“The Philippines is my home! Auntie’s home is in Bicol.”

 

The whole time the entire brood was in Singapore for a three-week furlough, my four-year-old-Orvik, kept insisting and reminding us we were strangers in this foreign land.
“ I want to see Len-len and go to Market-market.” Len-len is his pint-sized neighbor-friend who practically grew up squabbling and kissing up with him.
“But Mom, I like it here. See, it’s very clean. I don’t see any popoo along the roads, unlike in the Philippines. And people here mind their own business. They don’t mess up with other people’s lives,” Rovik, my eldest butted in. “ I think it’s a good place to live in, and well, study…” he continued, gritting his green-braced teeth as if to emphasize his point.
It seems my two boys hold conflicting views about their stay in this cosmopolitan country. The younger of course was just being honest about what what he missed, ditto with the older one who can now compare the disparity between Sing and Phil in terms of infrastructure, governance, discipline and general attitude of people.

 

Well, what have you? We are indeed going to the dogs, with the way things are back home. Everytime I open yahoo Phil, I get bombarded with news that further sink my heart and drain whatever hope I hold for my beloved country. Dirty politics is the name of the game. Tragedies hit headlines, with precious lives wasted and thrusted to oblivion. With millions scrambling on their grimy feet, grabbing whatever work available to survive, leaders do nothing but satiate their bloated bellies and engage in shameless mud-slinging sprees.

 

Gosh, it took me a three-hour plane ride from Clark to this huge city-park to realize I wasted 14 years cozying up in our little haven which turned out to be demon-infested. Had it not been for the unfortunate incident our fam experienced back home, I would not have insisted on hopping unto the next available flight just to free our tortured minds, even for a short time, from our hideous experience. “For we battle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” We needed to rest our battered souls this time.
Singapura. What do I remember about you while my voice joined the chorus of SSCS grade schoolers harping praises for Marcos? “Ferdinand E Marcos, mabunying pangulo, magaling na lider ng bayang Pilipino,” these lyrics are still as vivid to me as a noon day sun. While our young minds were pumped in with laudable achievements of the late strongman who turned out to be as vile as he could be, I remember being taught that Singapore was trailing behind our country in terms of economic growth. We were next to Japan, I was told. Other ASEAN nations coasted along, but in terms of growth potential, our beloved land held so much promise. What happened now? We are choking and coughing up the dust left behind by our neighbors. We were completely overtaken, thanks to a leadership gone haywire. Like bulls in a china shop, our leaders focused their myopic vision and warped thorns on every available resource they could play with at arms length. Crazy. There’s only one word that has sucked into their system—greed, with a capital G.

 

This city-park? What it is now is a by-product not of genius minds (of which the Philippines is not wanting) but of disciplined people with genuine desire to change a step at a time. Political will and discipline—these are prevailing attitudes that have made this place boom and zoom as a top economic hub in Asia. True it lacks natural resources, but it has tapped to the fullest its human resources—who with their creativity, were able to transform the country into what it is now– a sight to behold and an apt place to live, work and play.