After the hullabaloo about the Yaya Meal incident (all credit goes to the author of said articles, Willyn Trabajador and Kate Natividad, respectively), I think it’s time we look at the issue from a wider angle. As I see it, just like our inability to appreciate silence and listen to what others have to say, this is yet another symptom of an even bigger social illness in our country. One thing I cannot seem to get over is the fact that everything has to become some kind of bizarre competition for many Filipinos.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with singing at a videoke every now and again but it’s an entirely different story when you sing just about every night to the annoyance and outrage of your neighbors. Taking selfies is fine and is just one of the many privileges given to us by modern technology but taking hundreds of selfies of yourself from many different angles with different expressions (some go as far as to take selfies of themselves while crying which I think just caters to the typical Pinoy’s over-dramatic attitude) may be a sign of narcissism. Being proud of your children’s achievements is also natural but I think it’s more than a little annoying to shove their achievements in the face of everyone you run into.
The debacle regarding Yayas is just another facet or aspect of our desire to look better in the view of others. Let me tell you that there’s really nothing wrong with the Yaya Meal itself and is even occasionally bought by rich patrons as it is both affordable and delicious to boot. However, assigning the words “yaya” to it speaks volumes of just what kind of people we are and what we’re trying to make ourselves out to be. In the end, we all end up looking bad because of our own pursuit of personal and pointless pride.
With the statements above in mind and some of the points made by Kate Natividad’s article, one can surmise that Filipinos do, after all, have a competitive nature. Unfortunately, again, this competitive nature is the wrong kind as it caters more to superficial things rather than making worthwhile achievements. Think of the “world records” we like to make that just make us look more and more like losers in the long run because none of them are ever really helpful to us as a people. Does being avid FB users translate to us being a progressive minded people? Does having a great boxing champion mean that we possess a strong military that can defend our territories from invaders? Does having a great singer amid our ranks signify that we have a prosperous economy? Does being predominantly Catholic point to us being good examples of morality and justice? Here are just a few questions we need to consider before going off on another idiotic pissing contest with our fellows.
Again, we seem to think that our many petty competitions with one another has any real significance to the rest of the world. A lot of us beat down on their house help because they want to establish themselves as superior to the provincial-grown kasambahays despite the fact that the so-called “masters” are OFWs doing the same kind of menial work overseas. The whole issue about the “Yaya Meal” is just a sign of us wanting to get ahead of our fellows and somehow make us look more “elite” when we ourselves are not so different from the people we are trying to torment. Worse yet, as Kate mentions in her article, it is all too often the middle-class OFWs who maltreat their house help to appease their sense of entitlement.
We here at GRP are often accused of “crab mentality” as stated here by fellow realist Hector Gamboa, but I will tell you now that the true nature of crab mentality is our tendency to step on others to make ourselves look bigger. Our tendency to blame the less-privileged of society is similar to the way a runt will beat another runt and stand on the loser to look taller. At the end of the day though, we are all runts in this country, rich or poor. We are runts in terms of intellect as the national literacy rate is at an all-time low, we are runts in terms of military power as we can’t even defend our territories properly and we are still runts in terms of economics because we can’t even improve our cities despite it being decades since our country was allegedly “freed” from oppression.
We all want the good things in life like smart phones, cars and other things but they are all pretty much irrelevant compared to the glaring issues that our plaguing our country today. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have gadgets and cool cars but flaunting them around probably isn’t going to change much if you yourself cannot make the necessary steps for self-improvement. More likely than not, most of us use our newly acquired trinkets to annoy our fellows as shown by ChinoF here about how so many of us like to flaunt wealth instead of choosing to spend it wisely.
In the end, a lot of us use our social status, no matter how small or insignificant, to bash others instead of working towards a better future for ourselves and living an ethical life. We create needless divisions between ourselves that we may look “superior” and often make comparisons with others just so we can seem “better” in some way. It need not only be social status, religion is just as often used to divide ourselves with hypocritical Catholics, Protestants, Iglesia ni Kristo folks and Muslims all clamoring that they are righteous and everyone else is an unbelieving idiot. The list goes on and on but the situation is almost always the same.
As we continue to divide ourselves and wall out our fellows from consideration, we only weaken our nation further. “United we stand,” as some like to say and “Divided we fall.” And fall we will, ladies and gentlemen, if we do not wake up from our foolishness soon.
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