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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Filipino tragedies: Is incompetence in our cultural DNA?

The recent hostage tragedy in Manila on the 23rd of August 2010 involving now deceased former Philippine National Police officer Rolando Mendoza and eight now dead Chinese tourists triggered an outpouring of mixed emotions that included sorrow and remorse both from the Filipino and Chinese community in the Philippines and in Hong Kong.

An example of Chinese resourcefulness!


Unexpectedly, it also brought out a lot of anger coming from both the Chinese community and some members of the Filipino community. The Chinese for their part were indignant and rightly so, considering the inept way the crisis was handled by our PNP and our public officials, particularly President Noynoy Aquino. But in response, some members of the Filipino community displayed their deep-seated animosity towards the Chinese people in what one Australian writer called “angry defensiveness.”

It has been a not so well-kept secret that there are some in the Filipino community who harbor ill feelings towards wealthy Filipino-Chinese members of Philippine society. Although they only make up roughly 1.3% of the population of the Philippines, the Chinese in the Philippines are leading business owners and industrialists. Because of their entrepreneurial skills, they are better off than most native and indigenous Filipinos.

Filipino Chinese’s ownership of most of the small or medium enterprises makes them a significant force in the Philippine economy. A handful of these entrepreneurs run large companies and are prominent business tycoons in the Philippines. In a country where poverty is widespread, “foreigners” or foreign-looking residents whether Chinese or Indian who make more money than the “locals” are viewed with resentment despite the fact that they account for much needed local employment opportunities. Indeed, the Filipino people still wrongly define themselves first and foremost by race.

The Malaysian experiment

The situation in the Philippines is not so different from the situation in our regional neighbor, Malaysia. In 1969, Kuala Lumpur was struck by race riots, which resulted in 196 deaths. The race riot was traced to a deep-seated resentment by indigenous Malays towards the minority group, the Chinese and Indian immigrants, who have long dominated the nation’s business and trade. As a consequence of the race riots, Malaysian leaders decided that communal peace was impossible without economic balance, something that can only be resolved hard and fast through affirmative action.

In 1971, they introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP) in the hope of raising the majority group’s or the Malay’s share of the economic pie. The policy was an effort to level the playing field across the entire population and help those who are poor and marginalized particularly members of the Malay community to catch up economically with the more entrepreneurial minority, the Chinese and Indian migrants. But critics argue that the pro-Malay program only benefits the connected few over its intended target.

TIME Magazine recently featured an article about Malaysia’s move to modernize and reform the NEP due to the country’s stalled economic progress. To quote an excerpt from the TIME article: the Malaysian “program is one of modern history’s greatest experiments in social engineering and possibly the world’s most extensive attempt at affirmative action.” But like everything that has to do with forced equality, the article adds that, “the policies have also bred resentment among minorities, distorted the economy and undermined the concept of a single Malaysian identity.” And another catch is that “the affirmative action has become so ingrained in the Malaysian psyche that it is akin to a national ideology.” Just to translate that in negative terms, the bumiputra have come to expect privilege and opportunity to be handed to them on a silver platter
without exerting too much effort.

Among other things, the policy gave Malays preferential access to public contracts and university scholarships. It also required companies who are listed on the stock market to sell 30% of its shares to the bumiputra (Malays and indigenous peoples of Malaysia). Malaysian leaders have even reinforced the preferential treatment of their ethnic identities for the past 40 years by doling out special privileges to one community, which is the majority of the Malays.

Although to some degree parts of the program have been “softened” or eliminated in the last two decades, many of the pro-Malay privileges are still intact. Resentment stems from the fact that like any affirmative action programs, there will always be a member of a group who has to bear the burden of being out of the loop – those who do not make the cut in the racial quota. Just an example of what can be considered “unfair” is the practice of awarding certain government contracts to bumiputra controlled firms. It’s been said that Malays even receive special discounts on home purchases.

More importantly, although Malaysia has enjoyed good economic performance since World War II and has a good record of improving human welfare, their economy has stalled. As mentioned in the TIME article: “the percentage of the population living in poverty has plummeted from 50% in 1950 to less than 4% today – Malaysia’s story is stuck on the same chapter.”

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak has recognized the need for reform in its economic system if the country is to compete with more advance economies of the world. After 40 years of living under the comforts of the New Economic Policy (NEP), he has recently boldly introduced a new system in March called the New Economic Model (NEM).

His plan envisions reducing red tape “to encourage more private investment and internal competition, decreasing the state role in the economy and improving the education system to produce more skilled workers. One of the key issues that the new system will implement is to phase out remaining racial quotas and focus efforts on uplifting the poorest 40% of the population regardless of race. All this despite the fact that Malaysia’s gross income per capita of $7,230.00 in 2009 is among the highest in the region. One can tell that Malaysian leaders do not rest on their laurels.

In an interview with TIME Magazine, Najib stated that, “For us (Malaysians) to move up a few notches, we have to address the structural problems. We cannot be in denial. I don’t want anyone to feel that they’ve been left out or marginalized.”

Prime Minister Najib is correct in his assertion that Malaysia must do something to reform the existing economic model because the NEP is said to be dampening business sentiment, scaring off talent, curtailing investment and stifling domestic competition. It has not been able to level the playing field overall. Malaysia is also experiencing brain drain because there are less opportunities for minority groups so they go elsewhere to find it.

