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Thursday, October 6, 2022

How CoVid-19 pandemic changed the social consciousness of the Filipino

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Mike Anyayahan
Mike Anyayahan is a philosophy blogger, activist, and freelance writer. He studied AB Philosophy at PUP Sta. Mesa. He is married with two children. Currently, he lives in Iloilo City.

Gone are the days when we think that we Filipinos are resilient, happy, and compassionate. With the advent of the CoVid-19 pandemic, such Filipino spirit is seemingly disappearing. In fact, it is slowly dying.

Can we still consider ourselves as happy people? Now that everything is getting worse, are we truly resilient? What about our compassion? Do we still help the poor and the needy?

In terms of resilience, this can be measured not by how we solve our problems but by how we welcome them. In the past, we would simply tell ourselves to be strong and to be patient whenever a crisis came. Nowadays, we become more anxious and paranoid instead.

Both critics and supporters of the government have succumbed to such anxiety and paranoia. The former is becoming more and more impatient with the government; the latter is becoming more and more impatient with criticism.

Our tolerance level is now almost zero. Every little thing is now a big deal for us. The pandemic has taught us to worry and even to panic. We have become too sensitive to every piece of information.

As a result, almost all people from different walks of life are getting themselves involved in endless debates and arguments across the net. And instead of exchanging their ideas, they exchange their emotions; hence, we Filipinos are no longer emotionally strong.

This makes me doubt whether or not we are sincerely having fun when we still joke around amidst our misery. In the past, we would only laugh at every problem. Today, there is an obvious pain behind our laughter. The joy in our face has turned into sarcasm.

Memes have become our mask to hide our emotional baggage or “hugot” as we call it in Tagalog. Although we make fun using “Tiktok,” our desire to have fun reflects our need to become happy. If we need it badly, it means that we don’t have it. Basically, we only need something when we are lacking.

What about compassion? In the past, we knew ourselves to be compassionate. This is why we have the term “bayanihan.” For us, bayanihan is the result of our deep concern for the needy. We used to empathize with the poor and to become friends with our enemies in times of crisis.

Nowadays, we curse each other. In fact, today is the era where the poorest of the poor are being demonized and criticized for being lazy and dependent. They are the ones being beaten now by the police much more easily than those violators who are far more well off.

Moreover, frontliners, who are supposed to be honored and appreciated are now being persecuted and discriminated against. The only people who care for us in this time of pandemic are the ones being treated like criminals.

Instead of bayanihan, the culture of violence is becoming more predominant. Even those who are very religious are now shouting for the death penalty and are wishing for some people to be killed or be brutally punished.

Stupidity is just normal in every society. However, we Filipinos today are more stupid than ever before. And it happens just in time we are getting beaten by this pandemic.

In other words, the CoViD-19 pandemic has turned the Filipinos from being happy and compassionate into anxious and blood-thirsty. [Pxxxt] I don’t know whether this applies only in the Philippines, or it also occurs around the world.

I am not also sure whether the culprit is the pandemic itself or the government’s response to the pandemic, but I am sure that both of them are big contributors to the growing stupidity among the Filipinos.

The pandemic does not only reveal the weakness of the government but also the people who depend on it. We are too dependent on power. So when the powerful become powerless in the middle of a crisis, we become vulnerable.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the suicide rate in the Philippines shoots up soon. Most people are now depressed. It’s only a matter of time we will lose control of ourselves.

The pandemic has caused serious trouble on our mental health. We Filipinos are now like a child crying in the middle of the rain, helpless away from his lost parents. We are no longer one big happy family.

We have already lost the gift of our history. Today, the Filipino spirit is slowly taking off the Philippines toward Mars and beyond.

Nevertheless, all we can do is to embrace such changes; for they will unfold some further changes that can bring the country to a much better condition. We can change our society not by trying to contain the course of events but by preparing ourselves for the eventual accelerated rate of change in the country.

The new normal in our living condition creates a new normal in the way we think and feel. Therefore, we can heal our anxiety and paranoia by simply going back to reality, by becoming authentic, by not anymore faking each other, by not anymore being fooled by anyone.

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