CSR Learner's Corner Archives

A Reaction to Dr. Raul Sunico’s “Arts and Culture as Areas for CSR Involvement”

I mentioned previously that my first BCYF event was the 3rd Philippine Conference on Research in CSR, where I came as Ms. Noreen Bautista’s volunteer. However, due to a series of events, the spotlight was suddenly cast on me as, at the last minute, I was convinced to become a panelist for the penultimate lecture of the day, that of the CCP director, Dr. Raul Sunico’s. The following post is the reaction to his talk as written by me that afternoon, with some proofreading for the purposes of publication on this site.

If you ask me how I see myself x years from now, I would definitely mention “social entrepreneur”, as this desire to see a poverty-free Philippines was only stoked even more during my college years – and I’m a business major! However, the one thing I want to become, more than a founder of a social business, is a linguist, polyglot, and novelist. I’m a glossophile – a lover of languages and language – and anything about languages, local or foreign, always makes my eyes shine with excitement.

But when I was younger, my family advised me against this as my sole career path. Their reason for this is the same as why farming is sadly looked down on in the Philippines – it supposedly does not generate enough income to live a comfortable lifestyle, “unless you’re really lucky.” They neither encouraged nor discouraged me from following this dream per se, just that I should take it on as a sideline, at least in the beginning, and if I either have a lot of money already or I should become lucky like J.K. Rowling, then I can become a full-time writer and, supposedly, live comfortably.

Daw [That’s what they say].

That’s the sad reality of things here in the Philippines, and even worse, there is no one root cause for it. Unlike in other countries, where full-time patrons of the arts such as Jennifer Lopez or Dan Brown, or even farmers such as those from the vineyards of France and Italy, are as rich or even richer than our business tycoons, the artist in the Philippines is not known to be part of the so-called A-list. The reason for this, I gauge from Dr. Sunico’s thoughts, is that supposedly, people prioritize other things like the so-called basic needs of food and drink, clothing, and the like. But I believe it runs deeper than that: it is a whole rotten system, or lack thereof, whose largest byproduct is widespread poverty, which in turn results in a rather condescending view on our nation as a whole. At least for the older generation. But of course, it doesn’t extend to everyone in that generation, or you wouldn’t be here!

However, the aforementioned, combined with the ever-increasing pace of our lives today, has led to a neglect of our national culture and arts. Isn’t it ironic how an ever-increasing digitized world has led to a lack of proliferation of arts and culture? And it’s not just that. Many parents of the youth today, mine own included, value financial stability the most – and we can’t blame them for that, especially for those whose wealth is self-made. And so the idea of helping end poverty at times becomes solely on financial stability, and a more integral, holistic growth gets left behind. These spiritual nourishments are then ranked lower on the priority list, and at times are disregarded altogether.

I like the idea of a CSR of arts and culture. Especially when we are talking about a CSR 3.0. BCYF’s revolutionized definition of CSR implies a sense of nationalism, a heightened sense of living, because we weren’t sent into this world to simply ramble through it. We were sent into this world to do more than that, which various cultures and beliefs take in different ways – Christianity makes us God’s stewards of creation, while Plato interprets it as our eternal search for the Good, our psyche, superior to the earthly body. So it makes perfect sense that, in helping end financial poverty, we should also take a step towards ending spiritual and cultural poverty, as it is a great equalizer, not unlike Death, but in the sense that it makes us all grow together and fosters a national spirit that in turn helps promulgate further effectivity and productivity as a nation.

The top three airports in the world are Hong Kong International Airport, Singapore Changi Airport, and Seoul Incheon International Airport. In particular, the last deserves some special mention. I read in a travel article that Incheon’s charm can be attributed to the fact that a Korean culture-promulgating center can be found at almost every corner. The Japanese are also another nation known for their intense sense of nationalism, and this is also driven by a love for their culture and country – and now it’s the third-largest economy in the world, despite the fact that it’s only a fraction of its rivals the US and China in terms of population and land size!

We have Jollibee, Human Nature, and Philippine Airlines. We also have Amorsolo, Rizal, and OPM. I dream of a Philippines that is free from poverty of all kinds, and has numerous globally competitive people and products. The first step to take to achieve this is to look within, into our own being, count our blessings, and appreciate and improve on what we have. I think that we need to walk together, as one, to rebuild our nation and show the world the superstar we really are. Thank you.

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