may isang ‘kano, hapon, at pinoy…

that’s how we usually start off those pinoy vs. other countries jokes. mapa-green or just plain funny jokes, madami tayong jokes na ganito. and in the end, pinoy ang nananalo.

but in reality, this is not the case — this time around, the japanese have come out winners. something our parish priest revealed to us last Sunday.

with hurricane Katrina, looting was the ‘natural’ thing for people to do because it was all about survival, your family, your kids, your wife, your mother. when Typhoon Ondoy came to the Philippines, we first saw the heroism of the Filipino… i felt a certain level of pride hearing the news about a boy who came back to save lives until he was too tired to save himself, and a judge who owned a jetski, who could just sit comfortably at home and listen to the news, but went out, drove out and rescued people affected by the flood. i think i even posted a good idea for a shirt that i saw online. (it eventually did :))

but the Filipino failed afterwards. people in evacuation centers, as soon as the relief trucks came, would literally attack it ferociously because they fear that they would not have some left for their families. “baka malamangan pa ng iba.” that’s the sad mentality about the Pinoy “hero.”

and here comes Japan. a country that hit the jackpot; it got a 1-2-3 punch in disasters and yet what shone the most was their discipline and their sense of community. people lined up in the train station. people waited in line inside the supermarkets, picked up fallen objects after the quake. yes, there could have been looting but it wasn’t the first thing on people’s minds. how can a society be so disciplined in the face of disaster?

hay, sayang. we started good with Ondoy. i hope that when we pit ourselves against these two countries again, we’ll come out victorious. and that’s not a joke.