The Short-term Memory of Filipinos

Today, the Filipinos' short term memory is not just merely an occasional tendency but a way of life.

Several episodes of heroism have either been told or written over the Philippines' five centuries of existence. However, Filipinos seem to have a deficient short-term memory on the valuable lessons borne out of these struggles despite constant education and availability of historical information.

Many of the country’s existing problems are brought about by short-term memory of Filipinos. The Filipinos' short-term memory has perpetuated the stay in power of thieves, feudal clans, and oppressive families who have abused our country's resources and our people. The Filipinos' short-term memory has also paved the way for many self-serving individuals and groups to exploit the environment that was preserved and protected by many of our ancestors and forbearers, in favor of commercial and personal interests. The Filipinos' short term memory has led many to choose convenient paths instead of taking the difficult but ethical road to success.

History should have been our best teacher. The lessons of the past should have been our ticket to a more progressive present. However, we failed to capitalize on the victories and opportunities afforded by these experiences due to our short-term memory. As a result, we remain growth-laggard and mired in the depths of poverty.

Today, the Filipinos' short term memory is not just merely an occasional tendency but a way of life.

In the streets of Manila, the lack of discipline is ever so apparent. Despite numerous daily reports of severe road accidents due to carelessness, some drivers continue to vehemently violate simple rules and cut corners for personal convenience. As a result, traffic gets worse not only due to vehicular volume but also because of reckless accidents owing to bad driving habits.

During elections, people still vote on the basis of popularity and name recall. A vast majority of Filipinos remain blind to promises of biblical proportions and guarantees of heaven on earth. Many are still awed by catch phrases, advertisements and promotional gimmicks. These electoral decisions are often made with utter disregard for the history of sins and crimes committed by these deceitful politicians against our country and people. In the end, we are fooled for entrusting our country’s fate to the same people who betrayed the nation’s interests in the past.

These realities only goes to show that our short-term memory has reached notorious levels and has create negative impacts to our society. Sadly, there is no antidote to this other than collective reflection and resolve.

We, Filipinos, need to realize that freedom and development comes with personal sacrifice. We must neither obliterate nor forsake our sense of nationalism in favor of our personal interests.  We must remember that forgetting does not come along with forgiving.

In our pursuit of development, our memory should remain intact because it reminds us of the lessons, principles and values that made us winners in the past. These are the same elements that will enable us to succeed in the present and future.

About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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