“It is said that the greatest fear is fear itself.” Former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said in presumable response to Jejomar Binay’s conflict with the COMELEC last Sunday. It is clear that Duterte is referring to the allegations against the former Makati City mayor.
But for me, this issue has something to do with our common fear as Filipinos: facing fear. Let me illustrate.
A growing occurrence in my life is at the end of every lecture, a teacher or proctor or trainer opens up the floor for questions from his or her students. Common response will be a resounding beat of silence. Get to relate? Well, it always happens. It maybe for the reason either that the students already understand the topic or they want the whole session in a jiffy or they must be scared of asking questions because…it is embarrassing. I pick the latter. (As for the middle, that’s for another article.)
Now, I can assume that the reason may come from the fact that the teacher acts like a monster. But, no. We are just shy. We don’t like to participate in crucial stuff, not unless we are paid back. We are too timid to ask a question because it screams of assumptions that we have not learned anything or that we are simply wasting each others’ time. We fear that fear itself will take us away from our own precious comforts.
I am not sure if timidity is a natural Filipino negative trait. But it is heavily tied to our conservative beliefs. Dumaguete-based psychiatrist Dr. Angel V. Somera stated that our family upbringing and religious beliefs led us to inhibit extreme cases of bashfulness and tend to pass this down from generation to generation. So, it is common to see reticent Filipinos who get too contented with their comfort zones and never given that much responsibility in their lives.
And it is not to say that our shyness defines us all. There are Filipinos who break from the norm and make a difference. But it is our unhealthy contentment to be secured in our “personal zones” that becomes a detrimental norm. For short, shyness is stressful. Fearing fear will make it more stressful.
That becomes more apparent when it comes to the upcoming elections, when both candidates and voters are placed in a pedestal where their choices will stamp an identity and an image of our nation. Candidates will be facing an enormous role that they never anticipate, once the positions are given to them. Or face allegations that tamper their reputation. And voters will be confronting if their choices are out of fear or out of trust; out of conformity or out of confidence.
In every situation, we will always be put in an uncomfortable state. Our duty as Filipinos is to not compromise to our trait flaws. (Trust me, there are a lot.) For our conventional shyness, it can happen a lot of times. Let fear guide us, not scare us. But our job is not to embed it to our absorbent subconscious. Because for real, we are all scared.
- Somera, A. (2012, May 27). Shyness. Negros Chronicle. Retrieved from http://www.negroschronicle.com/web-archives/opinion/Shyness%20(Health%20is%20Wealth).html.