A Beautiful Culture
of Crab MentalityBy TOTO CAUSING
It has always been there present. Its presence strongly felt. Its effects, perilous. It reigns in the Filipino society. Although intangible, that thing pierces our hearts, causes incurable pain among those who do not worship and eat like what a tenth of us do.
Really, no one has understood its nature, characteristics and how it begins. This is the reason change cannot come to the Filipino society.
The lack of solution in sight is not what it is. But many souls have called it “quits.” Many who wanted at first to be of help have surrendered one after another; they end up leaving the islands of 7,000 and their 85 million brethren to fend for themselves. Others choose to follow the paths called “wrong” by the righteous, justifying: “If you cannot lick ’em, join them.”
This convergence of these circumstances is the justification why Filipinos have quickly risen to become a top group of immigrants in the world--in terms of number. But what does it profit the brownies to gain the whole world yet they lose homes, break families apart and breed parentless children.
This lack of understanding of this thing amongst us is not what it is. It is more of a continued refusal to understand. The problem has been here seen for centuries, but it continuously defies solution.
Everybody in our neighborhood wants change simply because they suffer in the present system each one is in. However, it has proven time and again that each of us finds no solution to achieve change.
This problem has been caused by no one but all of us. No one amongst us wants to be the first, gripped by fear that others would do it for them. This melancholy is best expressed by General Danilo Lim, “Dissent without action is consent.”
However, I do not totally agree with General Lim. This is because no one knows that the very change everyone is looking for is his very own person.
Really, no one but us ourselves can give solutions and change to our seemingly never-ending story of loneliness, pettiness—and laziness.
To illustrate what I think, let me cite corruption where we as a country have failed miserably. We see it happen every minute in the hallowed halls of the Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs and Department of Public Works and Highways, every second on the streets and everywhere.
No doubt, the culture of corruption has been deeply rooted.
Our government, in all its forms, has tried almost all kinds of solutions it has thought of: enactments of anti-corruption laws, including plunder law, anti-money laundering measure, Republic Act 3019, and others. It tried moral reformation programs.
Yet the culture of corruption is appearing to stay for a century hence, particularly rampant at these three major offices of the government.
But I postulate: No one is to blame but our Filipino culture.
The President, no matter how corrupt she appears cannot be blamed. Why when even the last mammal down the line is doing the same? Why when us who are not in the government are practicing and tolerating the same? Why when private individuals tend to offer bribes if only to expedite approval of what they apply for although there are strong merits for their requests?
We can imagine how deeply rooted the Culture of Corruption has become. It has determined our country’s fate from one failure to another.
So that the solution is the culture itself: Crush that to the kingdom come and change it with another culture.
To crush the old toxic culture cannot be done by merely asking people to change their attitude when what is important to him is to work not when there is nothing to get on top of the daily wage paid him as a public officer. This is the rule of thumb within the halls of every office we have.
It cannot be done when our judges and justices fight each other out for fat cases like that of GSIS vs Meralco. It cannot be done when law enforcers tasked to arrest gamblers and financiers are themselves profiting therefrom. It cannot be done when our heads of offices think not of how long they could serve but by how much they could get.
It cannot be done when every parent would become an instant briber if only to get a son or daughter off the hook after having been arrested for drugs, comforting the mind that everybody is doing it anyway.
It cannot be done without untold sacrifice from each member or officer in a community. It cannot be done by mere teaching adult thieves in the government not to steal. It cannot be done by seminars.
So what should be done when we cannot expect our government to do it?
Let us begin by healing our own self. Make it a habit to complain for every indication of irregularity. Many shenanigans stop when somebody is complaining. Let us sacrifice our life even if it means death.
Many journalists have embraced the habit of exposing, but not one of them has filed a complaint for every irregularity they discovered, comforting their thoughts that it is not their duty. Wrong! The rule of goodness has remained the same: “He who discovers it first shall be the first to act on.”
I believe that if only one out ten citizens has the habit of filing cases even in the slightest indication of irregularity, those who sit in the reins will surely change their attitude. How much more if half of us are watching and complaining?
Many amongst us have crab mentality. Let us modify this: Instead of just backbiting, let us make it fruitful by converting it into official complaint sheets and file it immediately before the Ombudsman and other disciplining bodies.
And if this act is continuously pushed for 10 years, we will see the blooming of a new culture: a beautiful Culture of Crab Mentality.