I am an official Tumblrista, that is, I use Tumblr whenever and wherever I could. You may call it addiction. Like any other blogging platforms (Blogspot and Wordpress), Tumblr lets you create your own web log for free. And since the blog is yours, you can post anything you want from everyday banalities to nationalistic non-pride. Is there even a word? Non-pride? Dispride? Pridelessness? Whatever. Go figure.
See, I’ve encountered on Tumblr a bunch of Filipinos that put our race to shame; like announcing to the whole virtual world, “I’M NOT PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO!!!!!” And yes, with their Caps Lock on and excessive use of exclamation marks. And in a few, these public proclamations of dishonor become the center of criticisms, spreading like wildfire nationally and even globally. Fellow Filipinos would become angry (“Then get the f*ck out of this country!”) or even murderous (“G*go ka! Mamatay ka na lang sana!”). I, on the other hand, remain silent and just proceed with the next post. Not that I feel indifferent on the issue but that I myself don’t know exactly whether to feel this so-called “love of country”.
I am no Herdy La. Yumul in the making or a student who wants to gain infamy. I am but a mere Filipino who ponders whether my fellow countrymen’s love for the Philippines is of purest quality, that is, it is not blind nationalism they possess.
Blind nationalism, according to Sir Yumul’s essay Change: where and how do we begin?, is the love of one’s country that “does not go beyond the simple fact of acknowledging that we were born in this part of this world; an unenlightened nationalism.” But why do such exist? What induces people to have impure nationalism?
Let me present what I think are the reasons for such nationalism:
First, the Filipinos’ fondness on what is considered popular. Second, the Filipinos’ concept of what is beautiful. And third, the Filipinos’ preference for foreign countries whether it is work or commodities.
Point one: the fondness of Filipinos on what is considered popular induces the people to have blind or even false nationalism.
When the legendary Francis Magalona died of acute myeloid leukemia last March 2009, he left a legacy in the clothing industry with his FrancisM Clothing Co., popularizing shirts with prints of “three stars and a sun” or the colors of our flag—red, white, blue, and yellow. Starting from the second quarter of 2010 until now, I would see lots of people wearing such “nationalistic shirts”. To me however, it’s not nationalism but mere fashion. Despite their intention to show their love for the Philippines, the real intention of these people is to maki-uso, to go with the flow of what is considered popular nowadays.
Case in point, the Azkals, our national football team, started gaining popularity in late 2010 after having a match with Vietnam at the AFF Suzuki Cup. Currently, they have numerous Filipino fans. But try to ask them if they knew the Azkals long before and they would probably say, “Who are they?” Makes me wonder, did Filipinos only started being proud of the Azkals when the media gave them the limelight? Did the Filipinos become proud of them because of a good game they have shown? If so, then why haven’t I read or heard anyone about their 1917 win over Japan, 15-2, until now? Or did they gain fans because of the good-looking Phil Younghusband?
Which leads me to my second point, blind nationalism is also caused by the Filipinos’ concept of what is beautiful (and handsome in the case of Phil). Filipinos consider being fair-skinned, tall, and sexy beautiful.
Notice that the current market is full of soaps that promise whiter skin, medicines that promise additional height, foods and drugs that promise a slimmer body. Why are these in the Philippine market shelves? Because there is a fair amount of demand if not high. Meaning, Filipinos want to become fairer, taller, and sexier. Add to that the growing the number of surgical clinics offering cosmetic surgeries and whatnots for any part of the body.
But why would the people want to remove their marks of being Filipinos? Aren’t we proud of them? Aren’t we supposed to be proud of them?
On to my third and last point, blind nationalism is caused by the Filipinos’ preference for foreign countries whether it is jobs or commodities.
Overseas Filipino Workers, or simply OFWs, are considered “modern day heroes”. But like Sir Yumul, who have my thoughts exactly, disregard them as such. To rephrase his point, OFWs do not go abroad to increase the Philippines’ national income but rather to help their families and attain their personal goals. And as a business student, I know that there is a big difference between microeconomic and macroeconomic entities, but of course, the two are not mutually exclusive. Thus, Sir Yumul argued that “it is just incidental that they send remittances.”
Another case in point, most Filipinos would prefer “made-in-another-country-aside-from-China” products than our domestically produced commodities. They would rationalize that it is of better quality. I cannot deny the fact that these foreign goods are really better than ours. However, the essence of nationalism simply deteriorates as we go on buying them. For what is the sense of wearing a t-shirt bearing the words “I LOVE MY COUNTRY” which is produced by an international brand? That, ladies and gentlemen, is an epitome of a paradox.
I love and am proud of my country. But I have to admit that what I have just said is tainted by one of the abovementioned—Filipinos’ fondness of what is popular, concept of what is beautiful, and preference for foreign countries may it be work or goods. I possess blind nationalism, the narrowest sense of the term. Have you tried asking yourself, “Do I possess blind nationalism? Do I love my country just because I was born here?” If you answered “yes”, then we must mend our ways to at least approach its purest form. Then again, it is still a proclamation of love for the country, our nation, the Philippines. For blind nationalism is way better than no nationalism at all.