Ubuntu: I am because we are

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

I came across this anecdote on social media, which should be read by every Filipino:

An anthropologist showed a game to the children of an African tribe. He placed a basket of delicious fruits near a tree trunk and told them: “The first child to reach the tree will get the basket.”

When he gave them the start signal, he was surprised that the children walked together, holding hands, until they reached the tree and shared the fruits (among themselves).

The anthropologist asked why they did that when any one of them could have had the basket only to himself!

The answer he got was unexpected for children their age: “Ubuntu. How can one of us be happy while the rest are miserable?”

Ubuntu in their language means: I am because we are.

That tribe knows the secret of happiness that has been lost in societies that consider themselves “civilized.”

The above anecdote has had other versions, one of them even discounting the version you just read, saying the anthropologist did not exist.

But there is only one message in all the versions to the anecdote: Happy people are those who share their blessings with others without any strings attached.

Deepak Chopra, a philosopher and doctor of medicine, said it succinctly in his book, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: “If you want to be rich, make others rich. If you want to be happy, make others happy.”

I am happy, because we are. I am rich, because we are.

Every Filipino child should be taught the above philosophy in school so that when they become adults, they will practice altruism without even knowing it.

Altruism is the unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.

The best time to teach altruism to children is from their preschool years up to seven years of age. It’s at this stage when they assimilate basic knowledge and learn many things that they will carry over to their adult years.

Filipinos are envious by nature. They tend to pull down others who are on their way up the ladder to success.

“Crab mentality” is a favorite Filipino phrase to describe our dog-eat-dog mentality; it’s everyone for themselves.

Observe crabs in a bucket. Each one tries to pull down the others to get to the top.

The time we shun our crab mentality is the time the Philippines starts its march towards progress.

*      *      *

If the three hackers who were arrested recently could be taken at their word, then the results of the forthcoming May 9 national elections have been compromised.

The three hackers claimed they could breach the Commission on Elections system and manipulate the outcome of the 2022 elections.

Aside from interfering with the Comelec, the hackers also claimed they could change the election results by accessing the system of Smartmatic, the provider of the country’s automated poll system.

The hackers said a former Smartmatic employee, Ricardo Argana, was their contact.

Argana allegedly handed them access to the Smartmatic system.

If the report about Argana is true, then it could be argued that the results of the 2016 presidential election was manipulated so that Bongbong Marcos was cheated of the vice presidency because of Smartmatic’s bungling.

In Venezuela, Smartmatic itself admitted that the elections to that country’s constitutional assembly were manipulated by one million votes in 2017.

*      *      *

Malacañang, upon the prodding of environmentalists, ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to file charges against the owners of mining areas in Masungi and the Upper Marikina Watershed.

The DENR earlier awarded mining claims to some groups to operate in the restricted zone.

This columnist was told that a certain Mrs. Bravo, wife of a DENR official, was behind the mining operations in the protected area.

The late DENR secretary Gina Lopez, who abhorred irresponsible mining, would have guarded the protected area with her life.

She would have told Mrs. Bravo to go to hell.

President Digong Duterte appointed Lopez chief of the DENR because she was a true-blue environmentalist.

But the congressional Commission on Appointments (CA) thumbed down Lopez’s appointment because some of its members in the Senate and House of Representatives are protecting miners or are miners themselves.

Mrs. Bravo caused the opening of mining concessions in return for bribes amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos for her and her husband.

Digong is now probably blaming some members of the CA for kicking out Lopez, who went about her job with gusto.

It would seem that Jim Sampulna, who replaced Roy Cimatu as DENR secretary, is sleeping on the job.

Reports have it that Cimatu resigned recently for health reasons.

The reports didn’t mention Cimatu’s illness.

Sampulna could have stopped the mining operations in the Masungi and the Upper Marikina Watershed after he took over from Cimatu; but he did not.

Is Sampulna scared of Mrs. Bravo?

*      *      *

Eleven persons, including two Nueva Ecija policemen, were arrested for ransacking on Maundy Thursday a warehouse in Quezon City owned by a Chinese businessman.

Why are citizens not surprised at the involvement of two agents of the law in the robbery?

The reports of policemen being involved in kidnapping, robbery in band, murder-for-hire, rape and car theft are so numerous the citizenry no longer cares.

Where there is a big crime, chances are some policemen are involved.

Now you know why ordinary citizens tremble in fear when they meet uniformed policemen.

To a Juan dela Cruz, there is no distinction between a policeman and a criminal.

A joke goes that in Singapore, cops arrive at the crime scene in 2 minutes; in Hong Kong, 4 minutes; and in New York, 5 minutes.

And what about policemen in Manila? They are already there while the crime is going on, because they’re the perpetrators.


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