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Sunday, July 31, 2011
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‘The Bonifacios rendered the ultimate sacrifice of being killed at the hands of their erstwhile comrades in the Revolution.’
COME to think of it, we do have unique tourist spots in this country. Not anywhere near the likes of the Currywurst Museum in Berlin , Germany or the Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum in Plano, Texas, USA.
The Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory in Rome and the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi, India do probably attract the spiritual as well as the mundane. But the Casa Hacienda de Naic now part of the Naic Elementary School in Cavite may be of interest only to Filipinos. Why would visiting Americans from Seattle be concerned with the historic site connected with intrigues, betrayals and murders among Filipino revolutionaries in the 1890s?
The former Dominican Hacienda de San Isidro Labrador gained its Philippine significance when in April of 1897 the chief executive and leading light of the Revolution, Gat Andres Bonifacio, crafted the Acta de Naic (aka Naic Military Agreement), which re-affirmed the socio-political and combat goals of the 1896 Revolution, in this plantation house. This act by the KKK Supremo and Pangulo of the Republika ng Haringbayang Katagalugan was said to be one of the main justifications for the hero’s arrest, trial and execution at the hands of Generalissimo Emilio Aguinaldo.
Although the same place later hosted the establishment of the national Departments of Defense, Finance, Justice and Interior and Local Government, the bad mojo generated by the unjust execution of Bonifacio and his brother permeates. How can Aguinaldo’s "Cabinet of Reconciliation" that was formed in this Casa justify the killing of one of the founders of the Katipunan?
The touring Washingtonians might be mildly curious about the Naic Hacienda House as the site where the red Sun of Liberty flag was designed and approved as the banner of national unity. But can this Cavite historic spot compete for attention with the likes of the Dog Collar Museum, Leeds Castle, Kent in England?
In addition, Filipinos may recall with dread and awe that Casa Hacienda de Naic was converted into an enemy garrison by the invading Japanese fascists during World War II. For which, the building was bombed by the defending Americans and their Filipino allies. Today, the nearby church and the school grounds contain ecclesiastical relics and collectibles and local kids eager to learn.
The delegation from the University of Washington who stopped at and entered the Bonifacio Trial House in Poblacion, Maragondon, Cavite may not have been moved by the drama that occurred in that building. This is the place where one of the architects of the Philippine Revolution, Andres, and his brother, Procopio, were subjected to the indignities of a kangaroo court.
Aguinaldo and his faction, of course, found the brothers "guilty" and meted them the death sentence. High above that town of Maragondon, in the heights of Mount Nagpatong, the Bonifacios rendered the ultimate sacrifice of being killed at the hands of their erstwhile comrades in the Revolution.
This narrative is taught with varying interpretations within the Philippine educational system – a phenomenon that the traveling students from Seattle are welcome to investigate since their sojourn in the Rizaline islands is a requirement of their course on American Ethnic Studies, grappling with the theme of "Education, Memory, Ethnicity."
These students toured the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit where the General proclaimed on June 12, 1898 his dictatorship and the offering of the Philippines as a protectorate of the "mighty and humane North American nation."
The young American travelers also glimpsed the Cañacao Bay, Fort San Felipe, Tejeros Convention Site, and the Battle of Binakayan Monument, among others. In their R&R at Tagaytay City, however, they missed visiting the 41st Division USAFFE Marker and the 11th Airborne Division Marker, which commemorate Filipino and American units that effectively battled the imperialist Japanese in the Pacific War.
Hopefully, the Seattle delegation will learn much about the Philippines through the itinerary prepared for them by the Yslas De Oro Travel and Tours agency.
Meanwhile, the Filipinos in the Philippines can review their own historical sources in their country, thus, avoiding the mistakes of the Revolutionary generation. Among others, they can re-read Bonifacio’s correspondence with fellow patriots and gather the following:
1. The resolve of the towns of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija were meant to be awakened and the townsfolks’ spirit not be "broken by the Spanish advances here in the towns of Cavite, because the Revolution here is spreading and getting much stronger due to the towns of Batangas and Laguna crossing over, and perhaps Tayabas, Mindoro and Camarines will cross over also." [Letter of Andres Bonifacio, Maypagasa, the President of the Sovereign People, to Julio N. Nakpil, Exalted President of the Council in the Northern District, Limbon (Indang, Cavite), 24 April 1897]
2. "It is urgent necessity that you gather up all the guns there, even if you have to pay for them, but they must become the property of the Association so that we may have a real and proper fighting army. If you succeed in effecting this shortly, it will be an easy thing to invade any pueblo and fortify ourselves there in such a way that it will not be easy for the enemy to reconquer the place...The men who know how to set "spear traps" (balatek) for whom you ask I have already summoned from Marigondon, but they have not yet arrived; as soon as they arrive, I shall have them go to your place...Hunt up some brass there and I shall send you cannons and lantakas immediately." [Letter of Andres Bonifacio, to Don Emilio Jacinto Pedernal, Chief of the Army of the North, 1897]
3. "The District of Batangas has organized a provincial government which it places under my orders, according to the four letters I have received. I sent 20 riflemen and 25 Balara bolomen to help them." [Letter of Andres Bonifacio, to Jacinto, Limbon, April 24, 1897]
Probably, the most important points to keep in mind are that Bonifacio and the original Katipuneros carried out Rizal’s "arduous mission" of nation-formation, bannered the ideals of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" and personified hope and integrity in the teeth of enemy attacks and betrayals by faithless comrades.
