Think of it as a journey. We don’t have to all start at a single point. And, hey, we don’t even have to agree on the endpoint either. But if enough of us shower each other with goodwill and face the road, the ups and downs of it, with good humor and cheer, then it will be a trip worth living for.
For all the paid apostles of #itsmorefuninthephilippines — nothing wrong with getting paid for your effort! — it is lawyer Ted Te, who best articulates the moxie that will really make our new tourism slogan soar. Here’s Ted:
“In a way that perhaps those behind the line could not hope to imagine: it is the invitation to start a conversation with ourselves and those outside the Philippines; it is the opening of an invitation without an RSVP.
It is also a challenge to us, Filipinos, to look into ourselves, as citizens, as a people, as a culture, as a nation–to look at why, despite government inefficiency and corruption, stinky toilets and bad airports, mind-numbing traffic, poverty, homelessness, landlessness and, for some, hopelessness, it is more fun in the Philippines.
For me, it is our SMILES–those that start and end with our eyes. It is our HUMOR–that which allows us to giggle, snicker, snort, or belly-laugh our way through everything the universe may throw at us (and it has thrown a lot our way). It is the SONGS that we sing–those which express our spirit and our soul; whether these be songs of protest, songs of hope, songs of love or even, or maybe especially, that song which inevitably ends videoke sessions anywhere in the Philippines, “My Way”, it is the way that we invest ourselves into the songs that we sing. It is our SPIRIT–that which starts and ends bloodless revolutions and endures stupid governments and allows us to carry the hope that one day we will have meaningful change by Filipinos for Filipinos everywhere in the world. It is our SOUL–that which weaves passion and compassion together with love of God, country and people.
It is all these together that makes the difference.
In the way that “Wow, Philippines!” started the conversation but never got to finish it, this new campaign attempts to jumpstart that conversation in the same vein and invites us, who know and love the Philippines, to complete the sentence. And, that’s part of the fun.”
That, girls and boys, is the best of the Filipino. Not just the humor, but the goodwill. And the GENUINE belief in our people. And trust; never forget trust.
Trust means opening ears and hearts, taking the extra step of trying to see where the other is coming from. Because once we start slapping people down for dissenting, it’s not just the end of fun but possibly the beginning of the end of democracy.
It is not tolerance for abuse that Ted espouses. It is not an invitation for us to be doormats. What he shows is the courage of belief in the rightness one one’s view. He trusts that we will all come together and talk and maybe disagree but have fun while we’re at it. And he needn’t bamboozle anyone just to prove his vision of fun is really fun.
So there are spoilsports? So what? The moment we allow people to spoil our fun, ayayayayay. Blow them a kiss. A wink. And sashay away in style.
And so, in honor of Ted’sTalk, here’s what I can do to show ItsMoreFuninThePhilippines:
1) Post a different smiling face everyday on my Facebook page and my Twitter account. It won’t just show itsmorefuninthephilippines; it will just make life more fun, period.
2) Say good morning/afternoon/evening to the people in the elevator, the guards at the office.
3) Always say please to anyone, to waiters, and salespeople and harried airport receptionists. And cops, never forget them.
4) And never forget to say, thank you!
5) Gently but firmly call out to people who break into lines, or people who litter. And make sure I don’t do the same!
6) Just say No to any hint of a bribe, even after waiting a gazillion hours in line. Aaaah, but also firmly call out government (and private) workers sleeping/chatting/manicuring/peddling on the job)
7) Encourage the organization and running of neighborhood libraries. Spare a few hundreds from book or shoe-shopping money every month to buy books for children who’d otherwise never get to open one. Volunteer an hour or two to monitor the library and read to them and just generally talk about life with the kids; god know what I’d learn from them. Rope in a friend and cousin a sibling and ask them to rope in the same number. Can you imagine how many people can help out? Can you imagine how many minds set free to dream?
8) Document the inspiring and the good. But never forgetting to document that which needs to be changed, too! The easiest way to end fun is by sweeping dirt under the carpet. It’ll get back at us. Always.
9) Praise where due. And fight for the things that matter.
10) Never take myself too seriously. Never. Ever. :)
And never forget that before we turn it to be a fun place for others, we have to make it fun for us.