April 12, 2011
While I was slowly walking behind my lola’s casquette in the traditional “hatid”, I saw signs at the sides looking for overseas workers. The big sign was looking for Domestic Helpers.
My lola was a Domestic Helper. She served different families in HongKong for more than 10 years. The sign reminded me of my lola so much. Also, boggling my mind that time was the fact that soon, I would be finishing my undergraduate study, and some of the people I know are planning to leave the country and find the greener pasture there.
Our media brand OFW’s as ‘Heroes of the New century’. Filipinos are forced to leave the country because they can not find living here. They are either unemployed or underemployed. They choose to leave the place where they built their memories, the place where most of their loved-ones stay, where they met their first love, where they learned most of their life lessons, where they learned their values. They are leaving the place they call “home”. All of this for a better living.
I saw the sacrifice of my lola on leaving her seven children to provide them good living. While she was taking care of the children of other families, she was not there to see the growth of her children. But then, what choice did she have? All for love, you would do anything.
On the other hand, are not the Filipinos staying here be branded as ‘Heroes’ also? I visualize teachers hiking the forests of our mountains to teach the unreached Filipinos. I see the workers who contribute to the GDP of the country. I see yuppies running the street at their best hopes and dreams to provide their families with good living. I see the policemen and the army wearing their best uniform in one motive to protect the country. I see the farmers harvesting the best corns and coffees available in our tables. I see construction workes providing modernization to our country. I see engineers and scientists in their relentless heart to know more and build our country. I see the social scientists, social workers, rural developers and journalists passionately devoting their time to their communities. I see Filipinos who continuously contribute to the growth of the country.
Who then deserves to be called ‘hero’? The ones who stay here or the people who work overseas? Who?
One suggestion, let us just call every working person a ‘hero’. Maybe a good idea, but the cheesiest idea. It just evens out the heroism to everyone.
But then? What is a hero? For simplicity, I would like to describe a hero as someone who ‘sacrifices his self will for the benefit of many’. No need to be brave and strong.
Instead of deciding who are to be called hero, I would like to suggest the people who are not qualified to be called hero.
They are the dirty people who make the most out of the people.