Saturday, February 4, 2012

JoeAm's secret "can't hide no more" social microscope

Enough feel-good. We can't allow complacency to roar its lazy yawn. Let's get scientific . . .

I'm feeding my own fires these days, as the rest of the nation is consumed with the Corona impeachment trial, getting squeezed between China and the U.S. ("What's a Filipino sandwich?"), and fretting about the growth rate of a measly 3.7%.

You'll never feed the 1.7 million new babies that arrived in 2011 with that paltry economic production. Even though it beats the 30-year average U.S. growth rate of 3.2% per year.

In a prior blog I inadvertently let out a secret. I'm hoping no one noticed. I don't want people to know that I've developed a special instrument that can be used to examine Filipino behavior. It's called JoeAm's secret "can't hide no more" social microscope.

Now because patents have been filed but not yet received, I can't divulge the mind-bending technology that allows this microscope to see so well. But I can assure you that it sees plenty well.

It can monitor a person engaged in some untoward activity - corruption, rude behavior, murder, whatever is going on in the normal course of the day - and with one flip of a switch or two, parse the historical and psychological foundations that motivate the dude to partake in what, in other societies, would be called illegal, unkind, or deviant behavior.

The social/emotional structure of the Philippines is like a pyramid. The base is self esteem which, from the getgo, makes the shape a little distorted, rather like Jimmy Durante's nose, large but bent. Being colonized by a bunch of snooty Spaniards clattering around in gold necklaces, and then armies of arrogant white racist imperialists with a whole lot of guns, will do that to you. But it is still a pyramid. Above the self-esteem is the historical context, anchored in rote schoolday memorizations of various irrelevancies that have nothing to do with the globally interconnected world of today. Kids are still memorizing the table of elements instead of learning to Google it. They are busy adoring the archaic ideals of Rizal instead of creating new ideals that would launch the Philippines into the modern world with a rabid, single-minded goal to create the wealth needed to make everyone healthier and happier.

The pyramid is now not only misshapen, but it is listing on it's edge rather like a cruise ship off the coast of Italy, or a ferry off the coast of . . . er, nevermind . . .

Above the self esteem and the historical rationalizations is a thick band of blames and excuses which taper to a fine point, a sharp wart on the tip of the Durante nose, which is used to punch at other people like an arrow in the pancreas.

Here, let me give you an example of how the "can't hide no more" device works. I spent several weeks crafting a blog called "Philippine Class Structure", which I posted in a first version here at The Society of Honor, and posted in final form on  My effort was sincere and the blog was reasonably well-crafted. It got about a thousand reads and a couple of dozen "like" votes from readers.

However, the one and only comment condemned the post, slamming JoeAm's credibility as some outsider who probably had been in the Philippines a few weeks and thought he "knew it all". It ridiculed the class structure, especially that class called "rational climbers". No specifics were provided to let readers know the precise objection. A second reader gave this opinion a "like" vote.

Now this comment was used just last week as a test case for JoeAm's secret "can't hide no more" social microscope. I cranked up the dials and punched the buttons and flipped the switches, adjusted the fidelity (what the hell is a fidelity, anyway?), and pushed print. Here's what popped out, unedited:

Subject Filipino has woefully low self-esteem and is hurt by outsiders who know more about his nation than he does, and who can articulate a more finely crafted presentation than he could put together in a lifetime. He reacts by attacking JoeAm's character, a thoroughly predictable pattern among those having thin skin as well as U.S. Republican presidential candidates. He needs to somehow, for his own peace, bring this offending outsider down so that he does not feel so miserable about his own lack of talent. In a few short phrases he rips both the product and its creator, totally missing the point that the writing is done with no intent to offend. It is just words in search of understanding.

Now I admit the machine needs some adjusting. It is obviously a bit hyper-sensitive  itself and it is possibly too blunt for broad practical applications in the tender Philippines.

But it can at least discern a gross weakness of self esteem. I'll work to adjust the articulation chip, and buy a cooling fan down at CD-King.