Bonifacio’s heroism and the Katipunan legacy are worthy of reflection and action on the seventh of July of every year.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Placewell International Services Corporation involved in fraudulent documentation in Human Trafficking
S214,217& 218 AURORA PLAZA BLG, ARQUIZA ST. ERMITA, MANILA
Tel No/s : 5267838/5267317
Email Address : PISCO@THE.NET.PH
Website : None
Official Representative : AIDA ESCUETA
Status : Good Standing
License Validity : 3/25/2008 to 3/24/2012
IRENEO B. CAMOTE, Respondent.
“What the Failed State Index means. The most striking feature of the Failed States Index is in how it is developed. The assessments of the individual indicators and their resulting overall scores are not the work of academicians, but are compilations of vast numbers of global perceptions; among the 90,000 sources are media reports, government and academic studies, commentaries from pundits at all levels, and a whole host of published statistics, all from both inside and outside the countries on the list. The FSI in a very real sense is the view the world– and the country itself– has of the Philippines. TheFSI score and ranking for the Philippines has been, since the launch of the program, a description of the global impression of the country.”
There are 12 metrics used in determining the “Failed State Index”. The higher the score the worse is the country. A score of 7 and above means a serious problem. Here the comparative scores for India and the Philippines. Unlike India, the Philippines is in the list of 60 failed and near-failed states. The Philippines was at No. 56 when these metrics were first measured and this “Failed States Index” list was first published in 2005. The Philippines is getting progressively worse. It went from 56th place in 2005 to 51st in 2010 and is at 50th place in 2011. It is fast approaching Rwanda, Cambodia and Laos who are tied at 40th place in the list.
No. Metric India’s score Philippine score
1 Mounting demographic pressures 8.3 7.3
2 Massive movement of refugees or internally displaced persons, creating complex humanitarian emergencies 4.9 6.5
3 Legacy of vengeance-seeking group grievance or group paranoia 7.3 7.2
4 Chronic and sustained human flight 6.7 6.7
5 Uneven economic development across group lines 8.9 7.1
6 Sharp and/ or severe economic decline 5 5.6
7 Criminalization and/ or delegitimization of the State 5.5 8.3
8 Progressive deterioration of public services 7 6.1
9 Suspension or arbitrary application of the rule of law and widespread violation of human rights 6 7.3
10 Security apparatus operates as a “State within a State” 7.1 8.3
11 Rise of factionalized elites 6 8.5
12 Intervention of other states or external political actors 5.1 6.1
Total 77.8 85
It seems patently clear the country has very little will to reverse its decline into the upper reaches of the list of “Failed State” nations of the world. With 41.1% of all children of high school age unable to go to school, how can it?
Friday, July 29, 2011
Written by : RENE Q. BAS | Published : Thursday, July 28, 2011 00:00
Thursday, July 28, 2011
From my observations, the question is more about the “hot (southern) versus cold (northern)” countries. The warmer countries of Southern Europe have developed cultures that are comparatively more complacent than the cultures from Northern Europe, while those from the North tend to be more focused on solving problems rather than just letting things be.
The Catholic versus Protestant issue is slightly derived from the hot-versus-cold (or South-versus-North) issue because the complacency of the warmer countries of Southern Europe made them stick with their traditional faith (Catholicism), while the Northern countries which are colder ended up seeing “kinks” and little problems with the traditional Catholic dogma (they were Catholics too, originally) and that caused them to question these and find a solution to these kinks and little problems. The solution? Secession from the Papacy and the creation of their own churches.
In other words, the religion aspect is just a manifestation of the North-versus-South and cold-versus-hot divide. Northern Europe isn’t more economically dynamic than Southern Europe because they’re Protestant and that Southern Europe is Catholic. It’s more because Northern Europe’s cold has created a culture that forces people to think, analyze, and plan in advance (to combat the problems of a harsh winter) while Southern Europe’s warmer climate has created a culture that allows people to survive with less thinking and analysis. Essentially, complacency is not harshly punished with death, so complacency can become more common.
