Sunday, January 22, 2012

Heroes, Pride and Seamen

I see President Aquino has joined the chorus of praise for Filipino crew members who helped rescue passengers from a sinking cruise ship. Several hundred crew members were Filipino and, unlike the captain of the boat, they apparently did not abandon ship and leave the 4,000 passengers to their own misery. They stayed on the job and helped people off the boat.

Famed blogger BenignO, I am confident, would not consider the seamen heroes. Their job is to protect and serve passengers, and that is what they did.

And I wonder of the good and the bad of attaching nationality to the brave work done by the seamen.

  1. Should I, if I were Filipino, feel pride in what Filipinos did, to work hard to get passengers off a sinking ship?

  1. Should I, if I were Italian, feel embarrassment for what the Italian captain did when he, in cowardly fashion, abandoned ship?

  1. Should I, as an American, conclude that all Italians are cowards on the basis of what this one guy did?

  1. Should I, as an American, conclude that all Filipinos, including the President, are brave and heroic on the basis of what a good many Filipino sailors did?

For what reason would the answer to any of the questions be "yes"?

What does nationality have to do with it at all?

The crew members worked hard and displayed great strength of character to stay in danger in order to help others out of danger. They deserve to be honored.

But not as Filipinos.

They deserve to be honored as individuals who mastered the weaknesses of our humanity, who displayed the discipline and sacrifice needed to put others above their own safety.

To claim some of the credit for what they did is needy and needless, and distracts from the real honor that ought to be bestowed on the seamen. It also insults the brave seamen from other countries who are not being waved about as flags of pride for their countrymen. This tragedy should not be leveraged as a competition between nations to say who is most heroic.

Let the crew members feel the pride, individually, for what they did, individually.

For each seaman who stood firm, I say "Nice going, dude! Thanks for representing our human potential better than that chicken-shit captain. Have a drink on me!"

My thanks to AJ for the perspective on this, and for the explanation of "associative pride".


  1. On 1, Filipinos felt pride of Doctor-Lt Col-Congressman-Boxer-Accidental Philanthropist Manny Pacquiao. He elevated the Philippines as the land of educational-optional, academically not supported sports boxing.

    Card-carrying Fake American citizen Filipino employee at COSTCO address every Filipino customers like this, "Oh, Manny, shopping ta ngayon, ah". The pride is there.

    This time it's the hundreds of led-commanded-controlled-and-meekly-follow OFWs, the cause of brain-drain here in the Philippines, that made the Filipinos proud again despite the organized chaos and 15 dead with their life-vests on floating and trapped to the roof of the vessel. Despite, what a heroic feat. 3,000 passengers saved.

  2. 2. If the Italian were a Filipino, I WOULD ABSOLUTELY BE EMBARASSED. Since I am a Filipino not an Italian I cannot know what each Italian felt. But If I were an Italian I would hire Filipino OFWs because of their brain that caused brain-drain in the Philippines.

    Wait a minute, did benign0 say something about the Filipino piloted container ship mishaps in New Zealand that spewed plenty of oil into their prestine beach?

    Goodness, God sure act in mysterious way, God redeemed the name of Filipinos thru Italian cruise ship. Well, it may have cost 15 lives but no one can ever read the mind of God more so what was going on in the mind of Corona. Surely, benign0 was able to read Corona's mind. It is just unfortunate the impeachment prosecutors are bunch of bumbling bungling octagenarians graduate from University of the Philippines Law School as usual.

  3. On 3, Yes, from my perspective, Yes to that, too. Italian has a history of cowardice back in the days of World Wars. They sold out to Mussolini who was also sold out to HItler. The Vatican popes were long lines of Italian genes, too, not until recently. Vatican pope was afraid of hitler. The Pope made their convent sanctuaries of mass murderers catholic Nazis and gave them safe passage to Argentina with false papers in payment of services in extermination of jews. Therefore, Italians are cowards because they love life, romances and trattorias' local wines.

    But this is modern time, they may have already changed. Branding Italians as cowards is not right. I live in California, Californians are taught not to make sweeping statement since I am JUST a MERE Filipino I can flip-flop on anything and it's their legal right to do so like they flip-flop on anything at all. One of them is prosecutor's pleadings to RELAX the rules of impeachment because it is so strict, meaning, tooo black&white. They wanted it to relaxed because they want the head of Corona by hook or by crook. Doncha love Filipinos?

    1. "Italians are cowards because they love life, romances and trattorias' local wines." I spent three weeks in Italy with a girl friend a few years ago. Oh la la. I love the spirit there, and the spirits, and the history. Tuscany is fantastic, for the art, for the food, for the wine, for the love of life. No cowards anywhere.

      But your "yes" answers to my challenge are fine, indeed.

  4. On 4. HEROIC? Sure, from the perspective of those who do not know Filipinos thought it was a self-less heroic act. On the other hand, Filipinos do what they are commanded to do. So they did what they were told. Filipinos can be led-commanded-controlled and they self-lessly follow. They bowed and followed because their captain was a foreigner. Filipinos are afraid of foreigners. So many passenger ships floundered and sunk in the Philippines. Thousands and thousands died. And most survivors are the crews most of all their captains.

    The is the clincher. Filipinos cannot be led-commanded-and-controlled by fellow brown-skin-punk'd nose Filipinos but can be led-commanded-and-controlled by foreigners. Now, I propose that Filipinos be governed by foreign powers or outsource their government to Burma.

  5. ... after all had been said, I'd like to interview these hundreds of Filipino OFW heroes what were they thinking? Why suddenly they became heroic. If out of selflessness in foreignland could they have done the same in the Philippines?

    Maybe those hundreds of Filipinos was the time for them to have all wealthy passengers evacuate the chaos in the ship and they may have gone one state room to state room picking up some pieces of "mementos". We will never know. They looted Malacanang after the fake accidental EDSA revolution. They looted my mother's house when it went up in smoke. They stole from dead passengers that fell off the cliff in Toledo City. We'll never know. I'm just too cynical. Too cynical to lead a balanced life.

  6. ... just the same let us give them a big slap of thank yous in the back, "Good job". benign0 wasn't there to meet them. It was the Philippine immigration clerk and custom inspectors with congratulatory welcome "Wala tayong pasalubong, boss, maski $20.00 lang?"

  7. Mariano:
    You made made laugh. I like your honesty.

    My coworker was on that ship last year and he has a photo with the captain. He remembers that the captain had a harem of 4 or 5 very good looking girls always hanging out with him. Maybe Kiridas?

  8. To give credence to Filipinos that they are led-commanded-controlled and they meekly follow, one of the several Filipino OFW staffers told the cruise passengers to go back to their rooms: " Cruise staffer: "Go back to your rooms" - CBSNews

    The woman there is obcviously a Filipina.