On my way home this morning, something happened which brought me to a deep realization. An old couple with their daughter (at her early 20′s, I guess) rode the jeepney I’m in. The mother settled already and it’s the old man’s turn to step inside. But the jeep moved and the man almost lost balance. Good thing that the daughter was assisting her father who, I realized, cannot walk properly. He has a walking stick for support.
Since I’m sitting at the corner-most seat of the jeep (near the opening), I was told to move and so I did. Ending, I was seated in between the woman and her husband, in front of their daughter.
Where’s the story? Here: Due to what happened, the old woman’s fury erupted. She started shouting at the driver. There were many what-ifs and reasonings. She said that the driver shouldn’t have let them ride, in the first place. She said there should be a sign in the jeepney saying ‘OLD PEOPLE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO RIDE.’
The driver was laughing it all off. I knew from his look that he did not mean it. But the woman continued talking loud (so loud that I began to cover my ears despite their daughter seeing me). Manong driver talked back, he said ‘BAWAL HO KASI MAGSAKAY DON. NAKAHINTO LANG HO AKO KAYA NAKASAKAY KAYO PERO BAWAL HO DON.‘ (It’s not a loading area. I was just stopped by traffic that’s why you were able to get in.) This is funny because after hearing this, the woman shouted again (AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS, AND NEAR MY FUCKING EAR >_<) ‘BAKIT KA NAGAGALIT???’ (Why are you angry???) Thus, the driver got fed up and stopped the jeepney, probably signalling the family to get off.
That fueled the woman’s anger more. She challenged the driver fiercely to stop it in the police station and then, I heard the most ridiculous statement in the drama: “KUNG MAKIKITA NG MGA TRAFFIC ENFORCERS NA MATANDA ANG SASAKAY, HINDI NA MAGAGALIT YAN!” (If the traffic enforcers would see that it’s old people that are riding the jeepney, they wouldn’t be angry anymore.) The man said it, and I thought: ‘NOW THIS IS THE REASON WHY THE PHILIPPINES REMAIN TO BE A POOR COUNTRY.’
You see, our culture itself is the main reason why we cannot grow as a country. Our traditions restrict us to move and be different. Whatever we do, we think that we should take into consideration the values started and taught by our ancestors. We are tied to it. Our lives are run by it.
But when will we realize that people change and some of the Filipino traditions and cultures are no longer applicable?
I’m not being subversive, but it’s about time that we, Filipinos, realize how much of ourselves are being sacrificed. The old man’s statement this morning, isn’t it too much? We’ve been constantly saying that there’s no one above the law in the Philippines but the couple’s belief has just shamed that principle.
Sure, we can still practice being nice to old people. But does that make them exempted from committing mistakes?
The old couple is just a representation of a large number of Filipinos. I know a lot more others who think the same way. Because they’re old, they have to be special. Because they’re kids, they have to be taken care of. Because they’re rich, they have to be respected. Because they’re poor, they have to be shamed. And you ask why the Philippines is left behind?
Balance. That’s the secret. If you want to be respected, be respectable. Don’t use your identity, age or status to put things in your favor.
And please, people, don’t make a fuss in public. It’s demeaning and embarrassing.