On any given day, sobrang traffic mula sa Kamuning Flyover hanggang paglampas mo ng Cubao. But it eases up a little bit pagdating mo ng Ortigas. Marami na kasing mga sasakyan ang sasampa sa flyover, either to go to the Ortigas Business District, or magpatuloy Southbound EDSA. But as you travel through this part of EDSA, you can never miss the imposing statue of Virgin Mary on the left. May chapel din sa ilalim ng statue. Ito na yata ang Northern marker ng Ortigas Business District. Nasa likod lang ng statue ang Galleria, malapit lang din ang Megamall, at napakaraming buildings na nagsisilbing opisina ng mga top multinational and local corporations.
EDSA: The Original.
Hindi na unusual sa Pilipinas ang malapit na association ng politics at religion. Sa generation ng mga kabataan na ipinanganak noong 1980s at 1990s, it is but a distant memory; pero in 1985, dahil sa panawagan ni Cardinal Sin at iba pang mga religious leaders, libu-libong Pinoy ang nag-congregate sa EDSA para suportahan sina Gen. Fidel Ramos at Juan Ponce Enrile noong nagdeklara sila ng pagbitiw ng suporta sa government ni Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. Kahit napakaraming tangke at mga sundalo in full battle gear, nanalangin ang mga Pinoy at nagpakita ng solidarity sa mga nag-rebolusyon laban kay Marcos. Ang end result nito ay natanggal sa puwesto si Pres. Marcos, umalis siya at ang kanyang buong pamilya papunta sa Hawaii, USA at pinalitan siya ng isang bagong gobyerno under the Presidency of Mrs. Corazon Aquino.
EDSA Dos: Anti-Erap Edition.
And then in 2002, tila naulit ang eksenang ito sa EDSA Dos. But this time, ang pinatalsik ay si Pres. Joseph Estrada dahil umano sa corruption at sa hindi pagbubukas ng Senado sa 2nd envelop ng mga evidences laban sa kanya. Muli, libo-libong mga Pinoy ang nagsasama upang manawagan sa pagre-resign ni Pres. Estrada. Noong EDSA 1, estudyante sa seminary sa Dasmariñas ang tatay ko, at ang sabi niya, kasama niya akong nagpunta sa EDSA 1. Noong EDSA Dos, isa naman akong estudyante ng Political Science sa UP Diliman. At nagpunta rin ako doon para ipakita ang aking discontent at panawagan laban sa corruption ng Presidente ng Pilipinas.
Marami nang pag-aaral na ginawa tungkol sa EDSA 1 at sa EDSA Dos. Marami ring supporters si former President Marcos na ngayon ay naaalala ang kanyang mga achievements. Marami na ring key supporters ng EDSA Revolution ang disillusioned dahil marami sa mga pagbabagong hangad nila ang hindi natupad. Sa totoo lang, kung binabalikan ko ngayon ang EDSA Dos at ang pagpunta ko roon, I’m not sure if tama ang naging pagpapatalsik kay Pres. Estrada. Di ba nga at nagkaroon pa ng EDSA Tres dahil ayaw ng mga supporters niya ang pagkakapatalsik sa kanya sa puwesto?
Ang sabi ng marami, kung ayaw mo ng kontrobersiya sa mga family reunion at social events, iwasan ang mga topics ng Relihiyon at Pulitika. Totoo naman, maraming controversies ang politics at religion dito sa Pilipinas. Sabi nga ng cynical na kanta ng Kamikazee: “Pero walang nangyari, walang nagbago”. Iyan din yata ang rason kung bakit maraming kabataan, at kahit mga matatanda na rin ngayon ang nagiging apathetic at wala nang pakialam sa politics ng bansa as long as they are living good, meaningful lives. Whatever happens in politics or religion, basta hindi ito nagsasama, okay lang.
That is why may provisions sa ating constitution for the separation of Church and State.
Hindi puwedeng manghimasok ang gobyerno sa mga affairs ng simbahan. At kapag ang simbahan naman ang nakikitang nakikialam sa politics, nagrereklamo rin ang gobyerno at iba pang mga sector ng lipunan. Pero hindi lang din sa lipunan nakikita ang ganitong separation. On a personal level, maraming yuppies na rin ang pinaghihiwalay ang kanilang secular at spiritual na buhay. What happens on a Sunday at church stays there and doesn’t really get carried into the workplace.
