It is with great interest that I’ve observed how Filipinos have come to accept that this country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural and that the name Filipino does not anymore mean Tagalog or Manilenyo or Kristyano.
Thanks to the long and hard efforts of those people who have struggled to increase our level of cultural sensitivity that we now learn to accept each of our culture’s peculiarities. It won’t be long before we can live peacefully and without malice or prejudice with our neigbor’s differences.
Sadly, there are still few unenlightened souls who have been left out to continue living their lives in the Medieval period, and they are the real barbarians in today’s postmodern society. They are not aware that the cultural divide between Christians and non-Christians, the Manilenyo and probinsyano, the Tagalog and the Bisaya have been torn open. Whether the tear is narrow or wide, it does not matter, as long as we consciously make it our own individual responsibility to keep it open for the rest of our lives. As long as we respect ourselves and other people, we can all live in peace and harmony.
This is my reflection on the ocassion of the celebration of the holy month of Ramadan by our Islamic brethrens. On my way to work last week, I noticed streamers along Sucat Road in Parañaque and Roxas Boulevard in Manila that thoughtfully convey messages of solidarity in the celebration of the Ramadan. Only in 2001 and for the first time in our nation’s history, the government has included Eid-Al Fitr (or day commemorating the end of Ramadan) as a national public holiday although PGMA did not send any official message in this year’s Ramadan, in stark contrast to US President’s Barack Obama’s powerful unity message to all Islamic nations.
These are small gestures that hopefully, and in the long run will build lasting cultural understanding among all Filipinos (and all citizens of the world), embracing and celebrating our diversity as peoples of Christian, Lumad and Muslim orientations.
To all our Muslim brothers and sisters, a joyous and meaningful celebration!