

I don't know that many people who actually want him buried there, except perhaps for my grandfather, the Marcos loyalist who is too old for Facebook, much more be there constantly. (He does have an account.) I am surrounded by people of a more, um, liberal interpretation of things. They believe Marcos does not deserve to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. They believe it will undermine, if not reverse, the message sent during those four days in February 1986.

Me, I've always thought what people think of him will not change no matter where he is buried, but I digress.

My feeds were obviously disappointed, but not a few people suggested that this is yet another reason why we don't deserve anything good. We forget easily. Our institutions are easily paid for. We are stupid, and latch on to any little outward sign of change and declare that change has indeed come.

"This is disgusting."

"This is a fucked up country."

"What did we expect? We were always going to be screwed."

"I should have left the country when I have had the chance."

We love symbols. We rely too much on symbols. The idea of Marcos being buried in the final resting place of (ideally) honorable people is a symbol punctured in favor of those who want to perpetrate a long-debunked myth. And, then, that's it. Never mind that there never really is an end point in sight, the same we don't instantly become the good guys when we bully our bullies, the same way we don't instantly become a disciplined race the moment we stand on the right side of an escalator, the same way we don't instantly become a better country the moment we vote someone who seems like he knows what "change" really means. We rely too much on symbols we end up not seeing what's around it.

But, you know, this is why we don't deserve anything good. We're such terrible people. Or, specifically, you're not, and everybody else is screwing you over. And maybe you should leave the country, never mind that it only says "I can and you can't".

And your responses...

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