Is race the real issue?

Despite other people’s efforts to debunk the notion of race, it seems that humans are still predisposed to identifying themselves using race. Since the concept of ethnicity is new to the majority of the entire human population, it will be hard to reprogram the mentality of some not to distinguish themselves along the racial lines. Filipinos will be particularly harder to convince that we Filipinos are not really that different from the Malay group found in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Malaysian Prime Minister should be lauded for his efforts to stomp on human nature’s penchant for race discrimination. However, his efforts are not without its critics. There are some groups who claim that Malays in Malaysia still don’t have the necessary skills and resources to compete against Chinese businessmen in the country. This is their way of arguing that affirmative action, which favors Malays or the bumiputra, remain in place. But there are others in Malaysia who believe that the time has come for the Malay community to compete on their own merits without special privileges just like any member of society in any society around the globe. Some even say that the Malays have stayed in their comfort zone for too long.

I find the above information quite fascinating because if you stop to think about it, given the right opportunity and a life under the same environment, it seems that the Malay “race” or ethnic group are susceptible to falling into a comfort zone. What I am trying to say is that, it may indeed be part of some ethnic group’s genetic makeup or DNA to be less competitive than others. And being part of the Malay group, native or indigenous Filipinos tend to be less competitive than majority of the Filipino-Chinese residents in the Philippines. There seems to be a pattern in the behavior similar to that of the Malays in Malaysia.

Filipino’s Malay link

Many Filipinos actually refer to the term “Malay” as the indigenous population of the Philippines as well as that of its neighboring countries — Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. This belief started with the American anthropologist, H.Otley Beyer who said that Filipinos are Malays who migrated from Malaysia and Indonesia. However, other recent findings favor the theory that the ancestors of Malaysia and Indonesia actually migrated from the Philippines during the prehistoric period.

Whatever theory you believe, it does not really matter because it is quite probable that Malaysians, Indonesians and Filipinos originally came from the same place. The evidence is in how all-indigenous members in the said countries tend to resemble each other. In short, we all look alike. As German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach aptly describes the Malay variety (source: Wikipedia):

“Tawny-coloured; hair black, soft, curly, thick and plentiful; head moderately narrowed; forehead slightly swelling; nose full, rather wide, as it were diffuse, end thick; mouth large; upper jaw somewhat prominent with the parts of the face when seen in profile, sufficiently prominent and distinct from each other. This last variety includes the islanders of the Pacific Ocean, together with the inhabitants of the Marianne, the Philippine, the Molucca and the Sunda Islands, and of the Malayan peninsula. I wish to call it the Malay, because the majority of the men of this variety, especially those who inhabit the Indian islands close to the Malacca peninsula, as well as the Sandwich, the Society, and the Friendly Islanders, and also the Malambi of Madagascar down to the inhabitants of Easter Island, use the Malay idiom.”

The Malay syndrome

It is therefore evident that ethnic groups in the Philippines and in Malaysia (or possibly Indonesia), tend to have the same nature, which is entirely different from that of other ethnic groups like the Chinese, for example. Whereas the Chinese tend to be entrepreneurial and hard working, the average Malay needs a few more incentives to be able to work harder in order to advance his economic status.

Could it be that there are ethnic groups who are naturally more industrious than others? It would seem so with the Chinese people being one such industrious group who appear to thrive anywhere in the world no matter what kind of environment they live in. Given the same environment and the same privilege like in the case of the Malaysian program, there are some ethnic groups who just don’t thrive even if the opportunities and privilege are just short of being shoved down their throat.

This theory could in fact silence those groups in Philippine society who insist that it is the lack of opportunity and privilege that hold majority of the native and indigenous Filipinos from becoming self-sufficient and economically progressive. Of course access to better education and special aid make a big difference but there are members of society who are not really into improving their lot despite the assistance given to them. A classic example of this is Filipinos who have gone to perfectly good schools but do not perform well at school and who have lackluster professional careers.

With the make-up of the majority of present-day Filipinos now a product of the long process of evolution and movement of people, some of us have European and American blood running through our veins. There are Filipinos of non-Chinese blood who make it big as an entrepreneur but the fact remains that the Filipino-Chinese group still plays a big role in running the economy in the Philippines.

The role of the Philippine government

In the same TIME article about Malaysia, the Philippines not surprisingly was cited as one among other Asian countries who have lagged behind economically. It has been lumped together with Thailand whose progress has been stymied by upheaval and poor governance. To quote:

The promise of the Philippines remains unrealized as its feeble government (the Aquino government) has continually failed to enact tough reforms needed to turn around the underperforming economy.

The TIME writer is very accurate because President Noynoy Aquino has yet to come up with a genuine program that will initiate the much needed reforms to uplift the economy and help the poorest of the poor members of Philippine society rise from extreme poverty.

Instead of focusing on trivial matters like “wang-wangs” or his popularity, President Aquino could focus on the need to look into the possibility of adapting an economic model similar to that of the Malaysian model. Since the previous New Economic Policy adapted for 40 years seems to have worked for the most part for Malaysian society, P-Noy could consider studying which policies are applicable to the Philippines and which ones are not.

Obviously, the Malaysian Prime Minister himself has said that the initial economic program has its downside and definitely needs changes. We, as a member of the Malay group must try and understand how we can benefit from “one of modern history’s greatest experiments in social engineering and possibly the world’s most extensive attempt at affirmative action.”

