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 propinoy.net blog this morning. The subject was Confucius and the Philippines, the author J. Sun E.: http://propinoy.net/2011/10/08/confucianism-and-its-relevance-to-filipino-thoughts/ . 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?
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.