It’s time to clarify what you really believe.
Bago ka grumaduate, chances are, you may have been with your parents. Most of the time, they may have brought you to church and shared with you their beliefs and their religion. Or maybe you went to a sectarian High School at kasama talaga sa mga subjects ninyo ang religion. You may have been required to attend mass and other religious services, too. Noong nag-College ka, you started the path to becoming independent—from your parents. Mas nagdedesisyon ka na para sa sarili mo, mas marami ka nang mga activities na hindi involved ang family mo. Yes, they continue to play an important part of your life pero this is your life now.
This also means clarifying your beliefs and your thoughts about God, about the world, and your role in it. Puwede kang magkaroon ng mga doubts tungkol sa pinaniniwalaan mo. That is fine. Having faith is not always about having 100% certainty about things. There is room for doubt. There should be room for doubt. Si Jesus nga mismo—he dealt with Thomas, who doubted him.
Okay lang magkaroon ng doubt. Think through your beliefs. Why do you believe them? Has your faith become truly personal? Is it something that resides only in your mind, but not in your heart and lifestyle?
Your beliefs shape the way you view the world and your place in it.
Bilang isang rookie sa laro ng buhay, may mga expectations tayo about the rules. Our beliefs affect how we perceive the rules at kung paano tayo mamumuhay in relation to these rules. Besides, bilang isang individual, paano ka makikitungo sa ibang tao? How do you see yourself in a world full of 6 Billion people? If you’re a Christian, then you probably believe that God created the world, but it rebelled against God and is living in sin and ruin. But God provided a way out—He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross, redeem us from sin and ruin and lead us into having a full life (John 10:10).
Hindi lang iyan, you probably believe too that God is creating a new heaven and a new Earth and that as a Christian, you’re one of God’s ambassadors showing the world what God’s kingdom looks and feels like. What if, on the other hand, you believe that only the strongest survive at kung mahina ka, kakagatin ka ng mga malalakas at wala kang mapapala kundi magdusa? This kind of belief will affect your behavior and your decisions.
Your beliefs determine your behavior and decisions.
How you act toward other people and how you view your work and your life depends on your beliefs. Kung naniniwala ka sa isang dog-eat-dog, high pressure world, then definitely iisipin mo na okay lang mang-apak ng ibang tao maabot lang ang mga pangarap mo. Ang libro ni Ayn Rand na “Atlast Shrugged” ay naging textbook ng maraming mga Wall Street employees sa USA na gustong magpayaman at umasenso sa buhay at all costs. Sabi naman ni Deng Xiaoping, former leader ng China “To get rich is glorious!” These kinds of beliefs will affect the way you behave at work at magsisilbi din itong basehan ng magiging career decisions mo.
Sabi sa Proverbs 4:23 “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (TEV). Our thoughts, on the other hand, are powered by our beliefs. What we believe will manifest in our actions and decisions. Kung titingnan ang mga actions mo in the past few weeks, ano kaya ang magiging conclusion ng mga friends at office-mates mo tungkol sa mga pinaniniwalaan mo?
Your beliefs provide a moral anchor.
Not every behavior and action is good. How can you know if it’s good or bad? Depende yan sa set of beliefs mo. Sa mundo natin ngayon, tila umuuso ang “Success at all cost” mentality. Maraming mga success-oriented people ang wala nang pakialam sa mga officemates at even loved ones nila in the pursuit of success. Ang mga beliefs mo rin ang magiging basehan ng konsensiya mo and it will help you determine what is good and evil.
If you do not clarify your own beliefs, you can be swept away by the dominant belief and thought patterns of the world around you. The generation before us had to contend with the dictatorship of Pres. Marcos. Tanong mo lang ang mga students noong 1970s and 1980s. They were so taken by idealism and the desire for change that a lot of them embraced Marxism and Communism to fight against the repression of the government. Sa mata nila, there was an evil that needed to be fought. For our generation, though, we live in relative wealth and peace that we don’t see the need to clarify our beliefs.
For a lot of faith communities, doubt seems like a sinister word: it is to be avoided at all cost. The more certain ones would say that doubt is an evidence of not having enough faith, and that doubt would get you in trouble with God. Ang nangyayari tuloy, maraming believers ang ayaw i-acknowledge ang kanilang mga doubt. They sweep it under the rug of religiosity. But it doesn’t really go away. Ang problema kasi kung itinago mo lang ang doubts, it would haunt you and will cast a shadow over anything you do in relation to your faith.
