Why It’s Useless for Filipinos to be Defensive

Lately, furor (or more specifically, Filipino butthurt) erupted when a Singaporean complained about noisy Filipino maids in a bus. He suggested that Filipinos have their own buses; Filipinos took offense (but a dedicated bus is a good idea; it ensures security and privacy for our people there). Another is when Filipino-born Straits Times author Raul Dancel wrote a controversial article about his experience on a trip in Manila where he described his difficulty adjusting between the local Filipino and Singaporean terms. But the most important part was that after the long time, the dysfunctions in the country seemed the same. Some people found his article condescending. However, I would ignore that for now. What he wrote in the latter part of his article, many would agree with: the atmosphere of the Philippines remains backward and insecure compared to Singapore… and to other countries, for that matter.


To reinforce the point made above, a friend in Singapore had an observation while riding the train. She was seated beside a middle-aged Filipino who was having a video call with his wife in the Philippines without using earphones, for everyone to hear. And he was even talking loudly, as if he was in the palengke. My friend thought, a little consideration and social etiquette please (exactly what many Filipinos lack)!

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My friend’s next comment: No wonder we are the most disliked foreign group in Singapore.

I’m not sure if Filipinos being the most disliked there is exactly true, but when you think about it, there’s a reason for Dancel’s much-maligned article and similar accounts. Filipinos are disliked in other countries… and this dislike is not without reason. It is not racism or oppression. Filipinos really have bad habits that annoy or even harm other people. Just lately, there was an OFW in Saudi Arabia who was arrested for illegally being a tattoo artist. I personally have nothing against tattoo artists. Perhaps banning tattoos is harsh. But when you’re in another country, you should follow the law – otherwise you create the bad image of Filipinos as lawbreakers.

My friend may have cringed at a fellow countryman’s behavior, but it could be worse. There was a case of a Filipino in Australia who filed a complaint about a person named Kiki, claiming she was offended by the name (since Kiki in Tagalog means the woman’s genitals). Thankfully, good sense prevailed when other Filipinos convinced the complainer to drop the pointless charge. There is also the more serious case of a Filipino caregiver in the U.K. who was caught on camera maliciously slapping an elderly patient. That again may create fears about Filipino caregivers. There are more, but we need not go further, lest people melt in their seats in shame. Don’t get me started on the reactions to the 2010 Luneta Bus Hostage Crisis: that is worthy of a million facepalms.

That’s why it’s really hard to defend our country and culture. Filipinos misbehave, and even if such cases may be fewer compared to the total number of Filipinos there, it’s serious enough to create a generalized bad image. We have bad habits we should cut down. But we have a sense of entitlement wherein we demand locals in a country give way to us rather than us complying with their rules. It’s like the guest demanding that the host serve them like a servant. It’s the trait of being mayabang and pompous.

Perhaps one excuse Filipinos may have is, we have low educational attainment, most Filipinos have low economic status for learning, we come from a country where noise is much accepted and social manners are not always taught. But these are not reasons. Filipinos who go abroad surely have been trained and taught to be more discreet and to not bring to other countries their bad habits from home. But the problem is, they may prefer to stick to their lack of discipline and stubbornness. We have a damaged image thanks to our damaged culture.

An extreme defense of Filipinos may be, “Don’t tell us to be silent! We Filipinos are noisy to show that we are happy! Don’t stop us from being Filipinos!” But if being “Filipino” requires us to be noisy, inconsiderate, arrogant and careless, then it’s better not to be “Filipino.”

Because of how long the bad image has lingered, Filipinos have no choice but to double their efforts to show that they are good. It seems our educational attainment should not just include technical information, but also good manners and right conduct. Ethical behavior should be the focus of educational content (I wish the K+12 program focused on that), but perhaps moreso with mass media. Another is that perhaps Filipinos should learn to police each other. That is most likely one feature of disciplined cultures like Singapore; people know how to chide or dissuade their countrymen when one of them is misbehaving, the mark of a self-policing society.

If they say good manners are a product of western imperialism, I’d call hogwash on that. Good manners are the same everywhere: don’t be noisy where people want quiet. Don’t insist that people bear with your ill manners. The Filipinos are not being oppressed by other countries. They are oppressing themselves. Once Filipinos accept that and that they have flaws to fix, then there may be some progress in solving the dysfunctions of our country.