The recent hostage tragedy involving the Filipino and Chinese community has made it obvious to the rest of the world that the Filipino community was indeed culpable. The incident has shown that all aspects of our society are in desperate need of reform if we hope to prevent the same tragedy from happening again.

While we are currently doing some soul searching, we need to recognize that we Filipinos need to rise to the occasion by ending our display of angry defensiveness towards the Chinese – anger, which likely originates from a deep-seated resentment of their higher economic status. We need to focus our energies instead on improving all aspects of our society.

It is too bad President Noynoy Aquino did not run for the presidency on a genuine platform of change, he only won the presidency through sheer popularity, which won’t bring about communal peace among Filipinos. Communal peace will be impossible without economic balance, something that can only be resolved hard and fast through some kind of action both from the government and each member of Philippine society – irrespective of race or ethnicity.


About the Author

ilda has written 60 stories on this site.

Ilda is agent provocateur. She wants to help people realise that things are not always what they seem.

Comments on “Filipino tragedies: Is incompetence in our cultural DNA?”
Jon Abaca wrote on 13 September, 2010, 4:43

My Chinese Filipino office mate said that his parents were strict. They kept his allowance under a budget, and they would never give in to whining. He said that taught him discipline.

On the other hand, many Filipino children can bitch their way to all sorts of different toys.

I guess, they just discipline their children better.

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ilda Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 8:45 am

What does that say about our culture though? I guess the answer is: discipline is not important to us.

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Aegis-Judex Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 9:14 am

Which is why they condemn authority. Makes me wish I lived in the days of good old Macoy…

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My Stupid Mouth Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 6:46 pm

When I entered college in a university which was more diverse as compared to my high school, my parents reminded me not to give in to little humorous comments such as, “Libre mo naman kami!” I guess they were in the same situation during their time too.

I’m Fil-Chi.

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ilda Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 9:34 pm

@My Stupid

That was a good advice. Some even try to make you feel like you don’t know how to “makisama” when you don’t give in to their teasing. I hope you followed your parent’s advice.

I have a lot of Fil-Chinese friends and my previous employers are Fil-Chinese. I like their work ethic and I really learned a lot from them. My whole mentality changed because of them.

I also have Chinese friends from Hong Kong and I want them to know that I don’t think and feel the same way as P-Noy and his supporters.

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frustratedcitizen Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

I’m against the notion of ‘pakikisama’ as well. It’s one of the corrupt practices that the Filipino has at even the lowest level. These are just some examples:

1. You saw your friend cheating in class. For pakikisama’s sake, you’d rather stay silent. Or, if you went ahead and told the teacher about the cheating incident, the usual statement from your friend is ‘wala kang pakikisama’…

2. people you know that are cheating on other people, whether it’d be money or any form of cheating, they’d ask you to stay silent for the sake of ‘pakikisama’

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Zadkiel Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 2:56 am

sadly, the notion of pakikisama is always in the negatives. we cover each others faults to the detriment of our society.

now I ask, is their a pakikisama to do good? as in “pakisamahan mo naman ako para sa pagunlad natin”
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Zadkiel Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 2:54 am

discipline + skills = competence. Filipinos can easily develop skills but not discipline.

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himynameistimoy wrote on 13 September, 2010, 5:31

Sometimes, I wonder if Aquino’s genuine plan is to destroy the Philippines (or let it self-destruct) and then feed on the entrails of its survivors, thereby gaining the strength and knowledge of 90 million+ men. After which he will then proceed to use his newfound powers to summon and trap “God” and obtain “true” knowledge along with unbelievable power. And then he – OMG I think the Philippine president is a homunculus.

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ilda Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 8:47 am

Believe it or not, he actually thinks that he is making a difference. He recently replied to an FB blog of a yellow supporter who is slowly getting disappointed in him. Check it out:

http://www.facebook.com/notes/noynoy-aquino/response-to-mr-president-something-in-you-has-to-die/431409776851

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himynameistimoy Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 9:43 am

Thanks for the link.

All the more ridiculous if that is actually him. Kung may oras sya mag-reply sa letter ng isang citizen, sana atupagin nalang niya tungkulin niya.

By replying to the letter, it shows that he is more concerned of saving face with his supporters rather than providing solutions to the real problems that is tearing the country apart. Take note he mentions nothing about the issues between us and HK/China..

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Zadkiel Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 2:59 am

of course PNoy would reply. after all he is all form with no substance.
he must maintain his form. after all a man of substance can dictate his form.
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Mike H Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I saw that Facebook-reply by President Noyi-Noy.

Noynoy has a distorted sense of reality (or he is making big-time boladas) when he says that he has worked so hard over the past two months that USA Millenium Challenge Corporation is granting Pilipinas a $430 million grant.

Noynoy also wants people to believe that his work of past 2 months is why Convergys (a call center) has opened another facility in Metro-Manila that will provide 5,000 new jobs on top of their existing 17,000-strong workforce.

One of these days, Noynoy may say that the babies born in September, October and November 2010 all are because Filipina mothers are very optimistic about their future under Noynoy administration.

