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‘Pretentious’ display of nationalism

04:01 AM January 20, 2020

This refers to the editorial “Unfolding crisis” (1/15/20).

It is now a common narrative that national unity comes to the fore when we are faced with natural disasters. But this, in my view, is an artificial response — a pretentious, even scandalous, display of nationalism because it is only good during crises. I consider this a case of unrealistic optimism, for after the crisis, we regress to our most habituated ways of responding — to sit complacently. Our sense of national unity should be a daily habit and should find its deep roots in our culture.

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Akin to optimism is opportunism during disasters. We have the propensity to make sick jokes, which pop up in the immediate aftermath of catastrophe. During disasters, news sensationalism, rumor-mongering, unverified tales and offensive gags quickly thrive in the country and on social media. It may be a coping mechanism, but I consider it an unhealthy routine to find the suffering of others funny.

Disasters such as the Taal volcanic eruption in Batangas should provide us both optimism and opportunism — that is, for us to be optimistic that we can rebuild the lives of the evacuees and victims, and the opportunity for us to show our “bayanihan” spirit without much fanfare and political undertones.

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REGINALD B. TAMAYO
Assistant City Council Secretary
Marikina City

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TAGS: Bayanihan, disasters, letters, National Unity, Reginald B. Tamayo
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