Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Because We Don't Have Nice Things

Perhaps it is because I am generally unengaged in sociopolitical activities that I didn't really care much for the corruption in the country. Perhaps it is because people have lost hope in the promise of change that we let this slide. Perhaps it is because we have been so used to seeing just the bottom tiers of Maslow's hierarchy of needs that we write off the taxes that are imposed upon us as unavoidable losses.

After all, if we do have things like paved roads, transport systems and public school systems, doesn't it mean that our taxes are working for us after all? That is the problem with complacency, we have been born in such horrible conditions that we already see it as the norm, even if this isn't the case elsewhere in the world.

Cracked's David Wong puts it pretty well:

"But it's completely arbitrary -- if you had been born in Nigeria, your idea of what everyone "should" have would be quite different (for instance, it would not include broadband Internet access or air conditioning). And in fact, the Nigerian's ideal standard might look a lot like what everyone around you has right now."

However, when we are informed of the ten-billion peso (and that is just the tip of the iceberg) PDAF scandal involving a lot of big names in politics, we realize that even if we do not suffer famine, disease or civil war that millions of people are subjected to every day, we have every right to be angry.

We should have better things, but we don't - so we have a right to be angry.

Whenever our country is ravaged by storms every single year and our houses are flooded (or is threatened with such) because we 'do not have' enough time or budget for proper urban planning, we have the right to be angry.

Whenever we have to queue up every single day waiting for MRT trains (or whenever the train we ride on break down) or whenever we have to bear the traffic in EDSA, we have the right to be angry.

Whenever we can't buy that new phone or that fancy meal (or something we want for our loved ones) because we come up short even if we've been frugal, we have the right to be angry.

Whenever we are reminded that we pay for more than the value of the things we buy, we have the right to be angry.

Whenever we are mugged, robbed or suffer injustice because some elements of society cannot afford education and would resort to such despicable acts, we have the right to be angry.

Whenever we have a bumpy right on the way to work, we have the right to be angry.

Whenever trash collection isn't on time, we have the right to be angry.

Whenever we see street children try to grab food we bought from a store so they could bring it to their parents (who have no job) and an assload of siblings, we have the right to be angry.

We're not angry because these are obviously things that we can and have been living with for most, if not all, of our lives.

We're angry because these things shouldn't exist if those in power aren't consumed by greed. We're angry because we deserve and pay for something better, but we don't have it because a select few - most of whom we've trusted with our money - are hoarding it for themselves at our expense.

We're angry because we've been robbed, we know that we're being robbed (and it shows up in our payslip every payday) and we will be robbed in the foreseeable future and we can't do a goddamn thing about it.

Shit.

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