Why do Filipinos cling so much to the status quo?
This query started with some personal observations, to be accentuated by national issues.
My aunt, no longer loved by my uncle, would still not let go of the marriage – even when my uncle already has a second family. To her, the surname of my uncle was a status quo symbol – the surname commands respect in their province. Why? Because it was believed that the surname owns hectares upon hectares of land. Land does become a status quo symbol. Little does my aunt know that the land already has multitude of issues connected to it – unpaid taxes and barely productive crops.
While waiting for the shuttle bus with my co-workers, the conversation drifted to the latest release of Havaianas flip-flops – a white slipper with the words Havaianas in gold letters. It costs something like Php1300 according to them. What?!? Why pay so much for just a pair of slippers when you could already buy quality shoes for the same amount? I don’t understand the fuss over this brand of slippers. I mean they are basically the same as any other cheaper brands. Why do people buy them? I could only think of one answer: status quo.
This led me to think about Starbucks – the overly popular coffee shop to coffee addicts and to anyone who wishes just to be seen and considered in. A cup of coffee costs more than a normal lunch fare. Who, in their right mind, would spend a hundred pesos for just coffee? Well apparently, a lot of people may be simply rich or out of their minds considering the popularity of Starbucks. Starbucks has become so popular that it has mushroomed all over the city (Manila and other prominent cities, not Naga City), sometimes only within a few meters of each other. And at their wake, other coffee shops join in the bandwagon, too. There’s Gloria Jeans and Seattle’s Best and in Naga City, KopiRoti, Bean Bag and StarMark. And why do people drink coffee worth a complete meal, again, the only answer I could think of: status quo.
After GMA’s forage at two expensive New York restaurants, spending huge sums of money for a meal that could have fed hundreds of starving constituents, she now dreams of a jet plane. After all these years in power, why just now? Maybe she hopes she won’t leave. Yet still, why would she ev en fathom that she can have a jet plane? Much less desire it? She is president after all, of a third world country and do presidents of struggling nations like ours have personal jet planes? I think not. I could only think of one answer to her desire. You guessed it right: Status quo.
Just what is status quo? According to the ever reliable source, Wikipedia, status quo is a Latin term meaning the “state in which”. It means you want to keep things the way they are. In the Philippine society context, living in a status quo is tantamount to maintaining a certain lifestyle somehow designed to be admired by others.
Now there is nothing really wrong with wanting hectares of land, a pair of Havaianas, a cup of expensive coffee or a personal jet plane. The only question that remains to be considered is: WHY? Why do you want to cling to something that is whisking away from you? Why do you want to spend unbelievable huge sums in something that you could have for a cheaper price and the same quality? Why do you want a personal service when the public one works fine? Why?
If you could honestly say that it is for the sake of experience, or for the sake of extravagant gratification, then go ahead – it’s your money anyways. That’s the cue. Make sure it’s YOUR money, not anyone else’s. And make sure you don’t aggravate anyone but yourself when you decide your capriciousness – if it can be called such, was unheeded for.
I don’t have anything against people who buy and own Havaianas or drink coffee in Starbucks. I do not own any pair of Havaianas, not being a fan of flip-flops but I have drunk my own share of Starbucks coffee – twice as a treat by someone and once as a treat by myself. I’ve also patronized some other less popular coffee shops for their solitude. I have, however, something against GMA for wanting or desiring, even expressing the desire, for a personal jet plane. I do not care about my aunt’s intentions though; let her discover for herself the numerous complications of the land she appears to desire so much.