The Sisa Syndrome and the Antidote to Our Depression

by Ricky Rivera

Dr. Jose Rizal in his novel Noli me Tangere tells of Sisa, a woman who fell into a very deep depression when she lost her two
sons. Sisa went around town looking for them. She knows that a priest killed her two sons but she never saw how and never resolved to herself why. Many think that this is something of a fictionalized narrative of the status of our country during Rizal’s time. If you read and study why Rizal included this scene in his novel, you will definitely think that Sisa alludes to our country, an image he conjured to reflect the Motherland. And she was. Rizal really meant Sisa to be the true image of our country under colonization. It is worth remembering though that Sisa’s quest for her two sons continued until today. Later, in this short story, I will tell you why I think Rizal wrote about Sisa and its significance in our present situation.

I often ask myself why some Filipinos find it extremely hard

to stay in our country. According to the Bureau of Immigration, at least 3,000 Filipinos leave the Philippines every single day. That’s 90,000 month, a million a year, and 10 million in ten. Most of these Filipinos leave due to economic reasons. And every Filipino who leaves his homeland is one less Filipino who can help rebuild this country. A report says that “this country holds a snap election every day. Men and women vote with their feet daily to search for better futures abroad.” The Filipino diaspora is not a recent phenomenon. A study by the Philippine Migrant Society of Canada says that Filipinos started leaving the country for “greener pastures” in the early 1900s. A larger number of Filipino professionals moved to other countries in the 1950’s and continued to balloon up until the 1960’s. During Martial law, the Overseas Filipino Worker phenomenon started to increase, attracting not just Filipino professionals but skilled and unskilled workers. “The history of Filipino migration”, says the PMSC, “..is a product of extreme poverty, underdevelopment and joblessness in the country.” Labor migration is a socio-economic reality, one that even prosperous countries suffer from. What I am concerned here is the rising numbers of Filipinos who migrate and uproot every single member of their family to permanently live in other countries. A national survey by Pulse Asia in 2006, says three out of ten Filipinos dream of living abroad…permanently. Interest in living abroad is not just confined with adults. Filipino children surveyed by Pulse Asia shows 47% of Filipino children with

ages ranging from 10 to 12 say they wished to work abroad someday. Sixty percent of children of overseas foreign workers said they had plans to work abroad. As of December 2004, some 3.2 million Filipinos reside in different countries as permanent settlers while 3.6 million as temporary labor migrants. Another 1.3 million migrants are in different countries, mostly in unauthorized situation in the United States and Malaysia. A study shows an increasing trend of Filipinos, about 28%, leaving for abroad to marry. This explains why our Potential Net Migration Index (PNMI) is a negative 22%, similar with Iran and just a tad lower than Yemen (-23%) and El Salvador (-45), countries which are more politically distressed than us. What is it that attracts Filipinos to go someplace else to live? Why is it that Filipinos feel that their future lays elsewhere? What’s so different with the Philippines than, say, the United States? Many things, someone would definitely say. The United States is more prosperous than the Philippines. Americans have equal economic rights that allow the individual to live in prosperity and relative peace. Other countries have better laws, another Filipino says. Some would even say that governments in other countries are better than ours. Is this the truth? Are these really the true reasons why Filipinos leave? Compare our country with others, and you’ll find that the Philippines ranks far better than those countries. Ask a German or a Canadian where he likes to retire and he would definitely say, “Philippines!” without battling an eyelash. Those

Ricky Rivera is a former lecturer at the University of the Philippines and Dela Salle University. He is a prolific plogger or a political blogger. This article is an excerpt from his the book, “ Bagong Istorya: Great Stories in Philippine History”. He lectures every so often on Communications, Public Relations and Marketing. He wrote this after learning that one of his friends, a former great student leader, is now living abroad.

