“At least” (part 2)
By ACC Delen
Last week, we started to delve into an observed mindset I’d christened NEGATIVE OPTIMISM. As it turned out, this particular mindset is going by another name…Toxic Positivity. Thank you Ms. Pamela Godio for pointing that out. I’ve just begun reading about it and have found it VERY interesting indeed! Toxic Positivity is defined by psychologists as the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations. Like I said…finding the silver lining even in the most horrendous of events. I could think of a perfect example.
The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) which administers the National Health Insurance Program will run out of funds by 2022. (“With looming deficit, PhilHealth to “collapse” by 2022 (JC Gotinga) rappler.com accessed August 4,2020) This was according to Nerissa Santiago who is one of the top officials of PhilHealth. In normal times, this piece of news is already bad but in the middle of a pandemic, it’s beyond description. This is the same corporation that sought to make O.F.W. contributions mandatory. As it were, O.F.W.s balked at the idea for being illogical. For one, most Overseas Filipino Workers would not be able to benefit from PhilHealth services since they’re out of country…DUH! And now this! Who in his or her right mind wants to give up his/her hard-earned income only to have it pocketed by corrupt officials??? What a situation! There can’t possibly be anything good about it. However, with NEGATIVE OPTIMISM (Toxic Positivity) around, someone will most likely say, “At least we still have funds for the next two years!” Aaaarrrrrgh!
Let’s face it, whether we are aware of it or not, NEGATIVE OPTIMISM has become a way of life in the Philippines (probably other places too). Case in point…my cousin who earned the ire of the local executive of Tabuk City was summoned (with five others) to appear before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for alleged cyberlibel. In her reply to a comment of support on her Facebook page, she said, “AT LEAST we were able to know for ourselves the specific charges against us.” While another wrote: “AT LEAST you are afforded an out of town travel.” Referring to the fact that the NBI office is located out of town. I rest my case.
As of this writing (August 5), Metro Manila and 4 other provinces in the Philippines are again under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine; the highest level in the country. This was the result of a plea from a multitude of healthcare workers/front liners for a much-needed respite from the CoVid-19 battle. But if you think this decision was handed down with compassion, think again. These modern heroes had to endure being berated, accused of calling for a revolution, and even dared to stage a revolution on national television by the country’s chief executive. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFZp_DYVCiM ). Clearly, someone who places a lot of faith in China needs to review the best book (in my opinion) ever to come out of the Middle Kingdom… “The Art of War” by Lao Tzu.
On to another thread of thinking… “Balat Sibuyas” loosely translated “Onion Skin” refers to a Philippine phenomenon of people easily taking offense to anything said or done in relation to themselves. This couldn’t be more obvious in the many recent cases of politicians (and yes, of common people) taking umbrage to real and or even imagined criticisms of their brand of leadership or lifestyle. The ironic thing about this is that, apparently, one can even be offended for someone else.
Remember the case of O.F.W Elanel Egot Ordidor? Last April, Philippine Labor Attache in Taichung (Taiwan), Fidel Macauyag, sought to have her deported for alleged cyber libel. She was thought to have posted nasty and malevolent posts against the President for which she was “asked” to publicly apologize after deleting said posts. (“DOLE Wants Pinay Caregiver Deported Over Anti-Duterte Posts” https://www.philstar.com/nation/2020/04/26/2009829/dole-wants-pinay-caregiver-deported-over-anti-duterte-posts) The call was not even from the subject of said rants. Fortunately for Ordido, the Taiwanese government refused to play and categorically denied the request. In the end, it was The Manila Representative to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs who had to apologize to the government of Taiwan declaring that the statement released by Macauyag calling for the deportation was HIS opinion alone! (MECO Exec Apologizes to Taiwan Over OFW Deportation Issue; https://globalnation.inquirer.net/187323/meco-exec-apologizes-to-taiwan-over-ofw-deportation-issue) The lesson in this short story? You tell me.
Note: The author has no political leanings and everything on this page is the result of an overcaffeinated mind. She apologizes for the citations but strongly believes it’s necessary to cover her ample behind. Said citations could also be reminders for people with very short memories. **