“Activists” attending protest rallies in this year’s #SONA2019 should LISTEN

Protest rallies are meant to encourage their participants to make noise rather than listen. This is unfortunate because most real learning happens when listening and not when one is talking.

It is therefore ironic that the very mobs who issue shrill cries that “press freedom” is “dead” are the very ones who would engage in an activity the aim of which is to drown out the most important voice in any country — that of its head of government.

Activists parrot slogans uncritically and hardly ever pause to deeply understand what they are actually saying.

In essence, “activists” come to their rallies with pre-set mindset and no capacity to apply critical thinking. This is evident in the slogans they have locked into in their protest paraphernalia. They come to chant slogans and generally act in the manner scripted for them by their “thought leaders”.

As such, it is interesting that these “activists” now criticise Filipinos who voted for current President Rodrigo Duterte as being “stupid” in their choice.

Listening to “haters” can be your best learning experience

It’s hard to comprehend why one would want to block people who beg to differ to your world views. While it is nice to be surrounded by people who always agree with what you say, there is a whole much more to learn from people who disagree with you.

Indeed, being hated was one of my biggest motivations for writing. In the early days of writing online content I was challenged to get better at my persuasion skills after copping a lot of feedback over what were, at the time, controversial views about Filipino culture.

As our community of “GetRealists” grew, we focused more on honing our craft by closely observing our detractors rather than shutting them out and creating little closed echo chambers for ourselves. Indeed, even today, there are very few explicit high fives exchanged amongst ourselves in public.

What we do, instead, is listen.

By listening to detractors one learns to make one’s theses more resilient — even anti-fragile — in a way that allows one’s conceptual frameworks to progressively become richer and deeper by incorporating what is useful from critics’ responses.

People who claim “press freedom” is “under threat” are LIARS

Is Philippine media REALLY under threat? Opposition “thought leaders” keep shrieking that it is. But there seems to be absolutely no evidence that this is true. At best, the notion remains DEBATABLE. Trouble is, Yellowtards aren’t willing to have that debate and prefer, instead, to latch on to their mere beliefs and the preachings of quacks like Maria Ressa. Indeed, Maria Ressa, the foremost “champion” of this ululation, to cite a high-profile example, silences anyone who dares challenge her dogma on the matter.

For that matter, many “thought leaders” of the Opposition don’t set a very good example when it comes to being open to having their views scrutinised and challenged. One such example is Opposition senatorial candidate Florin “Pilo” Hilbay who is renowned for his quick trigger finger when it comes to blocking dissent.

Proponents of the idea that the media and, for that matter, anyone associated with the Opposition are “victims” of some sort of conspiracy to “attack” them seem to turn a blind eye purposely to a really plausible alternative view — that, perhaps, the real threat to media is NOT curtailment of freedom but the degenerating quality of Filipino journalism and, even more disturbing, dishonest journalists.

This is the real debate that is begging to be had. It’s time those who latch on to one inbred view open themselves to that important debate lest they become the villains in the very narratives of “victimhood” they reassure themselves with.