Friday August 17, 2018

Barrita: Happy Pinoys in the time of Tokhang

A SOCIAL Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from Dec. 3 to 6 last year showed 91 percent of Filipinos were “very/fairly happy” with life in general.

This was at the height of “Oplan Tokhang,” when bodies of slain drug suspects in the war against illegal drugs were piling up.

This only goes to show that Filipinos were still happy with life in general even in the time of Tokhang.


The survey showed 45 percent were very happy, while another 45 percent were fairly happy. Seven percent were “not very happy,” while only two percent were not happy at all.

Perhaps the respondents believed in the tourism department’s promo that “it’s more fun in the Philippines.”

Or perhaps Filipinos simply have a happy gene because we can even smile while saying our condolences during a wake.


But while we consider ourselves a happy people, the Philippines only ranks No. 72 in the Gross National Happiness (GNH) index in a study of 155 countries this year.

The GNH index is based on per capita gross domestic product (GDP), social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make choices, generosity and absence of corruption in government and business.

Isn’t it sad that our happiness as a people was not reflected in the GNH index?


What makes us happy? You might as well ask why Filipinos drink. Alejandro R. Roces, in “Filipinos are Mild Drinkers,” said Filipinos drink for only three good reasons. “We drink when we are very happy. We drink when we are very sad. And we drink for any other reason,” he said.

Look at ourselves. We have survived from a series of calamities, from typhoons to earthquakes, and even the dreaded Tokhang, but we Filipinos still managed to smile and laugh.

Perhaps we’re only hiding our sorrows and pain with a smile and a laugh.