The Sisa Syndrome and the Antidote to Our Depression
who already lived in Europe, particularly in London, would relish living in a hut somewhere here than suffer from the harsh weather of that cosmopolitan city. Our country lies in the tropics. Our weather is far better than the bitter, cold and icy Canadian weather. And how do our lands fare in the natural aesthetics department? We are definitely among the most beautiful in the world. We have wonderful coastlines full of pristine immaculate sand. Nothing compares with our Boracays, our Palawans and our Guimaras. Wonderful mountains adorn our countrysides, filled with beautiful sights, such as rivers, lakes and streams. We probably are not included in Yahoo!s 10 Most beautiful countries in the world, but we sure are one of the world’s best twenty. Yes, we are sited in one of the world’s most dangerous quake belts but our 6 or 7 magnitude quakes pale in comparison with those that strike Indonesia every single year or those in Mexico and even in the United States. Our typhoons are wimps compared with those cyclones and hurricanes which inflict harm upon Americans every single year. The only difference is that other nationalities enjoy a far excellent governmental service than what we have. Despite this, Filipinos, according to a study, are happy with what they have. According to the 2009 Happy Planet Index (HPI) published by the New Economics Foundation, the Philippines is the 14th happiest place in the world, up 3 places from 2008’s 17th place ranking. The HPI index measures happiness combining life satisfaction, life expectancy and environmental footprint — the amount of land required to sustain the population and absorb its energy consumption. Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world, followed by Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guatemala, Vietnam, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Brazil and Honduras. In 2010, Forbes conducted another survey. Gallup poll shows the Philippines ranked 94th happiest place in the world, still far better than India or China. Malaysia, where most Filipinos go to work, is just a spot higher than us. The survey is a telling one. Only 18% of Filipinos suffer from unhappiness. And the same number of people, about 68% struggles, the same case with Saudi Arabia, a country with most Overseas Filipino Workers. Singapore, despite being three spots higher than us, have a huge number of people struggling, with 75% of their people saying they are struggling in their daily lives to be happy. In terms of having a very good “subjective well-being”, the Philippines ranks a good 30th standing. Most Filipinos go to Taiwan, which ranks 31 and Japan a poor 39th. Italy, where many Filipinos aspire to work and live, is ranked 35th. Our former colonizer, Spain, is three ranks lower than us. Compared with other countries, we, Filipinos, are happier than them and live in relative good life and have better well-being. This is what I really don’t understand. If we say we are happy where we are, and our well-being is far better than other countries, then, why do we still leave? Why do many of us still think that a better future lies elsewhere than here?

The Enigma
Is it an enigma that we feel so bad when the fact of the matter is, we really are blessed with so many wonderful things around us? That grayish and decaying landscape that is Manila, is not the entire country. No. Go out and explore Luzon, just this island, and you’ll find that there are more extremely wonderful things here than, say, Singapore. Singapore does not have a range of mountains we call Sierra Madre, nor do Singaporeans enjoy paradise-like islands such as Puerto Galera. Yes, they have their Sentosa, but as everyone knows, that reclaimed island is not real. Those rocks which you see there are all concrete and those sands are exports from, tadah, the Philippines. Everyone knows that we are a blessed people. But, why is it that most of us want to leave and even consider this precious pearl in the orient as a hellish nightmare? Some scholars think that what we are feeling, the state of our condition, lies in our inability to appreciate the finer things in our lives. We always feel inferior to others. We always look at other countries’ situation as something better than ours. These are indications of depression. What is the root of our depression? Scholars say we suffer from this malady called “Colonial mentality.”

The Root Cause of our Depression
Colonial mentality is not just a predilection in thing foreign. No. Colonial mentality refers to what analysts say as “institutionalized or systematic feelings of inferiority within some societies or peoples who have been subjected to colonialism. “ The concept, according to scholars, refers to the acceptance by the colonized of the culture or mores or even doctrine of the colonizer, as intrinsically more worthy or superior than theirs.

“ The Sisa Sydrome and the Root of Our Depression” an excerpt from the book, “ Bagong Istorya: Great Stories in Philippine History” by the same author