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Jay Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

@Mike H

so the babies born the months before were not optimistic about noynoy but about life in general? Or that the husband didn’t have a job and hung around the house bored. So they thought of killing the boredom by making babies?
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NFA rice wrote on 13 September, 2010, 7:50

There is a gene for incompetence, and probably most people have it, not only Filipinos. The gene is probably dormant in many competent people. But I do not know whether most Filipinos are phenotypes for incompetence, but what I am certain is that Benigno Aquino III is one such phenotype. He is an exccellent guinea pig for Dr. Timothy Lightfoot’s experiments.

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ilda Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 9:02 am

I don’t believe in the assertion that “physical activity is itself significantly affected by factors that are predetermined.” I never liked exercising before. Just the thought of preparing my gym gear and going through the motion of changing was enough to put me off. But now I am such a gym junkie. I guess the idea of being physically fit and feeling better about myself helps to motivate me into doing something even if it’s inconvenient in the beginning.

It should be the same with accumulating money. It might be inconvenient to work harder for more money but in the end, the reward is greater. Filipinos just don’t get that concept especially P-Noy with his lacklustre performance at school and his previous post in the public sector.

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Zadkiel Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 3:03 am

maybe pinoys in general has a poor notion of credentials. they want to have a job without credentials. just kidding.

the “winning” voters dont get it. because they think they are right. and so do we.

good day to all.

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Paolo wrote on 13 September, 2010, 8:32

I think the word “ethnic cleansing” springs to mind.

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ilda Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 8:42 am

Hahaha…good one!

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Zadkiel Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 3:04 am

no need. what we need is a modified form of eugenics. we must breed with the best and enslave the rest.

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bubi78 Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 4:29 am

Hitler tinkered with notion of the pure ‘Aryan’ race. Not a very good idea really, there’s no guarantee of the outcome. Mother nature has a nasty habit of wrecking the human genes, we might end up with a violin virtuoso who is a serial killer on the side. And, we are all the worse for now because the union of a genius and a saint produced the dolt of a president that is leading us today. I rest my case.

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ice_queen wrote on 13 September, 2010, 11:08

I wonder if what’s ingrained it isn’t so much as incompetence as it is an inflated sense of entitlement.
Granted, evidences of incompetences abound. But I think if one digs deeper into the collective psyche, there is the thinking that things should come easy; that if something is difficult, then something is wrong.
We see it everyday: Don’t want to wait your turn in a line? Then cut the line.Too much of a bother to find a trash bin? Throw trash wherever you want.Don’t want to pay the proper taxes/duties? Pay someone off.Too much work building your won track record of performance? Ride on the achievements of others. Too hard to admitting your mistakes? Find blame in others.
Of course, these aren’t exclusive to our culture. But I dare anyone to tell me these aren’t the norms we see day to day.
Is it perhaps this sense of (undeserved) entitlement that leads us to complacency, to incompetence?

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Aegis-Judex Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 11:22 am

Apparently, yes. If something is TOO easy, there can only be one explaination for it: You’re doing it wrong. Trust me, it’s personal experience; my Organic Chemistry tests make me realize just that.

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ilda Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Hi ice_queen

Your description of President Noynoy Aquino is very accurate. He certainly has an inflated sense of entitlement.

Indeed, a lot of Filipinos have an inflated sense of entitlement. As to why they feel a sense of entitlement is a great mystery. Perhaps they feel like they are the “chosen ones” or they leave everything to fate. Most people are fond of saying, “if your time is up, your time is up.” So maybe Filipinos think that even if they throw their garbage in the proper bins and avoid a great flood like the one brought about by typhoon Ondoy, they still think that they will drop dead anyway so there is no point cleaning up. Filipinos also feel that their time is more important than anyone else’s so they have to cut the line in order to be first.

Some bumiputras in Malaysia also feel a sense of entitlement. They had it before and the mentality was reinforced even more when the New Economic Policy was introduced.

This is why dole outs or donations given to the poor do not really help them be more self-sufficient. It is only a temporary solution to the bigger problem in our society.

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Zadkiel Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 3:07 am

yes, sense of entitlement. if we dont get it, we whine until they give in. in reality we have to earn it.

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ChinoF Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 5:35 am

Connect this sense of entitlement to the Pinoy Pride mentality that insists that they’re nothing wrong with Pinoys. This mentality also insists that Pinoys are the best in anything and non-Pinoys (especially the imperialist West) are the ones putting Pinoys down. Pinoys can never make a mistake because they are the best, period. But so far, the best that Pinoys have been doing is whining in their poverty and believing that they are entitled to dole outs. Pinoys when they say “our nation should be great” might believe this to mean that Pinoys should be the rulers of the world… similar to what the Nazis want. So they love delusions of grandeur.

