Let us rise to greatness

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

Fthings they buy in OR Many our large to Filipinos pen­chant the for­eign­ers volume, small­est ev­ery­thing for most in de­gree small our Filipinos things. coun­try seems of re­tail. are small. For are in them as­ton­ished the con­trast, who buy by of piece meat, salt, Most of a a sin­gle gar­lic, small Filipino veg­etable, one plas­tic con­sumers or of two oil, one pieces one live or two fourth of by tomato, the eggs, a day. kilo and a They small of so fish on. buy amount or For a the round. same Ta­ga­log-speak­ing thing the next it is day, called week, “tingi month tingi”. and They a whole re­peat year the They small sa­chets Most buy bottles of and Filipino soap of sell and vine­gar, en­trepreneur­s a sham­poo, pack a of liter cig­a­rettes, a of small are ga­so­line, also pack half small sa­chets a of can candy, re­tail­ers. of of oil, cof­fee, a few few pieces sup­plies, Most of a foil-wrapped Filipino packet fam­i­lies of e-load. junk have food, also a small the lik­ing amount for of eat­ing school in small small and so amounts; snack, on. They small small end din­ner, up break­fast, eat­ing evening sev­eral small snack, snack, times midnight small a day, lunch, snack, yet spend­ing On the so mat­ter much ef­fort of health, and money most Filipinos earn­ing are it. not only self-styled piece of parac­eta­mol, doc­tors; ev­ery­time as­pirin, they among feel others not well, from they a nearby buy a store In also pol­i­tics, sell­ing the tingi-tingi most ex­cit­ing medicines. and stake-tak­ing for most Filipinos, both the po­lit­i­cally con­scious and spon­ta­neous, are the petty pol­i­tics in the barangay, or purok; they don’t care much what is in re­gion or prov­ince. The lo­cal, the nearer, the bet­ter for them to get money to live an­other day. It looks like we are an an­nex ter­ri­tory of the myth­i­cal Lil­liput, an is­land of small peo­ple with small ways and small dreams. In agri­cul­ture, most Filipino farm­ers have small plots and en­gage in monocrop-farm­ing for a crop­ping sea­son, and re­peat the same for next sea­son. The well-off ones have a carabao or a cow; those who can take out loans have one small trac­tor, a small thresher, a small wa­ter pump­ing sys­tem.

In all of these, the amount of ef­fort most Filipinos spend seems out of pro­por­tion for the re­turn they get.

If we cite more ex­am­ples, we can sim­ply say that in terms of la­bor and skills, Filipinos are prob­a­bly the most skill­ful, creative, in­ge­nious and la­bo­ri­ous in the world. Yet still not earn­ing enough.

Most Filipino re­tail­ers are open at six in the morn­ing; others, much ear­lier. They op­er­ate till the wee hours of the day, and prac­ti­cally have no week­end. In south­ern countries like Europe and North Amer­ica, the busi­ness sec­tor is dead by six in the evening, and so the town or city. They have shorter work­ing day, and prac­ti­cally go to long sleep on week­ends.

This con­tra­dicts the Span­ish colo­nial rulers who once charged that most Filipinos are in­do­lent.

Cer­tainly, Filipinos are not. They only work more but make less. Why? Is it in the mind­set or the so­cial con­di­tion? It is in both.

We have been cul­tured by our colo­nial rulers to live by the lit­tle and as­pire small.

Our so­cial con­di­tion makes most of us live small; buy small, sell small; buy small, eat small; live in a small house; aim small and try small; think small and do small—but we work for more. With lit­tle re­sources we can only do so much.

Mil­lions of us are in this con­di­tion. We de­plore this but be­cause we don’t have much of op­tion we are forced to be so. In the process, we de­velop the lik­ing and the think­ing for it even if we hate it.

It is this mind­set of small­ness and our so­cial con­di­tion that makes us the slaves of the few and big, the mo­nop­o­lists.

If we want to rise from small­ness and be­come big we must free the mind­set that shack­les us and make use of our tal­ents and great la­bor power to strive to be­come, not just big, but great.

If we take the les­sons of the Lil­liputians, when all small peo­ple liv­ing in their small way unite and cast away their mind­set of small­ness and defy the con­di­tions, they be­come big and great.

There is big­ness and greatness in small­ness, so said the great English writer, philoso­pher and econ­o­mist, E.F. Schu­macher, the au­thor of “Small is Beau­ti­ful.”

We must ap­pre­ci­ate the Filipinos’ pen­chant for small­ness be­cause it is the world we know. But let it be the start­ing point in en­abling us to know the big­ger world by help­ing others think big, as­pire big, do big, and change the world.

The great Ger­man sci­en­tist and so­cial thinker Al­bert Ein­stein has this piece of af­fir­ma­tion, “when our circle of knowl­edge and mind­set ex­pand, so does the cir­cum­fer­ence of dark­ness sur­round­ing it.”

A par­al­lel les­son in this re­gard can be taken no less from the Chris­tian Bi­ble, in the Para­ble of the Ser­vants and the Tal­ents: for him who has, more shall be given; but from him who has not, even the lit­tle he has shall be taken away.*

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