Saan inilagay ang (pang)ulo?
It’s sad to grow in a society where asking for help should not be an option. To be considered strong, one must deny that they are in need of secondhand assistance and should just “hustle hard”. After all, we Filipinos are known for our resilience despite the harsh trials.
Seeing the comments of my fellow-Mindanaoans about the cries for help of the victims of typhoons Rolly and Ulysses do not just break my heart, but also make me question the version of humanity we are settling with—if it is even humanity at all. “Kami nga ‘nung bagyong Ondoy, ‘di namin hinanap ang pangulo,” they say. “Matuto kayong maghanap ng solusyon, hindi ‘yung asa nang asa.”
Their petty defense is that people should learn to stand on their own feet. If we had at least an ounce of common sense we would realize, when was it ever wrong to ask for help? Especially when the line is drawn between surviving today and being gone tomorrow. Since when was being desperate for another chance in life considered being weak?
Telling people that they need to be more independent instead should never cover up for someone else’s incompetence. They say, “Asa kayo nang asa sa gobyerno.” But shouldn’t we look up to the people we pay for with our taxes? To the people who were put in position to serve us? We should expect this government to do the bare minimum—their jobs—and we should hold them accountable for their shortcomings. We never said we wanted a government that can stop natural disasters, we already have enough misery on our plates to ride in with such ignorance. What we demand is a competent government who is prepared when these disasters destroy what we have.
Someone’s ability to face a struggle especially when they are in need of help should never be compared to anyone else’s. We’ve settled for these grim standards and for what? Do we have to watch our fellow Filipinos die in front of us before we acknowledge their cries for help? Someone else doing something successfully does not mean everyone else can too, and if you believe that, then you might feel the need to take off your privilege-shaded glasses.C