This complacency is also what makes people “stick with tradition” even if tradition doesn’t seem to make sense. The Protestants of Northern Europe are essentially people who broke with tradition and created a newer one because they felt that the older tradition didn’t make sense.
Ergo, it’s not so much “Protestant versus Catholic”, and instead, it’s more likely to be “Colder North versus Warmer South.”
Not exactly “Guns, Germs, and Steele.” Jared Diamond was very careful to elaborate in his book (and other essays floating around in the internet and other journals) that he didn’t have that much of a North-South (Cold versus Warm) dichotomy, but instead, his idea centered around the “Eurasian East-West Axis Advantage” and the fact that it was this area that had a huge variety of flora and fauna that proved advantageous to the civilizations that developed in that area.
It is, on the other hand, Montesquieu who makes the North-South/Cold-Warm dichotomy in analyzing societies.
Montesquieu does NOT, however, condemn warm countries to mediocrity. His ideas, in his masterpiece “L’esprit des lois” (The Spirit of the Laws), state that while it is easier for Cultures from Cold Climates have a tendency to build successful societies under a liberal and/or democratic framework, Cultures from Warm Climates can be as successful, but they need to make use of a despotic/authoritarian framework.
This makes sense.
In Cold Climates, people are FORCED BY THE COLD to be self-disciplined, punctual, analytical, long term-planning oriented and self-regulating because without such self-discipline, people cannot easily survive the winters in cold climates where there is an obvious need for stored food, saved/stored resources, shelter/heating, clothing, etc. Lack of self-discipline and all the other types of behavior that lead towards success lead to failure, and thus, end up in death or extinction.
In Warm Climates, people can afford to be a bit more complacent and happy-go-lucky. As such, people tend to be more “puede na yan” and tolerant of irresponsibility and tardiness.
However, the behavior needed for success remains the same. Success is always a result of punctuality, long-term planning, better analysis, better self-discipline, etc. So while the people from Cold Climate Cultures have the natural tendency to have the habits needed for success, people from Warm Climate Cultures don’t. On the other hand, those habits can be developed. But they can be developed through EXTERNAL IMPOSITION FROM AN OUTSIDE AUTHORITY.
In other words, if the Climate won’t force you to do the same things that are necessary for success, then the Government should do so.
In short, the Governments of people from Warm Climates need to be “despotic and authoritarian” in coercing its citizens to behave in “successful ways.”
This is why Singapore (a successful nation from the Tropics) continues to need its “draconian-like” laws and its somewhat “top-down” management approach.
While LKY, his son LHL and the PAP do not always talk about the “Hot-Cold dynamics” (well, Lee Kuan Yew talks about it extensively in his memoirs), the Singapore-pattern is extremely consistent with Baron de Montesquieu’s observations. Likewise, Malaysia has similar ideas (borrowed largely from Singapore as well as Mahathir bin Mohamad’s ideas) in how Malaysia tries to achieve success.
The key idea is that the Philippines needs to get its act together by focusing on ensuring that those behavioral “basics of how to achieve success” are instilled in the Filipino People. Competence, Self-Discipline, Economic Focus, Continuous Improvement, not resting on one’s laurels, etc are necessary.
Sadly, most of the Filipino People continue to prove to the entire world that they would rather be monkeys and proto-humans than successful and civilized Homo sapiens sapiens.
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Miriam, I’d say that in the case of Malaysia, Mahathir’s policy wasn’t so much “discriminating against the Chinese” as it was “making space for Malays/Bumiputras to have the opportunity to work alongside the more hardworking Chinese.”
For sure, the system in Malaysia entailed affirmative action in favor of the “indigenous” Bumiputras, but Mahathir’s vision for this wasn’t meant to “put down the Chinese to raise up the indigenous.” It was borne out of the fact that the Chinese population in Malaysia is huge enough to be able to rely on itself. As such, it is big enough for a Chinese entrepreneur to hire only Chinese workers/staff members. One of Mahathir’s contentions was that the Malays/Bumiputras needed to have direct exposure to how the more economically-successful Chinese worked and did things. But unless there would be opportunities for mingling in the work environment, the Bumiputras would not have direct exposure to the work ethic of the Chinese. That’s why the affirmative action scheme was put in place: Companies needed to hire a mandatory percentage of bumiputras , and the end result would be that eventually, bumiputras would be able to directly observe and imbibe the work ethic of the Chinese (and Indians).