The Sisa Syndrome and the Antidote to Our Depression
Colonial mentality is the chain that enslaves us Filipinos. It is not imperialism that gnaws our self-image. No. It is this mental state or condition called colonial mentality that continually oppresses us and makes us feel far inferior from other nationalities or races. David and Okazaki (2006a) conceptualized colonial mentality as a form of internalized oppression, characterized by a perception of ethnic or cultural inferiority, believed to be a consequence of centuries of colonization under Spain and the United States. Their study among Filipino-Americans is telling. It shows that this involves an automatic and uncritical rejection of anything Filipino and an automatic and uncritical preference to anything foreign. The study also shows this mental condition, affects every single Filipino’s self-image and self-esteem. It manifests in how Filipinos denigrate his own self, his culture and body, discriminates against less Americanized Filipinos and tolerance and acceptance of historical and contemporary oppression of Filipinos and Filipino Americans (David and Okazaki, 2006). A survey of over 600 Filipino Americans shows that one out of three or about 30% exhibit some form of Colonial mentality. David and Okazaki found that these Filipinos feel either inferior of their ethnicity and culture, feel ashamed and embarrassed of their ethnicity or culture or tend to feel indebted toward their part and present colonizers or oppressors. Empirical research shows that those who have Colonial mentality have significantly lower personal self-esteem than those without. Those who have colonial mentality have higher depression levels than Filipinos without colonial mentality. Is there something to be ashamed about our country? Those who show indications of CM says that they feel ashamed of some of the things that happened or is happening in their countries. A trans-national study however shows that Filipinos are sixth from the bottom of those with something in the country to feel ashamed about. Social Weather Stations (SWS) found that only 42% of Filipinos agree that there is something to be ashamed of their country, compared with 28% who either agreed or disagreed and a far less number (27%) says nothing is shameful about the Philippines. SWS discovered that the huge bulk of those who feel ashamed about our country resides in Metro Manila (52%) and the Visayas (50%) than in the rest of Luzon (39%) and Mindanao (35%). Most Filipinos who belonged to the middle to upper ABC (58%) feel ashamed compared with the masa (40%) and the very poor (42%). Curiously, the more educated you are, the more you feel ashamed of yourself as a Filipino. Fifty three percent of college graduates say they are ashamed of their country, compared with 33% among elementary dropouts, 35% among high school dropouts and 46% among high school graduates. This, however, contradicts with a 2003 ISSP survey on national identity. Eighty three percent of Filipinos felt very proud of their race, and only one percent feels not proud at all. Our pride as a Filipino was second highest among 33 countries, topped only by Venezuela’s 92, and three percent higher than the United States (80%) and others. We Filipinos are proud about our achievements in sports (84%), history (82%), arts and literature (78%), armed forces (57%), scientific and technological achievements (80%), the way democracy works (54%) and the fair and equal treatment of all groups in society (51%). On the other hand, we feel less proud on our economic achievements (47%), social security system (45%) and our political influence in the world (36%). So if eighty percent of us are proud of being Pinoys, with some, 40 plus percent feeling ashamed of some of the things which happens to us, why is it that there is still a big proportion of our population who dreams of living and staying permanently in some other country?

Colonial Mentality: Social-wide Stockholm syndrome
One possible explanation is the effects education and media has to us, as Filipinos. Look at the SWS study—the more educated a Filipino is, the more he shows or feels ashamed of his racial roots. The reason is obvious. His education is patterned after Western models. Obviously, his standards of everything are based also on Western ones. Media also shows images of prosperous countries, of cosmopolitan cities and of the perceived relative stability and progress other countries, particularly those in the West. These images are imbedded into our sub-conscious minds. These affects our preferences, our choices. These images create a sub-conscious and often, emotional link (Poiesz, 1989, p. 461). As we continually expose ourselves to these images, we then form an opinion or a perception that our situation is worse than others. When certain situations such as a bungled police operation or when government acts contrary to popular perception, we feel ashamed and angry with our government. We often perceive that our governmental system is much more inferior to others. Memmi (1965), Fanon (1965) and Freire (1970) theorized that a salient effect of colonization is the internalization of the inferior perception imposed on the colonized by the colonizer. Such in-

“ The Sisa Sydrome and the Root of Our Depression” an excerpt from the book, “ Bagong Istorya: Great Stories in Philippine History” by the same author

