ARCHIVED LETTERS 12 SEPTEMBER 2003


04 June 2003

Is there a reason you're so extremely and insanely racist? You're ignorant, and if you were born into that lifestyle, you would behave differently. Everything will come back to you ten-fold, though. But only for your ignorance.... do I pity you.


29 April 2003

Sir,

I'd like to thank you for your candor views on the filipino scene, I just stumbled over this website and appreciate its honesty about our situation as a people.

I'm a male filipino in my early 20's and I live out in southern California. I've never really took the time to understand the conditions facing the Philippines. Because it didn't have a direct effect on myself, I never bothered being informed with it.

Because I viewed myself different from those who grew up in the Philippines, I never truly cared. Sure, I enjoyed the company of filipinos for their humor and the reminiscent qualities I've lost touched of. I realized I don'twant the other qualities I associate with my people. I view filipinos as void of any intellectual enjoyment. I like reading philosophical books that are stimulating, but the people I know and see lack any committment to any intellectual pursuits. This is not to be patronizing, but there seems to be a limit which some filipinos apply themselves intellectually. I have yet to encounter one who has taken interest in any cerebral activities, it seems as though they have no inclination towards art, humanities or education in general. As a result, I see filipinos as irrational and illogical. Any argument on any issue and it's either avoided or seen as an attack on their ego. I find a more stimulating conversation with individuals from other ethnic groups.

I view two differnet types of filipinos, the first are those that grew up here in the states. The other are those who arrived here from the Philippines in the teens or later. (I will be generalizing these two groups, but I understand it doesn't pertain to all within those groups.) Those who grew up here have no appreciation towards the sacrifice of what their parents or grand parents had to endure for their posterity to have a better life here in the states. From my own experience, my mother worked hard so my sister and I can live a better life. She took the opportunity to live in the states in order for her to bring her children here. She had to endure isolation and not being able to see her children for years. These group grew up adopting other lifestyles which promotes immediate gratification and a good time. It turns my stomach when I see a filipino imitating gangsters and rap artist in their speech and gestures. It reminds me of what Sartre calls individuals adopting a "bad faith." I had friends like those, and they never amounted to much. If happiness to them is missing out on any opportunity advancing themselves intellectually and in status, and allowing all the hard work that their parents go to shit, then they can die in shame for all I care. I am ashamed sometimes to identify myself as a filipino. I see other orientals such as Koreans, Japanese and Chinese make something of themselves when they get here. They just hit the ground running in business and professional occupations.

The other group of filipino is even worst off. They come here for a new start and find themselves intimidated with the rest of the Americans. They don't see the possibility they have here than in the Philippines. I thought after experiencing the shit they had to put up with in the Philippines, they would at least try to make something of themselves. So what do they do? They build their little filipino community to remind themselves of the good times back home. I say go back home in your balikbayan boxes, you're letting opportunity go to waste. It's like throwing pearls to pigs. There's no room here for timid and weak, only the ambitious risk takers with enough foresight can do any good for themselves anyway.

Which brings me into ambition. We impose to much limits on ourselves on what we're capable of doing. Why the f**k do you want to be a nurse when you can be a doctor? I do respect the occupation of a nurse (my sister wants to be one) but the point is, we restrict ourselves of any other lofty goals which we might have been able to achieve. We are hard workers, but we do it with our head down. I don't see a lot filipino with any drive to do or accomplish more.

What pride can I show others of my filipino heritage? That my filipino minor league team cheated on baseball? What's our claim to fame that we can show for today? Our economical status in comparison to other nations such as Japan or Korea? Our outstanding goverment run by leaders and visionaries who will take us our of our third world status?

I have other oriental friends, and I'm very impressed with their culture and success in the world scene. I admire particularly Koreans and Japanese for their tireless effort to be the best, and their drive to succeed. Korea brought themselves out of a third world status in less than half a century. The Japanese are collectively dominating the business sector. I don't find the Filipinos in any list except in the dirt last or in the bottom barrel. No Olypmiad, no Fortune 500 or anywhere have I seen any collective effort by Filipino to be the on the top.