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palebluedot_ wrote on 13 September, 2010, 12:18

LOL ilda, you’ve done it again…answering my whinings. as if you read my mind. i was just complaining & throwing tantrums about how most of the members of my organization are so incompetent, and you answered it with — it might be in our cultural DNA! it appeased me…thanks at any rate, am not sure if this relates to the article, but i have been trying to analyze why filipinos (esp. the ones in my organization) do not have the right motivation to start or complete a certain task. in my organization, i divided the groups by age range, and identify who the president was during their elementary & high school years. i also tried to determine their parents occupational status. here’s my observation:
1. most of those who really have the drive to achieve the visions of our organizations, who can work independently & are assertive are those whose parents & grandparents were able to work with multinational corporations during the Marcos regime
2. some of the above-mentioned types of individuals have parents who worked abroad and/or of Chinese descent.
3. those who work hard but lacks assertiveness are those with parents who worked in Filipino companies and/or with childhood experience during the Marcos regime.
4. those who just wants to be always told what to do & are really low in assertiveness scale are those born after the People Power.
5. a lot of those who never care about what’s going on with the organization, who never even care to join meetings, have parents who worked abroad.

there is no formal research conducted related to my observations above. they are just my personal analysis (maybe bias) to be able to handle my organization better. but if we try to make correlations with the experiences of the individuals against their work behavior & attitudes: is it probably because during the Marcos regime, discipline is somewhat emphasized and parents pass it on to their children? is it probably because during the Marcos regime when MNCs (esp. managed by Americans) are allowed to exist, they have instilled to the Filipino workers the value of American dream (not dreaming of going to America LOL) and parents emphasized this to their children? [American dream roughly means all men are created equal, no matter what your status in life is, if you work hard & harder, you will achieve richer & fuller life.] Are they low in the assertiveness scale because after foreign managers disappeared when Cory’s constitution was signed, people lost important jobs and these people resorted to Bahala Na or “let us pray…”?

darn! I really wish to have concrete answers to the work attitude of people around me. It’s just heart-breaking to see Filipinos in their prime acting as if there is no hope anymore, pretending to be incompetent…just waiting and waiting for the guava to fall from the tree.

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ilda Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Hi pale

I’m impressed with your own analysis. Even without the result of the formal research, it is obvious that the right amount of discipline can do a lot of good to any ethnic group.

Let us know when the formal research is complete. It would be interesting to know what their conclusion will be. It would provide a good way for our government agencies to create a program that will cater to what needs to be done in order to motivate every individual. That is, if they even have the intelligence to look into it.

Certainly a lot of factors contribute to the general well-being of an individual. The purpose of this exercise is for us to be able to understand our strengths and our weaknesses as a people.

We have been highly influenced by the west since the Americans occupied our territory. We copy their lifestyle but it keeps clashing with our values. It is never too late to reverse the damage.

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palebluedot_ Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 7:41 am

“That is, if they even have the intelligence to look into it.”

a lot of studies have been done in the academe but i doubt if government politicians make use of it. if you work in the government and you avail of the government study leave, there exist a provision that allows the government to make use of your work for the benefit of the said government. unfortunately, many LGU politicians fail to avail of this because they themselves have yet to see the benefits of using critical thinking in public governance.

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ilda Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 8:15 am

It’s a shame they don’t do anything with the study and don’t even use the budget for it. They probably don’t know how to interpret the findings. These politicians are no good for the countrymen. They were not fit to govern in the first place. All they care about is the kickbacks once they get voted in.
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Zadkiel Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 3:10 am

LOL critical thinking in government. an oxymoron.
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Hyden Toro wrote on 13 September, 2010, 13:36

It is unfortunate for us, to be still to be blind on the defects of our culture; produced by our dysfunctional mindsets. The Malaysians were colonized by the British. We were colonized by the Spaniards. I find countries in South America; that were colonized by the Spaniards. Their leaders behaving the same; as our leaders are behaving. Haciendas; Oligarchies; Political Patronage; Church Induced Political Mania and Superstitions; etc…It is our duties to see what is not working in us; to discard them. Formulate a better way. Not to look for the outside, to give us a solution. Or, a model to follow, that may or may not fit us. We have ancient relationship with China. Some of the Filipinos has Chinese blood. I don’t believe in putting people in a box; becauise of their race. We are all part of the Humanity. There is beauty; and there is malevolence in any race. This, we have to bear in being Human…

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ilda Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 8:20 am

Yes we have our strengths but our weaknesses outweigh them. We are not special like some writers of Goodnews Pilipinas claim in their articles. If we are so special, why is our country plagued with tragedies that could have been prevented? It’s because of incompetence and complacency.

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Enlightened Filipino wrote on 13 September, 2010, 19:41

Thank You Anti-pinoy.com Admins, especially BongV for lifting the ban on my ip.

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J_ag wrote on 13 September, 2010, 21:22

Meaning of the word culture from Dictionary.com

“a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.”

“development or improvement of the mind by education or training.”

“the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.”

“Anthropology . the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.”

Cultural traits are derived from the stage of ones societal development. The evolution of human survival (economics) that led to organized communities bound by rules (politics) that give rise to cultural traits.

The stage of societal development dependent on natural evolution and historical forces meld into culture.

Hence the hostage fiasco in Luneta was not surprising. The nativist tribal culture of “kanya-kanya” is predominant in pinoy culture.

The Philippines is still on the road to state building from nativist tribes and clans. There is still no dominant sense or consciousness of country. The majority of pinoys are still peasants and still see themselves as subjects. History teaches us that it is extremely difficult and chaotic to develop society from without rather than from within. The Philippines was also culturally colonized while all our neighbors were only politically and economically colonized. Hence we remain a culturally anomaly in Asia. (Except for the Muslims in Mindanao)

The major difference in GMA and Aquino is the fact that GMA was a micro manager (hands on) while Aquino is a hands-off manager. He had previously promised to pass onto Mar Roxas 80% of his responsibilities and functions. He, Aquino, appears unprepared for the leadership role.

