manila_traffic1I love the Philippines. I love my culture. I thank God for making me a Filipino. However, I want to critique one aspect of our culture.

I don’t know how and when this started, but I have observed that we, Filipinos, have a knack for making bad things worse.

Take the traffic situation in our country, for example. I’ve been to many countries already and have seen how the growing number of vehicles on the road could cause traffic problems. So, traffic woes are not unique to the Philippines. The difference is that, in other countries, drivers stay in their lanes and follow traffic signs and rules. Traffic could be slow, but it is moving and is orderly. In our country, however, drivers behave like water–they find every crack and crevice in order to get ahead of other motorists. Passengers in public vehicles want to get off anywhere they want. When it rains or after 5:00PM many traffic enforcers disappear. The result is a horrendous traffic jam everyday. Can you believe that it takes me one hour to drive from our house to my office, a distance of only eight kilometers? That’s why a lawyer-friend of mine said that Manila traffic is not a nightmare–nightmares end, but Manila traffic doesn’t!

Another example is corruption in government. There is corruption in other countries too. The difference is, according to a congressman-friend of mine, corruption in the Philippines is vertical (from superiors to subordinates), horizontal (among peers), and generational (perpetuated by political dynasties).

What blows my mind is that when Filipinos leave the country, they demonstrate extraordinary discipline in their host countries. In fact, we don’t have to look far. Did you notice that when Filipinos are within the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), they obey the traffic rules? It’s like you’re in a different country out there! What makes SBMA effective in enforcing traffic rules and behavior?

How do we get rid of our culture’s knack for making bad things worse? How do we replace it with a culture of discipline, patience, excellence and eliminate, if not drastically reduce, our sense of entitlement? Our president tried with his “Walang wang-wang” and “Tuwid na Daan” slogans. What else can we do? Please share your ideas.

Meanwhile, consider what the Bible says and see how we can apply this in our daily lives:

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10 NIV).

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One thought on “Our Knack for Making Bad Things Worse

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