Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Culture can be changed

Egyptians determined that they needed more freedom of speech and less thuggery in their culture. They decided their government was in the way. Egypt has a sizable middle class, well-educated with many youth plugged into computer social networks. The bloodless (not entirely, but for the most part) Facebook overthrow of government now stands as an example of a new way to wage change. Guns were not needed. The military did not squelch dissent because its own ranks are populated by well-read, well educated young officers who subscribe to the ideal of free expression.

The Philippines has a more open democracy than did Egypt under Mubarak, although the remnants of favoritism, corruption and imperious thinking still occupy Philippine government offices. Imperious means the falsehood of supposedly superior thinking, not imperialistic land grabbing. Although I suppose there is some domestic land-grabbing imperialism in the mix, too.

The main shortcomings I see in Filipino culture are not overt or societal, like lack of free speech, but “within the Filipino”, mainly: (a) lack of compassion or courtesy toward fellow Filipinos, and (b) failure to think conceptually and act productively.

These shortcomings again and again get in the way of progress and lead to favoritism, pollution, corruption, poor service, dilapidated infrastructure and buildings, sinking ferries and crashing airplanes, homes on flood-prone mudbanks, lousy health care, and other failings.

If I were Filipino, I would . . .

1) Always carry a book and do a lot of worthwhile reading. Carrying a book suggests to others that reading is a good thing. It is important that kids pick up on this; cockfights and internet gaming and showtime television are not good cultural models. Worthwhile reading is something other than glamour magazines or comics or romance stories. Reading should lead to richer thinking, not drain or dull the brain. Reading is the foundation of knowledge and all things good.

2) Think relentlessly about the Golden Rule and practice it daily. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I’d practice doing little kindnesses for others until it became a way of life. I’d cede right of way to another vehicle or pedestrian, put plastic into the dump instead of the fire, and think of what I can give to others without them asking, rather than angling for more for myself. With courtesy comes generosity and kindness. Corruption and stupidity cannot thrive in a kind environment.

3) Learn to think conceptually by attaching a “why” to every instruction or request I give to others, and every instruction or request given to me. Once you start to contemplate “why” you are doing things, productive acts push unconstructive acts aside. Eventually even government workers will understand they are serving citizens, not the other way around. Being punctual and trustworthy will become important. Making excuses and casting blame will become irrelevant.

4) I’d pass these guidelines to others to help actively build awareness of how to change Philippine culture.

I would do my personal part to:

• Make the Philippines a visibly intelligent society.
• Make the Philippines a visibly kind, clean and orderly society.
• Make the Philippines a productive, responsible society.


  1. Let me start with "land-grabbing". Filipinos are so enamored with God. They allow their God to grab credit for their successes. If Filipinos fail, God blame Filipinos for naturally dumb and stupid. Filipinos don't see it. Because they have low-IQs, ergo, poor logic like the idiot Philippine journalists that has Muslim mentality. You touch one hair of Philippine journalists, these rascals gang up on hapless critique of journalist.

  2. The credit-grabbing God of theirs is beyond Filipinos comprehension. It has to be explained to them one-by-one. Filipinos go to colleges mostly in Business Administration and Management where they are schooled on not grab credits of others in decision making, yet, they cannot connect God's credit-grabbing. To Filipinos requires high-IQ to be aware. They simply cannot string the dots together.

  3. On your 1, Filipinos do not read. Pronto. I had lived in City of Los Angeles for 15 years. Los Angeles is thick with Filipinos. They are the 2nd most number of minorities, 2nd only to Mexicans, yet, whenever I go to Public Libraries WHO I FOUND? Mexicans, Hispanics, Chinese, Koreans, Whites ! Where there Filipinos? It would take a miracle to see Filipinos in Public Libraries. You cannot find them in Barnes&Nobles and Borders reading books. I always found the usual suspects reading: Chinese, Vietnamese, Whites, Mexicans, Hispanics.

  4. Filipinos are not the reading type. They are just proud of their diplomas hanging in their living room. Filipinos think that Diploma is a badge of knowledge and the end of pursuit of knowledge. They do not know knowledge is a never ending chase.

  5. On 2, "do unto others ... " If you do good deeds to Filipinos they expect more good deeds from you and give little in return. Since you are white and wealthy, they expect you to give more ... and more ... and more. And if you stopped, YOU ARE BAD. They'll pray for your soul to stew in hell.

  6. On 3, Filipinos has only one answer to that, "God made it so" that is the end of the "whys". Filipinos still believe that if you trip on the sidewalk because of uneven surface, it is the punishment of God of past sins. HA!HA!HA! TRUE! REALLY! NOT PULLING YOUR LEG! God instructed the workers to make the surface uneven so you trip over it to punish you in the near future ! Wow! That is why nothing will change in the Philippines. They wouldn't even sue the city for tripping over the sidewalk. It will be there forever will not be fixed forever.

  7. On 4, I just do not know how to change the culture. Filipinos are embarassed to do good deeds in public afraid to be called a wimp or "nagpaka-Rizal" "nagpaka-Hero".
    Filipinos wait for other filipino to change who is also waiting for other Filipino to change who is also ......
    Why the waiting game? Because, culturally, Filipinos do not want to be branded as wimp.

  8. Mariano,

    You are ripping today! The one area I disagree on is IQ. I think the Filipino IQ is healthy, but all the brain power gets trapped within the confines of rote education, superstition, and that "nagpaka-Rizal" syndrome. Your point that "knowledge is in a diploma", not in reading or expanding one's understanding, is brilliant. Regards . . .

  9. @The Society of Honor:

    What you and Mariano actually say is true.

    If you try to do good deeds you will be branded as a wimp. I try hard to be good, even if it is embarrassing that people will laugh at me.

    I also agree with the idea 'knowledge is in a diploma'. There are only a handful of Filipinos I see that reads books for the purpose of expanding one's understanding.


  10. Seina,

    Nice of you to visit and comment. May we wimps of the world thrive . . .

  11. Hahahaha can't help but laugh...

    I have fun from reading your and benign0 blog. I learned a lot just from reading them and happy to know that I am not the only person who has seen these things happening with my own country.

    Hope to see more from you and benign0. Cheers!


  12. Is it safe to assume that none of you are Filipino? If you look at schools in the Philippines, you'll understand how much we have to read for school both english and filipino. I also don't know which Filipinos you've met however several people have said that if they were to describe Filipinos, they would have to say that they are both friendly and hospitable. Yes, Filipinos believe in God. When did that become bad? It is not true that every little thing is attributed to God,both good and bad. You say that Filipinos lack intelligence but Mariano, I advise you to check your grammar. You might not want to be corrected by a child like myself. A little embarrassing.


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