In a country that is more autocratic than democratic that proved to be tragic in the case of the Luneta incident. Everyone pointed to the manuals and rule book but no one knew how to implement and tie up the action. No one was in charge.

There are institutions on paper but they for the most part are merely for rituals. Patterned after the American colonial government the Presidential powers are highly centralized making a mockery of the separation of powers.

Historically it is the state that transforms societies and civilizations. In the Philippines the State remains to be weak and dysfunctional because the economic system remains weak and primitive. Hence culture remains to be damaged and dysfunctional. Do not confuse cause and effect.

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benign0 Reply:
September 13th, 2010 at 11:27 pm

@ Jag: Nice demonstration of your googling skills, dude. But just for your reference, here is the official definition of “culture” as far as what most if not ALL of the principles that underpin the messages sent forth from across the ENTIRE GetRealPhilippines Network is concerned:

Culture is the collective character of a people who have given themselves a collective identity.

Check out the source reference within the Mothership of the above here.

I maintain that the cause is CULTURAL and the effect is the state of the country today — weak governance structures, weak leaders, and WEAK PEOPLE.

The government, the way we behave as a collective, and our taste for politicians (as manifest in the way we exercise The Vote) is a mere reflection of the profound nature of our collective character.

Check out this slide show which takes you on an intuitive step-by-step journey of understanding as to what exactly I mean.

At the core is this unifying framework from which we derive the implications of our dysfunctional culture on our ability to prosper sustainably

It ties neatly into this excellent Trinity Theory of Da Pinoy Condition which is illustrated in another one of our brilliant diagrams:

So as you can see, ser, we’ve got Pinoys ALL FIGURED OUT. To be fair, something that great minds don’t have much trouble figuring out is not necessarily the sort of stuff that comes in bight-sized pieces to SMALLER minds. But, hey, that is another one of those REAL things that we all have to deal with.

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ilda Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 12:06 am

@J_ag

I wish you gave your own analysis as to why the Philippines is still a “nativist trival culture” as you claim it to be. The so called “elite” members of Phil society who supported P-Noy and who made sure he won the election will not agree with your assertion. I also wish you stated your reasons why the state remains weak despite the many educated Filipinos running the show. It is already too obvious that it has to do with the Filipino character.

The Philippines is not the only country that was colonised. Vietnam was even ravaged by the Vietnam war in the ‘70s at a time when the Phils was still among the most promising countries in Asia. And yet Vietnam has now surpassed us economically.

I can agree that it is difficult to develop a society when the economy is not strong. I actually stated that in my article. “Communal peace will be impossible without economic balance, something that can only be resolved hard and fast through some kind of action both from the government and each member of Philippine society – irrespective of race or ethnicity.”

We will never achieve economic stability with P-Noy because he has not addressed the core problem of our society. He actually thrives in the kind of environment we have, a country with a people who leave everything to fate and with someone they think is chosen by God.

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Jack wrote on 13 September, 2010, 23:06

May be i’m biased…I’m from India and I have lived in the PH. I have observed and met Indians, Chinese in PH and have lots and lots of Filipino friends from all levels of society. I think Filipino vibe is totally different from other race…They are been repressed deliberately by controlling forces who do not want to see Filipino people rule the world.

Due to my work, i have met people from all races german, koreans, Americans, chinese, japanese etc…BUT the complete people i have ever met are filipinos…its not only about intelligence or business sense….there are a lot of other factors in life like spirituality, respect, friendliness that Filipinos score top marks.

i don’t have anything to gain from it as im also from a third world country India, so i know the problem Filipinos face. There are outside forces that deliberately do NOT want ordinary Filipinos to shine. They have created a world, where Filipino qualities are not spread to the world. ofcourse there are negative also, but that is entirely due to not allowing good qualities of Filipinos to come up.

PH has to look closely at her friends namely America and check if it has its best interest in mind. For me, i have lots of faith in Filipino people. Once this manipulation ends, the people will shine.

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Jay Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 12:23 am

@Jack

Yes, when they stop looking at the past and over analyzing it for answers (specifically from Emo historians) and start writing a future based on efficiency and goals. And stop looking at Manila and looking at the whole 7,107 islands as a whole. As many have said, the cultural crisis seems to only affect Manila and the southern Luzon area and Visayas to some extent as they were the only ones to deal with Spain. Mindanao and certainly the Ilocanos from the north Luzon never had to deal much with them, so their culture in a sense stayed static for the most part. Where many talk about unity, they still only see the capital and its manufactured machinations of Filipino, which don’t reflect the culture outside of the capital, which have their own histories to them as well.

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ilda Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 2:01 am

Hi Jack

It is nice of you to give us your input and thanks for your kind words. You seem to have met a few good Filipinos. Unfortunately, there are Filipinos who hold the country from moving forward. They are the majority and some of them hold positions in government.
Majority of Filipinos vote for incompetent public officials like President Noynoy Aquino. These voters focus on the popularity of the candidate instead of his platform.

Our society is trapped in this “mental prison.”

We are also suffering from what I call analysis paralysis. The condition can be described as wanting to move forward and advance like any society but unfortunately, using the same old tired method over and over. The symptom is easy enough to diagnose. During election, Filipinos would rather vote for those they already know like the Aquinos, Marcoses, and etc. As a result, nothing changes.

A lot of Filipinos are emotional and sentimental. They don’t realize that in order to change, we need to get rid of old practices and traditions that don’t work anymore.

