A skewed sense of ‘unity’

Has anybody noticed that Filipinos are quick to “unite” when one of them is praised or recognized for a good performance overseas, even if the rest of them have nothing to do with the success of said performance? “Proud to be Pinoy, woohoo!

On the flipside, has anybody noticed that Filipinos are also quick to disown or distance themselves from criticism when addressed to Filipinos in general? “Huwag mo naman lahatin! Di lahat ng Pinoy ganyan!” (Don’t lump us all together! Not all of us are like that!)

In short, Filipinos behave like a herd when being praised or validated, but suddenly point the finger to someone else, and allow all hell to break loose, when being criticized or when their faults are there for others to see. Seems like a skewed sense of “unity”.

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My understanding, however, was that modern societies and real nations confront both good and bad together. When I say together, it’s not merely the people just all being in one place. There must be a real sense of community, a real desire to make each other better, an understanding that we can all learn from one another, and an acceptance that being different can be good and beneficial, and one more very important thing: the ability to accept and learn from criticism and points of view other than one’s own.

Apparently, none of that sort can be found in the Philippines.

Filipinos, when they come together, form a society where the people blindly follow what is popular or what has been done for a long time, but not necessarily correct or beneficial. They have come together in a society that blocks any attempts and suggestions for it to improve. They form a society where criticism of culture and politics is taboo because it “disturbs the harmony” and “brings everyone’s spirits down”. They comprise a society where the predominant way of thinking is every man for himself. They make up a society where the people have a baseless sense of being more important than anyone else. They form a society that is apparently confused with what crab mentality means; they take as an offense members not joining their feel-good moments, yet they find nothing wrong with discrediting or tearing down someone who has achieved through merit, or has enough initiative to suggest new ideas in place of obsolete or outdated ones.


Where’s the real unity in that?

Great nations are built upon the foundation of building things and overcoming adversity together. It also involves accepting the faults of your people together, and overcoming them together. The phrase “united we stand, divided we fall” is attributed to former United States president Abraham Lincoln, and it still rings true to this day; unless the people in any location come together to make things work, and unless they work together, they will not prosper. They may not even survive in the long run.

When talking about Filipinos, however, another phrase attributed to Abe Lincoln comes to mind: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The Philippines typifies this house divided against itself. It will remain that way for a long time because Filipinos think primarily of nothing BUT themselves.

15 Replies to “A skewed sense of ‘unity’”

  1. Excellent follow up. Just look at the way we act when someone is experiencing a misfortune. Say, a pedestrian gets hit by a car. What do we do? We form a circle around the fallen man as “mirones”. Not very helpful is it?

    It is the same thing. They don’t realize that gathering around in a circle around the fallen man isn’t empathy–it is a hazard. Just goes to show that Pinoy crowd behavior can really be likened to that of a herd of cows.

    1. While most people will agree that ‘rubbernecking’ is one of the great scourges of modern society, it is hardly a uniquely Filipino shortcoming. It is a UNIVERSALLY HUMAN TRAIT, an appeal to morbid curiosity.

      And it has been made worse by the ubiquity of cellular phones with cameras. Just look around the Web and you’ll find any number of photos from around the world snapped by motorists slowing down to gawk at accident scenes; pedestrians pause on the street to capture an inferno consume a building; onlookers mob crime scenes, again to take pictures. In each case the rubberneckers pose a danger that can have disastrous results — from traffic collisions to preventing police and other first responders from doing their jobs.

      Let’s put this in perspective. Filipinos aren’t the only ones who commit this act.

  2. Lee Kuan Yew said that it’s monogamy plays an important role in forming a society with one goal. Singapore is almost 90% chinese speaking when LKY started to build it. so when he speaks chinese, 90% of the population understands him.

    the problem with our society is we are multicultural people. tapos halo-halo pa ung middle-low class people in a barangay. sa amin ganun. sa left side ng compound namin ay squatter. ayoko lumabas dun dahil alam ko na baka tirahin ako dun mga feudalistic mga tao. ung tipon nakahubad na nagyoyosi tapos kung pumorma akala mo kanya ung lugar. dun palang sira na unity. alanga namang makihaubilo ako. ano ako gago? lol.

    makipag-tropa ka hihingan ka ng pero pautangin mo tatakbuhan ka. taena yan. pero pag manny pakman magkakaisa tayo iisa naiitindihan natin eh. “sana manalo si pacman”. pero pag dating sa ibang bagay, dyan nagkakatalo. feudal ang thinking nila ako naman progressive. langit at lupa kaagad. eto ung kelangan nating i-close ang gap.

    sa aking, ang solusyon: edukasyon at disiplina.

