This is an open (and slightly informal) letter to every adult who has labeled us as apathetic, selfish and materialistic.
NSTP has allowed me to see how different your generation is from ours. On a more personal level, I think the most hurtful adjective that can be used to describe my batch is apathetic. We may seem shallow because we’re always making jokes and laughing, but we do care about the state of our country and countrymen scattered all around the world. We may not be outspoken about it, but it doesn’t mean we don’t care.
Through the organizations we joined and the many talks arranged by different councils and colleges, we have discussed our views and debated on different current events and issues. We try to keep ourselves updated as much as we can, whether it is through Yahoo! news, late night news shows, word of mouth, celphone applications or Twitter. Even without those media, within our social circles, we do discuss the pressing issues that face our country today. For example, my friends and I talk a lot about the difficulty of getting a job. We are aware that a UP graduate faces the same problems when it comes to unemployment as a graduate of a vocation school. The topic of abuse and our unease with the government are also common topics over lunch or while chilling in the Econ library. We are vocal when we want to be.
We also do take the initiative to help out whenever we can. If we aren’t physically present during relief operations after a storm hits the country, we are spreading the word about centers people can go to or numbers they might need in case of an emergency. As much as possible, I know my batch would help, whether or not our help was needed.
Those are only two examples of how we aren’t apathetic. We are empathetic, and I say that with full confidence. I could go on and on and give different examples.
I think that what your generation does not understand is that our circumstances are different; what was the priority back then is not our priority today. Yes, it is true that we want to help our country; help paint a better tomorrow for the future Filipinos. But we have to balance this with the greater immediate need to help our family first. It’s a lot more competitive now as compared to your time. The speed at which information and technology advances today is ten times the rate at your time. So even though back in the day, the line “Someone will always be better than you” was in context, it bears more weight on our shoulders today. What I know now and my skills set will be different from the skills set of another person months or a year from now.
I believe that your generation has done a lot for us, especially during Marcos’ era. And know that all the lives sacrificed and efforts made will not be forgotten. The freedom we experience today, part of it, we owe to your generation. But you were born into that circumstance, and you chose to act on it. In my opinion, it was both the circumstance and your decisions that produced the heroes of your era. But all of that does not make you greater than us. Your sacrifices do not make you more of a Filipino than we are. Yesterday has past and the present is here; and we are living it. We are acting upon our circumstance in the best way we know how. We are heroes in our own way. My generation does not need to gather on the streets or shed blood and tears to be a good Filipino.
We care. We love the Philippines. Thank you for planting the seeds of heroism in us through your choices and through history. Do not lose faith in us. We are who we are because of you and the choices we’ve made, and if you lose faith in us, you lose faith in yourselves; you lose faith in the Philippines.
Image from my own pictures