[The theme/motto “BUILDING A BETTER CONNECTED PHILIPPINES” was adopted by a telecommunication firm which has opted to market its products in our country. Let us all try to adopt this attitude of staying “connected” and let us always be connected with each other by promoting harmony, shunning discord and unifying our focus into becoming truly, ONE NATION.]
Though my BLOG SITE’s avowed mission is to dwell on stories about FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP and FUN, I have decided to digress a little bit and focus on this subject. I feel that perhaps if we could do away and cure through our joint and concerted efforts, these perceived flaws of the Filipino; we could make a better Philippines and make all families in our country benefit from such kind of reformation. I do hope so!
Since decades ago, the Philippines as a nation, has been endeavoring to reach the apogee of economic success or to at least be considered as a tiger economy here in the South East Asian region. This lofty goal is reflected in efforts on the part of the present government’s administration; truly remarkable efforts, that are lustily being flaunted, championed and advocated. But it seems that the goal has remained so elusive.
No matter what, the program waged by the present administration to tread the “straight path” eschewing all forms of corruption, as far as practicable, even championing this cause with picturesque sloganeering dubbed as the “TUWID NA DAAN” [English translation: “THE STRAIGHT PATH”], has at least carved out a niche.
Be that as it may, despite perception that this sloganeering may have not swayed all levels of the bureaucracy to abhor and do away with corruption, the President has however at least cast a semblance of himself, not making illicit money out of government. Also, the imprisonment of THREE (3) senators and a host of other government functionaries for the “pork-barrel-style” misappropriation of government funds sent a signal to all and sundry that the government really meant business.
And that on the basis of what it is professing, the present administration has made out a mark that it is committed to sanction to the hilt those who would persist to stay corrupt.
When I asked my Japanese friend Yasuaki Mori (“Mori”), who has been a Japanese diplomat for over 30 years, whether the seeming endless path of corruption in government here in the Philippines would continue or end somewhere, someday; he gave a positive prognostication and said that evil things will come to an end and the good will have its way. He said that Japan was then also mired in the worst corruption scandals particularly in the 60s and 70s but eventually Japan has emerged as the 18th least corrupt country in the world as of today. Mori had in fact painted a very rosy and positive outlook for the Philippines as he in fact wants his children to eventually become Filipino citizens and serve as homegrown professionals dedicated to make life more meaningful for their children’s children
One time, I asked Fr. Bernardo T. Blanco, the Spanish Claretian priest, who have been residing here since 1977 and who is my friend and spiritual adviser; as to what he sees to be the basic flaw of the Filipino. Without batting an eyelash, he said that it seems that the Filipino has not actually internalized into the Filipino psyche the concept of nationhood. Yes indeed, at most times, Filipinos would be animated to fight for their self-centered cause even if it would not be in accord with the paramount welfare of that BIGGER SELF, among all of us, our very own NATION.
Indeed, some Filipinos who in the guise of fighting for their self-centered cause would even have the gall to flaunt their disregard for the basic rules. This kind of DISREGARD and DEFIANCE appears to be another basic flaw in the character of the Filipino. And as peace loving citizens of our country, we should try our best to re-orient ourselves for the betterment of the Philippines. It would seem perhaps that this basic flaw (i.e. disregard and defiance of authority) in the Filipino character has been deeply ingrained that it would take more time for us to cure it. There appears to be a pattern which has grown into a habit, of bashing, demonizing and incarcerating our past national leaders.
Perhaps, it would be best that this practice should now be put to a STOP and for us to tread unto the HEALING PATH. Despite all those allegations of fraud and felony among those who have served our country, but eventually bashed and demonized, it cannot be denied that those leaders invested their blood, sweat, and tears in the service of the nation.
One way or the other, this practice may have subconsciously deepened into the psyche of our people. Thus, it has created an animating rave to continuously disregard law and authority. Thus, you could see motorists driving through the red light and even mauling traffic officers with gay abandon in the streets of the metropolis.
Indeed, here in the metropolis, we see people flagrantly violating traffic rules, not observing TRAFFIC LIGHTS and even simple PARKING RULES (i.e. parking their vehicles in slots not allotted for parking and defying the national regulation which prohibits SMOKING within buildings. With the recent success in the tills of the movie HENERAL LUNA, we would have by now awakened to the reality that even during the days of our illustrious forebears, authority is disregarded and the people would even be swayed to kill, ironically… to kill even our own heroes. The utter defiance displayed by Gen. Tomas Mascardo to the Commanding General of the Philippine Army then, Gen. Antonio Luna, as shown in the movie, is indeed HORRIBLY striking.
Perhaps, in this regard of re-orienting our mindset to do away with the basic flaws in the Filipino psyche, the total involvement/participation of the whole nation must be summoned.
