ARCHIVED LETTERS 08 NOVEMBER 2001


05 September 2001

To the Webmaster:

I wasn't particularly proud at being of Filipino descent until I stumbled unto your website and read your pseudo-intellectual drivel. Now you've really "got my goat" and I hereby express my profound displeasure at the "insults" you inflict on Filipinos and the Filipino society in general. Yes, I should have pressed the "exit" button on your main page, but like perusing through photographs of medical anomalies I was engrossed.

It is certainly easy to criticize the Philippines & Filipinos ... I have done it myself. The fact that North American and European employers have developed a taste for cheap Filipino labour doesn't help. The fact that Archbishop J. Sin has more power and authority than any pope over the last few hundred years does not help either. Yes, the piece about the jeepney is funny. Yes, education in the Philippines is outmoded. And yes, Filipino actors and actresses can't act even if their lives depend on it. And, yes, Filipinos have no pride.

Regardless, I beg to differ with your views for the following reasons:

OTHER PEOPLE THINK THE SAME ABOUT THEMSELVES

Your thesis is hardly original. Coming from what is touted to be a "multi-cultural society", I note that the problems and the flaws you expose about Filipinos are not unique to Filipinos. Other ethnic groups, or should we say nationalities, suffer from the same sense of inferiority and cultural self-immolation.

WESTERN IDEAS WILL NOT WORK IN THE PHILIPPINES

Applying western concepts holus bolus, explicitly and implicitly as you and some of your misguided contributors do, to redress the perceived faults in Filipino society does not begin to address the problem. In fact, it is your type of thinking that is the problem. Filipino society is not a western society and Filipinos, while they espouse to all western beliefs and ideals, do not execute things in a western fashion to develop western style institutions and norms. History if full of instances of western ideas harming Filipino society.

AT LEAST THE SYSTEM WORKS

Whether we like it or not, the present Filipino society actually works. At least there is, generally, peace in the land. In many countries of the world (populated by lesser peoples), there are civil wars, mass state sponsored persecutions of an identifiable group, or mass starvation or famine or some such man-induced calamities (i.e. Sri Lanka, Kampuchea in the '70s, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia). Filipino society, such as it is, has managed to maintain a semblance of equilibrium which allows its citizens, and institutions, to survive despite the depradations.

THERE ARE FOREIGN CAUSES TO THE DOMESTIC PROBLEMS

Have you ever thought that perhaps it is not so much Filipinos themselves that are the cause of much of the problems? Has it occurred to you that perhaps there are foreign causes at work, such as world wide economic trends, that conspire to keep the Philippine economy, and thus the Filipinos' standard of living, stagnant?

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE

It used to be that Filipinos used to compare themselves with the U.S.A. as a standard of what or where the country should be. It may have something to do with the democratic ideal. Then Filipinos became more aware of their neighbours. Now, it is South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, etc. that has become the standard of what or where the country ought to be. Do Filipinos always have to compare themselves, and unfavourably at that, to others?

Your views do strike many chords amongst Filipinos who give more than a seconds pause about the old country, such as this writer. The easy approach would be to fall into the easy trap of "shallow thinking" and say "Oh yes!".

I suppose it has become fashionable for Filipino intelligentsia, or should we say "pseudo-intellectuals" to take aim at well established Filipino institutions. Reading from your Feedback Section this appears to be self-evident. Such sheep!

While you take your potshots against the hallowed institutions of the Philippines has it occurred to you that, perhaps, you are simply demonstrating what you are railing against?

Most Upsettingly Yours,


27 August 2001

Quite an interesting article [re "Crawling Back to the Motherland"] - and sad too. We have friends in the Philippines who have been waiting for almost 20 years to get to the good old USA. These are people who have degrees, careers and a generally good life.

We have tried to discourage them but why are they still dead set in going to the USA? Their children. A better life for their children and future grandchildren. And this goal is not limited to going to the USA. It includes other countries too - notably Canada.

While it is such a grand sacrifice, it is sad that one has to leave motherland for our children's future.

Thank you for such a good article.


