ArchivesJune 2010How to kill a Filipino

How to kill a Filipino

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I discovered that nothing compares with a freshman’s youthful eagerness as an ingredient if one wants to discover what a University has to offer.

I remember entering my first class–which I was most enthusiastic about–English Essay Composition 101. The professor, a golden-brown-skinned lady who moved like a ballerina, enthusiastically instructed us, “Write an essay entitled, ‘How to Kill a Cat!’ It must be at least three paragraphs; must be creative, fresh and realistic!”

I was baffled! And surprised at such a welcome. I gave my best nevertheless, though it was much struggle to put into words such a bloody event. Because I was so imaginative, the cadaver smelled pungently in my thoughts and I caught myself covering my nose.

I was 17 then, but already resolved that there is nothing good to learn about death. Until HINILAWOD was staged!

Hinilawod gave birth in me a realization of the countless times a Filipino was killed.

So, how do we kill a Filipino? I reviewed.

1. Let a foreign hand write his history.

Do not awaken a Filipino to study himself: his heritage, his culture, his ancestors. Convince him that history is trivial and boring. Once he loses interest in his past, he will entrust the writing of it to another hand.

And the killing may begin.
For he will look at his past in shame. For how can a foreign hand write the past of another race with such intensity of pride and love? Much more, how can a colonizer write the history of the colonized with much dignity and esteem of the latter’s own heritage and culture?

So, a Filipino will eventually embrace the foreigner’s description of us, the moment they reached our shores: “Each man does whatever he pleases, and takes care only of himself…. No person favors another, unless it is for his own interest…. They recognize neither lord nor rule.… When they meet one another in the open fields at nightfall, they rob and seize one another…they have no order or arrangement in anything.”

Even it wasn’t what it was! We had order. We had a system of governance. We had kingdoms and we had our sense of territory. Our rulers were highly revered. We had a system of ‘alliance’ between tribes, between communities. We already possessed the art of warfare tactics and strategy.

The Spanish historian Pedro Chirino, himself, said of us: “All these islanders are given to writing and there is scarcely anybody who cannot read and write…”

(But let the Filipino believe otherwise…)

It wasn’t what it was! We had our own writing. We had our own language. Anthropologists were able to dig jars with ancient Filipino writings which revealed love letters in poetry. We had our own literature which expressed our innermost sentiments.

The Laguna Copperplate Inscription bore our ancient alphabet which was a mix of four languages: Sanskrit, Old Tagalog, Old Javanese, and Old Malay. This first Filipino writing artifact “re-dated” our history to be long before the Spanish arrived. And that is 621 years earlier than the previously accepted date of 1521 by Antonio Pigafetta!

(But let the Filipino believe otherwise…)

It wasn’t what it was!
We were not savages. We were not lacking in civilization.
Our history was “mis-written”. We were “mis-described”.

(But let the Filipino believe otherwise…)

This is how to kill a Filipino.
His lack of understanding of his past will kill him–because it will never lead him into knowing who he really is. By then, you may call him, “barbarian”, “slave” or “inferior race”–he will not mind. He might even meekly accept that you are right.

2. Tamper his understanding of culture: make it uninformative, but, rather comparative.

Make him disregard the beauty of the Banawe Rice Terraces–how with such sharp accuracy the structure was built: The perfect irrigation system, the genius seen in the planting strategy, the soil formation! If you are to teach him to study his past, do so in such a way that you deaden the potential of his land and his DNA.

Teach him a song and let it echo beginning in his tender years,
“Planting rice is never fun.
Bent from morning till the set of sun.
Cannot stand and cannot sit.
Cannot rest for a little bit!”

Teach him in such a way that you corrupt his understanding of dignified work.

When he begins to look into his culture with the mindset that he is inferior, he will ultimately disregard the hard work of his ancestors. And this will kill him. This will kill in him the great revelation of how his ancestors brilliantly responded to the necessities of their time.

Rob him of love for his race and the value of his land.
This is how to kill a Filipino.
Teach him to hate who he is by hating the land of his birth, and the ancestors who toiled in the land.

3. Convince him to pamper his sons.
Do not make a warrior of his young men. Tell him that to love them is to shield them from pain, discomfort and difficulty. Teach him to sweetly spoil his son–spare the rod and give in to the cries of a little child. Teach him how to smother his son with kisses in public. Then, watch how his young son will grow up mocking discipline and rejecting rebuke from his elders.

Afterwards, persuade him that to prize a male is to redeem him from the dirty hands of hard work. Do this, so that his son will never learn to bend his back in toil and, thus, rather than serve, will seek instead to be served.

To pamper his son is to deprive him of workers and protectors of the land. This is how to kill a Filipino. For it shall be easy for you to be a tyrant in a land where the men are weak–where lands can be snatched and women can be bought.

4. Influence his daughters with nothing but vanity.
Veer the women away from education and thinking. Encourage them to focus on appearance. And confuse them intensely by distorting their understanding of beauty: it’s the white skin, the sharp pointed nose–and all that is contrary to how God created her race. Make her consumed by her external appearance so that she may be distracted from the essentials–the building of character and the training of the mind!

Watch his daughters dislike learning. And their ignorance and gullibility will give you power over their very thoughts. You can now dictate! You may do so as frivolously or as rigid as you want to be. Anyway, his daughters will neither mind nor wonder. You are now in control.

5. Keep him from seeing his own epic come alive!
Hinilawod represents a masterpiece of our own literature! It mirrors our value system as it imparts to us the true “spirit of a Filipino”. Thus, this play opens our eyes to the countless times the Filipinos were killed. It awakens us by reminding us that we were made to think small of ourselves–contrary to the way our ancestors carried themselves and lived their lives.

By popular demand, HINILAWOD will be shown on July 1, 2 and 3 at 8:00pm, LUCE Auditorium.

Hinilawod is not just an epic. It is our epic. The beauty of our past is revealed in Hinilawod: the courage of our men who were willing to scale the heights of adversity, the strength of our women who stood for what they believed in, our respect for our elders, our seeking of deeper things–of life’s purpose and mission and of spiritual truths.

Hinilawod cries for us. It calls out on us that we must dig away the mentality that we are small, that we are inferior. Our ancestors were never lacking in wisdom in responding to the challenges of our land. Our ancestors were not spared from much difficulty but they had risen from it–we must learn from them and dare continue what they began. Only after all these can we begin to look and, eventually, move forward. Only after all these can the killing of the Filipino be stopped! (Charity Oh)

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