Let us rise to greatness
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.*