Can you rely upon yourself?

It worked for me. And I know that working on our two feet will work for you two. Rely upon yourself.

The days of the pandemic are not yet over. I believe, and I am hoping that I am very wrong, that we have not yet seen the worst of it. While global leaders can show our politicians how to get things done, it seems that leaders are still playing cards in the dark. We are all losing.

Meanwhile, people are waiting for the President to do something that resembles a real solution.

Not the typical ones that many traditional politicians do: allow tragedy to happen, then give people money to recover. That’s how they invest in “utang na loob.” They made it appear they are generous every time they fail to serve. We become indebted to them – and these politicians expect us to vote for them during election time. It has been a time-tested formula. Patronage makes poor leadership, but it gets politicians to perpetuate their hold of government posts.

In short, politicians trained Filipinos to depend on them for help. Many of our countrymen expect ayuda, but they don’t require our government to develop real solutions. The aids distributed by these government officials are international debts our children have to pay some years from now.

Most of them do not want us to be self-reliant.

Make them accountable, but…

I am fine making our government leaders accountable. Demand them to work for us. They are, after all, public servants and not tyrants.

(Our government officials are not our parents. I can only wish that my parents were well-educated and affluent. But I did not demand them to work for me.)

There is something that we can do even without waiting for our government leaders to do excellent work.

We can start to rely upon ourselves and stand on our two feet. We demand the government to serve us, but we work and live as if they won’t. Because even if we have the worst government, which is easy to believe given what we experience today, we can still bounce forward and thrive.

I was born during the Marcos years. Our education taught us to worship Marcos. I did not know what the government had to do for us. (Maybe, that’s why I did not demand excellent public service; I did not know what it is).

Rely upon yourself
Rely upon yourself.

Stand on your own two feet.

We were poor. At a very young age, each day, I go out to find ways to make money. We have to live. I peddle goods. If I earn more than a hundred, we have something to eat for a day or two.

I sold re-packed spices. Every day, I got to walk on my own two feet. I sell those to sari-sari stores from Antipolo to Teresa Rizal. I got to endure the heat of the burning sun and the unforgiving rain during stormy days.

I was a newspaper boy. I was a takatak boy. I was a candle peddler boy. I was a basurero. Yes, I was a boy who decided that since I could not always rely on people, I got to stand on my own two feet.

It worked. And I know that working on our two feet will continue to work.

Today, I demand our government leaders to do what’s best for the people. They’ve got to serve us. We pay them to serve us. (But I do perfectly understand why many of our people do not demand them to serve us well).

But I also know that I got to stand on my two feet. I find ways to feed my family. I find ways to help others. I find ways to achieve my dreams as if there is no pandemic. Early in my life, I learned that I must rely upon myself.

You did not get a well-structured essay today. But I hope I made my point clear.

Our government officials are paid public servants. We demand them to serve us. But we have to rely on ourselves. We have the power to make our lives better. We can walk on our two feet.

Take the lead. Be the first follower.

Rely upon yourself. – Buddha

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