The Persistence of Myth. Conrado de Quiros draws an intensely provocative parallel between the masses’ support for a fake hero — and the middle classes’ support for a fake military training exercise. On one hand, you have the Philippines’ poor and uneducated believing the lie that the ousted Erap is their savior, the “one of them” who can lead them out of their poverty — while in truth he only filled his already-bulging pockets at their expense. On the other hand, you have the majority of Filipinos who welcome a new American incursion, under the impression that their former US colonists will lead them to a brighter tomorrow.
Now, as I sit here typing from a Washington flat, it’s pretty obvious that I don’t share De Quiros’ nationalistic ire. Yet at the same time, I think it is high time the Philippines stopped believing that either “pro-poor” populist presidents or intervention by international superpowers could lift them out of social quagmire. The agent of change must begin with the realization that there is a deep-seated cultural problem plaguing the Filipino psyche: a “memetic” problem, as Benign0 puts it. Again, I do not share all of his “Get Real”-isms; but I can tell you that even if Erap were to be reinstated as President, or even if the Philippines were granted Federal Statehood under the United States, neither event would lead to a change unless Filipinos, rich and poor alike, are liberated from their current mode of thought.