Saturday, December 1, 2007


(*This entry was published as a column in the Philippine GRAPHIC magazine two Mondays back. The next entry came out in last Monday’s GRAPHIC issue.)

I have young adult children and so get the chance of discuss stuff with them and their friends and cousins.

They’re as cynical about politicians – both with the administration and the opposition – as their elders are. They laugh at the romantic notion of evicting President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo via postcards and snort whenever aging ideologues call for replacing Mrs. Arroyo with a junta.

Only time will tell if their distrust of “People Power” will change. For now, it’s safe to say that unless the government does something truly disastrous the young generation is unlikely to be fodder for Oust-Gloria protest rallies.

It’s a matter of perception – and of choice.

Opinion leaders, many in their 40s and older, think the country is on the road to hell and the only solution is replacing the driver.

The young agree about hell lying in wait. But they think the solution lies elsewhere: Collective tinkering with a wheezing vehicle, the dismantling of roadblocks and a more discerning choice of routes. These acts require sober dialogue, not the hissy fits coming from all shades of the political spectrum these days.

In short, the young also think our politicians are hopeless fools but they have higher confidence in themselves and their fellow citizens.

We rant and nitpick and perpetually moan about a half-empty glass. Our kids eye the choices available, roll up their sleeves and plot to have fun while working for their future.

We whine about peons in call-service centers. Our kids give lopsided, sleepy grins while waving their payslips.

We scream at the television when it displays lying officials and truculent critics of the government. Our kids pick up the remote control bar and switch to MTV. Or they power up the PC, go-online and surf for You Tube gems.

We rant and rave but take daily short-cuts, contributing to the corruption that floods the bureaucracy with its evil stench.

Our kids line-up and stare down crooked bureaucrats across the counter, and wear them down with patient but dogged negotiation.

Our politics sucks, yes. Yet the economy is growing, partly due to government policies but mainly because Filipinos are learning that their success is independent of the crooks and fools who walk the corridors of power.

I don’t know whether Mrs. Arroyo will complete her term. And frankly, I don’t really care.

But I know there’s hope for us Pinoys when my son, all of 22, announces a plan to “retire” after his second stint as chef on a cruise liner and come home to start a small business using savings from wage and tips and extra income as comic barker in fun art auctions.

The kids may be on to something. Revolutions take all kinds.

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