And let me borrow from Benign0’s article: how can a nation achieve great things when it defends backward behavior that itself prevents achievement of great things?

30 Replies to “Why It’s Useless for Filipinos to be Defensive”

  1. Everything boils down to respect. Politicians have this “Kung sino” attitude because 1) it’s internal 2) they can. Pinoys are noisy and obtrusive in foreign places because they lack consideration. The singit mentality in our roads and even in crowded places again shows lack of respect for others who are ahead. It is that sense of entitlement . People littering , pissing and spitting on the street to me shows way more Pinoy pride of the lack thereof than a thousand Manny fights. Sorry Pinoys are inconsiderate, self entitled and worst of all ultra sensitive when it’s pointed out. I see it everyday. Of course many of you that disagree will just say I am negative. Well the truth hurts therefore you see it as negative.

  2. Filipinos cannot accept that; they have no discipline…no consideration to others…have that “ako muna” mentality. This is the reason, they behave in bad ways.

    If you are in foreign country. Discard your bad behaviours and bad Filipino mindset. “While in Rome; do as the Romans do”…they usually say…

  3. Noise, noise, noise. Everywhere you go. it has even invaded the confines of Davao Doctors Hospitals’ 2d echo chambers. In my three trips to that chamber in a four year span, you can hear the staff talking to each at one, two or three chambers away unmindful of the patients like me having to endure another stressfull encounter not from the test but from the unwelcome noise which is annoying. Most if not all I think moved freely from one chamber to another and impolitely slides open the curtains just to have a small talk to my attendant who’s in the middle of the testing process. Good manners they don’t have.

  4. Before idiots stand up in defense of da pinoy prayd, and say “maingay din naman ang mga _______(insert other nationalities here), it should first be cleared out that it doesn’t make it right.

    Pinoys love noise, karaoke, ricer cars, scooters, etc. Try to tell them in a nice way, then you are labelled as killjoy, suplado, matapobre, inggit lang, and all other illogical unimaginable words just to justify what they are doing. Not to mention threats for bodily harm even death. this is magnified when they have the advantage in numbers.

    I tried to tell a scooter rider (in a nice way) that his scooter is to loud for the neighborhood. And he says “inggit ka lang”. To make matters worse, whenever he passes by the house since I told him off, he seems to accelerate more in front of our house. I just hope he never gets into an accident and breaks both of his legs and arms and his skull crushed in a bus’ michelins.

    1. I have one of those fuckers in my street too. He seems to think that the noise of his shit-bike is music to every ones ears. Every time I hear his muffler I get high blood pressure. Good that I don’t have a gun in the house. Those people are just too fucking stupid for everything. If they ride in nighttime without any lights on and you open your car window and tell them that they are morons, they have no idea what you are talking about. When you tell them that they have no lights they just look at you with their pie hole open. Aaaaarrgh!

    2. these noisy modified mufflers of motorbikes also irk me a lot. I wish this “anti-noise pollution act” will be enacted asap.

  5. The yellow mainstream media are bombarding the Filipino people with propaganda praising the yellow zombies for their plastic achievements. Despite of all the obvious incompetents of the president, Noynoy remain intact. Most likely because the Filipinos are comfortably numb and clueless that they are being brainwashed by the yellow propaganda machines? Now, how does that makes the Filipino people stupid? Propaganda are superficials, making the Filipinos living in falsehood world.

    1. Falsehood world: Just look at Filipino TV commercials, do they look like that’s in the Philippines??? No. It could be anywhere, except here.

        1. I actually avoid local stations like the plague. I get angry if I watch any of that garbage. I was just talking about Philippine commercials in general. They are so far removed from real life in the Philippines, it’s unbelievable. It looks more like the US then anything else.

  6. It’s all about pride, period. This so-called Pinoy Pride is the reason we Filipinos are selfish, have no respect for one another and too concerned about entitlement.

  7. i was in a business trip with a pinoy colleague to australia two years ago. he has in-laws there so they brought us to one of the suburbs in sydney for an all-you-can-eat buffet. there were different nationalities there, and apparently the sushi bar was the most popular as there was a very long queue for it. while we were at the table we spied a group of southeast asian looking family hovering just outside the perimeter of the first person on the line.

    nag-aabang dumakma ng kung ano man yung pinipilahan at makauna, ikanga.

    i thought they were cambodians/thai/indonesian or something until they started talking in tagalog.

    nothing embarrasses you like being in a foreign country witnessing your countrymen receiving disgusted looks from other nationalities who are following the rules and observing proper decorum and etiquette.

