No, that is not a mis-spelling in the title, although with the goings on between Greece and its creditors going on at the moment I can forgive you in doing a double take. I do mean “Grease”, as in the broadway musical which featured American highschool life in the 1950s, or as most Filipinos know it, the hit movie based on said musical which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. (Note: there are many lessons to be learned from Greece, the country, actually more along the lines of “how not to run your country into the ground”, but that is a topic for another blog post, perhaps another day).
What is Grease, the play, about? It’s about being young and on the cusp of adulthood, primarily, in the era of the fifties, when American youths slicked their hair back with pomade, and when to wear a leather jacket was a sign that you were a “tough”. The two central characters are Tony and Sandy, classic boy meets girl in highschool and have to overcome their own immaturities and hangups so that they eventually end up together. Many great song and dance numbers, surely one of the enduring Broadway musical classics.
One immortalized song from Grease is the number called “The One that I Want /You Better Shape Up”. http://youtu.be/LMblmkcdJEw Now, this song has been buzzing in my head so many times lately, particularly as I read all the political blogs about the Philippines and comments on social media. The analogy that goes off in my head time and again is the Philippines is Sandra Dee aka Sandy, basically a beautiful, kind girl but hopelessly insecure, provincial, and uncool. Reason is I have been often accused of being too negative on the Philippines. People say they feel I am pointing out all the ugly facets of the country. On the contrary, as I have mentioned in other places, I do believe the Philippines has a lot of potential; it just needs to get its act together. It has to shape up (cue song)!
Instead of bellyaching and butthurting all the time, Filipinos should face up to what is wrong and do something about it. Look at Sandy, she faced up to her faults, put on a slinky leather leotard, put a cigarette in her mouth and twerked her behind. Her man, Tony got his mind blown. So, none of this false pride anymore, people. Stop citing that 2nd fastest growing economy after China gibberish, already (besides it is no longer accurate. See my previous post on this). Things are not going great, and Filipinos especially the middle class, should stop deluding themselves and check their understanding of the facts. The time to act is now, especially with the Presidential elections coming up. Organize and mobilize like you did in the eighties and reform your electoral and governmental systems.
Will the Philippines like Sandra Dee find true love and live happily ever after? Only if, like Sandy, she learns to look at herself honestly and change what needs changing.
I better shape up
If I’m gonna prove
You better prove
That my faith is justified
Are you sure?
Yes I’m sure down deep inside