There is something really simple about cookies. I don’t know what it is – but i have always associated cookies with a wholesome homey feeling. Sometimes when you’re going through what initially seems to be a rough patch in the day, one trick is to heat some pieces of Nantucket Crispy Cookies. It always calms me down.
I read a lot these days. These days i tend to read comments more online. Whether they are YouTube comments, news article comments, blog comments or Facebook discussion posts. Most of them sadden me. People these days tend to resort to a lot of name-calling and mudslinging online. Perhaps it comes with the fact that most of us hide behind our online personas while lambasting people we don’t even know. It’s quite rare that you find criticisms online that are written and done objectively and with professional courtesy. But i guess, people have a tendency to become emotional about a lot of things. With all the effort we put into educating ourselves all over the world and the premium we put towards a good education, it is quite strange how we human beings still resort to the most inane and low comments towards our fellowmen. There is much cruelty among commentors online these days. Generalizations abound when it comes to race and religion, still. That i sometimes tend to question: where are these people drawing their thoughts from? Some bordering with cruel racist remarks that sometimes do not help the issue at hand.
Just the other day i was reading about an online CNN article about aid needed to be given to Pakistan victims. Out of 113 posted comments on the article, almost 60% of the comments said we should not even give a damn about the Pakistanis who lost their homes in flood. Most would comment that these people are Taliban sympathizers and that if one donates to the Pakistanis, chances are you’ll be told of being pro-Al Qaeda or are helping to prolong the war. But the saddest part of the comments are comments like these (not edited for spelling):
“Pakistan will always remain an UNGREATFUL and AGGRESIVE BEGGAR.” – MANGOOSE
“The West should give them nothing. Let the Muslims and Allah help them, or not. Then they will learn more about their brothers, their god, and the priorities of their Islamic terrorist government.” – BARRY77
“YEAH, Thank less PAKI- SATAN (Beggars)” – MANPC
” “A recent Pew Survey found nearly six of 10 Pakistanis view the United States as an enemy.” Starve slowly you filthy Muslims, guess who willed it? GOD.” – CORRECTABLE
“Where are you now Taliban, Alquaida, and radical idiotic MULLAHS AND RADICAL MUSLIMS… YOU HAVE SO MUCH WEALTH…WHY BEG THE WORLD ? WHY CANT YOU SUPPORT YOUR OWN PEOPLE…” – GONZAGO
They are just few of the many negative sentiments out there that espouse more hate than help. It resounds with miseducation and racial bigotry. But people need help – why are we debating about if they need it or not? Regardless of whether they are Muslims or Christians or are harboring terrorists, many of these people need help. Objectively, what needs to be talked about is how the donation and aid given to the Pakistanis truly reach the intended victims while limiting avenues of corruption from Pakistani government. Or to help alleviate process inefficiencies in the delivery of aid and support. So what if the Pakistanis view the US as an enemy? Does that justify withholding aid?
In the recent Manila Bus Hostage taking at the Quirino Grandstand, similar comments by Filipinos and other Asians border on racial intolerance on both sides. As a Filipino, i am shamed and saddened at the massive mishandling of the hostage crisis.
Truly, the incident was indicative of our country’s social malaise: poor internal governance, ineffective crisis management and preparedness, a fundamental lack of foreign relations accessibility and international diplomatic sensibilities, media ethics and common sense humanism. But as negative comments fly through the roof, people give in to their emotions: they become defensive, they resort to non sequitur personality-hinged statements, make generalized pronouncements bordering on racial slurs, name-calling and bigoted responses hurled at one other.
Our (in)ability to “listen” and “read through” what our Chinese and Hongkong brothers and sisters clamor for should be simple: they want justice and accountability for what happened. Forget about the other insulting words: we need to be able to show that as a country we are capable of making CONCRETE steps to ensure that what happened will be avoided at all cost. In as much as we can call on prayer and emotional fervor, we need to be able to execute on our words – not just for the government and the present administration – but for all Filipinos in our individual everyday duties and tasks.
And there is constructive criticism and dialogue. However, there is a side to us Filipinos that seem to shun from discussing REAL issues. We tend to dwell on personalities rather than accountabilities.
Everyone including the President is accountable for ensuring that the hostage taking, which had international repercussions, was concluded well. But people seem to think that if we say something remotely negative about the President that we are personally attacking the President. Whether this President possesses good character or not, or has a light personality to show a smile in times of tragedy, is not the issue nor the answer. Because saying those things are still emotionally-driven responses.
I may not have voted for Noynoy Aquino and i may not like this President but i do respect the Presidency. This does not mean, however, that as much as i do not like his policies and the way he is managing the country, that it is license for me to call him names. I have every right, though, as a taxpaying citizen of this country, to point to him what he may have done differently to improve on the situation. It is not a mere pointing out of what he and his administration had done wrong. But what could have been done differently. It points out to recommendations and solutions. Now, that is constructive criticism.
Criticism is a two-way street: the direction by which it is dispensed and the manner by which it is received. There are some of us who dispense criticism constructively but there are those who receive them defensively. People have to allow themselves to be re-educated by other people. It is a kind of intellectual tolerance that enriches the mind and the spirit. Staunchly holding on to an opinion can have its disadvantages because it blinds you from everything else. Opinions are good. But insights are way better than mere opinions. Insights are for the wise while opinions are only limited to the verbose.
The Chinese dispense insight sometimes in the form of a cookie. It is how you receive it that counts, not so much how it is dispensed.