The Filipino at His Worst

Bayanihan in action, Guinarona circa 1963. Photo by Fred Marinello

“Ridicule is a common feature of the Filipino character. It is an element of “amoral interdependence”, or the crablike way Filipinos deride others to raise themselves up. It starts in elementary school, which you can witness when you see kids laughing at their schoolmates who hurt themselves or otherwise mess up. It is devoid of compassion.”  — Joe America

The above quote is from Joe America, an American transplant in the Philippines, who loves the Philippines more than any Filipino.

His observations are important, and they are as truthful as can be. Pray tell, how did it come about that the best President the Philippines ever had, is being derided by some Filipinos as “Abnoy”, among many other pejoratives?

Joe America further observes:

“This use of ridicule is widespread these days, not just in the Philippines, but in social media everywhere. It is not healthy. It is a disease. It is the opposite of compassion, a worthy human character trait. You don’t find much compassion in a hyena, either, I suppose. Or a crocodile.

“Along with a well-developed penchant for ridicule, poor discernment is another weak character trait among way too many Filipinos. That’s why we have boxers and thieves as legislators. It’s why Senator Santiago runs high in the ratings for presidential candidates AMONG THE WELL EDUCATED. Because emotional stability, physical health, and managerial skill have no bearing on job qualifications even among supposedly enlightened Filipino voters. Rather, they like the “style”, the quip, the joke, the overblown sense of rectitude arising every time Senator Santiago takes a cut at someone else.”

Aargh! Poor discernment. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

Utter tribalism is what ails the Filipino. And I thought we have graduated from that, being that we are now in the 21st Century.

The Filipino performs well in the micro level, as well as when he works abroad. But in the Philippine macrocosm, you can see and sense discordant voices such as pulling down President Noynoy Aquino, the best Philippine President ever, with basura epithets.

When we were kids, we admired our elders with their bayanihan and pintaksi mindsets. No sooner had a family proclaimed their desire to transfer their abode than the whole community mingled and helped out by carrying the house on their shoulders, literally! And this is without any compensation or reward. They did it with their deep sense of community. Also, when an area in the barrio needed clearing, everybody pitched in for the pintakasi. No putting down anybody, ever.

Would that in the Age of the Internet, every Filipino shines with cooperation, egalitarianism and love of country.

Or is it too much to ask?



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tito Fernandez says:

    The quotation that most Filipinos don’t love their country and don’t respect their ancestors and are not proud of them rings true and resonates with me as a Fil-Am. Additionally and generally speaking, Filipinos desire instant gratification and do not comprehend or care for the long-term effects of the actions of their public officials, as well as theirs.

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