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Cries in Crisis

Problems get worse when individuals prioritize personal interests. (Why is that surprising? Is not that human nature?)People would not want to be monitored or investigated or labeled as such because they intend to continue their personal individual lives; without incident, without disturbance, unmindful of conceivable communal consequences. Many people adhere to the principle that the world may burn ablaze for all they care; just as long as they and their immediate circle of concern continue to do what they want to do in the way they want to do it.

Before this quarantine/lockdown, when the state was blowing the bullhorn that barricades were going down, our kababayans decided to hike up the homecoming horde. (What for? For family reunion which wouldn’t push through because we all can’t come together and the restaurants and resorts would be closed anyway?) People would go out of their way to evade being held down, so they could go on to their own comfort zones, which may range from moving to desired place, maintaining a clean reputation to making impressive output, and everything between those. All of these have been seemingly undertaken unmindfully of connections to the community.

Another form of this strain is (as buzz has it) how politicians allegedly initiate their influence to get themselves and their households first on the line for testing. (The Sen. Miguel Zubiri phenomenon must have worked up a scandalous scare on them.) In case you’re missing what’s wrong in this picture, this happens while actual persons in need wait behind them. One could only imagine the butterfly effect of such special favors.

There’s another strain of this in the national government. Why is Speaker Cayetano continuing his displeasure against the Senate (the one that he already had in the issue of the ABS-CBN franchise) to the present crisis? Why is the President taking jabs at LGU officials whom he considers to be “overdoing” prescribed policies? If you think about it, if one mayor or punong barangay is said to be ‘overdoing’ implementation of the quarantine, would that not amount to more safety? Behind their furious faces, they just want things to be done their own way; ignoring the efficiency of actions, just as long as those actions have to be done in the way they want them done. It is simply unimaginable how politics persist even in pandemics.

Once, in my Grade 4 class, I used the familiar fable of “The Ant and the Grasshopper” as literary basis for the lesson. At the end of the story, one of the questions I asked was “Did the Ant do the right thing?”. One pupil ardently answered his sentiments against the Ant’s actions for reluctantly helping the Grasshopper when he was going cold and hungry. I reasoned and pointed him to part when the Grasshopper was busy singing and dancing while the Ant was busy working up a sweat to store up food. But the pre-teen pupil would have none of it. He saw the Grasshopper as a needy, helpless victim and the Ant as a selfish, scheming scoundrel who shifted from sharing. I was appalled at how the famed fable could be interpreted differently from its universally accepted moral meaning. In the end, I had to resign to respect the child’s opinion because we were starting to take time away from other learning activities. After that incident, I have to wonder, “Is this the prevalent principle among Filipinos? That there is absolutely nothing wrong with prioritizing party over productivity because after all, it would be the moral duty of those who have more to supply the needs of the have-nots?”.

In an interview of one Covid 19 patient who successfully recovered, he recounted how he turned to faith when his conditions started taking the turn for the worse. In a similar direction, church authorities have started to call orders for prayer. TV networks have started playing prayers six hours apart on primetime. All of a sudden, society has noticed and recognized the prominence of prayer once again, just like how they reacted on the previous disaster. I just wonder, if prayer is indeed so powerful, and devotion so dependable, then why do we rest ourselves to it only in face of desperation? If vegetables are really nutritious, should they not be part of everyday diet? If knowledge is indeed empowering, then should not we be regularly reading? If health is threatened by smoking, then why do we keep on making, selling and buying? If faith is the final resort, then why not make it our natural and habitual route?

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.“ Hebrews 11:1

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