    1. When you mentioned monogamy, did you actually mean homogeneity?

      LKY was a brilliant man. In addition to what you said, he mentioned in his book “From Third World to First” that one of the reasons he chose English as the medium of instruction in Singapore is because it did not favor any one ethnic group. Given that Singapore is predominantly Chinese, Mandarin would have been the easy choice. But it wouldn’t have necessarily been the right one. The other ethnic groups (the Malays and the Tamils) would have felt some sort of resentment. Such would have hampered severely his goal of building the Singaporean nation at that time.

      In this regard, LKY viewed Singapore as a multicultural society even if there were primalrily only three ethnic groups.

      You’re right, education and discipline cannot be stressed enough here in the Philippines. I also advocate the use of English as a medium of instruction here along lines similar to LKY: because it does not favor any particular ethnic group. The challenge is that the Philippines is much bigger than Singapore and has more ethnic groups. It will take much imagination and much unconventional thinking to adopt LKY’s pragmatic solutions to a country our size.

      1. onga yan ung “homogeneity”. ung one culture/thinking/language. the problem with our country is that tagalog was voted to be the official local dialect. it was voted by the 7(7 people from different tribes at the time of Manuel Quezon). so it favored my tribe although i’m half bisaya.

        about the size of the country, we need to federalize talaga. kung hindi man, give more economic freedom to LGUs.

        probably if we tagalogs would just separate from the rest of the country and have our own sovereignty (from central to southern tagalog), i think it’s going to be better. the bisayans and ilocanos too. then focus on education/discipline, i think we can achieve this unity you are talking about. Federal talaga. LOL.

    2. OH ENOUGH W THAT LKY shit already, everyone holds him in such reverence,I know he is dead so my bad there, BUT he had help from Barclay’s Bank,Royal Bank of Scotland etc etc etc to build that city into what it became……..in other words he was JUST a figure-head,a good one, but hardly a great statesman,scholar or financier.
      What is it with Asian’s that they have to see there leaders as some sort of ‘Father’ figure. I know damn well the guy who is the leader of the country in which I’m a citizen,and all the rest of the elected officials in it, are no Family members of mine.

  3. Add to that some pinoys love to make it a point that their “mere presence” in any endeavor was somehow the “only reason” for the success of individuals, groups, company, organizations, foreign corporations, talent shows…, or any historical event.

    Hindi posible ang mga ito kung wala ang mga pinoy.” cough! cough!

  4. Filipino mindset: Tribal Mentality, and each man for himself; “Me First” mentality. This is the reason, we have family political dynasties, provincial warlords, and other kinds of problems.

    Watch out , if you criticize Filipinos; they will form a “herd of people” and come after you.
    Even if you are a Web Blog writer or a Blogger. Filipinos are allergic to criticism.

  5. When I hear somebody talk about a horse or cow being stupid; I figure it’s a sure sign that the animal has somehow outfoxed them.

    This speaks well for itself among the locals in the Failippines. Typical Failipinos.

  6. ‘Built together…’, it will never happen in the Fail-s.U know why? The wages are way too low. People can not even afford to buy a real pair of leather shoes and a cell phone, and work an entire month to get half a pair of synthetic crap soled shoes and a cherry mobile phine that only works every 10th time you hit ‘send’. It cant be done on such abysmal wages.You cant build something together if you cant pay for the building materials.Nevermind the proper clothing,materials and tools(mental,scholarly ones too!), you cant even feed yourself on the money paid as wages in the country.

    1. This attitude is precisely why the country is failing: the obsession with MONEY as the be-all and end-all of everything.

      I live in a rural community where 80% of the men spend their days drinking, starting petty squabbles, or getting girls pregnant. They complain that they have no choice because there “aren’t any jobs” (although, curiously, they always seem to find money from somewhere for Red Horse and cockfighting).

      Every single one of them owns several hectares of land, and every single hectare stands either abandoned or laid waste (trees cut for charcoal, over-ploughed, or over-sprayed with poisons).

      A dozen of those men could get together as friends and bring one man’s farm to a productive state within three months. They could collect seeds from the hedgerows or from rotten produce at the market. They could repeat the favour for each member of the group. The only requirement for money would be for feeding the work team: at local prices, I’d say PHP100,000 would be needed to kickstart the process, which could be raised by selling half a hectare. Thereafter, it should be self-funding, or at least self-feeding.

      Nobody will do such a thing, though. Firstly, they (rightly) don’t trust each other to return favours, and secondly, they just can’t be bothered.

  7. Just like in some of the other posts there’s always at least one person saying “Filipinos aren’t the only ones guilty of this or that”. I don’t think that’s the point. Nobody ever said they’re the only ones. The point is that these are problems that need to be addressed which people have to acknowledge in order to improve. It just seems like another example of Pinoys trying to take as much blame off themselves in order to avoid constructive criticism.

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