May 11, 2010

Philippines, I love you but...

Philippines, as my country of birth, I love you. You will always be home to me. Yes, I know your strengths and weaknesses. It's part of your charm. It's not a blind love that sees only the good and remains blissfully oblivious of what is bad, but recognizes it, accepts it and hopes it will change when it's ready for change.

But sadly, I don't know when you'll ever be ready for change.

I hoped for something new. Even the attempt to vote electronically made me happy.

I hoped for someone who'll take baby steps in the right direction, instead of spouting fiery political rhetoric in the wrong one. Hearing one presidential candidate run a good, clean, issues-oriented campaign made me hopeful. Another candidate was capable, smart and sincere with a strong background in advocacy work.

I'm proud that people were galvanized into action and went out to vote. Seeing photographs of queues outside poll precincts and of people with indelible ink on their forefingers, reading about people who endured the oppressive heat and waited hours to cast their votes - all of these made me feel a surge of pride. Come hell or high water, people wanted to vote. And vote they did.

Philippines, I don't want you to be stuck in the same-old, same-old. I don't want family and friends back there to be stuck in the same-old, same-old. You all deserve better.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. But when something isn't working and hasn't worked for the longest time, change - any change - is in order. It doesn't even have to be big changes, even little ones will do. Every single step aimed at improving the current situation will be a step in the right direction.

This election was a step towards change. Sure, from what I can tell, it's merely a change in name, but not in the type of governance. Yet a change is still a change, right? That's why I still hope. Even if the candidates I was rooting for didn't win, I hope that the person who wins will do what's good and right for the country.

It's high time that the Filipino people realize that they really and truly deserve better. Expect nothing but the best from the new president. After all, no one rises to low expectations.