Historian: Don't just idolize heroes, be critical of them


Posted at Aug 27 2018 10:42 PM

President Duterte pays homage in front of the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in observance of National Heroes’ Day on Monday. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A historian on Monday urged the public to not just idolize heroes, but also be critical of them.

On ANC's "Talkback," Professor Xiao Chua said merely idolizing heroes, such as government leaders, can make the public justify even the wrong things they did, instead of learning from their mistakes.

"We don't want to make our heroes idols because that's what's happening today. We make our heroes idols, we make our leaders idols as well. So when they do something wrong, you justify the wrong things that they did just because they're 'lodi,' they're your idol," he said.

"You pit heroes against each other when in fact, you have to be critical, meaning critical by not putting them down from their pedestal, making them human, but also recognizing that despite the great things that they have done, there were probably wrong decisions that they made, and we can also learn from that, not to justify them but to call that out so that we can make better decisions every day," Chua added.

For Chua, it is also important to look into heroes and their achievements in the context of their time.

"We cannot help but have heroes. We cannot help but have personalities. But we should present these heroes, again, as I've always said earlier, to the context of their times," he said.

"The problem is, if you're going to detach the personality from the context, in many ways, that is also what we're doing with politics today. Because what we do is we have leaders, and we always think that the leaders are the ones, the only ones, who's running the government, which is not the case," Chua added.