It is really mind boggling why a people which you described as “complete” cannot seem to accept that there is a need to change. We are too complacent.

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Lorenz wrote on 14 September, 2010, 7:23

*facepalm*

i just saw the news and the politicians are now blaming the media. *sigh*

We all study Jose Rizal yet why are there only few like him? Why is it his love interests are more interesting than his works and ideas? Hailed as the first Filipino and the “Greatest Man of the Brown Race”, he is the embodiment of a true nationalist, someone who loves his country yet also criticizes the indolence and incompetence because he longs for his countrymen’s bright future. Sad that he is overshadowed by Gandhi and other prominent figures in the international community.

He was a polymath. He can speak different languages. He made great technological inventions. He was a great doctor. He discovered new creatures for the scientific world. All this i learned from my Rizal class yet i saw no one of my classmates were passionate or were remotely interested. Sigh…

It is funny though because Rizal wasn’t a pure blooded Malay. He has the bloodline of the Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish.

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ilda Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 8:10 am

Thanks for the info. I didn’t know he had Chinese, Japanese and Spanish blood. That says a lot. It’s too bad he didn’t have kids.

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Jay Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 2:58 am

@Lorenz

Which further reinforces my idea that pinoys should embrace their multi-ethnic origins as oppose to trying to find the pure filipino. I mean even the people forget how much of the elites that control country as well are of chinese-filipino origin or spanish-filipino or spanish-filipino-american.

Heck while the Filipinos whine about the Chinese, they forget who owns most of the big businesses besides the elites. Jollibee is the farthest thing from being Pinoy as its owned not by a JUANDELACRUZ, but Gokongwei. Henry Sy owns the renowned SM corporation.

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JUANDELACRUZ wrote on 14 September, 2010, 12:44

Incompetent nga talaga ang mga Pinoy, mantakin mo, habang todo banat ang website na ito kay P-Noy, hala ayun, nandyan pa siya sa pwesto hanggang ngayon hahahahahaha at aba, mukhang mas tumindi pa kaysa dati ang pagsuporta sa kanya ng kanyang mga tagasuporta kahit na lalong tumindi ang pagatake sa kanya ng kanyang mga kaaway hehehehehehe

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BongV Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

ayos lang yun…. lalong katawanan ang Pinoy.. at mas lalong maraming entertainment ang AP

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Artemio Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Dami ngang na-te-turn-off kay abNoy. Talo pa ni Gloria si abNoy. Hangga’t ngayon nakalaya pa si Dr GMA PhD. Habang tumatagal si abNoy lalong napaghahalatang mas mahina at mas nakakasira si abNoy kaysa kay Gloria.

Hindi honest si abNoy. Honest mistake siguro

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ilda Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

@Juan

Ikaw naman. Napilitan ngang sagutin ni P-Noy yung sulat ng dating yellow supporter sa Facebook dahil sabi nya “P-Noy: something in you has to die!!!”

Masyado kang in denial Juan. Get Real!

Have a good day!!!

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NFA rice Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

@ilda,

I have to admit reyna elena is honest and did an excellent job. It’s a pity he (she?) needed 8 deaths and the shame of the entire nation to be pushed forward on the road to Damascus.

On the other hand it’s difficult not to sport a sympathetic smile and say “I told you so!”.

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ilda Reply:
September 14th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

@NFA

I didn’t realise that was Reyna Elena. I thought it was someone else from the yellow crowd.
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NFA rice Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 5:28 am

@Ilda,

My mistake. It was Reyn Barnido not reyna elena. I read the letter on barriosiete. I thought Reyn Barnido and reyna elena are the same guys, as in Reyn and reyna.
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ilda Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 5:52 am

Gusto kasi nilang lahat maging Reyna! Ayayayayy!
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TamiMo wrote on 14 September, 2010, 22:48

Wow.

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kid dynamo wrote on 15 September, 2010, 0:54

hey guys check this out…PNoy alledgedly answered one post by a certain writer named Reyn Barnido….

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=612135&publicationSubCategoryId=63

i swear this is just getting better and better…:-)

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ralliart1to3 Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 1:30 am

Dig this. http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=611539&publicationSubCategoryId=63
Further degradation of our government agencies.

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ilda Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 1:55 am

@Kid- P-Noy’s response, which was penned by one of his communication team is so lame. It starts by blaming Arroyo again – lol

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ralliart1to3 wrote on 15 September, 2010, 1:49

If most Filipinos would continue on with their racist behavior and hostility to the Chinese and Filipino Chinese, they might end up like the Nazis. They might not have armies to catch and put them in concentration camps but they can build virtual barriers to which they can extend their animosity. These barriers arise when situations like the hostage crisis happen. With the economic status also in question, Filipinos are exhibiting Crab Mentality towards the prosperous Chinese community. What gives? Most of them worked hard for it, don’t they deserve it? If one wants to be a big shot, work harder and don’t make race a superficial issue.
Anyway nice article.

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ilda Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 2:09 am

thanks ralliart1to3

We can thank our lucky stars that it won’t come to that point. They love their telenovelas and would rather watch it than cook up something that sinister. If their idol told them what to do, maybe. Here’s the thing, if only P-Noy had vision and if he actually inspired people, he can tell the millions of his supporters to do the right thing. Instead, he is telling them to feel insulted.