  8. “inapi ako kaya may karapatan akong gawin ang gusto ko” – average oppressed pinoy’s sense of entitlement aka “ugaling adik” as a psychiatrist friend once remarked

  9. IDK if its useless but maybe a little less often? Everything said to a person is not always an insult. The fragile Filipino ego is actually un-attractive in a way that demotes social standing outside the country.
    Constructive criticism is not an insult either. Anyone who cares to offer it shows a concern that seems missed by the recipient ALMOST 100% of the time I’ve seen it done in the fils. In Men, being overly sensitve is ‘chic-like’. I can say that growing up in a tough neighborhood teaches one to have thick skin, to laugh off insults as pokes in the ribs and keep going in life as best one can. No matter what others think, say or do. Keep on keepin on…kinda like……

    “Yo, keep it movin jerk-off…”, Know what I mean?

  10. Well, I think misbehaving, bad manners, and bad attitudes are innate in man. However, through the help and influence of the parents, schools, and church those will be changed from time to time and from good to better and best. Aside from that, I don’t think that such irritating behaviors should be the norm of the society or the so-called dominant traits as a whole especially for the new generation. Yes, it is true sometimes I get irking whenever someone seems to be proud after misbehaving or doing wicked things.

    In connection to misbehaving OFWs, well, I have observed that even outside the country many Filipinos tend to commit a distasteful acts such as taking something from a store without paying, eating in a restaurant without paying, and fooling around with his fellows as if they are beyond reproach. Aside from that, many of the OFWs think that having relationship outside of wedlock is a norm, as a result many OFWs families are broken families because they simply reasoned out loneliness.

    Now, as for Pinoy pride, I being a Filipino, I would just be proud if our government will become one the best governments in the world, majority of our population is at the middle class and rich people bracket, our educational system is one of the best in the world, our economy is truly progressive for majority not just for the few and not just by ratings and media propaganda, our armed forces is one of the best in the world, but first and foremost we should be disciplined and well mannered people of our country and the world. But to be proud of just temporal things such winning the pageant to the extent of degrading other nationalities is a big no no to me. Or having Manny Pacquiao wins over Bradley to the extent of mocking others and worshiping the other is also a big no no to me. Well, aside from bad attitudes and manners that many of us are showing, it is also very obvious that many of us are also idol worshipers. No explanation is needed for the last sentence.

    1. OH BRILLIANT! a bay comes into the world screaming and shitting on itself, BUT it grows and learns not to do those things.

  11. I worked in Dubai as a family driver for a local family for 2 years. My coworkers are mostly filipinos. I am the only lady filipino driver in that household with 3 other filipino domestic helpers: Gina, Sheila and Marie (not their real names).
    Confuse ako sa ugali nila, though kapwa kami mga Filipino, hindi talaga kami friends, civil lang ang relationship namin sa isa’t isa. Hindi ko kasi ma gets pag uugali nila.
    Itong si Gina, pinagsabihan nang taga luto naming Indiana na mag suot nang bra kasi iba tingnan na walang bra: ang sagot ni Gina, hindi ako sanay mgsuot ng bra, kung malaswa tingnan bahala si Sir( yong arabong boss namin na may asawa) kung tingnan nya ako, wala akong pakialam!
    Si Sheila naman naiinis kasi daw pag may i-aabot na bagay si Sir sa kanya para linisan o gamitin, nagagalit siya kasi daw wala naman daw siyang sakit pero bakit si Sir daw kung makaabot ng bagay sa kanya hindi hinahawakan ang kamay nya. Para raw nandidiri si Sir sa kanya kaya ang ginagawa raw nya siya na mismo gagawa nang paraan mahawakan kamay ni Sir.
    Si Marie naman tuwing sinasama siya ni Madam kung mag grocery or mamasyal kasama mga anak ni Madam (asawa ni Sir na arabo din) sexy masyado ang suot, pinagsasabihan ni Madam magpalit ka nang damit, nagagalit si Marie kasi daw insecure si Madam sa kanya kaya ganoon reaction ni Madam.
    Madami pang mga ginagawa at sinasabi itong sina Sheila, Gina at Marie na wala na sa etiquette at hindi dapat gawin sa isang Muslim conservative country. Ang inisip nila palagi mga sarili nila. Swerte nga kami kasi ang mga arabong boss namin hindi masasama mga ugali at si Sir hindi manyak, parang may panata pa nga siya na hindi dapat tingnan ang ibang babae liban sa asawa nya, palagi kasi siyang nakayuko kung nakikipag usap sa amin.
    Minsan nga naisip ko kaya siguro napapahamak ang ibang babaeng pilipino na nagtratrabaho sa middle east kasi na rin sa pag uugali at maling etiquette na nakasanayan na nila sa Pilipinas. Hindi marunong mg adapt sa culture nang ibang bayan.

