Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Philippine Condition in a Nutshell

Words are fun. Now Nutshell can be broken down into two composite thoughts. (1) Nut shell, and (2) Nuts hell.

Both are operative herein.

I responded to a blog this morning. The subject was Confucius and the Philippines, the author J. Sun E.: . I was forced to cram the whole of my recent distillation of the "Philippine Condition" into a few words, for a blog commenter should not write a longer comment than the blog itself.

This nutshell rendition says about all I can possibly say without repeating myself again and again. That's why you see a shift in my current commentary to the "American Condition".

". . . self-aggrandizing behavior which tramples our inherent sense of decency and fairness . . ."

When you are put under the thumb of warlords, Spanish, Americans, Japanese, Marcos and anyone with a bigger club, your sense of self gets rather small and the only way to make it seem big again is to bring others down into the pit with you, or to take advantage of them and laugh at your superior trickery.

Thus we have the modern Filipino style of community where it almost does not pay to succeed, because others perceive that you are lording it over them, and they relentlessly chip away at your personal reputation or flat out steal your wealth. They laugh if they can bring you down, if they can insult you in front of their friends, if they can undermine your success.

So what we have is the opposite of American-style admiration for people who work hard and succeed, like Steve Jobs. Here everyone rips like hyenas at those who do well . . . begging, borrowing, stealing, tearing down.

How do you engender a culture of success when everyone hates it so?

You don't.

Only when you prize success, earned honestly, do you get it.

President Aquino's anti-corruption drive is only one aspect, a small, wee beginning.

  • You need anti-trust and fair dealing laws that break the strangle-hold on competition that the wealthy oligarchs hold.

  • You need fair employment laws that demand employers hire and promote based on capability rather than favoritism. So that people see the value of career rather than angle for under the table payments.

  • You need a court system that is open, free, efficient and honorable so people can attack those who would do them wrong, rather than wait around for some non-existent magical do-gooder hero president.

  • You need an education system that teaches ambition, fairness, esteem, innovation and organization . . . Not obedience and rote spitback of dates and Rizal quotes.

More than anything, you have to teach people that success comes as a community, with one person supporting another. Not as a set of individuals, each attacking the other.


I would add the post-script that blog sites such as Anti-Pinoy and Get Real Post, which build their reputations on how cleverly they can undermine the current president, or by condemning the way Filipinos live and think, are fundamentally behaving as dysfunctional Filipinos are inclined to do. Building themselves up at the expense of others. Perfecting the art of tearing down.

They are what they condemn. 


  1. Joe,

    This is precisely why I believe the Anti-Pinoys (benign0 especially) to be false intellectuals. They try to free themselves from the flaws of Philippine culture yet they are so blind to the fact that they still operate in a very "Pinoy" frame of mind. Some of them even find delight in Philippine suffering as they blog away from the safety of their first world accommodations.

  2. Expat, if blindness about one's own behavior negates all other intelligence, you are correct. The other thing these people do, when you call them out on things, is get vengeful. That, too, is typical "old school" Pinoy dysfunction. A journalist pens an article you don't like . . . shoot him. An opposing candidate gets too close to winning. . . cheat or shoot.

  3. Many of the values and traditions are all the cause of the problem. I was reading about a movie called Kano: An American and His Harem. After I watched the trailer it came to me that the kano in this documentary learned the technique from the locals, the Filipino men by adopting the thinking and the traditions of how women are treated there. The Philippines have some very sick traditions when it comes to treating women. Just think of the value of the dalagang filipina or the kirida traditions etc. The women also sabotage them self and go along with it. Surprise? The Philippines will remain a magnet for some sick and disturbed kanos to satisfy their abnormal needs as long as the Filipino men will do the same without being sick and disturbed. Will they stop and start protecting their women? I don't think so it is deep in the culture.

  4. I think the anti-pinoy crowd tone, resonates the frustration of many Filipino Expats who find themselves looking at the country they’ve lived most their lives , from a different angle. To most people they come off as arrogant know-it-all thugs, but I also think most people do not disagree (out loud at least) with their points of view.


  5. Attila, interesting points. There are a lot of women in powerful positions. I think many got there because they had powerful husbands. Some are capable. But get out of the power elite and I agree that women have not come into their own. If they did, it would be a more upright place, for it is mainly women who subscribe to the values of the Church.

  6. Winky. Yes, that is true. Indeed, my own perspectives are not so far apart from theirs. But what I don't like is the notion that someone who disagrees is the enemy and warrants condemnation. Nor do I like the failure to be candid and see both the positive and negative that is out there to see.

  7. I find it stupid that the AP and the GRP crowd consider themselves to be intelligent, rational and industrious people. From what I know, brilliant and productive people have better things to do with their time than troll.

  8. J Sun E is sooo theoretically correct. This theory has been written and spoken, but not practiced, for so long synonymous to or plucked from biblical verses but spoken in words differently.

    It is written by J Sun just a refresh reboot of what humans ought to be naturally doing. These are like bible verses that Filipinos are aware of but doing nothing and not following.

    Sad to say that Filipinos cannot be instructed to do by brown-skin-punk'd-flat-squat-flared nose brothers but by White Americans. I still cannot understand why Filipinos are meek as domisticated civilized kittens abroad but when they come back they become au naturelle Filipinos.

    These Filipinos knows all of the 4 points. They apply it to non-Filipino but do not apply it to a Filipino. Why, O, Why ?

    Can Filipinos be inspired by mere words? Or, SHOCK & AWE ? Like, outsourcing the government?

    I am not clear on my history of Filipino-American cohabitation. But this I am clear that Americans beat Filipinos. Peace, tranquiltiy & prosperity reigned over the land under the Americans and became Filipinos what they are now today when the Americans handed the nation in a silver platter.

  9. Even commonwealth President Manuel Quezon was aware of Filipino attitude in his campaign for election, "I'd rather run the PHilippines like hell than run by Americans like heaven".

    He knew then what Filipinos are made of by uttering that statement. He also knew that Philippines were run like heavens by Americans. He also knew that Filipinos only respect white foreigners running the country then. And FILIPINOS know that fellow brown-skin-punk'd nosed Filipinos are goot citizens abroad run by whites in any form of government in any kind of constitution.

  10. Even pro-Pinoys were agog that a Filipina in Hong-Kong won RESIDENCY by fighting it in Hong-Kong court. They were happy and gay because a FILIPINA WON against Hong-Kong Government not knowing that THE FILIPINA WANTED TO BE HONG-KONG MORE THAN IN THE PHILIPPINES. This they do not know. They just know that A FILIPINA WON AGAINST THE CHINESE, AT LAST !!!!!

    It's like Filipinos are happy that Maywether backed down when attacked by White American Lawyer hired by Manny Pacquiao, an inspirtation of Filipinos, not knowing that there are plenty of Berkeley & UCLA graduate Filipino-AMericans in America and their inspiration is not tapping their talents.

    Filipinos are oblivious, clueless and naive. JUST A LITTLE MINOR WIN AND THEY THINK SO BIG OF THEMSELVES.

    I plead guilty to "make it seem big again is to bring others down into the pit .... , or to take advantage of them and laugh at ... superior trickery."

  11. Mariano, actually, when you practice the practice of bringing down others KNOWINGLY, you are CONSTRUCTIVE if you do it with good will in your heart. When you do it to make yourself seem better than others, that is a different matter. I perceive that you do it with good will and are herein granted an official SOCIETY OF HONOR PERMIT to continue ripping away.


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