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When love of country is questioned

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I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Living in the Netherlands for almost three years now, I will not deny the fact that I like it here. Just like what I´ve said before, the country is so well-organized that I have liked it the first time I landed. But that is not all. I like the openness, the liberal-yet-politemindedness of the people. I can go on and on but I will reserve that for another article. Probably, I have not stayed long enough to hate it, what with how other foreigners describe the Dutch. Perhaps, I have been wearing rose-colored glasses without knowing it. Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps.

This certain liking for the Netherlands has led the way to others thinking that I love the Netherlands more than my own country, the Philippines. There is a thin line between like and love, but even if I love it, I will not apologize. It has nowhere been written that you are a traitor if you love another country next to your own.

Just like it is not a sign of betrayal if you try to fit in a society you chose to live in, speak the language and get along fine with the residents there. Just like it is not a sign of betrayal if you choose to excel in another land, be useful to a social group catering not only to people of your country or carry a different passport to pursue your dreams.

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I hear many people say they love their country all the time. I read many people even write that in their statuses in social networking sites. But I wonder how many of them has really done something about this love. They are ready to wage war with other cultures most of the time because theirs is supposedly better and brighter. But their country cannot even count on them during national elections. Love is not less of a feeling just because you do not publicize it. It is good to hear a man say he loves his country but is it not more of a statement if you see it in the way he lives his life?

If we only measure our love of country by cooking and eating only local food, being friends with only our fellowman and speaking only our mother tongue, are we not ridiculing patriotism? If you say you love your country but also say you are much demoralized to take part in governance, to mean lazy to do so, does that not amount to lying?

Seeing the negatives next to the positives of what or whom you love does not mean that love is less. That only means that love is stronger and true, but not blind. Speaking a language next to your own is not a sign of betrayal. Even our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, who was famous for his words, ¨Ang hindi magmahal sa sariling wika ay higit pa sa mabaho at malansang isda (A man who does not love his own language is worse than a rotten fish)¨ was a polyglot, conversational in at least 10 languages. He wrote his novels in Spanish and exchanged correspondences with Ferdinand Blumentritt in German. He was linked with women from different parts of the world. I suppose he woed them in their own languages. But of course, if you are a patriot, I assume, you know this fact. Even at the time, what Rizal had in mind was getting the message across, effectively. And just like what a friend wrote, ¨how can you endorse?¨

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Yes, let it be known, that I love the Philippines. The land where I was born in and where my family still lives. But I do not have to bleed to prove that. I prefer to show my love by doing my share in times of crisis and participating in governance, in trying not to disgrace her and in promoting her to present and future visitors. You will still not hear me say that it is the greatest country in the world though, or the Filipinos, the brightest race. Because I do not believe that our abilities should be dictated by where we came from. I try, as much as possible, to shy away from generalizations. Besides, this superiority complex between and among nations has only caused the world division, wars and a holocaust.

I dare not question who loves his or her country more or less. But I certainly take offense if my own affections are looked down upon. And so I pose this question: if one man verbalizes his love for his wife every second of the day but turns her into a slave and even lies to her and another man does not say it all the time but is faithful and does not make his wife toil, who has true love in his heart? #

17 thoughts on “When love of country is questioned

  1. Maybe we should redefine ‘patriotism’. I have traveled to so many countries and have loved and seen the uniqueness of each. Better are those who recognize those unique qualities and use them for the betterment of their life in Philippines. As a matter of fact, one can excel in more than 1 country. There is now a concept of ‘globalization’. One should not be blinded and generalized that country 'A' is better than country 'B' in all aspects.

  2. gleng gleng chared! i wish i could read and write or just be conversant lang with a third language (the ilocano i picked up from my parents is very poor). how'd you do it?

  3. kudos chared. why go to a debate with other people about which country is better at this or that. it's just a matter of acceptance. some people or country are better than others, but that doesnt mean they are less of a country or people, right? i think that should i myself take a trip to scotland, or would be given a chance to live there. i would … Lees verderlove it very much indeed, BUT that does not diminish my love for my country — dagat ng basura and its trapo and all. however, my love for my country would not blind me to see its flaws. its better than seeing through rose-tinted glasses, donchathink?

  4. Very well said, my dear Chared! I truly applaud you for doing so well in integrating into Dutch society since, after all, you are now living there and are married to a Dutch citizen. How many times have I seen people who have chosen to live in another country and yet have REFUSED to integrate into their new country and thereby giving themselves a hard time; and denying themselves the chance of discovering another culture, widening their own world view and knowledge AND enriching the adopted country by their own cultural contributions to that society.

    I am truly glad you are not narrow-minded and parochial by insisting on only eating Filipino food, speaking only Filipino, and mingling only with fellow Filipinos. You are, after all, in another country! Even in the Philippines, how many times have I teased friends who, arriving in another faraway town, would immediately look for a Jollibee or an SM, thereby, denying themselves the joy of discovering local food and local markets.

    I also do know we loved eating in BOTH Filipino restaurants AND “foreign” cuisine places (Italian, Greek, Thai, Indian, etc etc etc) back in Manila. Food trip! … Lees verder

    I liked at least two points you raised in your note – about Rizal being a polyglot while exhorting his kababayans to love their country and the man who verbalizes his love to his wife yet treats her as a slave. Very astute observations.