In most other areas, Malaysia followed Singapore’s model: strict implementation of laws (albeit not as easy to control as Singapore), economic focus, etc.
In Truth, Marcos’ martial law wasn’t wrong by itself. The Philippines could have pulled itself together if Marcos actually saw it through and did the most important thing: delivered on the Economy.
Unfortunately, Marcos’ economic policies were flawed. He borrowed massive amounts of money which he pocketed, and some which he distributed to cronies for them to “develop the economy.” But he chose the wrong cronies: majority were incompetent and had no real intention of developing the economy. Many of them only put up façade companies that were there as fronts, but they didn’t make any money and didn’t have any real operations. By the time the loans were due, Marcos had nothing to pay and in the end, the repercussions of not paying manifested themselves in currency devaluation and economic collapse.
That was truly the one mistake of Marcos: having the wrong economic policies or implementing his economic policies wrongly by choosing the wrong cronies.
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Hung Hang, The air-conditioner is indeed one of the greatest inventions. Lee Kuan Yew himself praised the air-conditioner for its ability to counteract the “misfortune” of being in the tropics, and as such, his memoirs and other speeches actually reveal him to be very Montesquieuesque.
You need to read my exposition carefully, though. It seems you missed a lot of points: Temperature is a strong determinant for the kind of culture produced in a particular region, not a “strong determinant for a country’s progress.”
Montesquieu’s views made it extremely clear that he never condemned “hot countries to mediocrity” because he said that cultures from hot climates can still compete with the cultures from the cold climates if their governments are strict and disciplinarian and induce them to develop a strong work ethic (possibly through coercion).
Did you look at your examples? Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam… Are those countries as Free-wheeling and Liberal as the Philippines?
They’re countries that have implemented Montesquieuesque ideas so that the relative complacency developed in tropical climates would be counteracted by disciplinarian governments that properly manage the people in a top-down fashion.
You should have also looked at the obvious cause-and-effect exposition I made on why most Protestant countries in Western Europe are in the North and why most Catholic countries in Western Europe are in the South. Religion, per se, is more of a correlated symptom that goes along with the climate of a country. A people’s character is often determined by the type of environment that people develops its culture in. People from colder areas that experience winter tend to become more serious, more planning-oriented, and more self-disciplined because those traits are necessary in order to survive winter, while People from warmer areas that don’t experience cold winters (or have no winters at all) tend to become more complacent as compared to the people from colder areas because the milder climate does not require them to plan as much. (In the tropics, you can find food anytime and anywhere, unlike in temperate zones where there’s nothing to find during winter)
The fact remains that culture develops over centuries, and the recent pervasiveness of airconditioning technology in the mid 1900′s is not enough to change the tropics-based cultural tendencies of Filipinos which have been around for millennia.
In the end, religion can have an influence, yes. But I also need to make it clear that most of our ideas about comparing Protestant and Catholic come from attempts in the past to correlate economic performance with culture, such as the work of Max Weber. The problem I see, however, was that no attempt was made to go even deeper and look at the fact that in Western Europe itself, this Protestant-versus-Catholic dichotomy also roughly coincided with the Cold North versus Warmer South dichotomy.
By looking at both, we do find that they are related. I posit that Protestant countries turned Protestant because they’re from the Northern part of Western Europe: their people saw problems with certain aspects of their older Catholic faith and decided to do something about it and rectify such problems according to their own interpretation. Catholic countries in Western Europe remained Catholic because they’re from the Southern part of Western Europe: their people probably saw some problems with certain aspects of Catholicism but STILL DID NOT do something about it and thus were more tolerant of the status quo (aka “complacent”).
In other words, the work ethic may still have been influenced more by the underlying effects of climate as Montesquieu clearly presented. Of course, there will be influences from religion as well. Some Protestant groups might have been more predisposed towards wealth accumulation than Catholics, for instance, due to certain teachings (prosperity gospel, for instance or ideas like “God favors the hardworking”) But notice again that where Protestantism first developed and became common in Western Europe was precisely in the colder Northern regions, while Catholicism remained strong in the relatively warmer South.
(We could argue that a Catholic Spaniard who converts to a Protestant sect that heavily emphasizes a prosperity gospel may end up becoming richer than a Catholic Spaniard who remains Catholic. But then again, maybe that first Spaniard who converts to the prosperity gospel Protestant sect already exhibits traits that make him more predisposed to success to begin with: he was willing to make a major change in his life by conversion. That “major change” idea is an indicator of a willingness to turn around one’s life. Then again, it’s still worth looking into the origins of the sect: Was it developed in the warmer South or in the colder North?)
