THE CHINESE COMMUNITY



We don't have to look too far to find cultural success stories. Right under our noses, the Filipino-Chinese community had gone from Third Class Citizenry to Captains of Industry. Although this phenomenon is by no means unique to the Philippines, we like other Third World cultures, have been on the front row to a self-development show that we have slept through for centuries. And during our waking hours, we as a people focused our efforts on mediocre and corrupt politicking and self-pity activism.

So how does one explain an ethnic underclass that succeeds in hurdling prejudice, poverty, and cultural isolation to turn their ghettoes into today's prime real estate while the indigenous people bred chaos, mutual oppression, and decay? In this light, any kind of excuse is invalidated. Bad governance and lack of education are the top scapegoats, for example. They simply beg the question: the Chinese community was with us through countless corrupt and inept administrations, they had to register their businesses in the same public offices, and they paid taxes to the same government. Furthermore, they landed on our shores, speaking not a word of English or Tagalog. Now, their volunteer fire brigade is far more reliable (and honest) than the government-run force.

Enough books and studies have been made on Chinese culture to help anyone figure out why things are this way. This does not mean, that we have to undertake a massive effort to analyse Philippine culture to figure out how we move forward from here. The bottom line is that the Chinese community in the Philippines is a shining example of the precept that we, as a people, have not worked hard enough at overcoming obstacles to development.

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Fiesta Charter Change. Fixation on the latest (2006) in a string of political circuses over the last 20 years illustrates how much Filipinos have cosied up to politics as a reassuring scapegoat for their chronic failure to prosper.


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