    1. Reminds me of a news about an OFW being killed by a fellow OFW in other country. Da pinoys are indeed showoffs. It’s obvious that those insecured putas you’ve mentioned has a squatter mentality and their only purpose is just money and not respecting others especially you.

    2. wow swerte naman nila. If the are in a more strict part like Jedah or any city in Saudi Arabia either they be rape by their employer or imprisoned by the morality police. In a muslim country female rape victims are usually blame for the crime because they assume that the girl is acting promiscuously that cause the male attacker to rape the victim.

  12. It always annoys me that Filipinos get very defensive whenever there are legitimate criticisms made about them. The Filipino media is no help in this matter. Instead of promoting actual discussion to understand the criticism, they just pander to the masa. The lowest common denominators.

  13. Filipinos and their ways.
    Noise, they are born in it. They are born with the fear of saying anything about it, they grow with the confidence that no one can tell them anything about since they could not say anything either. If they disturb others? They cannot reach that level of thinking.
    Filipinos are not allowed to think. Their own country took this right away from them since birth. A well brainwashing mass media, a governing rule of fall in line, do not say a word, do as you are told (no matter if it makes sense), put your head down or otherwise you horribly regret it. That is the society the live in. They cannot change it. They have no leaders for people, they have leaders for their own clan’s interest. Tigers or sharks who as soon as they get their share of power they will rip off everything that comes to their jaws, leaving nothing or almost nothing to the rest, the filipino people. If anyone appears that would be different than them, simply vanishes 6 ft under the ground or elsehow.
    The same ill propaganda makes them believe to be proud of being filipinos and their culture, because with a culture as such not much from a helper or caregiver, perhaps a nurse or an assistant engineer in saudi you can get. They do not want you to go further. These low professions is the biggest export industry of this country, and you will be sending your hard earned money, they will be taxing them and fill their pockets and bellies with lavish dinners and extra lavish lifestyle…and say cheers to all the poor who provide them that.
    Filipinos will never change, will never become better, just worse. As times change so the fake needs change to every filipino. Suddenly they are brainwashed with the condo living, brand new cars, luxury outlets etc which only the rich can really afford but these needs will suck all the sweat and savings of the filipino so he gets his own share of tasting even for a while the scent of the rich.
    How do you expect these people to think? To become better? Who told them anything better? Yes they go abroad, they suppress their self in culture they do not understand neither adopt, just because it is easier for them to be suppressed, they grew up as such they are used to it. Then they abolish the suppression temporarily when they can and back again.

  14. I would like to see the people of the Philippines stand up for themselves, however as long as toothpastes are filled with fluoride the people will remain sheep.

  15. For some reason, Filipinos have virtually zero bad reputation in the US. Probably due to the fact that visa regulations re so rigorous that only the most educated ones are allowed to enter.

    However, the ones who do enter often appear arrogant and holier-than-though. But that’s different from being ill-mannered.

  16. It IS useless for Filipinos (I’d rather call them Pilipinos) and all citizens of the world to be defensive. You see, there’s NOTHING to be defensive about. If you feel bad about anything said to you, its YOUR EGO they’re saying it to, NOT you! Ego loves to be defensive, but you see, you’re NOT your EGO; you are YOU! We needn’t prove anything to anyone. There’s NOTHING to prove. We are “perfect” just the way we are!
    _ __ _ _ _ _
    Ross Galán, Ph. D.
    NLP Spiritual Life Coach

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