Philip Yancey, author of “Reaching for the Invisible God,” said:
“Inquisitiveness and questioning are inevitable parts of the life of faith. Where there is certainty there is no room for faith. I encourage people not to doubt alone, rather to find some people who are safe “doubt companions,” and also to doubt their doubts as much as their faith. But it doesn’t help simply to deny doubts or to feel guilty about them. Many people, after all, have been down that path before and have emerged with a strong faith.” [Source]
But the reverse is also true. May mga Christians na inentertain ang kanilang doubts and ended up rejecting the faith. They found out that did not share the faith of their parents. As a result, umaalis sila sa church and they end up becoming agnostics, atheists, or they just embrace that general term “freethinker.” Yes, it is a risk to doubt, to give in to curiosity, inquisitiveness, and the desire to ask difficult questions.
Would you rather just go with the flow?
Kung hindi mo icla-clarify ang mga beliefs mo, you will lack an anchor.
If you lack an anchor, it’s so easy to be swept away by the flow of the world. You may end up chasing and following kung anuman ang uso sa workplace. May mga bagay rin namang hindi nawawala sa uso na laging pinu-pursue ng maraming tao: money, power, fame, and pleasure. At kung hindi ka maingat, it is so easy to get caught up with the dominant religion of the world today—consumerism.
Marami nang mga observers, writers, at bloggers ang nakaka-observe na ang dominant religion ng mundo ngayon ay Consumerism o ang Market. You cannot miss the churches of this new religion: shopping malls. Sa Metro Manila, every 10 kilometers yata may shopping mall mapa-SM, Ayala Mall, Robinsons, at mga independent mall operators. Apparently, based sa listahan ng Wikipedia, mayroong mahigit 150 major malls, community malls, strip malls, at lahat na uri ng mall. At hindi lang iyan, they are quickly expanding to emerging cities in the provinces. Kung magbabakasyon ka nga sa Tagaytay, sa Baguio, or to just about any emerging city north or south of Metro Manila, makakakita ka ng mall—it’s as if what you left behind in the city can be found everywhere else.
Kung malls ang makabagong churches o shrines ng ating panahon, ang mga commercials at advertisements naman ang mga makabagong missionaries at preachers. Bilhin mo lang ang kanilang produkto and you will be saved from destruction—mas gaganda ka, magiging mabango, matutuwa ang mga tao sa iyo, at magtatamasa ng buhay na marangya. Pero may catch, kailangan isakripisyo mo ang iyong pera para ma-avail ang salvation ng religion na ito.
In an interesting twist, hindi na lang mga Pastor, Pari, at Theologians ang nagtuturo kung paano mag-evangelize. Kung papanoorin mo ang mga old videos ni Steve Jobs, makikita mo na para siyang isang preacher na nagpro-proclaim ng cool at magandang buhay through the products of Apple. Si Guy Kawasaki, dating empleyado ng Apple, ay may job title na “Chief Evangelist of Canva.” Ang Canva ay isang tech company na may website para sa paggawa ng graphics online. In fact, may isang blog post si Mr. Kawasaki na ang title ay “The Art of Evangelism” at hindi ito tungkol sa religion. It is about how companies can promote their brands, win new customers, at kumita nang mas malaki as a result.
Scary thought, right?
Tama ang observation ni Harvey Cox, Professor of Divinity of Harvard University:
“I am beginning to think that for all the religions of the world, however they may differ from one another, the religion of The Market has become the most formidable rival, the more so because it is rarely recognized as a religion.”
Reforming Your Mind
Paul has a great warning about this. Sabi niya sa Romans 12:2 (NIV): “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” It’s easy to drift through life, sunod sa uso, pursue the same goals as the majority of people in the workplace and in the world. Iyan na nga yata ang default na pursuits sa society natin ngayon. Thankfully, bilang mga kabataan na kakapasok pa lang sa workplace, we’re not too jaded yet, buhay pa ang idealism. If we want to live by our principles and ideals, we need to be wary of joining the bandwagon of the world.
