"I never dreamt the American dream," was my patent answer to persistent questions why I never left the Philippines for the USA or Canada or some other prosperous country when migrating was so easy back in the 1960s and 1970s.
But nearer the truth is it never occurred to me to leave.
I probably lacked the daring required for someone to leave warm home and hearth to venture to a foreign land where nothing is certain except cold strangers and colder winters. I probably lacked ambition, easily content with the tiny professional niche I managed to build here which brought me much in psychic income but little in material rewards beyond a small home and no-frills amenities. It must be the gift of shallowness, as in mababaw ang kaligayahan. I probably lacked foresight to think in terms of "next generations" and pro-actively secure a good life for my children and my children's children.
Could it be, on the other hand, that I define the good life a bit otherly than the Pinoy-everyman does?
Is it possible I have inherent faith in my country and people and by extension in my God. A God I cannot imagine --when pouring out His beneficence -- to distinguish between east and west and north and south and between white and yellow and brown and black.
This is a faith that is often severely tested by biting realities in this otherwise fair land -- including an economy that wouldn't take off, a body politic that refuses to mature, graft and corruption that have grown endemic.
And now comes the most acrid of acid tests – keeping faith with my people in the face of the most appalling calamity that has ever visited Jose Rizal’s “Eden lost” outside of World War II. A man-made calamity, it may be called -- but then how can we call them men , these creatures, these monsters and beasts and deviants that collectively and wittingly perpetrated the infamous Maguindanao massacre??!!
Two compelling questions for all of us to ponder: How in heaven’s name did these creatures think they could murder political enemies in numbers and get away with it? And how could a group of thinking adults have summoned the moral justification for inhumanity most foul?