As such, there is strong reason to review Montesquieu’s views on “hot-versus-cold.”
By the way, Confucianism is NOT a religion. It’s a philosophy.
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Miriam, I’m very happy to see your views here. We’ve read a lot of the same stuff, it seems. And yes, I have read Stanley Karnow’s “In Our Image.” (In case you haven’t read it, look for a copy of Dr. Mahathir’s “The Malay Dilemma.” It’s essentially Dr. M’s “Get Real, Malaysia” mega-essay.)
One of the best things I first gathered from it when I read it more than 15 years ago was the idea that it caused “confusion” for Pinoys that the predominantly Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans tried to impose their Anglo-Saxon Protestant Ethic and Northern European-derived Democratic ideals on a predominantly Catholic and Hispanicized Malayo-Polynesian people.
The other key idea there too was that Karnow revealed that his personal friend Benigno S. Aquino, Jr aka “Ninoy” was actually a fan of Lee Kuan Yew and did not necessarily disagree with Marcos’ authoritarianism. Ninoy even said that if he was in Marcos’ place, he’d have probably done the same. The main complaint Ninoy had was what I mentioned earlier: That Marcos failed to deliver economic prosperity and material progress to Filipinos. Truth be told, people actually tend to tolerate authoritarianism if it delivers. Marcos failed to deliver (on what else? THE ECONOMY!), and that’s essentially what got him out.
You are right also in looking at the fact that many of those more progressive countries in Latin-America have elites that are largely European-stock and thus have the same (or similar) intellectual life that is open to ideas. The Filipino elite (oligarchs plus the unintellectual “intelligentsia”) is composed of people who would actually be middle class if they were in the First World. They don’t have the ability to really think in real rational terms. All they can do is follow other peoples’ ideas.
As for Vietnam, it has to be mentioned that Vietnam’s culture is essentially Chinese-derived. They were a Chinese vassal-state (with some political autonomy) for a little over a millennium. That very long time of being highly influenced and in contact with the Chinese made them develop a solidly “Chinese-derived” culture which the more recent and short-lived European colonial period could not erase. Contrast that with Filipinos who were essentially fragmented small primitive tribes not under a strong central authority that would build up a Civilization with stone-based architecture for the longest time, you can see why it was easy to replace the older culture with a newer “more superior” one.
With the French (and other Europeans) going into Vietnam, they had what was essentially a strong Chinese-derived or highly Sinicized identity that had the trappings of Civilization. That’s why it was much harder to “erase” the Vietnameseness of the Vietnamese. The gap between the level of civilization of the Vietnamese and that of the foreign colonizers wasn’t that “wide.”
Truth be told, it’s not so much the “originality” of the culture that is the issue. Vietnamese culture is essentially Chinese-based (even reaching Qing Dynasty influence), just as Korean and Japanese are Chinese-based (largely around the Han, all the way to the Tang, and pre-Ming dynasty influence) in terms of culture. Thais do not have an original culture at all. Instead, what we all refer to as “Thai Culture” is essentially Khmer (Cambodian) culture which the Thais (or the “Siamese” as they were earlier known) adopted for themselves in a similar way that the Romans adopted Greek culture.
Whatever it is, all these cultures stuck to what they defined as “their culture.” Nevermind that they were initially BORROWED (or perhaps imposed from outside) from foreigners, the Vietnamese, Thais, Koreans, and Japanese essentially identified with the cultures they made their own and by the time they came into contact with Westerners, they were well aware that who they were was defined by the culture and the cultural trappings and manifestations (clothing/costumes, art, music, architecture, etc) that they had made theirs. (The Japanese, during the Meiji Restoration, decided to REDEFINE THEMSELVES into Westerners who just happened to be of Asian racial ethnicity by adopting Western systems, clothing, architecture, technology, etc, turning them into Asia’s most modern nation and first non-white country to be invited into international diplomatic leagues such as the Treaty of Versailles and practically be treated as equals of the Whites.)
The Philippines is in a major rut because our elites are of low quality. (I really mean it when I say that they’d be Middle Class in the First World) That’s why they’re “oligarchs” (few who lead) instead of “aristocrats” (The powerful Best). Go to our universities, listen to the way most of our academics reason. Low quality. They even spend a lot of time making up lame excuses for why they were “justified”‘ in voting for an incompetent person into the Presidency. All the Philippine Intelligentsia seeks to become good at is pambobola and sophistry instead of finding the Truth.
