Some Pinoy Pride stuff had been in the radar lately. Local media ran a feature on a recently appointed American judge with Filipino blood (though the woman, thankfully, said she is an American first). Some NBA fans were quick to boast that Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has Filipino blood. But same as the judge, he is an American first. Many Filipinos recently raised hell over Katherine Ryan’s controversial joke about Filipinos being “experimented on” in the cosmetic industry, when it is apparently based on an impression about the sad truth about the state of children in our country. Filipinos always feel punctured or insulted when they are the butt of jokes. They believe nothing should get in the way of being able to walk with their head held high, proud and happy, lording it over others. Filipinos insist that they deserve to be proud and that the solution to our problems is to have more pride as a people.
I have always been strongly vocal against Pinoy Pride for a good reason: it will never save the Philippines.
Pinoy Pride seems to be the belief that Filipinos are a special people from the rest of the world, and thus deserve special respect. For example, they insist that no one has the right to make Pinoys the butt of jokes. And if Pinoys are not given this special respect, they were “cheated,” “insulted” or “oppressed.” Pinoys love to imagine that they are “oppressed” people in the world. But when they do things like post pictures of themselves wearing their employer’s clothes without permission (the maid in Singapore), slap a helpless Alzheimer’s patient (Jonathan Aquino case), steal from a US children’s cancer fund (Rene Ballenas pleaded guilty to larceny), make a loan in the U.S. then run home to avoid paying it, murder a famous fashion designer (Andrew Cunanan killing Gianni Versace), complain about someone else’s name (the Filipino complaining about someone being named Kiki in Australia) or be on the defensive after the botched Manila Hostage Crisis, you know they are far from “oppressed” or “deserving pride.” It’s more like they need therapy. If only there was a psychiatric treatment called Ego Therapy.
Back to Katherine Ryan: Why is it that Filipinos tend to be the butt of some jokes like this? Most obvious answer is that they are clearly doing something wrong. Else, there would be no reason for someone to create the Top 8 Habits of Filipino Jerks (the article implies that if you are insulted by Ryan’s joke, then you are a jerk!).
I also see a connection between Pinoy Pride and the tendency of our culture to be effete and boisterous when it comes to self-promotion. This self-promotion often comes as efforts to claim that being Pinoy is special and is the secret behind the success of some people. Pinoys will snag the chance to ride on names, such as as Charice Pempengco, Arnel Pineda, Manny Pacquiao and Lea Salonga. This reasoning probably came from a false syllogism:
Charice/Manny/Arnel/Lea are talented and celebrated.
Charice/Manny/Arnel/Lea are Filipino.
Ergo Filipinos are all talented and should be celebrated.
I’m a Filipino, so I am talented and should be celebrated.
Unfortunately, this all goes down the toilet when you find that these vocal “proud Pinoys” are actually cockroaches who are too lazy to work, go drinking all day and want to milk their relatives dry.
Truly, as fellow blogger Gogs says, KSP is the root of all evil. And this KSPness is just so prominent when demonstrated by Filipinos. It’s just too hard to not notice.
It certainly is ironic while the Philippines is predominantly Catholic, its greatest fault is the worst sin of all, pride. So it’s time to remind Pinoys about their beliefs. An article from Catholic.org, eloquently explains why pride is bad news for anyone. Although this is a Catholic article, it explains things in a way that any Christian – or person with religion – would agree with. I am confident that even an atheist, deist or agnostic or other non-religious would agree, pride is a major cause of wrongdoing in human society.
Then come some critics saying “GRP is negative, putting down the Filipino.” OK then, name an instance where a Pinoy Pride initiative actually uplifted the lives of Filipinos, and brought them out of dysfunction.
That’s the reality. Pinoy Pride never uplifted Filipino lives. Because Pinoy Pride itself is an act to cover up Filipino failings. It is a symptom of other attitude problems, such as sense of self-entitlement, emotionalism, anti-intellectualism and love of the underdog.
Let me lift an explanation from an earlier blog post, slightly revised: Pinoy Pride initiatives rise out of the imaginary notion that Filipinos are under attack. But way I see it, they are just attacking themselves. Filipinos are the ones declaring themselves inferior, and then imagine someone else saying it, like a foreigner. Based on this schizophrenic fear of a delusional enemy, they embark on Filipino Pride programs to try and push up their image. But these programs may involve covering up or denying the mistakes of the Filipinos. Thus, Filipinos actually end up pulling themselves down further.
Pinoy Pride will never save the Philippines because it is part of the problem. It was never a solution. It leads to Filipinos acting foolishly and without wisdom, caring only to feed their ego. Acts of pride are self-deflating by nature, because they are acts of projection that highlight the person’s faults instead of strengths. People may believe they are showing strength or good traits, when in fact, they are showing serious flaws.
I believe we can never attack Pinoy Pride enough, because it is the cancer itself that continues to shoot down all efforts to improve our people’s behavior. Why is corruption so hard to remove? Because the people are too proud to change. Perhaps that’s why our countrymen are experiencing a moral crisis. We’re Pinoys, we’re already perfect, we’re special. So we don’t need to change.
And neither do the dysfunctions of our country.
I believe, as my cohorts here do, that what Filipinos embrace as their culture is what actually pulls the country down. And those who seem to be anti-dictators, who may also believe themselves to be “heroes,” are the real dictators.