I'm tempted to submit Chief Justice Corona to the machine, but I am afraid a case that intense in its application of illegal, unkind and deviant behavior might just, as my son would say, "busticate" it.

It takes considerable sophistication for one set of deviationalists to outfox another, so I stand in awe of the intricacies on display in the Senate courtroom. Never in the history of mankind have so many slippery eels tried to nail down so many other slippery eels, each wearing a bearing of pomp and circumstance like they just walked out of a senior's version of Gentlemen's Quarterly. The eels play for the cameras as if they expect Oscars to will be awarded for best quip, most indignant rant, or most legalistic obfuscation . They posture and bicker at each other like so many grandmas with bees in their bloomers.

In my next blog, continuing the technology line of thinking, I will let you know how to make stink bombs.

No, no. It has nothing to do with the trial at all.

Really, seriously folks. Nothing at all to do with the trial.


  1. No Joe.

    You are the one with low self-esteem.

    You are the one who likes to tear people down.

    You are the one whines and whines about the Philippines and yet you continue to choose to live here. What an amazing inconsistency.

    You are the one sees himself superior to your neighbors who have given you nothing but respect and hospitality.

    You are the one who has an insecurity that you just love blog about superior mind compared to us Filipinos to feel good about yourself.

    P.S. Hungary's latest bond auction was such a catastrophic failure that many investors are now speculating Hungary will DEFAULT. Read and it weep:

    1. PP, you make some good points. One, I am prone to being hypocritical now and then. I agree. Two, the trickiness of figuring out when a complaint is constructive or destructive. That judgment is in the eyes, or biases, of either party. Three, I don't care about Hungary, as I am American of German extraction. Other readers may take issue with you.

  2. "Never in the history of mankind have so many slippery eels tried to nail down so many other slippery eels, each wearing a bearing of pomp and circumstance like they just walked out of a senior's version of Gentlemen's Quarterly."

    LOL. I love this part.

    1. Thanks. Every day needs a few laughs to keep us balanced with the moans and groans.

    2. Balance the moans and groans? You can do it in the typical Pinoy style. You have to have some more basi or tuba or Ginebra San Miguel to help the time pass with a greater deal of ease.

      I'm not too sure if the native plants will be of any help to you.

  3. You are unreasonably nice and patient. You are the typical American intellectual who tolerate others harassing you. I think too many of you give in to bullies and try hard to show a nice side. As an American you have nothing to be embarrassed about or be apologetic as some try hard to make you feel that way. No nations are without sins and the USA is not worst if not better than most nations. In my view the USA is bar none.
    You wrote that you are over 6 ft tall. I am also over 6 ft and you probably experienced just as I did that some people criticized you that you are too tall and you make them feel uncomfortable. Like it was your fault that they feel short, embarrassed and uncomfortable. I will not apologize to anyone for being very tall. I feel the same way with being from the USA or Europe. We have our “height” differences and I am who I am and if it offends you than it becomes your problem and you deal with it but I will not tolerate any stupid accusation for anyone’s inferiority complex.
    A British “Kano” tried to embarrass me in a resort in Negros last year just because I was from the USA. He had his own agenda and it was more like a put down. I did not let him get away with it. I stopped him cold. I got him shut up and I did not care if I was nice or not.

    1. Attila, I'm curious as to how people criticized you for being too tall. I think Filipinos generally like tall people.

      Did the people force you to play basketball?

    2. Attila, Filipinos bash americans for tearing down ten commandments and crucifixes in public lands, they complain American children are not allowed to pray in school, that Americans have plenty of sexual partners, that they have sex like dogs ... and so many many others ...

      Yet, these same Filipinos would leave Philippines to AMerica at a drop of approved U.S. Visa to REAP WHAT THE "DEVIL AMERICANS" HAS SOWN.

      Filipinos are weird insane people. They talk not really knowing what they are talking about.

      One goot thing about Filipinos is English language will never ever disappear from the face of the earth because they are highly critical of imperfect english usage.

  4. Attila, I've learned that it is not wise to express anger in type. It can't be erased or withdrawn. I can do anger but reserve it for special cases.