While you are young, clarify your values and your beliefs. Kahit medyo mahirap, strive to live by them. By the time na tumanda ka and the trials and difficulties come knocking by, you can stand strong and resist the strong temptation to live as the world wants you to live.
Here are a few tips on how to reform your mind:
1. List your core values and beliefs.
Why don’t you just sit down and clarify your values and beliefs about different things in life. This sounds like a tough job and might involved pulling your hair and wracking your brains. Maglista ka lang ng mga pinakamahalagang aspekto at mga bagay sa buhay mo. Para maging mas madali ito sa iyo, puwede mong ilista ang ilang mga pinaniniwalaan mo sa limang areas na ito: God, Family, Personal, Society, at Work. There are other areas of course, pero these areas are a good starting point. Iyong ibang mga values and beliefs mo, magiging obvious kapag nagkaroon ka ng opportunity to make big choices in your life.
2. Take a look at the creed of your religion.
Crucial din ito. Marami sa atin nagiging Christian because of the influence of our families. Hindi na natin ine-examine ang ating paniniwala at pananampalataya. That’s why marami ring Christians ang nagsisimba lang tuwing Linggo pero they don’t really have a good grasp of what they really believe in. Next Sunday when you go to Church, ask for a statement of faith sa inyong church. Or kung member ka ng isang malaking denomination, search for your Statement of Beliefs. Puwede ring tingnan ang Apostles’ Creed for the basic doctrines of Christianity. If you believe in a different religion, then look at the set of beliefs of your religion. Look at the different set of beliefs that you also believe in.
3. Ask questions.
Wala namang masama sa pagtatanong. Isa sa mga basic rights natin ang freedom of expression. Granted, may mga questions that could get us in trouble with some authority figures. But if you do have questions, kailangan maitanong ang mga iyan. Otherwise, it will be bottled up at kung naging matindi na ang pressure ng mga tanong at doubts na iyan, it will explode and you will end up cynical and unbelieving.
4. Make conscious decisions if you are successful or if you’re facing adversity.
By sitting down and identifying our core values and beliefs, napaghahandaan natin ang mga temptations at storms na darating sa ating buhay. Hindi mo naman aayusin ang butas sa bubong sa kasagsagan ng bagyo di ba? The right time to fix a broken roof is during the sunny days when the rainy season has not arrived yet. In the same way, naipakikita ang ating true beliefs and convictions if we are faced with problems and temptations. Ang sabi ni James Lane Allen “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” Your true character is revealed in times of temptations and challenges.
Hindi lang adversity ang nagpapakita ng ating character. We are also tested in times of success. Lumalaki ba ang ulo mo kapag nagkakaroon ka ng success? Nagiging bloated ba ang pride at ego mo kapag may mga accomplishments ka na? Success also reveals our character. Kaya habang hindi ka pa nakakatikim ng big level success, it also pays to build your character now.
It’s not a one-time process.
Through the years, nagbabago rin ang mga pananaw mo sa maraming bagay tungkol sa buhay. The important thing is to be aware of what you believe in. In your twenties, maraming time to explore and just seem to go with the flow, pero it is important to remember that we are accountable to God. Sabi nga sa Ecclesiastes 11:9 (NLT) “You who are young, be happy and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.” Puwede namang mag-enjoy at magsaya. Let us remember, though, that we are accountable to God for how we live our lives.
Ortigas Part 2: Rebolusyon
Compared with the occasional office gossip or showbiz issue, politics can be a conversation-stopper. It can be contentious and before you knew it, you’d be spewing one complaint after another. But still, as responsible citizens, kailangan pa ring makialam sa politics. Here are 4 reasons why yuppies need to care about Philippine politics, and 3 ways to do it.
Corruption is rampant in the country. You would probably think that after Marcos, we would have learned to be better at managing public funds & demanding greater transparency from the government. But still, we’re confronted by the many faces of corruption, whether they be called kickbacks, pork barrel, SOPs, PDAF, or DAP.
The sad part is, you often feel powerless over many problems and issues in the country.
As yuppies, we are busy and preoccupied, and we don’t want to hear negative things. We have enough negativity at work already. We don’t want to hear the negativity in government. But if we keep quiet and accept things as they are, we become part of the problem.
It’s very easy to be cynical toward the government. But we cannot afford to do that. After all, we are part of this bigger community called the Philippines. That’s why we need to care and make our voices heard in Philippine politics.