Hyms, Yes, Montesquieu’s “L’esprit des lois” (The Spirit of the Laws) was very voluminous and “comprehensive.” He talked a lot about comparing societies versus others and cultures versus others. He also looked at the whole idea of “proportionate rewards and punishment.” He saw, for instance, that if all crimes were punishable by Death, then the crimes would become more and more heineous. If the penalty for hiway-robbery and murder was both Death, then hiway robbers would rather kill their victims, knowing that these victims could later identify them and get them convicted and killed. Since the penalty for murder is the same as robbery/theft: Death, then what’s the use of keeping the robbery victims alive? Montesquieu observed that this was how the laws worked in China: proportional punishment. Hiway robbers in Imperial China may have robbed travellers, but they never killed them, since killing them would have meant death, while merely robbing didn’t translate into Death.
It’s a really good read. Lots of insights. Of course, in light of today’s findings, the understanding of certain phenomena needs to be upgraded. But overall, it was very sound and logical. Lightyears ahead of the kind of thinking that modern day Pinoy so-called intellectuals are capable of. (Save for the real intellectuals who make antipinoy their home who – sooner or later – should be discovered for being the real intellectuals they are and dislodging those pretentious fools who populate Philippine universities and Pinoy newspaper columns.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
We often wonder what went wrong with the Philippines. Why is it that Filipinos, even if they know what’s wrong, continue to do it, even willingly? They go ahead and hit on other women or men even when already married, and fall into petty crime even though they know the jails are overcrowded. Even on things not related to crime, Filipinos fail to practice good common sense and would rather do what they feel. They still do stupid things like max out their credit cards and feed the whole barangay during a fiesta on borrowed money. Then they complain that life is hard. But why do they still do it?
I’d like to venture a daring proposition: it’s all because of our Filipino family values. They are flawed and cause us to take the path of self-destruction. I will thus make the case that some of our Filipino family values are among the cultural baggage that we need to dispose of.
Our cultural values can be traced to the teachings of the friars or prayles of Spanish occupation, who exercised an iron hand over Filipino values then. Whatever they demanded, the people do, or else the people go to hell. But whatever they demanded was not always for the benefit of the people.
Filipino family all right… looks family… kasi where’s daddy? Tsugi?
We know today how the friars of those days bedded young and pretty maidens (A Cojuangco ancestor helped smuggle these women into friars’ private quarters), giving rise to the many mestizo people among our population. But they also taught people that they should obey authority – even if the authority abuses them. Jose Rizal attacked the teachings of the friars in his books. He knew that the values taught by the friars were meant to contain the Filipino people, preventing development of intelligence and reasoning, keeping the Filipinos in slavery. The friars basically caused the Filipinos to be dependent on them.
Thing is, if the friars are now gone, why are people today still bending to their manipulation? Why are they sticking to the “values” that the friars taught their clueless ancestors? The problem is now with the people themselves, not the friars anymore. They have forgotten that the friars have left.
People are still taught to conform, not just because it is fashionable, but because conformity has been seen as a sign of morality. Somehow, Filipinos have the sense that being “in” is a sign that you are a good and compliant citizen, and “alternative” styles or lifestyles are immoral. They have been deceived that conformity to society is a sign that you are a moral person.
BongV had an excellent exploration of the subject in his article stating that our dominantly authoritarian parenting style tends to produce wimpy children. Now, I felt that there was much more I could add. The basic Filipino family values are based on conformity, and often it is conformity to anything. If you differ, you are considered a disobedient whelp, or sutil. You must conform to the will of your parents, such as dictating the college course you should take; so it you don’t follow, you are sutil.
But not only conformity to supposed values is a problem. Even conformity to culture. Not only will Filipino parents encourage, or even force, their children to obey others blindly. They may even encourage children to follow fads. For example, if they see their children as different from their peers, such as not watching Wowowee like classmates do, for preferring manga art to basketball, the parents will call their children sutil, stupid, disobedient, walang pakisama, selfish, or what abusive word you can think of for children. Parents also do this probably to avoid their children bringing them shame. They may even dictate or criticize the tastes of their children (“this is what you should like,” “rock music is from the devil!”), and thus take away any notion of responsible individual freedom.
Mano… overrated custom of respect… and submission… to elders
Even bad habits are sometimes passed through authoritarian means. Some ridiculous fathers will even chide their sons for having only one girlfriend, and will goad them to try and gather a harem. Not only will the fathers boast to fellows about their harems; they may even boast about their son’s harems. But even without authoritarian means, there are the comments and payo (advice) of the parents that tell a child to conform and be like everyone else, and that being different, even if it is right, can lead to shame or hiya.
Sometimes, these “values” are used in a manipulative way. I remember watching an old documentary on child labor in the Philippines. A man who was interviewed, probably the children’s employer, was asked whether he thought child labor was wrong (the labor was unloading sacks of cement off ships). He just kept on saying, “(ander sila ng mga magulang nila) they are under their parents.” Authoritarianism was used to maintain child labor. It’s in scenarios like these that children need to learn the value of assertiveness – that they have the right to say no.