The Sisa Syndrome and the Antidote to Our Depression
ternalization may lead to feelings of inferiority about oneself and one’s ethnic or cultural group. Feelings of shame, embarrassment or resentment normally follow; then outright rejection of one’s self. This explains Filipino preference to products from the United States, Europe and even, Asian. It extends even to Filipino perceptions on his own skin, being brown than white. Colonial mentality-driven preferences apply, but are not limited to, culture or lifestyle, physical characteristics, socio-economic opportunities, language, material products and leadership or government. (Bergano & Bergano-Kinney, 1997, p. 202). Even the use of language exhibits signs of colonial mentality. Strobel (1997) says that some colonized peoples ridicule or resent others who belong in their ethnic group who does not know how to speak, read and write English which they perceive as the “universal norm and marker of intelligence.” An individual who already assimilated or encultured himself with the colonizer’s cultural norms, and is already convinced or programmed to think that the colonizer’s is superior to his, the colonized begins to view the colonizer in a positive light. Memmi and Rimonte referred to this as “colonial debt”. Such a belief might lead to the normalization of the maltreatments such as discrimination from the dominant group, since such maltreatments might be perceived as the natural costs for progress or civilization, a perceived price one has to pay in order to become as much as like the dominant group as possible (Memmi, 1965). Why Rizal did used Sisa as someone representative of the Motherland? For a good reason, I think. Sisa represents every single Filipino who believes in the superiority of the colonizer’s system, particularly of education. Rizal pictured Sisa as the Motherland who sent her sons to learn more about the colonizer’s culture and education, only to get killed in the process. Like two of Sisa’s sons, most of us, Filipinos go to different lands in search of greener pastures. We assume different personalities when we are abroad. Like programmed robots, we think that everything foreign is good, and life is better in some country than in our own. We are lost in enculturation, that we believe everything is better there than here. Our minds have been programmed to accept everything foreign as something good, benevolent and better than ours. Just like Basilio and Crispin, we think that education is the best answer to our poverty. A diploma from a university or college is something of a dream since we hope to transform this diploma into a visa someday. From that very minute that Sisa gave his two sons to that priest, she already lost them. The priest maltreated and eventually killed one of her sons. This is an allusion to how colonial mentality kills some of us. Desirous for a better life, we succumb to the wiles of our colonizer, suffering even maltreatment, yet thinking that this is just a consequence, a “price to pay” so to speak, of a better life. We accept the norms and culture and lifestyle of our colonizer, only to pay for our life in exchange. Like Sisa’s sons, we also lost our identities, our “who we are”. We sacrificed our self-worth, our self-image, just to become at par with our colonizers. We tried to assimilate ourselves with our colonizer’s systems, only to realize later that doing so, we gave not just our minds, but our very souls to the colonizer. This “Sisa Syndrome” infects every Filipina mother who allows her sons to dream of working and living abroad. Fact is, this syndrome affects every single one of us who thinks that we are an inferior race. That we fare far worse than others. That everything here is worthless. Sisa reflects our collective sigh, our collective depression caused by colonial mentality. We think that Malaysians live far better than us that’s why many of us migrate there. We think Saudis live far better lives than us that’s why despite the insufferable heat, most of us desire to work there. We believe Americans have far better lives than us, that’s why despite some Americans going here to work, most of us scamper to the nearest U.S. embassy just

The Allusion of Sisa
Going back to what I wrote at the start of this paper. I used Sisa as a vehicle for us to further understand our present situation. I told you that Rizal used Sisa to show the colonized status of our country during the Spanish times. If you still remember your Noli me Tangere, Sisa was once a sane woman. She was mother to two fine sons and an unfortunate wife of a brute. Like a lady of those times, Sisa suffered while she was with her husband. She was being maltreated. Despite her sorry state, Sisa never thought of leaving her husband, for fear of being cursed by God. Divorce was never an option back in 18th century Philippines. Catholicism has taken a decisive root in Philippine society that divorce is a sin and domestic violence is to be taken as part of married life. Anyway, to make the story short, Sisa sent her two sons to a priest to study. Being poor, Sisa thought that her sons would make good acolytes. Acolytes enjoy food and education from the church. It was only when she learned of the deaths of her sons that she lost all her faith and all her confidence not just to her religion but to life as well.

