What is a hero in today’s context? The definition of a hero has become so loosely defined in recent years that it’s actually hard to pinpoint the criteria (if ever there is one to begin with) of being a hero. A lot of people say our soldiers, others say the Overseas Filipino Workers, and even the most modest of traffic enforcers as well are considered heroes in today’s society. At this point, the heroes of old, of decades past, the larger-than-life figures whose words and actions commanded the attention of many, no longer apply today. Ninoy, Bonifacio, Del Pilar, and many others were created by the era in which they lived in, those eras of which were important cruxes and shifts in Philippine history. Heroes are more general now and usually in the plural, due to a more closely connected and globalized world. Individualistic effort is now far outweighed by collective effort, and our modern culture reflects that now.
Heroism, therefore, is a quality that is inherent in every individual, and it is how we choose to bring out and interpret that quality determines the perception of being a “hero”. Everyone can be a hero, cliché as it sounds. Now a hero for me is an individual, or group, that makes an effort to change an oppressive system, this change of which can make better the rest of society. Whether this be a concerned homeowner segregating garbage in an otherwise littered neighborhood, to militants plying their way through busy thoroughfares to voice out the needs of marginalized sectors of society, heroism does not pick a category of which it is to be classified by.
My last point in today’s concept of heroism is that a real hero is a hero at all times. A hero does not choose when and what situations to imbibe the qualities of heroism. When you get the chance, the opportunity, you do it, and this is what made our national heroes so great in the first place. They fought for their beliefs despite the constraints and circumstances that came their way. We now live in a period of (general) stability. We don’t have to have a revolutionary war, a dictator holding on to his last grip of power, a government scandal, a terrorist attack, a national crisis to be a hero. Anyone willing to be an active participant in society and not just be a passive observer can be a hero.
We just need to take the first step.
-Joshua M. Siat 2012-61056