In my previous article, I talked about finally coming to terms with putting the possibility of migrating to another country on the table. My frustrations and disappointments in the leadership and governance of the only country I call home made the “M” word rear its not-so-ugly head and if you come to think of it, it was high time I faced that possible outcome. I am, after all a Filipino and, if I’m not mistaken, the Filipino dream has always been to get the hell out of this country.
So my wife and I have been thinking about migration over the past few days. We’ve been crunching the numbers and running the multiple cost benefit analyses. For now, the numbers don’t add up in favor of migrating yet. Starting all over again doesn’t make a lot of sense as our kids are about to enter the university life in a few years and when health care costs are expected to shoot up due to our age. Migrating would significantly disrupt my wife’s retirement plan/path that has been in the works over the more than 20 years that she has been with her employer. If ever we migrate, whatever benefits we get from the move should at least result in break even and for someone who hasn’t considered migration as an option, we are currently sorely underprepared.
It’s not yet out of the question but it turns out that it’s not that easy, especially at our age and life stage so we will have to crunch more numbers and consider more factors before we make our final decision. What is mindblowing for us at this point is that we have started seriously thinking about it.
Because migrating is a drastic solution, I started thinking that it is not the only drastic solution I should consider if I do not want to migrate.
The first and easiest option is apathy. I can just be apathetic to everything and stop caring about this country. As long as I can eat three square meals a day and live in a decent home that has an ok internet connection, why should I complain about this country’s leaders and worry about its future? Who cares if our poorer countrymen are getting killed like animals by death squads? Why care if my taxes end up in other people’s pockets? Why be bothered by mediocrity if it can be none of my businesses? As long as it’s not me or my loved ones getting persecuted or slaughtered, everything will be fine and we won’t need to go through the hassle of migration.
Apathy is fine but it won’t make me rich in this country. The next option if I were to level up the quality of my life if I stay here is to embrace the situation and be an enabler and a crony. I have already established that my life is relatively comfortable. Why should I leave everything behind when I could be even more comfortable? I could start singing praises instead of dishing out criticism. I could kiss ass and attempt to be appointed to a cushy government position. I could try to worm my way into the system and bag an overpriced government contract. If I’m going to work my ass off in a foreign country, might as well stay and sell my soul to the highest bidder in this country. I believe I’m privileged and connected enough to be as successful as I want to be in this country so why shouldn’t I take the more convenient path by simply tweaking my sense of morality and lowering my standards instead of going through the trouble of changing my country?
The final option is to go all out and become a trapo. While there are still principled politicians in this country, where’s the fun in being one of those losers these days? Instead of wasting time mulling migration, I will research which political party is the most powerful to join and then sell my soul to it. I will not criticize, only praise. My eyes will see no wrongdoing unless it is necessary in aid of persecution. I can groom my kids to become part of my dynasty instead of preparing them to spend their life in another country. I will be the one making those pansy assed Filipinos with principles and standards want to migrate so I can wish them good riddance. They can take their high-minded principles and lofty standards with them while me and my new besties rule.
The most difficult option is to stay and fight for whatever standards and principles I have left at this point. It is so difficult that it is hardly among the choices and that is why I can understand why the opposition is so weak in this country. It feels like there are not enough principled Filipinos left and those still here are hiding out of fear and are probably also thinking of leaving this country forever.
Just like my country, I don’t know anymore if my principles, values and standards are worth fighting for, or leaving. In both cases there are days I want to fight and there are days I’m so sick of this crap and just want to sell out. Wondering if I should migrate to another country or if I should migrate my beliefs to make my life better is going to consume my thoughts until 2022.*