21 August 2001

I enjoyed your perspective on Tagalog and it's effect on Filipino culture and economy. Your thoughts especially hit home with me when you mentioned that when Filipinos leave the country they very readily loose their culture. My parents were born and lived in the Philippines until they were in their mid 20's when they move to the US for a better life. My two older brothers and I were born in New Jersey and have lived here ever since. I am 26 and live in an area that is very culturally diverse. Most of my friends are Indian and in fact, my girlfriend (and soon to be fianc´┐Ż and wife) is indian as well. From my interactions with Indian people who are essentially in the same boat as I am (first generation born), it seems that Indian people hold their culture close to them. I believe this resilience to external pressures to assimilate come from a strong cultural upbringing- (ie they were force fed their culture). I on the other hand do not feel that I have the same cultural ties. Aside for a few word and phrases, I don't speak a lick of Tagalog. I'm ashamed to admit that I never knew how to spell "Tagalog" until I read your article. I don't have any close friends that are Filipino. I am not even close to any of my relatives beside by immediate family. To top it off, I have never been to the Philippines. I'm a typical "sell out" and I don't like it. I don't want to blame my parents b/c I wouldn't trade them for the world. They are very loving and supportive and I am forever grateful for that. But, they never taught me Tagalog which I believe would have been important in braking our communication barrier. The communication within our family was and is very scarce. When my parents moved to the US they were forced to assimilate. The first step in assimilation was learning English. Yeah they knew the basics of the language through Filipino schooling, but their language was extremely remedial. So before I started public schooling at the age of 4, I was learning English from non proficient English speakers. This lack of foundation had set me up for a difficult and trying educational experience. I can't say I am unsuccessful but I believe I could be more successful. My communication skill are still not as developed and refined as most people my age. Therefore I have resolved to hiding my shortcomings behind my degree.

I guess what I am getting at is: I think it is extremely important to learn about your culture and roots and speaking the language is the key to unlocking that treasure. But it is also important to learn English since success is usually directly related to it's mastery. Why not learn both and master both? I have a friend that is Taiwanese (born in the US) and speaks fluently in English and Chinese. Granted, he is very intelligent. But, is he intelligent because he was able to communicate with his parents as well as with teachers and professors (the main educators of most peoples lives)? What came first the chicken or the egg?

Thanks for your perpetuation of thought.


18 August 2001

Yes, hello. Are you the web master of the GET REAL site? I love it. Very thought-provoking.

WHY NOT TURN YOUR SITE INTO A BOOK!? I'm sure it will be a hit.Wala pang libro lumalabas tungkol sa core ng pagiging pinoy natin at bakit ganito tayo diba? Better if you can include the all the best articles.

Isa ako sa mga die-hard pinoy. Nag-aaway kami lagi ng mommy ko kasi lahat daw ng kumare niya, nag-a-abroad na daw. Sagot ko lang, hayaan mo sila! Kahit maraming mali sa bansang ito, at kahit lahat ng Pilipino gustong maging kung-ano-anong citizen, dito pa rin ako mamatay. Love your own diba?.

Keep up the good work!

PROUD2bPinoy pa rin kahit anong mangyari, ms.des


12 August 2001

I love the Philippines and its people and my wife is a filipina but i find your opinions of America shameful. We are not perfect either but if two countries ever had a bond its the U.S and the Philippines. I know my cousin would feel the same way but he lies in the American cemetary in Manila. You should take alook beyond everyday hatred.

Frank.


11 August 2001

Have you read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged?

I read it around a month ago, re-examined my surroundings, and came to the same conclusions as you. I was planning to start writing about it, but looks like there's no need - you've already done it. :)

If you haven't read Atlas Shrugged, then props for thinking up your ideas independently. Read it. You will find a lot in that book.


09 August 2001

whoever is the brain of this site and all its contributors enlightens as well as empowers previously inanimate people. The site exudes a truthful perspective therefore brightens up anyone who reads the articles. Life in the Philippines has become downright twisted and it is being mirrored to everything under the sun. This evidently pinpoints problems and a way to face them. Filipinos must do away from this sulk so they can be more appreciated. Personally, I think the sole reason for the mishaps Filipinos beget make one easily abandon their nationalism. I'm an immigrant in the US together with the whole family and I can't blame myself pursuing better opportunities in another land even though I have the choice of returning and raise a family in my homeland.


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