Somehow, it does seem that the vaunted Sense of Entitlement may be one of the core causes of Filipino problems. Sense of entitlement can be defined as the belief that Filipinos should have what they want, even if there is no proof that they deserve it. Or as columnist Cito Beltran describes in his article, “Ours is not a Beautiful Mind” — the “the right to do whatever it is they do in spite of the fact that they are causing or creating big problems for the rest of us.”
Beltran hit this as the flaw when Muslims from the South tried to invade Sabah. He also related this to many aspects of Filipino life, such as having maids and house servants even if one is poor. Or people blocking roads during fiestas. Or refusing to pay back debts. Or, obviously, people who claim to have the right to be rude. Indeed, because of sense of entitlement, the Filipino mind is not beautiful at all.
I remember this story by one of my Facebook friends describing something in his younger years. Back in the 1970s, he was sent as part of a team or delegation, visiting Hong Kong or some other Asian country. One of his Filipino companions, a woman, remarked on a vase that was in the hotel suite they used: “If that wasn’t a breakable item, I would take it home with me.” Note, this vase was the hotel’s property, not theirs. The FB friend highlighted that this was in the 70s. So even in the 70s, there were bad-habited people who thought nothing of stealing things, probably believing that they were “entitled” to them.
Don’t forget that in World War 2, when the Japanese entered Manila, the residents of the city engaged in massive looting. And the police, who were disarmed at the time, instead of sticking to their principles, joined the looting. So much for Filipinos being “people of principle.”
Perhaps it can be seen as the source of Filipino pridefulness and arrogance. For example, that maid in Singapore who wore her employer’s clothes without permission felt entitled to her vanity. She decided to use someone else’s clothes to show that she is “sexy,” even if she might actually look like a rag. I wish people would shut up about their looks.
I connect it to Pinoy Pride as well. Pinoys believe that they are special in the world. For example, they claim that foreign clients will lose good caregivers if they send home their Filipino employee. I’m sorry, I don’t believe Filipinos are that special. Remember, there was even was a Filipino caregiver caught slapping his elderly patient. Punyetang “Filipinos are the best” na yan. They are not.
Isn’t this the reasoning of some pridists: “We are entitled to our pride! How dare you keep from us our pride!” Thus, they fall into the trap of trying to build up their pride but doing nothing about fixing their faults, so they shoot their own foot by doing the stupid things I described above.
Sense of entitlement can also be at the core of corruption. Why else would people involve themselves in corruption if not to satisfy their sense of entitlement with that something they could gain from corruption?
Some sectors, like the gay community, claim entitlement to certain rights, such as the right to have their marriages recognized by law. They claim to be oppressed, so they seek these rights as a sort of compensation for it. But as I said before, I doubt they are oppressed, because many can carry out their lifestyles as freely as they want. They just have to work so they can afford the space for it.
Maybe soon, convicted criminals will campaign for their “right to not be imprisoned.” Because they can claim that they’re entitled to it.
I remember when I opposed the proposal to allow parents to sue their children who they believe are not supporting them enough. The sense of entitlement of some parents could cause major abuse of this law. Allowing parents to sue their children will destroy the family.
Some people believe they are entitled to live at other people’s expense, which is why the Conditional Cash Transfer is a big program in this country. I disagree, no one has the right to this. Feed yourself with your own hand, not others’ hands. That’s why the Bible says, “those who refuse to work should not eat.”
Some people of certain agendas may believe that their ideas should be accepted by everyone without question. Thus, they believe they have a sense of entitlement to be listened to and no disagreement should be allowed. Else, the disagreers will be bullied. I say, sorry, if people disagree with your agendas, you have to make a good account of yourself to prove that it works.
Thus, I believe that Filipinos should drop their sense of entitlement. We do have a right to life, basic liberty, security of person and those other things granted within ethical bounds. But we don’t have a right to sense of entitlement. Because Filipinos can be a lazy but covetous people, sense of entitlement brings us down. Sorry, Filipinos are not entitled to anything. We have to work and make the right decisions to get what we deserve.
For those who want a real solution to Filipino society’s problems – this is a solution. Just clean up the flaws. Stop the bad habits. Stop the sense of entitlement.
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