One of the most common payo (advice) that parents would give children is, “study well, get a good job and a high salary, so you can buy good appliances and toys for your children.” This seems like a good, harmless adage. But there is a lot of harm in this payo.
Firstly, this reveals the highly consumerist nature of our culture. Filipino families continue to have the dream of upward mobility. But they don’t just want to manifest it; they want to show it. They want to have the latest gadgets, the coolest designer clothes, know the latest songs, watch the latest shows or even travel all over. Same as described above; not being “in” can be seen as a moral lapse.
Also, having all the consumer stuff is seen as a sign that you have worked hard for it. So when you don’t have the consumer stuff, you are seen as not hardworking and morally lapsed. Thus, the people who work hard and don’t spend so much on consumer goods are wrongly accused of being lazy or having no good dreams in life (That’s how some Filipinos see the industrious Filipino-Chinese!).
A seeming must-have for every consumerist Filipino family
In addition, the above payo also teaches children to be employees – and not pursue higher dreams of being an entrepreneur or self-employed person. Parents are teaching their children to be subservient or submissive, and discourage them from challenging the more likely fomenters of stagnancy in the country like our local elite. It’s as if the values taught them were meant to prevent them from growing and doing something good.
Let me quote something from another of my articles that demonstrates consumerism:
For example, imagine yourself as a working class Filipino, eldest among the children, with a job and salary. You arrive home after work, and you hear the screams of “where are our French fries!” from your siblings. Your parents, who are already senior citizens, will demand, “when are you going to bring us to Boracay?” When you reply that your salary is too low for that, they’ll scream, “then go abroad!” You’ll go abroad, you earn enough to send them to Boracay, but your family goes there without you. Lugi ka. Add to that the hassle of going abroad, adjusting to another country and culture, separation from your own, etc.
Families are forced by this pursuit to live beyond their means. When the parents or children come home to their families, their symbol of love is consumer goods. But when hospital bills come, or the credit card bill collector comes knocking, somebody gets troubled, and family tensions grow. Families would like to say that “we will bond together through hardship,” but the reality is that families in hardship are more likely to be dysfunctional.
The oligarchs or big businesses like consumerist families since these families consume their products. The 1950s depictions of “happy” families in media were associated with consumer goods. Most of the children who grew up during this time are today’s parents or grandparents, and are likely the ones goading their children or grandchildren to bring in consumer goods from abroad. Thus, our families are drawn into consumerism and further into poverty.
Teaching the Wrong Thing
Sometimes, a child would tell their parents about a friend who invites them to cheat at something, such as get a school paper from Recto. To their surprise, the parent says go ahead. “But isn’t cheating wrong?” asks the child. The parent, in their usual know-it-all swagger, says, “No, that is how you get ahead in life.” Perhaps an additional reinforcement from the parent would do it: “Look, people get rich by cheating.” And people wonder why corruption is so rampant in the country!
Another faux pas for parents is when they forbid the children from something, but they do it themselves. They tell their children not to smoke or get drunk; but they do it themselves. When the children happen upon them one day and complain about the parents’ example, the parents just throw their weight around and shout at or even hurt their children to be silent. Another dysfunctional family in the making.
Apo, don’t play in the street… wetaminut, si lola pa rin nag-aalaga? Where’s parenthood?
There is also the use of tall tales to confuse children. For example Benign0 would recall the grandmother who told her granddaughter about how humans are born, “galing ka sa pwet”. Like the tales of St. Peter playing bowling to explain thunder or may duende sa bakuran (dwarf in the backyard) to keep them from being naughty, parents confound their children about the birds and the bees. Sex education is sadly an area where Filipino families are lacking, because of absurd conservatism. And thus, our population grows like ants.
Nepotism is the obvious fault of our local Filipino families. When you have a business and are looking for the right person for the job, Filipinos often look within the family. Or even family friends. It’s not a fault by itself to consider someone because of familiarity or connections; but it is when you choose that person or service because of those connections and not because of competence.
Just to show I’m not the only one thinking this way, I decided to use the story of commenter Ben, who described his experience with families of differing values, to demonstrate my point. He commented in response to BongV’s posting of an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” which featured Filipino cuisine, and upon seeing a Filipino family in the episode that seemed to show these issues in parenting:
“When I came to the Philippines and met with my family from both sides, I saw a big difference comparing where the “Filipino” culture is more dominant.
