The ‘middle class’ lense

Author’s note: According to this article from GMA News, the government defines ‘Filipino’ middle class by these characteristics: “Those with an annual family income of from P282,000 to P2.296 million; families whose heads have a college degree; those who own a house and lot, though this is arguable; those whose homes have strong roofing materials; and those who own an oven, an air-conditioning unit, and a vehicle.”

This country has got to stop glorifying the poor by making exploitative movies about them. These people don’t work. These people don’t pay taxes. Some even cheat, steal and kill. And yet they’re the ones who get free housing, free education, free healthcare, all financed by money paid by us, the people in the middle, the very drivers of this country and its society.

We, the people in the middle, got the most interesting stories to tell. We’re your burdened taxpayers who have to take two jobs just to make ends meet. We’re the orphaned sons and daughters of soldiers who are killed each day fighting for this country. We’re your unappreciated teachers and your pressured students whose dreams keep the soul of this country alive. We’re your gang-raped OFWs and your contractual workers at SM malls whose future looms dim because the state is too reluctant to secure it for us. And for whose sake? Henry Sy’s! We’re the commuters who are sardined in buses and trains and jeepneys every single fucking day just to make it to work on time. We’re the ones who are murdered on a daily basis by the parasites for a motherfucking iPhone!

Photo from Nel Cadelina's blog

Photo from Nel Cadelina’s blog

You can fool Cannes and the world but you cannot fool me, filmmaker. Your exploitation doesn’t mean real. Making long, panned shots of the Payatas garbage doesn’t reflect the actual cinematography of poverty and inequality in this country. It is the plight of those who are in the middle that really represents the country’s plight. Our struggles represent the country’s struggles. Our woes are the country’s woes.

The rich gets richer; the poor got nothing to lose. Meanwhile, everyday is a make-or-break situation for us. Yet we’re overlooked. Ignored. Deserted. How do you like it if we just stop working? How do you like it if we just disappear? How do you like it if one day your motor stops and the world goes on a stand still? Will you finally take notice?

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5 comments

  1. “Author’s note: For the purpose of this post, ‘middle class’ will also refer to the working class.”

    Palusot mo! Fail! Alam mo ba ang ibig sabihin ng middle class? Ang middle class ay isa sa mga may hawak ng kapital sa lipunan. May kapital ba ang mga manggagawa? Kaya nga sila working class ‘di ba? Kasi ang lakas panggawa lang nila ang kaya nila ilako!

    Bumalik ka nga ng hayskul! Trying to save face with your flawed logic that the working class and the poor are two different things when they are not!

  2. “experienced by the majority of Filipinos, the middle class”
    Do you honestly think that most Filipinos live as decent a life as the bourgeoisie? Hindi ka pa lubog sa tunay na masa. Lumabas ka diyan sa bahay mo at malalaman mo na karamihan sa mga kababayan mo ay lubog sa kahirapan. Kung susundan natin ‘yang logic mo, na ang majority dapat ang pagtuunan ng pansin, ang lower class ang mas may ascendancy dahil in reality, sila ang mas marami.

  3. This post of yours actually shows your prejudice against the poor. You have never seen how farmers toil the land they do not own or how those living in slums go to factories with conditions meant for pigs.

    For you to comment about these “free stuff”, you have to understand why government is doing such re-distributive policies. It might be unfair for the “middle class” you speak of to be taxed just to give these people “free stuff”, but the principle is that it’s the only way we can make them join the ranks of the middle class you are defending.

    And as if the poor has no stories to tell. The problem is not about them being made a story, but how the middle class portray them in our media.

    1. Hi Paul, thank you for sharing your perspective. I respect it and I won’t curse you for it. Also, I apologize if my post came out as prejudiced and insensitive to you. I didn’t mean to stereotype the poor as whiners and criminals. Just to make it clear, I have high respect for those who make a decent living no matter how difficult it is, just like our farmers and those other people you mentioned.

      Given that, I also believe that we mustn’t discount the dilemmas experienced by the majority of Filipinos, the middle class. These people share the same problems as the poor… and more. Without us, the country will stop working, our economy will falter and poverty will worsen. This is the reality the media fails to show us.

      The government’s projects such as the conditional cash transfer and all, you are aware that these are all electioneering tactics to win votes, right? And the relocation currently being implemented by the gov’t, did you know that before the elections some Metro Manila politicians have appealed to the DPWH to stop its implementation (for obvious reasons)?

      Those people who lead lavish & comfortable lives (including our leaders) do not care about the middle class. However, they pour all their sympathy to the the poor only because they got money to spare and it’s their handy way of trying to atone for their corruption.

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