Apply yourself


CHINA CONSTRUCTS | Louise Nichole Logarta

I’ve been rewatching Breaking Bad. For those of you not familiar with this show, it’s about Walter White, a chemistry high school teacher who, after finding out that he has cancer, cooks crystal meth to provide money for the family he will leave behind. Former student and high school dropout Jesse Pinkman handles the business end of their arrangement. The show tracks his transformation into a drug kingpin.

In one of the earlier episodes, Walter faces Tuco, an extremely volatile, violent drug lord in a bid to get money he and Jesse are owed when Tuco takes it from them after beating up Jesse severely. At first it seems that Walter is at a disadvantage. He is a middle-aged man, carrying no weapon and outnumbered, with Tuco’s men being people who can maim.

But when Tuco refuses to pay and laughs in Walt’s face, Walt throws on the ground a piece of glass that causes an explosion, therefore injuring to some degree, and disorienting Tuco. We later found out that it is fulminate mercury, which is highly sensitive to friction and is actually a primary explosive.

Now why am I telling you about this? What’s the point?

They say knowledge is power.

It is then baffling that people–not just in the Philippines–get their information from it seems anywhere EXCEPT a reputable source. And they do this for just about everything: vaccines, coronavirus, politics…you name it. In my view, this is why fake news flourishes–because there are people who treat it as gospel.

Everyday, we are bombarded with information, whether from television or radio, but mostly, from the internet and social media. Biased news outlets and people alike release posts about the golden era that was the Marcos regime, conveniently forgetting the fact that the bad outweighs the good, if there ever was good to this 21-year dictatorship. You will hear many things along the lines of, “Sabi ng lolo/lola ko na payapa naman noong panahon ni Marcos” or, “Yumaman ang Pilipinas nung panahon niya.”

(I think at this point, it’s worth it to note that Walt is far from a hero in Breaking Bad. A friend likened Marcos to Walt: he achieved so much, but at what cost? Just something to think about…)

If not about Marcos, misleading news targets politicians or personalities that dare defy the administration.

Others still flaunt their aversion to getting vaccines because they believe these are directly linked to deaths, while some believe even more ridiculous theories, like that the vaccine is a disguise for the government to microchip us in order to track us. Some believe, even in the face of millions of deaths, that Covid19 is a hoax, simply because it has not touched them.

I suppose it is easier to just be told what to think, but what kind of life does that offer you? Now more than ever, people need to believe scientists, doctors and people who are actual experts in their field. If not for the good of the many, then just for their own sakes.

Walt outmaneuvered Tuco, a dangerous situation, with his knowledge of chemistry. Imagine what we could do, as a country, if we could use knowledge to steer our society to a better future? We could use real knowledge to choose better leaders who do not steal from and lie to the public. We could use real knowledge in dealing with Covid19 in an effective and humane manner.

Walt once or twice has said, “Apply yourself.”

Let’s take that advice. Let us all apply ourselves and think for ourselves. Let us rely not on word of mouth, on TikTok, or YouTube or Facebook, where anyone can say literally anything they want to. Let us apply ourselves and look at the bigger picture. Let us apply ourselves and see what needs fixing and what should be done to fix them.

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