I've read one of the articles relating to our irrational decision for kicking out the US military, and there are some valid points brought up. I've always been secured with the US presence on our soil. In our ethnocentric conceit, we think we can stand on our own two feet without the aide of a powerful nation. Our decisions have gone beyond stupidity. Our country is an example of a nation that has no concern for each others welfare. It's an egotist nation without any degree of altruistic intention. What do we have to boast about to claim that we are a unique and special people? It's pathetic when filipinos live off the landfill for sustenance. We're no good to anyone, even for ourselves.

I know we have good qualities, we have an outstanding bedside manner and we're family oriented. Asides from that, we don't have much to show for ourselves. I do know we have untapped potential, I think our intellectual capacity is enormous, but our inclination on the other have is another thing. Maybe one day the old way of thinking will die out, and those with enough compassion and intelligence can turn things around. Until then I'll forebear and show my own sphere of people that a Filipino can be both smart, authentic and driven to suceed.

As of now I choose to associate myself with like minded individuals instead of my own people. I'm deliberate in my choice of who I want to be instead of falling into any stereotypical mold. I appreciate my heritage, and I'm grateful for my parents sacrifice. But as far being a Filipino, I can't say I'm proud to be one.

Thanks for this site and allowing me to vent some of my longheld views, I hope your own views reach other filipinos willing to listen. If you are involved in any worthy cause that would promote a better understanding for the filipino community, please let me know.


23 May 2003

Your article on "Why the Philippines Remains in Poverty" [by Francisco Sionil Jose] was very excellent and instructive. I have lived here as an American and missionary for some 14+ years. What I have noted above all else is the corruption and extreme exploitiveness of many in government and within "the business elite." Many of them live like kings, queens, and princes, while "their subjects" live in (mostly) abject poverty. It's a mindset. The kind that Jesus condemned at every turn.

If money, power, and prestige is the REAL priority within many sectors of society, EVERYONE suffers. This society does not necessary need to be "more Catholic." But it CERTAINLY needs to be more CHRISTIAN in the way it really counts.

I am very, very saddened by what I see happening to an otherwise beautiful country and people. The so-called "ruling elite" have GROSSLY enriched themselves, and (in the process) mostly plundered and raped the resources of the nation. It is sickening and it is sad. I pray for the people of this battered and pillaged country.


12 May 2003

Am quite impressed with the analyses, but more importantly, because they did not stop at simply defining and articulating the problems of the country, the proposed solutions were most in-depth, revealing, and clearly well-studied. Will visit the site more often. I have printed out all the articles under Solutions and will pore thru them in detail to see how I, the individual, may participate and become a part of the solution.


15 April 2003

Hi, Michael, I read your article "Left behind again" in the Phillipine Daily Inquiry. In that, there are a lot of truth about what China has accomplished during past five years in terms of transportation, but, in this article, also there are some statements you made are very disturbing, to say the least. For example, in the fourth paragraph, I quote: "the maglev train being the latest reminder that China, a country supposedly more underdeveloped that we are, is now hurtling rapidly into a bold future, leaving us far behind."

Mr. Tan, I never, in my wildest dream, thought China is underdeveloped than the Phillipine, base on many reports of every media from the world, the Philippine's economy is in shamble and languished in the economic backwater and almost every aspect of national infrastructure and technology need foreign help. What is more stressing to learn, the living standard is so deteriorating and your country have to export labor to your neighbor countries, look at the household maids in Hong Kong, for example. At the same time, there are Muslim resurgence. Under this kind of miserable conditions, how can you claim with such audacity that "China, a country supposedly more underdeveloped that the Phillipine. Mr. Tan, when you write a article for the media, the first thing you should observe is the truth.

Unfortunately, you did not abide by this cardinal rule and violate it and misled a lot of not quite educated reader. All I have to say to you is "Shame on you".


03 April 2003

Marikina City - "Little Singapore" is just hype.

1 . Clean and Green
Yes, Marikina City is "clean and green" as we Marike´┐Żos are led to believe even if the city hall's garbage trucks and other service vehicles eruct thick, black smoke. And yes, Marikina is clean and green if don't count the Dona Petra dumpsite. Yes, Marikina City has rehabilitated its famed river, (actually only the riverbanks has been rehabilitated) even though its waters remain murky as mud.