On my mum’s side, family times and Meal times are a lot more noisy and discussions are very frequent. This was because of the fact that my cousins on that side are well educated and sort of “Westernized.” They dont conform to much of the Filipino society and they dont watch local channels. This made them easier for me and my brother (who grew up in Aus) to associate with considering there was no tradition in demanding respect from older people (po and opo and mano mano and such) and we felt more comfortable because it just felt like we were talking to just the same old group back home in Aus.
On the other hand, my dad’s side, which has more of an aristocratic vibe, it was very quiet, comfortable and sometimes they were unbearable to be around. I’d hear the older people get pissed at kids who forgot to say opo, I’d be required to make mano to everyone and the worst thing about it, meal times were so fricken QUIET! As in no talking… And this was what I saw in Augusto’s family. This is the Filipinized family. Their past time is watching Eat bulaga or Wowowee or Game KNB or MTB (back in the day). They made kids dance the ocho ocho and perform for the elderly and some kids hated it and some loved it. It was so uncomfortable.
What I noticed too is that on my dad’s side, people are so easily offended. And I guess that’s one of the reasons why people were so quiet during meal times – they were afraid to offend someone on the dining table.
When it comes to small family gathering like in the scene in Augusto’s family’s house, another key point would be that there was a foreigner amongst them. Filos hate to make themselves look bad, esp the older generations. If the kids make them look bad in front of foreigner, they get banished to say the least.”
Thanks, Ben, for sharing this. And I’m sure you’re not alone. A lot of Filipino families are like his dad’s side – cold, anti-intellectual, loveless and materialistic. It shows the things that are wrong with the Filipino family. Dick Gordon said the country is dysfunctional. It’s probably because the Filipino family is dysfunctional.
It’s a good thing that the side of Ben’s mom shows better, proper family values. This is what today’s Filipino family should emulate.
The Filipino Family – a Destructive Institution
Way I see it, our family values were really designed to make Filipino families broken and dysfunctional. The Filipino family was sabotaged from within. Whatever the friars or other influencers planted in the Filipinos, the Filipinos never bothered to remove. Even if told that these were tools of deception, they still clung to these false values!
The Filipino family’s intrinsic intolerance against nonconformity causes people to not reach their true potential in this country. Thus, they seek it elsewhere. This is probably one reason why droves of people go abroad; to be “free” from this inhibiting culture. The Filipino family is clearly one of the tools to perpetuate a defective culture onto its people. The way the people vote, the rampant corruption, and people’s bad behavior and bad attitudes toward life – they reflect the state of the family. The arresting of the family has resulted in the arresting of the nation.
My sociology teacher said that the most violent institution in human society during peacetime is the family. This is because of domestic violence, “spanking,” and all that. But in another sense, in the Philippines, the family may be the most destructive institution, because all the dysfunctions of authoritarianism, nepotism, slave-mindedness, backward traditionalism and even corrupt practices stem from it.
Only upon dumping obsolete family ideals can we have more Filipino families as happy as this one
You know, if Filipino society wants to weed out corruption, the government is the last place to start. The right place is the family, where it starts. We clearly need to reform traditional family values. But how do we make these reforms? I’ll be sticking my neck out when I say that children can “go against their parents.” But there are parents who can certainly change their parenting style and teach their children to be more assertive. BongV’s article on assertiveness has all the material to help teach children the right values.
We must remind people that the “friars” are gone – and should not be revived. Catholic priests and authorities, highly conservative religious and other parties cannot dictate your personal values. A person must now evaluate morality based on not one religion or school of thought, but on universal principles of ethics and a study of each and every belief system.
We also have to draw from other countries on values. Now why should we draw from other countries? Isn’t that “un-Filipino,” some may accuse? No. In fact, it may be better for our country. We need to acknowledge that the Philippines does not have a monopoly on what is right or wrong. Heck, our “Christian” values come from abroad.
We need more anti-traditionalism and liberalism. We need to shake off the chains of bad family values and restore the Filipino family in this 21st century.
P.S. One teacher ask me, “Mr.P unsa diay nang subservient?” My answer is kind of base on harsh reality but not mean —- kanang sunda lang kay maoy ingon sa AMO( with illongo accent of the word AMO).
About the Author
ChinoF has written 38 stories on this site.
Chino, a freelance writer and aspiring artist, believes that Filipino culture is dominated by backward, repressive, corrupt and defective elements. Thus, if you want to correct these problems, you often have to go against what people believe as "right" and is accepted in Filipino culture. You also risk being called "anti-Pinoy" this way, even if you're not. But he takes the risk anyway. Hence he feels at home in this blog site. Chino is also a former Google Answers Researcher who went by the username techtor-ga.