    Of course, this is NOT to say that you have given up on being Pinay! Ikaw pa!! You are as Pinay as those living in the Philippines, nay, a better Pinay because you have shown you have the capacity for being a Pinay even away from the Philippines and making yourself a useful member of your adopted country and at the same time being a citizen of the world too. 🙂

  5. agree! agree! i myself appreciate other countries and also consider living outside the PH. When all of us says “SAN MIGUEL BEER” is the best beer in the world, i'd say let's try 'GUINESS”.

  6. Chared, bakit ba always AGREE ako sa yo hehehehe tumbok na tumbok mo palagi kung anong nasa isip at kalooban ko…. ang galing mo!

  7. Kudos to you, Chared! Well said … I cant agree more. Isa ka ngang tunay na “henya” sa panunulat. Now, I am asking myself .. “How much do I love my own country?” Kulit 'no?! 🙂

  8. Bravo Chared! I'm proud of you girl…

    In my opinion, love for your country is not measured by how often or how well you speak your own language, nor how often you take pride of what your country have. It is more important that you make your country proud of you & of what you do…

    Given the chance to visit, live & work in a foreign land, being … Lees verderable to write or speak foreign language…wow! these are all GOD's gifts…so woe to those who judged other people for using GOD's gifts…envy fills their hearts…they spent their precious time counting other fellow's blessings instead of their own…thus they are missing the chance to recognize what GOD has given them, what they can do to help others & what they can do to make their country proud of them.

  9. MABUHAY ka Chared! Articulate…You are bridging the gap in learning to speak Dutch not only for you and Mark but to everyone and by doing so…… nag level up ka na naman at ang mga Pilipino! Tower of Babel collapsed because of communication gap. Mwhaaaa…..

  10. Bravo!
    I am really proud of you! You've gone a long, long way….
    Kung may class pa tayo now, ikaw ang “Best in English!”, without any computation !
    Keep up the good work wherever you are.
    I publish mo kaya ito don sa editorial page ng Philippine Inquirer, iyung Young Blood…( I am not very sure kung young blood , pero nasa editorial page.)… Lees verder
    Good luck!
    Stay humble!

  11. Chared.. well done..well said. Hats off to you! You did an above and beyond job on this article.

    I’ve been here in the states for years now and the first thing that my friend told me when I first arrived here is to be cautious of my fellow kababayans who have the tendency to pull their fellow kababayans down. Crab mentality – that’s one of the worst characteristics that you can imagine. It is a reflection of the famous saying “we all like to see our friends get ahead, but not too far ahead”. I don’t know if it’s just a mere result of jealousy or enviousness that they do this, they just can’t stomach that some of their fellowmen will end up with a better life and opportunity than them. As much as I’m longing to be with my fellow Filipinos here, I choose not to MOST of the time. Have I offended my country because of this attitude? I don’t think so. I’m just trying to avoid the kind of people who I believe would try to suck me in or bring me down. It’s really sad that when you are in a foreign country you tend to trust more the foreigners than your kababayans. I have filipino friends here – pinipili ko nga lang.

    We choose to live in a foreign land. And so it’s natural for us to learn their language, their cultures, their likes and dislikes. For how can we communicate and mingle with them if we knew nothing about their language, they’re culture, if we don’t eat what they eat? How can we move forward and be able to fulfill our dreams and aspirations in life and make our country be proud of us if we just speak in our native tongue? I just don’t get it. I pity those “CLOSE-MINDED” individuals. Instead of finding things that they can do to improve their selves, they waste their time judging other people…. Lees verder

    If some people consider speaking a foreign language as a betrayal to your country and as a sign that you don’t love your country then that person is INSANE! If this is true then all Filipinos have betrayed their country because as far as I remember we have been learning and speaking English since we are young. Haven’t we? Dutch, German, Italian, Farsi, Polish, Spanish, English – they are all foreign language to us. And so before a person starts suggesting that you don’t love your country because you speak and write in Dutch, he/she better think twice.

  12. Agree ako kay Marites, i experience the same, but ako nalang nag adjust sa mentalidad ng ibang pinoy, kasi yung iba walang pinag-aralan, yun iba naman selos… saludo ako sa iyo Chared! Je bent heel snel ingeburgerd..thumbs up!Ik hou van Holland and mijn eigen land..

  13. Hi Chared.. Thanks for the comment in my journal and as promised, here's one from me. I think it's about time to let you know that you are one of my favorite writers. You inspired me to start writing again (after many years of keeping my thoughts to myself). I still would like to get your autograph for “Banyagang Pag-ibig”.

    About this article, I find it truly identifying. I think that quite a proportion of my networks back home are also starting to question my love of country. It's also very obvious how much I love the Netherlands and everything connected to it. But I also don't see the point of being limited to your own nationality aside from the legal facts and what not. We are citizens of the world. There is only one golden rule to being a dignified citizen of the world: respect and be respected. Other than that, it really doesn't matter where you choose to live, what languages you spoke and what lifestyle you have.

    To those people who are questioning your love of country, tell them that you definitely love your country more than them. How come? You are adding up at least one non-Filipino individual who appreciates the Philippines more than any other Filipinos. I'm talking about your husband, Mark, who adores the Philippines and the rest of your Dutch friends who became interested with the Philippines because of you. You are the satellite of the country where you were born, and you are doing a great job with it!

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