Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Born Again Filipino

JoeAm’s arrogant but marvelously simple five-step method of becoming a born-again Filipino:

1. Always carry a book and read it in public even if your friends try to insult you for being a “librarian”. Help interject the pride of being smart into Philippine culture, driving out the macho pride of tuba-swilling cock fights and the bimbo pride of show-biz glitz and gossip.

2. When a friend hurts himself, ask if he is okay rather than laugh. Practice the art of caring about other people’s pain or circumstance. The English word is compassion.

3. Shoot your dog or pen it up so that it is no longer a risk to motorcyclists, no longer infests neighborhood kids with fleas, and no longer poops and pisses where others walk. Practice thinking and acting for the well-being of others.

4. When someone else tosses a plastic wrapper to the sidewalk, pick it up and stuff it in your pocket for proper disposal later. You need say nothing, for the picture is strikingly clear. You care about the Philippines.

5. When you are driving, yield to pedestrians who have entered the crosswalk; ignore those who honk at you or blast impatiently past, for they are rude and inconsiderate souls, a stark representation of what Filipinos should strive not to be.

I’m not saying this is easy. It is very, very hard.

But through these simple, difficult steps, you will become a person of principle instead of a person of convenience. You will be born again.

When enough Filipinos care about something other than their own advantage, the Philippines will become a nation of conscience, a nation of thought and thoughtfulness, a nation of accomplishment. The nation will become richer of soul and richer of treasure.


  1. If I give way to pedestrians, pick-up trash to my pocket, read books they'll call me names like: bakla, retard, mental, pakitang-tao, weird.

    If a foreigner does that my fellow brown-skin-punk'd-nose brothers will say, "If a white man can do that why can't we?"

    If a brown-skin-punk'd-nose would do a white-man they'd laugh at him.

    In the Philippines doing good deeds is "damn-if-you-do, damn-if-you-don't"

  2. @Mariano:
    no choice now, do we? LOL
    Before I was really conscious about this because people around me would call me those that you enumerated. I remember once my father got irritated that I gave way to pedestrians. I explained to my father that is how I was taught during driving school.

    J, let me share this:
    When I was still in 1st year college there was one time I ate in a fast food chain where a group of asians (I think they were Japanese) cleaned their table after eating. The food were stocked in styros before right? They formed a line in front of the trash bin waiting for their turn to throw their trash. The table where they were eating was already clean. The people surrounding them were speechless, others were staring while others giggled. There were others who were impressed at them.

    I tried to do this once and I was reprimanded by my friend saying that what is the use of the employees here - they should be the one to clean it up. Either way, I still cleaned it although never got a chance to put it in the trash bin.


  3. Seina,

    Hah, I usually do what you did. Clean up the table but leave the neat pile of stuff on the table. Japanese generally are extraordinarily aware of others and strive always to "give face" to others and their own culture. Sometimes this leads to something other than transparency, but in social settings is very uplifting. To be treated kindly . . . and to know it is a choice.


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