Filipinos would rather be butthurt about the past than gung-ho about the future

The intellectual DNA of Philippine society is flawed at its most fundamental level. The trouble with the approach to thinking in the Philippines is, more often than not, this activity is retrospective rather than prospective in nature.

The word BUTTHURT encapsulates that society-wide malaise. And the sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III, in turn, seminally illustrates that national condition. The presidential speech, rather than rally Filipinos to reach for the stars, focuses instead on reassuring them that they remain “special” and “blessed” despite the reality of their failure to prosper as a people.


President BS Aquino’s SONA is, thankfully, the last instalment in a series of speeches that nurses the country-wide victim mentality of the Philippines and the narcissism of the leader Filipinos gleefully selected in 2010. The thinking behind it prevailed like a stubborn rash over the entirety of the five years of this administration. Its worst impact was in continuing the tired Filipino tradition of constantly whining about perceived wrongs committed against “the Filipino” in the past — colonialism and imperialism, the bald “injustices” perpetrated by the dynasties and oligarchies they routinely tolerate, the “national interests” of the foreign powers they deal with.

Boo hoo hoo…

But, see, the simple fact of life from the micro up to the macro level is quite simple: The best revenge is success.

If the neighbourhood toughie beats the shit out of you, you move on, get your PhD in Machine Learning, get that $200,000 a year job at Google then later come back to your home town and HIRE him to clean your toilet. Win-win, right?

Indeed, that is exactly what the taho and balut vendors did. The behos that used to hawk the snacks of our childhood on foot from dawn to dusk are now looked to by their former tormentors for “much-needed” employment. Worse, by applying that all-too-familiar brand of “logic” held on to by people blinkered by their loser mentality, Filipinos have convinced themselves that the employment today’s Tai Pans provide is an entitlement rather than something earned.

Notwithstanding that, there are still tens of millions of Filipinos beavering away happily in the warm embrace of the jobs sustained by the capital created by certain sectors of society who succeeded despite their social disadvantages in the past.

Indeed, the Philippines is beset by many disadvantages. But rather than see those disadvantages as mere challenges Filipinos have regarded them as excuses to fail. And rather than encourage Filipinos to see things differently, President BS Aquino encouraged Filipinos to continue their fatal embrace with the comfy and the familiar warmth of their national delusion. Leaving an entire country still mired in its loser mentality is not the legacy of a good leader. It is the legacy of a con man.


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25 Comments on "Filipinos would rather be butthurt about the past than gung-ho about the future"

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Robert Haighton
(thinking out loud here and now) So basically everybody is paralyzing everybody instead of saying “enough is enough”? I would think all it takes is just one pioneer and the rest (the herd/flock) will follow that pioneer. So what do all those GRP commenters here do? Are they the so needed pioneers or is it just talk (when they comment here)? I really have no idea and no clue how many people are registered GRP followers/readers but for sure that group must have a pioneer somewhere and cause some change. So whats holding them back? Why dont they come forward… Read more »
I’m new to this site and I can also see the shallowness and redundancy. You should read what I wrote on Filofail’s blog because you seem to be a lot more hopeful than the rest of us and other expats. . Your pioneer theory is good but you have to be a little more realistic than that. I’m trying to do a similar “pioneer” thing on my blog but I’m more pragmatic in my approach than you are. I do hope it grows but I’m not very hopeful. My view is, very little can be changed because it is… Read more »
Robert Haighton
Gladman, I am okay if you accuse me of not being realistic (no hard feelings here, no offense taken). But we – the Dutch – have been there, where the Filipinos are today. But thank god, that was 50, 60 years ago. So for about 60 years (no, I am not that old myself), I live in a “world” that is liberated, advanced, modern and quite up-to-date with human rights and what not (same-sex marriage, abortion, divorce, euthanasia, IVF). I think for every member of the G&L community its a “walk in the park” to live in my country. Although,… Read more »
I appreciate your caring concern really since this is not even your country. And we don’t have to get offended by each other’s standpoints; I’m surprised you brought that up. Views are views. They’re not persons. I even thought you have good, valid points. Compared to the locals’ your ideas are more proactive, no beating around the bush. The only point I was trying to make clear is this: if you start with an inaccurate premise, you’re likely to come up with an inaccurate conclusion. For instance, the Dutch of 60 years ago were not the same people as the… Read more »
Gryphon Hall
Robert, it’s a bit more complicated than merely having a vision or being a “pioneer”. The thing is, we’ve had numerous examples in various parts of the Philippines where law and order works, where people are employed and happy. We’ve had numerous examples of Filipinos who, despite disadvantage, despite not belonging to the right family or graduating from the right University have made their own personal investments which, they hope, would impact on the future of the country. But something happens which, I think, already was touched on in this article—Pinoys would rather be victims and be saved than be… Read more »
Robert Haighton
Gryphon, I like your story but what a waste of time. I hope that Little Juan’s behavior stems from his mother’s genes. I will divorce her and in the process kill Little Juan. Not something to be proud of to see both parties (mother & son) busy achieving nothing. Okay but now seriously. Is there not one person in the entire Philippines who just have a straight forward life (yes she/he can be poor for my sake) and the only upsetting moment is when mom and dad gonna die (from natural causes being old). I am sure not everybody is… Read more »
Gryphon Hall
That’s the long and short of it: literally every Filipino should change at a cultural level or not even good things already happening will affect them. Whichever “pioneer” will only benefit himself/herself and his/her immediate family—everyone else will just be envying their good fortune instead of taking steps to emulate them. So, aye, I do agree with you on there being a TRUE revolution… except that thanks to People Power, the meaning of “revolution” has changed to merely a call to camp out at EDSA and wait for whichever politician can distribute the pakain. I have lost count of how… Read more »
Dare to Be When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully. When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light. When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it. When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway. When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back. When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some. When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going. When times are tough, dare to be tougher. When love hurts you, dare to love again. When someone is hurting, dare to help them… Read more »

