26 January 2001

Dear Get Real,

Strangely enough, I agreed with all the negative statements you said about our national character. On the other hand, very few people seem to know how to remedy the situation. Because of work I have been living in and out of the Philippines for the past ten years, and the national condition seems to get worse on every return.

Personally, I think it has to do with the "split personality" most Filipinos acquire just to survive. When we think rationally, we think in English, as I am doing now. We have to make analysis an integral part both of our personal and public life, or we are condemned to being life's victims. One way of doing this is to be analytical in whatever local language or dialect we speak, whether it be Tagalog, Waray, Ilocano or a very specialized indigenous dialect. It sounds too simple, but it just might work.

In my job as a researcher in a country where English is not a commonly used language, my concentration is split in half when I have to understand both the topic being studied, and a language I am not familiar with, at the same time. This is the same dilemna for the majority of Filipinos, for whom English is a very hard second or even third language. For this majority, the energy to even THINK in their own dialect is hindered by malnutrition, bad education, and the general stress of living on a small salary (if any). Sa Inglis pa kaya?

Those of us who were lucky enough to get a decent education and enough to eat should not make a sport of the average Filipinos' stupidity. It is not funny, being stupid and unable to deal with the world's complexity. It is tragic both for the stupid person and the recipient of the stupid act.... I have to tell myself this whenever a fellow Pinoy cuts through a line and thinks "nakaisa" ako, or a cop approaches with the "ngiting aso" look once a car goes through some invisible illegal line as he looks forward to "earning" his merienda money. Maybe, when faced with that situation, the thinking Pinoy should explain, in as pure Tagalog (or other dialect) he/she can muster, why the act is wrong. Instead of cursing, using "higher-than-thou" English or Taglish, or name dropping important relatives or acquaintances.

It is hard and often heart-breaking, but the education of every Filipino is the responsibility of every other Filipino. Otherwise, let all who can go the Dona Victorina way and cut whatever physical or verbal signs of Indio-ness away, do so. For all the rest who are resigned and even happy to be Filipino, please consider my suggestion. For a start, would it be too much work for the makers of this site to write in Tagalog too? I know "Bobong Pinoy" (a similar site) exists, but it hasn't been updated for months. REAL life in the Philippines means thinking on your feet, in your local language. Does GET REAL think it's worth a try?

25 January 2001

I agree that to change the Philippines for the better we must change ourselves first. But the Filipino by nature do not have character or integrity. Just accept the fact that it will take generations for the Filipino to evolve. Why don't you start with yourself instead of spitting out idealistic impossibilities. Just improve your own life and mind your own business...

[From Messageboard.]

21 January 2001

A one of a kind and real analysis of Filipinos. I totally agree. Hope this will open the narrow mind of most Pinoys. I'm just hoping not counting on it.

17 January 2001

To give credit where credit is due, you guys have really hit the nail on the head regarding the sad state of our country.

Our masses suffer from a huge case of ignorace coupled with arrogance which has primarily been brought about by the pathetic movies we make and show. I'm only in my mid 20's but I can say I've been watching movies long enough to realize the plots ans storylines of local films have not changed at all since the 70's. We've been second to the Spaniards and the Americans for so long that we always have to have this "the underdog wins in the end" theme in our movies. It's the only way we can feel like we've won something, even if it is just make believe. So it's not too far a stretch of the imagination for a moron with charisma (be it actual or self-proclaimed) would take their "savior of the oppressed" role to heart and off the screen into real life.

Watch how people go crazy when they see a movie actor in public. You'd think the personality (which is an oxymoron because these actors have none) was the pope, judging by the mob that forms around him or her. We lionize our actors and actresses like they invented the cure for cancer or found alternative sources of energy when in fact, all they do is make movies (bad ones at that). All they've really done is take all the little fantasies of the masses and live them out on the big screen...and that makes them irresistable. They are a psychological opium for an otherwise pathetic and depraved society. Do not think, however, that the bullshit ends with the masses. You'd better believe the upper classes are guilty of the same thing, except they have two things in their favor: They're not as numerous as the masses, therefore not as blatantly obvious, AND they have more money, which means they are not as in awe at the rags to riches tales of some of these artistas.

You guys are right, it's not as much Erap's fault that we're in the shit we are in today as much as it is our fault. We elected him. Even if you and I didn't vote for the fat bastard, the point is, we are in some way responsible for educating our less educated countrymen and we neglected to do that. Consider this simple statistic, each household in Forbes Park, Dasmarinnas, Urdaneta, and the other exclusive subdivisions in Manila all have a ratio of two household help per family member. If we had taken the time to talk to them about how disastrous an Erap presidency would have been, perhaps things would be different. What would it have taken for a few Makati and Quezon city businessmen, teachers, and professionals to donate some of their free time by going to the country sides and provinces to educate the people there of how bad Erap is for our country? We didn't have enough preventive measures. As a result, the shit really hit the fan.

Unfortunately, getting him out is not quite as easy as getting him in. What scares me most is that I was talking to a Filipino immigrant the other day in San Francisco who hasn't been back to Manila in over 20 years. He does keep track of the news in Manila, although I suspect it is more out of curiosity (better known as chismoso) and relief (that he got the hell out of there when he did), than of genuine concern. He looks at me and says "Alam mo, hindi dapat naging Presidente si Erap. Hindi niya kaya." I was about to have some hope for our people when this man followed his previous statement with "Siguro, mas maigi na si FPJ nalang." I weep for our future...We never learn... Ladies and Gentlemen...we have a long way to go.

15 January 2001

we appreciate what you're doing. what i don't understand is the handful of people who are critizing you for the things you've written. i guess that's another fault of most filipinos, they don't like being told that they're wrong.

well, tough luck, let's smarten up people, let's give this guy a break. he's not responsible for the ills that he's writing about, we are, we all are. and the sooner we smarten up and start to do something about it, the better off we are.

keep up the good work man, and we'll try to do our part...

08 December 2000

I agree with all that and may i add some more:

1. the jeepney may be the symbol of filipino culture...dirty, gaudy, inefficient, and out dated but the tricycle is worse. it belches smoke more than a jeepney, it charges high fares ( that's why it is a poor excuse to consider them transportation for the masses...and who rides them - those who do not have it is more a bane to the masses) . They are also uncomfortable to ride ( they make 2 people fit in seat made for 1 & 1/2 persons), they have their own traffic rules which is mostly against the accepted traffic rules. worse the local governments in a way encourage quezon city.

2. I also think the root cause of our problems is lack of respect...for self ...and for others...forget discipline (pag walang bantay wala nang disiplina ang pilipino) ...if a jeepney driver gives a damn about others, he will not block the intersection to wait for more fares.

3. the motivating prize in winning an election is a killing in kickbacks, bribes...power and riches...worse - we still vote for thieves to lead us and steal some more from us.

3. so how do we change culture in a huff and a puff?

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