Hardness of Heart, Source of Discord
IT was not long after the national elections. People were rejoicing for the choice of a new President, especially so on the occasion of this inauguration accompanied by a promising resolves for a promising speech with many promising resolves for a promising tomorrow for the country. Not long after, the first challenging event in three chapters took place: Luneta Hostage Crisis which became the Luneta Hostage Massacre which became the Luneta Hostage Shame.
Practically the whole world, watched the deadly event through its well televised coverage from beginning to end. Such was especially true in Hong Kong because the victims of the disgusting episode from beginning to end were young and elderly tourists there from. They came to the Philippines for joy and relaxation, anticipating pleasant times and memorable experience. But what took place was exactly the opposite: Their tourist bus was hijacked and then brought to Luneta. It began with but one gun drawn by one man. Later on, many guns were drawn by many men. Much later, one gun was fired and some tourists were killed. Not much later, many guns were fired and practically all tourists were killed. The bus was even burned. The remains of the tourists were later on flown back to Hong Kong. Happy they left their homes. Dead they returned thereto.
It was no secret at all that the policemen concerned bungled their task, demonstrated their helplessness—not to mention their ignorance on how to do their job in such a precarious situation. So it was that instead of bringing the Hong Kong tourists to safety, these instead suffered from senseless and cruel deaths.
A day or so after, the President accompanied by a Department Secretary went to Luneta to visit the burned tourist bus. With his typical smile, he looked at the wreckage—and then went back to Palace. And that was it.
No sorrow was seen. No pity was expressed. No “sorry” was said.
And thus it is to this date. No sorrow felt for the long and intense suffering of the helpless tourists. No sorrow was expressed for the innocent and defenseless tourists killed with neither remorse nor mercy. No sorrow mentioned to the loving and grieving relatives the tourists left behind. No sorrow extended to their government committed to the welfare and safety of the citizens.
So it is that a distinct hardness of heart is exhibited. So it is that such is now the source of progressive discord. So it is that thousands of OFWs in Hong Kong are worried about their future. When his underlings commit a gross and moral blunder, it is not but right and proper for their leader to say “Sorry!” There is a whale of difference between propriety and insensitivity, between reality and delusion.
The Old Normal
TIME and again, there are people who speak and/or write about the “New Normal” probably to mean the adoption of new values, the observance of new behavioral patterns in the passage of time from then to now. There is the “New Normal” about how the means justify the end, how one adores his or her ego, how certain individuals think and feel that people do not really matter. There is also the “New Normal” that marital infidelity is the rule, that children should not be born. The same “New Normal” has something to do with the stance that what is profitable is right, what is altruistic is silly. In other words, the “New Normal” seems relevant to nowadays errant action and reaction patterns—improprieties, blunders, character flaws—that have now become standard.
Whatever the said “New Normal” really is, it might not be altogether wrong to talk about the “Old Normal” concretely in the Philippine scene, viz., certain realities that remain odious, some actuations that are still detestable but still around up to these days—
all excuses and arguments to the contrary notwithstanding. Most of such “Old Normal” are socio-political factors that have been the plaguing the Filipinos in the past and they remain as such in the present. These are realities that are odious to call attention to. But as rightly said: “Truth knows no party.” This is something great about the truth, viz., it respects neither power nor wealth, it covers both the past and the present—irrespective of whether those involved therein would want to think, to affirm or to disclaim.
Following are some of the more known and more pervasive “Old Normal” which reigned in the recent past and which continues to rule in the present times. They are hereunder expressly enumerated with malice towards none but with truth in mind:
The quest for power plus the consequent wealth build-up specifically in the sphere of politics. This is to say nothing about the kingdom of political consanguinity. And as their standard accompaniments, there are still the ever present trio of the infamous guns, goons, and gold.
There was already the standard and predictable electoral manual cheating. Then came the amazing computerized election fraud. And as expected, those who happen to successfully cheat in the elections, are experts in converting public office into self-service.
Who does not know that graft and corrupt practices are constitutive elements of infamous politicos from the local to the regional up to the national levels—such that there is now firmly established BOC or Bureau of Corruption? Just to seal this reality of the “Old Normal,” there is something worthy of special mention: The long standing Hacienda Luisita spectacle!