    I've never had a big problem with being tall here, although it certainly adds to the stares and giggles. The young basketballers enjoy it when I take the court. It is their speed and youth against my height and um . . . wisdom.

  5. I admit that doesn't happen often and not yet in the Philippines. There was just one funny incident. I stopped at a sari sari store on my way to the Kawasan Falls on Cebu island. A group of Filipino men were also inside. Luckily my guide understood the local dialect and she told me afterword what they were talking about. I heard some heated arguments but I did not know it was about me. They were arguing among each other whether I was a human or not. My guide was laughing out loud as she described them. I told her: You should have told them that yes I was an ET an alien kano from space. I wander how they would have reacted to that.
    I did experience a few nasty comments from some British and Colombian men right here in New York. Never from an American.

  6. ... does anyone know here that FILIPINOS think that they are SMARTER THAN AMERICANS ?

    And these Smart Filipinos have no life-altering contributions in AMerica.

  7. Mariano

    All I know about this subject is what I heard from my fiance. She told me that she knows a dozen Filipinas who married to Kanos in Bacolod where she lives and they all think that they are more intelligent and smarter than their husbands. That would be a good topic foe Joe to find out why.
    Unfortunately I was not able to have a normal conversation with Filipino men except with some gays and a collage educated young man who were open minded to be able to talk to me. Filipino men are just intimidated by me. I ask a question and they just smile or politely discourage me to ask any more . I go to remote places most of the time so I cant speak of what goes on in places like Makati. In New York my Filipino friends are Americanized and they are free of any of attitude issues.

    “FILIPINOS think that they are SMARTER THAN AMERICANS ? “ I never met a Filipina who believed that she was smarter than Americans. I guess Filipino man do that among each other.

  8. Attila, fascinating subject. I'd need to think about it to organize my thoughts. Will possibly blog it.

  9. My fiance's experience with the wife of Kanos in Negros is different than mine in New York. I do socialize with Filipinos and Filipinas in New York. My closest friends are also Filipinos for over 15 yrs or more. Most of the Filipinas are here for over 10 yrs. Most of them are also in the medical field. They came here when nurses were in demand. After 9-11 ot become difficult to get work permit. Once hot professions like nursing are also no longer in demand. Dubai and some other rich Arab countries have different need for guest workers. Filipinas there are often work as domestic helpers as oppose to the mostly professional health care workers in New York. I know all this from my experine as a manager of a luxuty condominium for 20yrs and from a Filipina a former nurse recruiter who quit the business and now she is in the restaurant business owning two Filipino style restaurants. I also can tell you that most Filipinas are older women in their 40's and 50's. If I see a young Filipina she speaks fluent English which is the tell tale sign of the fact that she was raised or born here.
    The dozen wife that she knows are very different than the women that I know here in New York. Different background and education and the long yrs of living in the USA as oppose to those in Bacolod with limited education and often from poor families. Her experience with them is that they all think that they are more intelligent and smarter than their husbands. She also told me that she often hears them talking about their husband in a condescending way. She believes that they are not in love and they are married only for the sake of their family.

    1. I do not understand where the Filipinos get the idea that they are smarter than whites. No clue at all but it is true. In our office, Filipinos laugh at american's written english. Filipinos get upset, as if insulted, that americans cannot understand their english. And if you tell this to each Filipino they say they are not upset. Filipinos are liars.

  10. Te first city I visited in the Philippines was Cebu. I remember that on the first day I took a walk from the Osmena Circle to the Santo Nino Cathedral. To my surprise the people on the street did not look like the Filipinos that I knew back in New York. They did not look like what I have seen in Tagalog movies. They were shorter, ethnic looking and much more dark. It was surreal it felt like I was in the wrong country. The Filipinos here are taller and more Chinese and mestizo looking. The "typical" Filipino look was not that typical in the Philippines! I later learned that race is a tell tale sign of what social class someone belongs to in the Philippines. It seems that in general mixed raced Filipinos have more education and better financials. They are the ones who work as professionals overseas. They have the money for education and the right values to get ahead in life and they are the ones who ended up working here.


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