The EDSA Revolution of 1986 – Fairy Tale Prompt July 17th 2015 Compassion and Courage


When I read the prompt about compassion and courage, I immediately thought of our EDSA Revolution of 1986. I wrote a blog about it, that I was proud to be part of that history. That it was a story about every Filipino’s dream of being free and taking part in the process. It involved over 2 million Filipino civilians, as well as several political, military and religious groups. It was one of nonviolent protests that began in 1983 and culminated in 1986. The methods used amounted to a sustained campaign of civil resistance against the 20-year running authoritarian, undemocratic regime of the then President Ferdinand Marcos. It led to his departure from the Malacanang Palace to Hawaii and the re-establishment of the country’s democracy.

Corazon Aquino was proclaimed as the legitimate President of the Philippines after the revolution. The wife of slain political leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, she fought the aging dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the controversial snap elections for Presidency in 1986. She won but was cheated. Not a gun was fired, yet Marcos was forced to step down because millions went into the streets and demanded his resignation.

Revolutions do not take place overnight. The Marcos years, characterized by the unscrupulous exercise of power preservation and fomented political unrest. Allegations of graft and corruption against the administration would forge a disproportion of wealth. The declaration of Martial Law on September 23, 1972 started a feeling of discontent which would make this act of resistance essential, even inevitable to the reinstatement of democracy.

The EDSA Revolution of 1986 was about the people power that was of the spontaneous, disoriented, unorganized fluid and ambiguous kind. Filipinos from all walks of life discovered a collective will that they had never exerted before and a common bond they had never nurtured. Spontaneity, astonishment and interestingness were the very spirit of the vent. To conclude, people, when treated badly, can summon enough courage, solidarity and determination to stand up and resist.

My Day of Compassion

I’m reblogging this post from last year, as my contribution to Prompt Stomp Week 7.

Compassion is a sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others (Oxford Dictionary). It is the ability to understand the emotional state of another person or oneself. It involves more than putting yourself in their place and genuinely wanting to understand or even help them.

I started the day by giving my husband a nice cup of tea in bed and he appreciated it. Then, I wrote to Junmar and Kersy Ann, our two sponsored children in the Philippines. With our monthly donation, Plan International helps them and their families with different projects for their communities. Junmar is 14 years old, from Mindoro and belongs to Mangyan tribe. He attends primary school and walks approximately 45 minutes to reach the school. Kersy Ann, also 14, is from Tacloban. She and her family were some of the victims of the Haiyan typhoon surge. With Plan International, they were given some help to rebuild their house and their lives again.

In the afternoon, I had a meeting with our Filipino group. I prepared some food (pancit and embutido) and dessert (leche flan) for them. Our group is called “Punla” which is a Tagalog word for seedling. We continue to follow the socio-political and cultural development in the Philippines while at the same time working for active participation in German society. Actually, this means organising lectures, discussions, exhibits and similar activities which would offer our public the opportunity for encounter, dialogue and information exchange. Our meeting is about brainstorming some concepts for our next project. We would like to organise a panel discussion and an exhibit about the Migrant Filipinos in Germany for the 60th Philippines – German Diplomatic Ties in June, next year. We would like to collaborate with some departments of the university, the German Cultural Office, the Consulate and other institutes. There are only 6 members of the group and we are a cohesive group. We try to avoid groupthink which is “the mode of thinking that persons engage in when concurrence-seeking becomes so dominant in a cohesive in-group that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action”—Irving Janis (1971). We try to be impartial and encourage critical evaluation. We divide the group occasionally, and then reunite to air differences. Critiques from outside experts and associates are always welcome.

The “Day of Compassion me” and the “normal me” are one and the same – the real me. I like the real me! I’ve always been a compassionate and helpful person. I believe it’s called a self-fulfilling prophesy, which is a belief that leads to its own fulfilment. Being the eldest girl in the family, I took it upon myself to look after my siblings from an early age. I’m an understanding and loving wife, a considerate mum, a thoughtful daughter, a sympathetic sister and aunt and a big-hearted and loyal friend. I’m charitable – I donate some money to the German Red Cross, Plan International, Children in Need, Comic Relief, Handog Natin and Aktion Kind. I provide books, old clothes and toys to the children in the Philippines. I’m humanitarian – last Christmas, I sent some money to build some basic shelters for the victims of Haiyan storm surge instead of giving presents to my nieces and nephews. I explained to them the reason and they understood. It’s also showing them an example of being charitable. I used to volunteer to work once a week to “Tahanan” which is a shelter for battered women and children. I accompanied the women to some government offices so they could get some support, babysat their children if they needed to look for a job or ran errands or just be there when they needed someone to talk to.

The psychological costs and benefits of behaving compassionately are immeasurable. I believe the benefits outweigh the costs. Altruism is selfishness in reverse. It is a motive to increase another’s welfare without conscious regard for one’s self-interest. I always thought that I’ve been very lucky in my life and because of that; I should give something in return for this blessing. I feel a social-responsibility norm, that I should help those who really need it, without regard to future exchanges. I know that some people are incapable of reciprocal giving and receiving, and I don’t mind that, I feel satisfied with the reflection that I am able to help others.

The others respond positively to my compassion. They appreciated what I did. I don’t believe they noticed a difference in my behaviour; they’ve always expected me to be my real me. They say that I wear my heart on my sleeve – honest and straightforward. They attribute it to behavioural confirmation, which is a type of self-fulfilling prophecy in which social expectation leads them to believe in ways that cause others to confirm their expectations.

If I wanted to encourage others to behave as I did during the Day of Compassion Day, I would use the social-exchange theory, which is a theory that human interactions are transactions that aim to maximise one’s rewards and minimise one’s costs. For example, when donating blood, we weigh the inconvenience and discomfort against the social approval and noble feeling. If the anticipated rewards exceed the costs, we help. Social psychology can be used to foster a more compassionate society by spreading good deeds. For example, I do one good deed to another person, and this person appreciated what I did, so he will do a kind endeavour to the next person, and so on.

If I were to predict my behaviour one month from now, I don’t envision it will be changed as a result of participating in the Day of Compassion. I’ve always considered myself to be the nurturing type and I try to help others in my own ways. The knowledge that I’ve gained from Social Psychology affects my action. I hope that I could be a role model to my son, my nieces and nephews. It has been a soul-searching experience.