Here’s are 4 reasons why we yuppies need to care about Philippine politics:
1. Yuppies are taxpayers.
If you had a choice, you probably won’t go on that O.T. Besides being a big pain in yous sked, the tax on your O.T. might just make you facepalm in frustration. If you pay taxes, it means that you are helping finance the services being offered by the government. That also means that we, yuppies, can demand good services from the government and its agencies. We should be outraged if these services are not being given in a satisfactory way.
2. Yuppies are directly affected by public services (or the lack thereof).
Philhealth. SSS. GSIS. MRT. LRT. LRT2. Highways and public infrastructure projects. These are some of the services that are being provided by the government to us, citizens. Some of these affect us on a daily level. If some of these services are not given, then yuppies will suffer.
Just take a look at the kilometers-long queue of people riding the MRT every weekday? Ever heard of the humongous benefits that the Executives of SSS and Philhealth receive? It’s just crazy! Aren’t you mad that the money we are giving the government is being diverted into someone else’s pockets?
3. Yuppies are directly affected by corruption in govt.
We hear all sorts of confusing things about corruption and other issues in government. We also hear about the corruption at the MRT and LRT. The lack of maintenance because of allegations of corruption against former MRT administrators.
There are serious allegations of corruption in MRT-3 that should be addressed. This is affecting the daily commute of thousands of workers in Metro Manila. And we are losing hours upon hours of productivity by waiting to board the trains for more than an hour every single day!
The MRT-3 transportation problem is just one of the many faces of corruption in government. But is has one of the most immediate impacts in the lives of yuppies in Metro Manila. This is one of the reasons why we need to register our voices and care about politics.
4. It’s the right thing to do.
We may rant about many things that are not right in the government right now. But at the end of the day, since we are all citizens of the country, we need to make our voices heard and make our presence felt. It’s the right thing to do.
How, then, can we show that we care for our country and its political processes?
Understand the times.
You don’t need to know every single issue that the country is facing. But it pays to understand the times–what are the issues affecting us, what are the problems being faced by the country. Everything is interconnected in our country.
At the very least, you should know about the issues that are affecting you–transportation, taxation, labor, and if you keep at it, you will then start thinking about economics, and how decisions are being made in the country. Of course, since we are in a democracy, you will also need to understand whether our government officials are really representing us and our interests.
It’s not enough to know the issues, you also need to look at underlying causes and issues. What do political pundits and columnists say? What are the issues and factors involved? Who are the players involved and how do they affect each other?
Who is telling the truth?
We even need to hold media outlets accountable. Are Inquirer, Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, Rappler, GMA, ABS-CBN beholden to a particular political party, business, or personality? I’m not saying they are, but if you analyze their mode of reporting, or the people who run them, you may see some form of biases towards certain individuals or groups.
It pays to be aware of such biases. It makes us thirst more for the truth.
Demand for and initiate change.
We can use social media to tweet and post about our complaints. We can contribute to the analysis and public discourse through forums and blogs. You can even do your own YouTube show!
The point is, you should also engage your friends and relatives about political issues. Careful though. There’s a nice way of doing it. But there’s also an obnoxious way. Don’t be douchebag.
But here’s a warning. It’s easy to become an arm-chair revolutionary–just complain about everything from the comfort of your chair through Twitter, or Facebook, or even YouTube.
Here’s an important question, though. Are you willing to be inconvenienced so we could collectively demand for change? It’s not bad to join protest rallies and sit-ins for issues you feel strongly about. In some cases, the solution may be to take action in your sphere of influence.
* * * * *
This is part of the #BiyahengEDSA series of reflections for the Pinoy young professional. Read other parts of this series below:
Monumento: Out of the Way ang Idealism
Balintawak Cloverleaf: Entry Level
North EDSA: Ito Pala ang Rat Race
Timog Avenue: I Just Want to Have Some Fun!
Cubao Traffic [Poetry]
Ortigas: Relihiyon, Rebolusyon
Swerving after Crossing Ilalim on a Monday Morning [Poetry]
Boni-Guadalupe: Shifting Lanes
Ayala: Traffic sa Fast Lane.
Magallanes: Divergent Roads
EDSA Extension: Ito ba ang aking destinasyon?
Pasay Rotonda: At the Crossroads