Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Filipino is Worth Dying For

When I first look through the Philippine Peso note, the first thing that struck me was a quote on the right side of the 500 Peso dollar note.


Such strong words!

I asked my Filipino counterparts more on the quotation and they told me it was the person featured in the note - Benigno Servillano Aquino Jr, also known as Ninoy Aquino.

A quick search on wikipedia led to a comprehensive write-up on him. He was recognised as the most prominent and most outspoken critic of the Marcos dictatorship, was put into exile, and then assassinated at the Manila International Airport upon his return. The assassination put his widow Corazon Aquino into the political limelight, and she finally defeated the Marcos rule in 1986.

It was interesting to note during his exile, Ninoy Aquino intended to return to his home country to counter the Marcos government, and his willingness to suffer the consequences, which led to his declaration of the now immortalised quotation, "the Filipino is worth dying for." On the day of his return, he was shot point blank at the back of the head. Ironically, he anticipated his death prior to returning, which was the reason he wore a bullet-proof vest and had the media followed him back to the Philippines. There was a video recording circulating in Youtube showing is last interview, the scenario in the plane, the sound of gunshots and finally him lying face down on the airport.

While I'm not too familar with how his death changed the political landscape in Philippines, but I wonder who in Malaysia would be courageous enough to say what Ninoy Aquino has declared for the better of the country?

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