Culture of thieves-A A +A
I have issues
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
BAYANIHAN, a practice often over marketed but rarely seen and practiced nowadays among Filipinos, it is epitomized by a group of people carrying a “kubo,” (nipa hut) a sight compelling enough to teach us that no object is too big a burden when faced collectively, it is visually appealing, and it channels all that feel good environment that we often associate with Filipino warmth and culture, but are we really still practicing Bayanihan? Do we self sacrifice for the good of others? As we toil and lift the weight of a house which is not our own? Can we really say this is a totemic Filipino virtue?
In the recent debacle on the case of photography plagiarism done by a “respected” University of the Philippines graduate, I chanced upon a conversation on social media as regards plagiarist practices and piracy, a comment from a foreigner struck a chord to my heart, he said that we Filipinos endorse this culture of piracy.
What?! I gasped! An instant kneejerk reaction that moved me to write retaliation against this foreigner, I said to myself that he has no right to insult us, and has no right to call us a country of piracy endorsing folks, it’s as close to calling all people thieves. But my kneejerk reaction was only a spurt, as the aesthetic Filipino pride subsided I realized that I had to reflect over the reality of his statement.
Do we as a people really endorse piracy in our culture? I guess the sad reality is we kind of really do, think about it, there is a huge tolerance for pirated products in the country, and often purchases of it just don’t come in value of the exponentially reduced price, but this celebrated feeling afterward that we were able to cheat off a bigger expense, that we got ahead over people who would have had to wait for a few more weeks to see it in the cinema, or those who might have paid a few hundreds more over we have.
The biggest driving force for piracy consumption in the country I think isn’t price, its PRIDE, pride in the aspect that we are getting ahead, that as people we revel in shortcuts, in convenience, in making sure we are always one step ahead over other people. You want more examples? Let’s go with driving, quite rarely are our roads really compliant with traffic rules, Filipino drivers would wriggle out a way to find loopholes in traffic, never falling in line, always overtaking, the list I bet can go on.
This is why, although It is rightful for us to see a plagiarist in Solis, his actions, regardless are to be condemned, he stole property and claimed it his own, he reaped what he did not toil. But as a people we often forget that his actions are a mere reflection of who we are, before we cast the first stone, I hope that we don’t just shatter his grimaced reflection, that we intend to cast along condemnation to our actions as well.
Plagiarism is just another term for stealing, piracy is another term for stealing, we call it many things, but we are thieves in our own little ways, let’s not keep it that way.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 26, 2013.