Why I’m wearing a white shirt on Monday

Jaime Mendejar
I will march with a million other Filipinos hungry to reform our government and our own selves

I’m not a big fan of wearing white. For one, my white shirts easily get marks, and as a result, make any stain, pen mark or wrinkle quite obvious. Also, I must confess, I hate white because I look fifty shades darker when I’m wearing one.

But on Monday, it will be my favorite color.

When I wear white on Monday, I’m doing it not only because those who have organized the “Million People March” said come in that color — but I wear it also because white highlights what millions of Filipinos have wanted to emphasize for years.

White is immaculate — and while it obviously has been a popular color to champion the most honest of virtues, the symbol of holiness, the superlative of lording over darkness, it is simple to claim that to wear white is to demand my government to likewise be pure and clean.

But I am wearing white because it means more than that. 

White also means mourning.  It is, after all, what you would usually wear when you go to a wake.  It echoes death and sadness. To wear white is to identify with fellow Filipinos mourning, as we are once again reminded that our hard earned money has been stolen, again, and again, and again.

I am wearing white to console with other Filipinos who continue to search for justice and accountability, and who simply demand fairness. What did we do to deserve this?  We weep, quietly, in solidarity.

White is the color of truce. It is the flag of the almost beaten, to be raised in an effort to negotiate terms and to settle disputes. To wear white is to confess that we too have had our shortcomings, that we also need to improve, that we are weak, uncertain, scared and intimidated by the gang of politicians who seem immune to prosecution, but it also serves as a reminder that we are open to dialogue. 

I am wearing white to say that we would always be open to a peaceful resolution. All we want is to enforce good governance, for the government to deliver on its promise of “daang matuwid.”

White, most importantly, is the color of new beginnings. It is the color of a blank canvass, inviting to be covered by a majestic masterpiece. To wear white is to believe that despite the billions of pesos that will never be recovered, despite all the skepticism and the reality of having to deal with this monumental task of cleaning up our act — we can always start again. 

I am wearing white to prove that the Filipinos have the capacity to rewrite our history and we can always work together to paint a Philippines that will leave all of us floored in awe.

I will march with a million other Filipinos hungry to reform our government and our own selves — wearing a simple white shirt that speaks volumes.  And I guess one day, when we are finally heard and we finally see concrete results, we will look back and ask — who would have thought our white shirt had so much color, so much life.

See you there. – Rappler.com


Jaime Mendejar, 28, works as a vice president of a foreign bank. He is one of the million Filipinos waiting to put on his white shirt. 

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