I find the Filipino mindset, more of a “victim mentality”…Most Filipinos ran away from challenges. If difficulties are on their paths; and they fail; and cannot deal with it: it is God’s will that they fail. Culture and Religion have something to do with it. They are also superstitious. Like, if they find “Yellow butterflies” flying near Aquino. His mother , is that butterfly, guiding Aquino to do the right way.

It is dumb, and is totally ridiculous, how these people think.


If you believe in Reincarnation. Cory Aquino may have Reincarnated into a Yellow Butterfly.

Her political enemies, can “SWAT” her, at moment’s notice…then, she would be reincarnated to a Hacienda Luisita Swine…

LVM Malana
What will inspire Pinoys to work toward the future is if they can start producing excellent products or doing good jobs, or they find themselves deciding on simple to important matters that they don’t need to rely on other people like their leaders to do things for them. They can if they knew ethics and their skills and knowledge are developed. But at present where the culture is corrupted with mediocre mindset, the power-that-be need to arrive to a way that will pull them up. Why not instead of 4Ps, have a community learning centers, teaching basic to advance learning… Read more »
All the comments I see here are way off the point of the subject mentioned above . With all those intellectuals analysis and assessment you guys have said….I will only give you one assessment and this is the fact and I myself was the results of this…..what is lacking in the Philippines are creation of good paying jobsssss, and the people will change. That is guaranteed…..Filipinos is America or in other countries that has good paying jobs….did they change their culture …..?????. Some do and some don’t,….but our lives changed for the better we are happy just having a good… Read more »

Jobs are created by industries, like :automotive, defense, electronics, etc…

In automotive industry alone; there are more than ten thousand parts of a car. Each part produces a manufacturer, which hires people to manufacture the parts.

Same as in defense, electronics, and other industries. We are too dependent on foreign jobs…low paying menial jobs…or labor intensive jobs.
Most industries are going Robotic now; which will make these jobs obsolete. Even the service industry, which the OFW is dependent can go robotic.

This is the problem. Our leaders have no solution. All they do is “political zarzuela”…

Totally agree. Filipinos should be designing machines and robots rather than exporting maids and care givers. Start learning Arduino guys – it’s easy. Kits abound – just go to eBay. I tried the IC card “beep” sample program and it really works. It can store information like digital money or user ID in the card. You can create a mini- economy for your school canteen with the little setup. They are installing this technology into the MRT system, but you can make one for yourself without millions to be paid to a contractor. Imagination is the limit with these toys.

I do not believe that Innovativeness is the Monopoly of any race, country or ethnicity.

I have worked with different nationalities, skin color, creed, etc…each has something to contribute. Human beings are human beings. Each is unique and is loaded with talent, intelligence, etc…we are just mislead by our leaders, who cares nothing but themselves.