2. Peace and Order
Yes, you no longer hear about rape cases in Marikina City. But how about the crime rate? No, Marikina City has not lowered its crime rate. You can ask Sonny Parsons and his neighbors about the akyat bahay gangs, snatchers and drug pushers in Marikina City. Yes, Marikina City has a curfew (11pm - 4 am), it has helped in lowering the crime rate during night time. But the criminals moved their operations during day time.

3. Traffic

It is very surprising that traffic in Marikina City has gone from bad to worse. The designation of the city's former dad, Bayani Fernando, as new MMDA chair, and the election of his wife as mayor are not helping at all to resolve the monstrous traffic mess in the place that should be serving as the microcosmic model for Metro Manila. Yes, narrow roads in Marikina City are well asphalted, not to say well maintained only because these, every now and then, are being dug up and re-constructed to worsen traffic.

Yes, traffic in Marikina City is unlike vehicular flows in other urban places where they are supposed to be worse, however only if you ride a motorbike, helicopter or a vehicle fitted with a siren.

4. Graft and Corruption
From the Daily Tribune Article 1
Article 2

Everyone in Marikina City knows BF Construction company have been granted some of the infrastructure contracts in the city because of Fernando's influence. No one budged, even if, in theory, this is unethical, because they know that this is a working mayor compared to others who cannot beautify their own community or implement a single substantial project during their term. Another is the Riverbanks complex of parks and commercial establishments. This used to be U-Tex which was mortgaged and later closed down.

The city government, under then-mayor Bayani Fernando, spent tens of millions of pesos and hundreds of man-hours to demolish the old structures and build new ones and construct new roads where there were none before. Everybody here in Marikina knows that the whole complex of Riverbank buildings and the lot these occupy are owned by Meneleo Carlos, the father-in-law of Bayani Fernando and the father of Mayor Maria Lourdes Carlos Fernando.

My question is: Is it legal, proper and moral for the city government to spend millions of pesos from the public coffers and utilize city employees to improve a piece of property owned by the city officials' relatives? Does this not constitute technical malversation of public funds? Are not the improvements principally benefiting private parties and its benefits to the people only incidental? Call a spade a spade and not anything else. This is still a form of graft and corruption.

Indeed, Marikina City has become a truly livable place, if only we go with the popular mindset and accept the hype being bandied about so blithely by press relations people.


04 April 2003

Sir:

I come across your article when a friend e-mailed me a copy about a year and half ago.

Sad to admit, but I totally agree with your assertion regarding OUR total lack of pride in OUR own culture. If I can make the assertion that we as a culture, we are not a proud people.

When I first came to the United States over twenty years ago, I noticed a lot of things: There's the Saint Patrick's Day Parade (Irish), Cinco de Mayo Celebration (Mexico), Little Italy, Little Saigon, Chinatown, among others. I live in the San Diego area. As you know, there's a huge Filipino population in the area. I asked myself then why we don't have something like a Rizal Park, why we don't celebrate Santa Cruzan, why we don't celebrate the Philippine Independence ?. Mira Mesa, a suburb in the San Diego area, is known as Mira Manila among Filipinos. Sadly, when the term Mira Manila is mentioned, it is stated in a negative way since somehow too many Filipinos live there.

To butress your argument further about our disdain for our own culture and 'worship' for anything foreign, when I visit a Filipino store, the sales clerk would be so accomodating to non-Filipinos but showed total disregard for his/her fellow Filipino. When a fellow Filipino would try to carry a conversation with them, I get the impression that they are suspicious of the other person's motive. On the other hand, when a non-Filipino person, especially whites, come their way, you can see a broad smile across their face as they open up to them. On the check-out stands, the non-Filipinos would be greeted with "How are you ?", and a "Have a nice day. Come again". Filipinos, on the other hand, gets their change and receipt, and that's about it. I know why this is the case: as you stated, we identify our culture as somehow subservient to other cultures.

One thing I don't quite understand is that some people will talk to his/her fellow Filipino in English when they both know that they can communicate with each other in Tagalog. I get the impression that if they talk to each other in Tagalog, they will be look down upon. Certainly, we see the Chinese, Mexicans, French, Russians, and others do this and we don't think anything of it but somehow our own language can't be spoken and heard of in public.