“ The Sisa Sydrome and the Root of Our Depression” an excerpt from the book, “ Bagong Istorya: Great Stories in Philippine History” by the same author

The Sisa Syndrome and the Antidote to Our Depression
to get that visa. from Philippine forests and mountains. Filipino hands made those excellent cuisines now being enjoyed by the world’s rich and uber famous. Some of the world’s greatest chefs are Pinoys, while most of the hotel staff of top 5 and 6-star hotels around the world are Pinoys. The world is slowly warming up with the Filipino’s version of the adobo and chicken tinola. Filipino cuisines are starting to dominate the world’s kitchens, with uniquely Pinoy creations being served at millions of homes around the globe. We eat potato chips and pizzas uniquely modified to suit Filipino tastes. We salivate at Filipino fruits, like mangos and durians. We lavish ourselves from the products from our seas and oceans. We enjoy every morsel of rice which came from our fields. When the world goes to work, they ride on modern cars powered by Filipino minds and ingenuity. Filipino hands and intellect power the world’s greatest cars. Pinoy engineers now design the most sophisticated machines inside our Ferraris, BMWs, Chryslers and Mercedes Benz. From the headlights down to the suspensions and wheels, there is some speck of Filipino there for the entire world to appreciate. Fact is, those modern designs we now see in our cars, even if it’s a Toyota or a Mitsubishi, are mostly inventions by Filipino car designers. Whatever the world sees in classrooms or in their work stations, chances are, there is at least one made or invented by a Filipino. You’ll find a Filipino in the top universities in the world, pitting his brains against some of the world’s best. Nowadays, it’s entirely common to hear a Filipino graduate from Harvard or Oxford. Ivy League schools in the United States are full of Filipinos; same goes to the top European institutions. We have some Filipinos graduating at the top of their classes in the US military academy and commanding battalions as officers of the world’s greatest army. And we have great Filipino academicians teaching the world’s business titans how to run their companies. We have Filipinos at NASA and Pinoy scientists over at BERN. We see Filipinos tinkering with sophisticated technologies in Japan, the United States and Europe. Filipinos are also working as inventors of newer technologies. Those who don’t know must know that Filipinos are also active in the fields of bio-technology, neuroscience, and information technology. We have bio-engineers who are now involved in developing creative and useful technologies for the rest of the world to use and enjoy. Those laptops we now currently enjoy have Filipino intellect invested into it. The very chips that power those personal computers, IPods and IPods are proudly Filipino made. From the sands of this great country comes silica, the prime component of elec-

The antidote for our colonial mentality
There is a cure from this Sisa syndrome, and that is, the acceptance of our present situation. Accepting who we really are, and why we are economically underdeveloped than others is the first definitive step. History is also another vehicle for us to further understand our situation and to allow ourselves to accept our present condition. We start by recognizing that we are descendants of a proud race. That we were once a glorious people who once conquered the ancient world with our talents, our trade, and our goods. We continually conquer the world with our excellent personal traits, our inventions, our discoveries and our intelligence. As what Atty. Alex Lacson wrote in his piece, “ The Filipino Today”, the Filipino mind is the greatest asset in the world today. This is not something invented purely by a nationalistic mind. This is a fact recognized even by the international community. We, Filipinos, are the World’s Greatest Assets. Look around you, and you’ll realize that everything you see are wondrous works of Filipino creation. Travel abroad, and expect to find at least one Filipino bravely holding himself up before the rest of the world. Look at the tee-shirts you’re wearing, and you’ll find that even its threads are probably Pinoy and even if its “Made in China” or “Made in the USA”, chances are one of those who sewed it and made it the best tee-shirt in the world is a Filipino. When the world wakes up every morning, they use a product that is Filipino made. The bed they lie on, the soft and nice pillows they rest their heads on and even those comforters they wrap their bodies to keep warm, at least one Filipino invested his time and skills to make it. When the world rise from their beds, and put on those slippers, at least a billion wears those made from the Philippines. They go to their comfort rooms and brush their teeth and probably not just a billion feels great using toothpaste and a toothbrush made by Filipinos. They clean themselves up using soaps which probably came from a factory somewhere in Laguna or in Subic. And they wash their hair using shampoos promoted by top Filipino marketing managers and professionals. They go to their dinner tables and chances are, they’ll find at least one Pinoy product there. They use cutlery which material probably comes from the ore mines of the Philippines. The very wood or steel that makes up their dinner tables are materials harvested

“ The Sisa Sydrome and the Root of Our Depression” an excerpt from the book, “ Bagong Istorya: Great Stories in Philippine History” by the same author

