I’m a regular reader of Noy Kulas and Papa Joe’s column in Superbalita. I find it funny, reading letters of readers asking for help, which mostly is about textmates, relationships, and love. I’m not sure if that column was meant to give help, or for purely entertainment purposes. But it’s a nice way of being entertained, and be in-touch with the ‘real’ world — can I say that it represents the majority of the Filipinos?
But this particular letter kind of — if not represents what is Philippines about, it somehow speaks about a typical family, which I belong to. (correct me if i’m wrong) It is something I can relate to. I feel that a typical filipino family, is like stuck in the basic needs level — if you based it on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we’re somehow in the first 3 layers. It is an endless cycle of meeting the basic needs from generation to generation.
If you look at us, a typical family, we kind of need to ‘earn’ for the:
* past generation
* present generation
* future generation
Past generation — the parents we need to support. Add to that the siblings, if you have, relatives, neighbors and such. If you are born to a family not financially rich, which is like 80% of the Philippine population, you can relate. A family needs to earn P200T/monthly to be considered ‘wealthy’ here in the Philippines, I read from Inquirer 2 sundays ago.
Present generation — the US.
Future generation — the kids. I don’t want to scare you so let’s leave this to your imagination.
So if you look at a typical Filipino, he is such a SUPERHERO. To be able to meet the needs of 3 generations, you must have superpowers.
A typical story would be like: Parents sacrificed a lot just to get him through a good education so he can have that ‘stable’ job for his bright future, but in reality, it is actually for the bright future of the whole barangay. Harsh. But I’ve seen this a lot on wowowee, parents telling their childrend to be good so that ‘maahon sila sa kahirapan.’ It’s depicted on medias, how they overemphasize on a person’s rise to fame to get his family from the dumps. (You know it is okay if it is the kid’s own vision, but I disagree if parents would take pride on their kids slaving to save the whole family. Geezz, if you cannot feed your kids, why throw the responsibility at your kids. But I maybe wrong.)
If he is lucky, he’ll get a good-paying job enough to sustain his parents and siblings, and his self. Now add to the story of him falling inlove, and soon get married and have a family of his own. So now one more addition to his list of ‘responsibilities.’ Somehow one generation must have to be removed from the list, or must be given least priority. And, of course we are in the culture of selflessness, it is the US, the present generation that will be given up.
So he became like his parents, who sacrifice his self for the past and future generations. So now what, at least we are being good and obedient children. Since we somehow not prioritized the US, the present generation, we are not left much with sustainable finances to get through us in our senior citizen life. So what happen is that the role to sustain us is somehow now in the hands of the future generation, our Kids. And, so our Kids will also have to give up theirselves for the past and present generation’s sake. And, our Kids will soon be the responsibility of their kids and so on and so forth.
Some get successful with his responsibility past and future generation, so what naturally happens next? Is it the time to move up the maslowe’s hierarchy of needs? Most probably not, it is now his time to fill up his own needs at the basic level. So self-actualization remains to be in the pyramid of Maslowe, hopefully, not all of us.
It is an endless cycle. Thus, if you look at our country — it is the same set of problems one president to another. Since a typical Filipino is stuck in the ‘basic needs level,’ nobody has move up that pyramid level to become creative — creative in finding a new set of solutions to the old ancient problems.
So Rain’s problem addressed to Noy Kulas — of being torn between pursuing what she thought the purpose of her life or stay in her work where she is not appreciated but feeds the family — is not only a personal problem, but can I say a national problem.
So how do our government and us solve that ‘finding the meaning of life’ kind of problem? Please watch out for my ‘Assvice me — Dear Kris Akino’ column.