As a culture, we tend to size-up people before we interact with them. We first look at the person's status and decide then whether we want to interact with them or not. If they have a friend to happen to be Russian or French, that qualification is emphasized when that friend is mentioned. Everybody somehow have a 'lawyer friend', a 'business man friend', and 'engineer friend' and not just 'friends'. I have worked with people from other parts of the world and I don't hear the same qualifications being attached to a friend. (For your information, I have a white collar profession).

I have always wonder why our culture does not exhibit the same pride that other people have in theirs. I, too, have been to Machu Picchu and wonder why we are not as proud of the Banaue Rice Terraces. Our culture know more about McArthur than we do about Rizal, Bonifacio, Aguinaldo, Mabini, and others.

I can go on forever.

When I get the chance, I always forward your article to people that might benefit from it. At this point, I have read it numerous times myself.

I am hopeful that the Philippines will rise up again and reclaim it's status as 'Pearl of the Orient'.

God Bless You for your insight into our culture.


04 April 2003

I absolutely agree with the article written about that Filipino's lack of pride in being Filipino. Though I sometimes exhibit unpatriotic feelings as well, I always find myself wondering why the Philippines is not as great as it should and could be. I find myself dreaming up schemes to make the country progress.

I agree, the problem does lie with it's people. A people who claims to be nationalistic. I now wonder if this nationalism (usually claimed for speaking Filipino and being ignorant of English) is just a cover up for understandable deficiencies (like English proficiency, in the case of Nationalism by National Language) which the solution of can lead to a dramatic change in the progress of the nation. I cannot express enough my agreement. The Philippines' people lacks the pride.

If only the Department of Tourism would step up its efforts. I hardly see its WoWPhilippines advertisment on supposedly international channels such as CNN, CCTV, AXN, and MTV. I cringe every time I see those colorful Amazing Thailand, Malaysia Truly Asia, and Incredible India commercials. If they can do that, we can too! Why don't we? I don't know. I find myself saying "But we have that, too, and then some."

Even the Department of Tourism can't exhibit the pride of country which is its job. If they stepped up this campaign in the country itself, maybe it will ignite the dormant nationalism which all Filipinos claim to have. Mabuhay? We certainly need to.


19 February 2003

Hi,

I have spent time in the Phils and do plan on returning for extended times after retirement in about 8 years and I must say, it is a beautiful country and the people I have associated with are wonderful...first class.

However I am engaged to a married lady and we have found through two different attorneys and almost monthly trips to appear before the local magistrate, that her marriage certificate is not valid. The first attorney which was employed to assist her was corrupt and we wasted over a year of our time just trying to get any paperwork done. This present attorney seems pretty good but seems surprised every time he is asked to return with his client..my fiancee. Now, looking from the outside, I see that somebody wants to get paid off to file the paperwork and make the sought after annulment finalized.

This I feel is the most major problem facing your country....Corruption. I feel so sad. Your past president Marcos saw too it that all the people there knew how to become corrupted and gain their own little piece of the action but looking at the bigger picture...these little pieces of action hurt the whole.

I was watching a road crew there who were guaranteed by the government a minumum wage...however they were not getting it...a portion was being with-held by the foreman and on up. So instead of these hard working men getting 500 peso a day, they were only recieving 300 coz the foreman of this crew was taking some off their pay to insure they would still have their job tomorrow. If he didn't get paid, they could be replaced.

I am also sad to say I would really not care to do business with a country that is run like that because there would be so many unexpected costs and kickbacks...

Well, My fiancees next court date after today will be April 28 so I might write you again...also we have been engaged for over three years now and have been trying all this time to get a resolve to her situation.


10 February 2003

Being away from the PI for almost 20 years and striving hard to learn the american way, I feel that as a group of people we lack integrity and adaptability. Those are the things that are very hard to learn. We all need personal accountability for all our actions, we cannot always blame someone or the past. I love living in America where noone knows you and no one cares. You work hard here and make sure that your job knowledge is up to date and you can be anything you want. You don't have to kiss someone's behind all of the time to get to where you want to be.

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