The Sisa Syndrome and the Antidote to Our Depression
tronic chips. And from the ore mines of Zambales and Mindanao comes forth copper and other minerals which the world uses in manufacturing electronic gadgets and wires. What’s important is we Filipinos invest our minds in transforming those tiny sands into chips that power human civilization. We have young Pinoys like Brian Quebengco who spearheads Inovent, a young startup company that invented the world’s first interactive television. Despite working with meager resources, Quebengco and his gang of Innoventors are on the verge of unveiling this television which will revolutionize the way the world watches TV. We build great ships that sail the world’s oceans and seas. Our Filipino brothers and sisters are captains in some of the world’s biggest oil tankers. Filipinos also dominate the world’s skies as the most sought-after commercial and training pilots in some of the top airlines in the world. When the world’s businessmen enter hotels, they are welcomed by Pinoys. When they rest in those comfy beds, a Filipino attends to their needs. When someone enjoys a cool daiquiri in an Ibizainspired pool in some resort, a Filipino probably made it for him. Those warm meals served are Filipino made. When they leave their hotels or resorts, a Filipino gives them his most precious and warm smile to enliven them. Surely, millions of them when they arrive home, a Filipino will be there to arrange their meals and iron their clothes. Some Filipinos command great armies of workers around the world. They serve as managers, supervisors and field commanders in some of the world’s top manufacturing companies. In the Middle East, most of those who work to harvest that black gold are Filipino engineers. While those fields of gold in the United States, South America, Asia and Europe are being attended to by hardworking Filipino workers. Even our oceans are populated by Filipinos either as sailors or captains, or in some places, Filipinos are themselves commercial fishermen. The world listens to Pinoy music millions of times in a day. Charice Pempengco tops the pop charts in the US every single week. Pinoy crooners spread the message of love in most of the world’s radios and video karaoke bars. Pinoy bands enliven the club scene not just in Asia, but even in Las Vegas, the world’s premier entertainment site. We are in the top opera houses, the top orchestras, the top rock bands and even in carnivals and festivals around the world. Our dancers enchant the world every single day in most of the world’s great stages. We see Pinoy art bringing joy to millions, and Pinoy writers weaving words into art in advertising copies around the world. We enjoy a Mickey Mouse drawn by a Filipino animator and an almost realistic Spider-man or a Superman flying over rooftops and skyscrapers made by a Filipino computer animator. Some of the world’s top comic’s characters came alive from a Filipino sketch book, while the creepiest villains and admirable heroes spring forth from the mind of another Pinoy. Those games we enjoy in our PS3’s, Nintendo and PC games are most likely produced and inspired by Filipino game creators and animators. Even some cell phone games are Pinoy inventions. Pinoys even dominate the martial arts world, what with Pinoys competing in URCC and in wrestling matches. We see a Pinoy making history as the most multi-titled pugilist in world boxing history. We have a Pinoy legend in billiards, another one in professional bowling. Someday, Filipinos will dominate fencing, wushu, amateur wrestling, swimming, even football. Even at the world political scene, Filipino diplomats stand toeto-toe with the world’s greatest minds. We are considered the world’s best in diplomatic circles. The first United Nations head is a Pinoy. The first ever Asian to head the International Labor Organization is a Bulakeno. And most staffers of the United Nations are Filipinos. It is most unfortunate though that despite all of these, we have a government that is as corrupt, as chaotic and as direction-less as an African or South American government. Yes, we are critical players in stabilizing the world, yet, we are as destabilized in our own country. We give order in the world, yet, in our own soil, we are as disorderly and disorganized as some petty state in an obscure place in the world. Our compatriots abroad distinguished themselves as the best law-abiding citizens, yet, in our own country, most of us distinguish ourselves as one of the world’s dirtiest and the most despicable thrashers in history. We spread and give light to human civilization, yet, our country is still under a state of extreme darkness. It is time for Filipinos to serve and be assets in their own birthplace. It is time for Filipinos to share their talents and transform this country and make it the best in the world. There is nothing, oh, nothing that can prevent us from achieving what we want. We have proven time and again that if we only pool our acts together, and use these bountiful resources in our midst, we can achieve what others thought impossible. Our country stands at the crossroads. One road leads to greatness while the other, perdition. That road to greatness is fraught with dangers and sufferings. While the other, is as easy as crossing the street, yet the end of it, damnation.

