Relevance of Rizal Today

In the thirtieth of December of each year, Filipinos celebrate the death anniversary of their national hero, Jose Rizal. However, from observation, aside from designating the day as a holiday, Filipinos truly no longer remember who Rizal was and his relevance to our society today. It would seem, then we only see Rizal as a mere statue in the center of nearly our city parks in the whole country. Is Rizal a mere history or to be considered essential to the Filipino society?

Advocate of education

Rizal acquired education both in Europe and in the Philippines. He used his knowledge to push her personal goals and aspirations for his fellowmen. Although education before was reserved only to the wealthy, Rizal made us of the opportunity to contribute for the goodness and alleviation of the suffering of the Filipino people. Not everyone does the same at the same magnitude Rizal does.

Education is the great equalizer of the society. It is true, however society also makes it difficult for everyone to get the same access of the same level of quality. Education, nowadays seems to be commercialized, that only the few are allowed to learn from the best. Not until one is exceptional great, one could get the same level of education as the wealthy does. In the time of Rizal, it was also the same. This makes Rizal relevant in terms of the Philippine educational system. The system Rizal had and we have right now provides a challenge to everyone to change it for the better. By saying better, this means making education available to everyone, regardless of status, age, gender and ethnicity. Certainly, Rizal thought of the same dream for all Filipinos before.

An inspiration to the passionate and determined

Jose Rizal is believed to be a linguist. He speaks more than ten languages fluently. His interest are varied from fencing to painting and other arts. He is a good speaker and writer, as well. Reading history books, one could get the idea that he was simply gifted to be very intelligent. However, one must also account those abilities he had did not come instantly, rather those were products of determination and perseverance. Rizal took time for sure to learn all and perhaps encountered difficulties in the process. No one wrote about this, but he is human like us, who uses motivation and passion to achieve something good at the end.

As we observed, the level of determination Filipinos have today have dwindled significantly. Everyone seems to do what is convenient, fast and instant. There seems to be a consensus that determination and hard work do not play a significant role in success. Bureaucracy in the government and social limitations contribute to this mentality. Personally speaking, academic achievement does not make sense in a society of nepotism and corruption. However, this does not mean that everyone must conform to the norm. We need to be reminded that in the time of Rizal, he did not allow himself to follow the path, which is convenient, fast and instant; rather he chose to work hard for not just his benefit, but for the greatest number of people as well.

Model of resilience and courage

Rizal was imprisoned and exiled in a far place. He experience being away from his family and outside from his comfort zone. However, this did not stop him from realizing his aspirations for the country. He continued to write books, even he knew he could be put to jail or death. His courage is undeniable. His ability to adapt to situation is immense. Not all individuals can cope as Rizal did. He is truly resilient like most Filipinos nowadays.

Today, there a lot of challenges confronting every Filipino. Social changes and economic uncertainties pose difficulties for one to cope and handle. Many people do not have choice, but to deal with it. Some are perhaps born lucky not to experience these challenges. However, these do not exempt one from experiencing situations every Filipino needs to overcome. Various weather disturbances and calamities know no age, education or social status. In these times, the Filipino spirit is tested to endure and prevail, no matter how difficult the process would take.

Rizal lived in the eighteenth century. He has never served as a Filipino president. In fact, he wanted autonomy in governance under Spanish rule, and advocated for the establishment of new Filipino society in Sabah, Borneo under the British Empire. Regardless of how we judge actions and objectives of Rizal, he was considered to be a role model for every Filipino. There are many reasons for him to judge as such. Deserving or not to be the national hero of the country, he has done something for the benefit of the Filipino society. This is a challenge for every Filipino and in this respect, Rizal is indeed relevant to us today.


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