The easiest way to explain it is to tell you that I did not choose to be Filipino, but please do save the negative comments, if any, until the end of this post.
I am proud to call myself an Iskolar ng Bayan. I am proud to have shifted to the BS Economics undergraduate program of the University of the Philippines School of Economics after spending my first year of college in purgatory in the Mathematics program of the College of Science. But, let me reiterate, I am not proud to be Filipino.
If my insistence on not having any pride in my race unsettles you or compels you to hunt me down and subject me to verbal or even physical harm, please do have patience. The explanation for this is quite simple. My being Filipino was a result of the lottery of birth. Whether it was by luck, fate, or the Creator’s plan I do not know, but what I do know is that I had no part in deciding of what race I wanted to be a part.
In an actual (unrigged) lottery, a ticketholder does not have any idea or any control over what the outcome will be. Thus, for better or worse, the outcome of a lottery is always an accident.
In contrast, for any one of us, passing the UPCAT was not an accident. We all did our best and studied hard and now we’re all students of the national university. In order to shift into the economics program, I had to do whatever I could to keep my grades high so I could qualify. What differentiates these from such games of chance, such as the lottery and Rock, Paper, Scissors, is the element of control we have over the result. No matter how hard you throw your Rock, if your opponent throws Paper, you lose.
My being Filipino was an accident, but an accident is not necessarily a bad thing. When we think “accident”, we normally visualize spilling coffee on our computer, slipping on a wet floor, or some scene from a Final Destination film, but there are happy accidents, too.
And I must say the happiest accident in my life happened even before I was born.