“ The Sisa Sydrome and the Root of Our Depression” an excerpt from the book, “ Bagong Istorya: Great Stories in Philippine History” by the same author

The Sisa Syndrome and the Antidote to Our Depression
As we usher a new day under a new administration, let us seize the moment and make a new page in our history. Let us erase those painful memories of an evil past and try to create a better one through unity of our minds. There is nothing, oh nothing that can prevent a united Nation from achieving greatness. If we all work together and think that greatness is just an arm’s length away, nothing is impossible. Blot out all negative thoughts and focus at the great task at hand— rebuild this country from the ground up and establish a Nation that is the best in the world. We are the creators of our future. We are the creators of our own greatness. We are great when we think and believe that we are great. When 90 million Filipinos think great every single day, we will achieve what no other country ever did---propel this nation to First World status by six years. We can do it. We can achieve what we want—a better quality of life for all Filipinos. Let us all be engineers of our great future. Let us all be part of this great enterprise of nation-building. Let us share this vision to everyone who wants nothing but a better future for himself, for his family and for his successors. Look around you, and you’ll see a very promising landscape. Just go to Makati and Pasay, and you’ll see the Marriott group of hotels near one of our international airports. Try to go to Ayala and you’ll find a Raffles hotel being built beside Landmark. Go out of Metro Manila and you’ll find great resorts and hotels being established. Check out our new airports, and bridges and roads. These are infrastructures of our future. Even look at yourself in the mirror and you’ll find that there is something new, something dynamic, something promising in you that is worth sharing with other Filipinos. Find that new thing within you and spread it around. Instead of just being a passive observer, be an intellectual entrepreneur. Spread that new thinking, your intellectual invention with other Filipinos and within a short period of time, you’ll be the leader of a great enterprise. Look around you, and you’ll see a silent revolution, the entrepreneurial revolt, spreading in every direction, in every nook and cranny of the Metropolis and even in the remotest barangays throughout this great nation. From thinking of just being laborers and employees, a great majority of Filipinos are transforming themselves into entrepreneurs. Yes, we are emerging into an entrepreneur’s hub in Asia. What’s great, I sense that a great social infrastructure is slowly emerging from the loins of the Filipino masses. This infrastructure is Pinoy bayanihan, the realization that every one is a patriot in his own right, and the recognition that, as a Patriot, he is a substantive part in that human infrastructure.
“ The Sisa Sydrome and the Root of Our Depression” an excerpt from the book, “ Bagong Istorya: Great Stories in Philippine History” by the same author

We are slowly transcending the old philosophical world-view of individual-centric, into mass or social-centric. This is made possible by an infusion of new thinking. This new thinking is slowly permeating the public sphere and infecting every one! The new thinking is information-driven, and being exchanged every second. This is the new promise, the new Hope, the new Future! Let the new administration nurture this and serve as a guide. Guide us towards greatness. Be an example of greatness and the rest of the country will rise up and follow. Rise up, o Motherland! Rise up from centuries of lethargy and be inspired by the work of your Patriotic sons and daughters! There is a great enterprise rising over the horizon of despair. A new Sun has taken over the darkness. A new race of Filipinos are taking over. Let the millions of Filipino patriots seize this moment, create a new page in History and build a great Nation from the ashes of disbelief and despair. Time to re-build this Nation from the ground up! Time to create a Golden age where Filipinos are once again proud of their heritage and of their race! We are Filipinos and we are great.

Notes
1. http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/ view/20100820-287921/Policy-lockjaw 2. http://www.bworldonline.com/Research/populareconomics. php?id=0102 3. http://www.migrationinformation.org/USFocus/display. cfm?ID=364 4. http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/14/world-happiest-countrieslifestyle-realestate-gallup-table.html 5. Ronald Inglehart et al. (eds.) HUMAN BELIEFS AND VALUES: A CROSS-CULTURAL SOURCEBOOK BASED ON THE 1999-2002 VALUES SURVEYS (Mexico City: Siglo XXI, 2004). 6. David, E.J.R. & Okazaki, S. (2006a). Colonial Mentality: A review and recommendation for Filipino American psychology. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 12(1), 1-16. 7. David, E.J.R., & Okazaki, S. (2006b). The Colonial Mentality Scale (CMS) for Filipino Americans: Scale construction and psychological implications. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53 (2), 241-252. 8. http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/ view/20100903-290401/National-shame-is-global-not-Filipino

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