Sunday, June 19, 2011

“Man Up, Philippines”

The tourist honchos offer up new slogans now and then to attempt to characterize the wonder and awe of Philippine beaches and other tourist destinations, such as they are, in a few crisp words.

I wish to recommend a sparkling new slogan for the whole of the Philippines:

“Man up, Philippines”

This term derives from sports. When you are playing basketball and find yourself being pushed around by some larger, quicker, more talented hulk, your coach shouts out “Man up, Jones”, or whatever your name might be. It means develop some toughness real quick. Get a determined mind, an elevated spirit, an aggressive body and hold your own.

Now many Filipinos will find the slogan offensive because it comes from an outsider. A Filipino could utter the same words and that would be okay. He’s a teammate. He’s supposed to try to fire us up. But an outsider? What arrogance. That’s like a pep talk from the opposing team’s coach.

“Get outta here!” you scream, the words echoing off the locker room walls.

But the words are the same, aren’t they? If uttered by an outsider or an insider, the words are the same and the circumstances are the same. So the difference is WITHIN THE PERSON DOING THE HEARING, NOT THE PERSON MAKING THE UTTERANCE.

So if you object, I suggest you are embarrassed for yourself, for your nation’s failings, and you don’t want to hear about it from an outsider. You are the king with no clothes and you want the kid who actually sees this, and the honesty to report it, to shut his yap.

Sorry, can’t do that. You need to hear the words and stop confining yourself within a concrete barrel of defensive insecurity.

Some women might also object to the term, ascribing to it a gender bias. But it is, by my definition, gender neutral, just as “he” often refers to the community of “man” which includes “woman”. So to women who complain about it, I get my nose in their face and shout, “Man up, Broad!” Get your mind focused on the point here, which is not gender. It is attitude.

The Philippines needs attitude. No, no, no! Not more shallow flag-waving, Pinoy Pride, ego bound bluster. It needs attitude comprised of discipline, determination, intelligence and sacrifice.

Discipline means you follow a play book or plan. You are organized. You think ahead. You develop a set of personal principles and stick to them.

Determination means your mind is focused and firm. You are tough. Neither catcalls nor cheers nor intentional fouls can distract you from your mission.

Intelligence means you study, you strive to read the situation clearly, you think about risks and rewards and you act appropriately. You aren’t locked into having others tell you what to do.

Sacrifice means you work so that others can star. You don’t worry about a knee in the groin; you take the charge. You sacrifice yourself for the team

To “man up” is to do the right thing, even if it is hard. It means to condemn those who spread filth across your beautiful land, who create danger by the way they drive, giving no quarter to pedestrians or someone else’s right of way, or who allow their dogs to wander on the National Highway killing motorcyclists.

It means to report a public official who will not provide service unless you pay him.

It means to attack the corporations that rip off consumers: TV networks that overload television programs with ads played louder than regular programming; cell phone operators that advertise internet services but don’t provide the bandwidth to accommodate the traffic; retailers that don’t accept returns of damaged goods; government offices that treat the public as subjects; banks that pay ridiculously low interest rates on the deposits they loan out at ridiculously high interest rates.

It means to create a swarming offense with your country-mates that overwhelms the stuck-in-the-mud oligarchs who are hogging the ball and insisting on the boring status quo.

Brief digression: I wonder if there is a single attorney in the Philippines with the courage to work independently to take on the big dawgs, to sacrifice, to man up, for a better Philippines.

You can man up yourself by refusing to toss trash into the street, by calling ahead before visiting someone, by developing a skill and using it to build a career. There are so many ways to man up.

You can man up by doing good deeds rather than whining. By accepting responsibility rather than blaming. By being happy with your personal principles, effort and achievements rather than finding a need to elevate yourself by tearing someone else down.

Man up, Philippines.

Man up.


  1. Open your eyes Joe. The Philippines is manning up. We are standing up against China while Washington kisses her ass.

    The question is, Joe, if you are going to man up with us or will be just be one of those anonymous sissy bloggers who just like to make noise.

  2. PP, you what, expect the US to go to war because you are feeling a little testy about China? Diplomacy is the best approach, as your President Aquino has stated. So "kissing ass" is just another one of your delusional perspectives.

    I man up in the Philippines every day, being kind and generous and principled. I am courteous and honorable and clean (I don't toss trash, I pick up others'). I have funded about five jobs for 5 years now, have funded two college degrees of people unconnected to me, spent P600,000 to help a worker's wife walk again, and have provided assorted other people with medical and other assistance. All in all I've brought about P12 million from the US to here. And I work to open clogged minds, though I suspect yours is one that is impossible to reach.

  3. PP, I don't know if you are high, truly delusional because of denial and ignorance or you just like being a troll. I just recently discovered this blog and so far I've read the 2011 posts. So far you have consistently been the example of why the Philippines can't improve. You're pride has no basis and either you never see or will never admit the faults of our country and our people. Man up and admit how messed up our country and our culture are. First step in solving a problem is to admit there is one.
    Our flag ship is the last world war 2 era ship still in active service. Standing up against China? How? By invoking the mutual agreement treaty? Try to recall recent news stories for the past 12 months we've been the one who's trying to kiss China's ass.

  4. *mutual defense treaty

  5. Joe, how dare you challenge us. You have to remember we don't need to man up. We have a special relationship with God, we are so "blessed" we are the most "religious" people in all the world, how many million strong now? Why should we be afraid of China ? Who needs America when we have God to turn to solve all our problems? Please don't push us or 1. we will bring in the pride of the Pinas, national Kamao Manny Pacman to fight on behalf of all of us- show them Manny! 2. We will let Charisse sing or rather birit til the Chinese ears and the rest of the world burst to kingdom come. You have no idea how powerful we can be. We can multiply faster than rabbits if needed. We can raise as many Pacturds as needed too.

  6. Hey Joe, I admit I am a racist against Americans, but I totally agree with you. MAN UP PHILIPPINES! I pity those who are feeble-minded enough to contest your statement with stupidity.

  7. Anonymous who said "Joe, how dare you challenge us..." needs to man up.

  8. In the Philippines, "manning up" is more about being able to put one over the other. It seems that Pinoys remain stuck in a one-dimensional notion of what it means to be a "man" (no sexism intended there) that is gained from all the moronic products of Philippine cinema.

  9. Krystin, I appreciate your candor, and the fact that we agree on this. Americans are like most people, a few bad ones, and some self-serving governmental policy. But a lot of good ones.


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