Together, we can do it…
Posted by butalidnl on 20 October 2009
This post is my entry for the Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards 2009.
There were only 60 of them. Sixty young men and women were sent abroad by the Japanese government in 1871, to learn from Europe and America in order to help Japan modernize. Japan had then just emerged from 265 years of self-imposed isolation. They brought home a wealth of knowledge from the West, laying the foundation for the present Japan – an economic giant in the world.
They were only 60. The Japanese experience shows what can be achieved when a country’s citizens go abroad and learn things that can be adapted and applied in their home country. Of the 60 who went, many became government officials who took charge of various parts of the modernization efforts.
We are with our millions. The Philippines has sent many of us to foreign shores, to work and earn money for our families back home. And we have done this – remitting billions of dollars that keep our country’s economy afloat, even vibrant. But this is not the only thing that we send home. We send home values, insights, and a view of the world that Filipinos could not get by just watching foreign films and reading textbooks.
A wise consular official once told Filipinos abroad to “Experience your host country.” It would be a pity to have spent many years in a foreign land, and not have learned that country’s language, seen its cultural heritage, or learned from its practices and values. We would certainly enrich ourselves in all sorts of ways, if we fully “experience” our host countries. At the same time, we are contributing to the wealth of knowledge gathered by all Filipinos who had gone out and experienced the world.
We Overseas Filipinos bring back pieces of our host countries constantly – when we go home, but also while still abroad, through our letters, e-mails, social networking site postings, blogs. Little by little, the lessons from other countries are seeping through Philippine society. With millions of us abroad, the process is unstoppable.
We can speed up this process by being more conscious in learning what we can from the countries where we are. We can be more conscious in sharing with our kababayans back home about what we learn. It does not matter what country we find ourselves in – all countries have some things we can learn from. It does not matter what jobs we do abroad – all of us have something to contribute from our experiences.
Together we can do it. Our millions will become a force that will inevitably help make the Philippines into a developed country in a matter of decades. This is entirely realistic. After all, others had done this before. It is now our turn…
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