The poor Fil-Chi have been victims of resentment for years though. They have been kidnapped and made fun of by being called names such as “intsik beho.”

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Jay Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 2:43 am

Exactly. They will mention the poisoned milk, the murders which are at best completely isolated cases considering people just mention them NOW and have no racial intention to them whatsoever. Yet the Pinoys seem to not want to mention and even what WOTL brought up about pinoys natural affinity to racism for a long time with such remarks like that existing in society.

Someone in youtube mentioned to me the unfortunate OFWs caught in their own unfair situations with their employers, and having to deal with the national government for those. That is racism, much to the Pinoy’s concept of it. That is up to the Filipino government to do something and play a negotiation game and fix the policies of the POEA.

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jemon wrote on 15 September, 2010, 2:53

It is seems to me you are enjoying telling everyone that Pinoys are incompetent. What do you derive out of it? Please do put down the Pinoys too much. Believe me, it is not helping.

I think there is a little disconnect in your title and the article itself. Cultural (your title) and racial (the article itself) DNA are different things don’t you think?

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jemon Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 2:55 am

I mean DO NOT

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Jay Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 3:01 am

@jemon

Is there a problem saying things as it is? This IS serious because the future of the Philippines is at risk here. And honestly, don’t target the tone of the argument but the points. It doesn’t help you present the case that way.

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jemon Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 3:13 am

Hi Jay, are you and Ilda the same person. I was asking her and you answered.

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himynameistimoy Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 3:42 am

Troll alert?

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ilda Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 4:32 am

@jemon

It seems to me that you did not understand the article because if you did, you wouldn’t have gotten the impression that “I enjoy telling everyone that Pinoys are incompetent.”

It does pain me to have to come to terms with who we are as a people. In the process of doing my analysis, I discover a lot of things about us Pinoys that are really hard to change. As I said in my previous comment, this exercise is more about finding out our strengths and our weaknesses as a people. I already used Malaysia as a model in the article just to convince people like you that there is a problem in our society, which we need to address just like what Malaysia did in 1971. I do not know why it is so hard to convince people like you that we are not that great. Incompetent leaders like P-Noy wouldn’t be voted in if majority of the voters use their brain.

Please consider reading the article again before you make your second judgement.

I do not see a problem with the title. Cultural DNA refers to the personality of a society. The cultural DNA of our society influences its eventual success or failure. Do you really think that if we do not change our personality, we can become a successful people? Our problem is not just about corruption.

I do not see a problem with Jay responding to your questions. He is a very intelligent man and this is an open forum. Besides, he is a GetRealist.

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JOn wrote on 15 September, 2010, 5:32

I would not stereotype Filipinos as a whole. Living in the US for many years had taught me a great deal about life. It changed my view point on all aspects of life. I also have many chances to observe many cultures particularly our fellow Filipinos. Many Americans admire professional Filipino workers in the US because of their work ethics. Most of them work 2-3 jobs and work 16-20 hrs per day in which there fellow American workers find it peculiar. Deep inside I know most of our “kababayan” work so hard to have a good future for themselves and their family back home. They have seen the worst in our country. Many of our “kababayans” who left the country to seek out new life abroad are more determine to succeed mainly because of their families who are left behind…this is where the percentage of $$ are accounted from our “kababayans” living abroad by sending money to the Philippines. Many educated Filipinos who left the country had also excelled. On the other hand, I dread seeing many of our “kababayans” who left the country just to work as maids or caregivers. If you ask them why they have chosen it? they would probably tell you they have “no choice”. It breaks my heart to see anyone of them being physically abuse by their masters esp. in the Middle East. I believe if they are given even just a small opportunity in the Philippines, they will excel in there own way. My point is I would like to see our present government create a solid program to bring back our OFWs by creating more jobs and opportunities at home. I remember hearing Erap in one interview he said “there contribution are needed to bring in more $$ to the country”. I think that is bull$%#%. Human exploitation is a very bad thing esp. if they are your own people. I had the chance to watch you tube titled “RTV Malacanang” at first, I may not like GMA as president; however, after seeing her contribution while she was in office made me think twice about her. I believe the infrastructure programs mainly building of many roads and bridges in Manila and the provinces that she initiated created a gateway to the future for our country. It is unfortunate that only the negative things are being reported by ABS-CBN in the news. It turned me off just watching TFC because of the content that was being shown to the public. On the contrary, I wonder what kind of inspiration and effect in people’s mind if the media start focusing more on the positive things occurring in our nation?

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ilda Reply:
September 15th, 2010 at 6:10 am

@J0n
It still boils down to our collective personality as a people though. There really is a problem with it.

It seems that Filipinos are capable of following the rules or being disciplined when abroad but not when they are in their own country. The reason is obvious enough; majority of Filipinos have no respect for their fellowmen. There are also Filipinos who just act like leeches. They just suck the blood out of the system without contributing anything to it.

The problem is J0n, some of those who are already abroad are also emotional and sentimental about the past. They were nostalgic of the People Power revolution in 1986 that’s why they were also rooting for an Aquino win in the last election. Even if they are already exposed to the western way of thinking, they still did not use their critical analysis. There are some who even graduated from Brown University and Oxford University but still campaigned hard for Noynoy. I’m pretty sure they are regretting it now.

Filipinos need to get rid of their tendency to be too emotional. It is clouding their judgment.


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