Another flaw is the new version of crab-mentality and the grandiosity to which many are led to believe that they are better than those who have been elected to office. Yes, every Filipino seems to want to lead, to become the greatest, the STAR and to become the commander-in-chief in all arena of inter-relationships. In the vernacular this is aptly captured by the saying to the effect that: “LAHAT AY GUSTONG MAGING BIDA!” [English translation: Every one wants to become the leading actor, nobody seems content to just play a MINOR role.]
Also, the typical Filipino has become so irresponsible in exercising their rights. It is said in brutally frank language that too much freedom is dangerous. Now, it is not uncommon to hear media personalities bashing and humiliating government officers as though an authoritarian leader castigating a subaltern or as though, a bullying teacher disciplining a pupil. What is worse is that these TV and radio personalities would even highlight the flaws and defects of the very government which is stewarding the nation, the very place where they were born, to where they have lived, and which they have called as their home for eons. And the listening and viewing public would even be swayed with dramatic effect to seethe in consternation and deepest anger. Thus, people would disparage and be prone to insult their government, their leaders and their very own country, as though they are never part of it. What a stain; what a shame!
A lot of people would even sing praises to these kinds of bashers as they would idealize them as the best and feisty media personality, one of a kind, intrepid and plucky! And these media personalities are moreover emboldened to humiliate government officials over the radio and in national TV. It only emboldens our citizens to similarly disrespect authority.
For example, with respect to the NO COUNTERFLOW RULE which has been imposed to insure that no untoward incident and/or inconvenience should happen in the roads within the metropolis, let us shame these violators. What perhaps could be done is by clapping our hands every time a violator would even have the guts and gall to show off his bravado in doing a COUNTERFLOW in the perennially traffic-ridden, narrow and already constricted streets of Metro-Manila.
Clapping is never a form of violence, it is even a gesture of praise. Let us praise these violators with a lusty applause to remind them that it takes guts and gall to be CONTINUOUSLY DEFIANT.
One thought on “THE BASIC FLAWS OF THE FILIPINO”
Brod nabasa ko na.
I wouldn’t call it character flaw. As human beings, we are wired to respond appropriately to acts that threaten our safety, our way of life and our humanity. And when a threat is constant, and continuously deprives us of these basic human needs, we improvise. We respond accordingly. We either confront the aggession, or in most cases, like most Filipinos, cower in fear as we stage a retreat, and then, the worst part of which, with the agression too powerful to overcome and hold at bay, we consciously participate. We internalize the part of the aggressor. The strong and the powerful win, our sorry ass, loses. We identify with those whom we cannot defeat. We inflict the same hurt on them we deem weak to resist: if we are angry with authority that beat us to submission, we defy laws as simple as jaywalking, traffic rules, paying taxes, etc; if we can’t match the bullying of the rich, the boss, the colonizers, the church, and in these contemporary times, the corporations and haciendas that own our women, our children, and lands, we assimilate and accommodate them in consciousness. We aspire to be rich. We work with the rich, and controlling corporations. We build our own businesses and employ the same strategy: manipulate, deceive, and break rules. Because only by being like our bosses, do we win. Like them, our morals is defined by the power and money we have. We exploit people. We acquire the vestiges of power: money, guns, judges, lawyers, employ them as tools of our aggression. We do it because it is futile to resist against the powerful. Our children, our families, all of us die if we don’t.
We respond to regan our self respect and identity,, not because it is in our character, or a Filipino character flow. We respond to the inequality of opportunities, to the injustice, to the utter disregard for individual and collective right. For a people who continuously suffer from hopelessnes, who gets less in life and less in law, the response, terrible as it may sound, is an act of desperation, not a character flaw.
We are a beautiful people, with a beautiful culture, which values the relationship between individuals, individuals with communities, communities with regions, and regions with the country. We have that beautliful value inside, intact. We are in danger of losing it for the last 500 years because of mitigating circumstances of our history, but we didn’t. Our sense of community is tried and tested. However flawed socially EDSA 1 might be, it is still a testament to Filipino sense of community, justice, and hope for a better future. May konting pag-asa pa pero…
How can we emerge thriumphantly, like Japan as what your dear friend mused, from this desperation? Japan had it at the right time, right people, and right world event. Japan had strong leadership. Its people had discipline, and had not fallen in the same moral quagmire we wallow in. America had not risen the as a world power then. The Japanese isolated themselves. They build their own industries. They build a strong economy. Evrything they did, they build with their people in mind. And when they broke out from their cocoon, an empir was born.
I guess we should all be in the look out for these conditions, in the next 500 years.
(Note: Heneral Luna is not to be emulated. He bullied, instead of lead, a multitude of untrained, unlettered and unshod Filipinos who are ready to die in battle.)