Filipino Culture and Its Loser Mentality

Actually, I’m supposed to be working on the 9th chapter of Deep but again, I find myself writing another article, this time about the recent failure of our representatives in the SEA Games, particularly the diving competition. Heck, I even got an imitator in one of the commentaries. I don’t know if I should be flattered or disgusted by that last.

Anyway, I’m writing this because I think it will offer a better idea of just how broken Filipino culture is and how time and time again, it will lead to our ruin. Look people, I know that you can’t really prepare for everything but, as Kate Natividad here states, it’s not an excuse.


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Here are two major points in our culture that will continue to embarrass us as a people and lead us to nothing but shame and defeat:

It’s All About Hubris

For reference, I once played Command & Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour and I liked the gameplay very much but I openly detested the characters. I mean, some were okay but there were just too many cheesy lines being thrown around to make them believable characters. However while General Alex Alexander (the American female general with all the superweapons) was one of the cheesier characters in the game, she said a line that I never quite forgot: “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”

As I’ve come to discover the hard way, later on in college, you can’t enter a competition without an actual plan and hope to win. If memory serves correctly, I remember former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower saying something along the lines that: “Plans are useless but planning is indispensable.” While there’s no guarantee that your plans will ever come into fruition, planning sharpens you and your talents, preparing you for what needs to be done.

Unfortunately, I can note a lot of Pinoys eschewing this notion for the simple words: “Bahala na!” Sadly it all boils down to people’s hubris. It’s like we think we are so good that we no longer need to make preparations of any kind. However, time and time again, we are proven wrong by our failures throughout history.

Take for instance Manny Pacquiao’s loss in his last fight. People continue to jeer that he was cheated, but he himself admitted to having injured his shoulder. Was he simply too proud to admit that could’ve lost that fight? Even after the fight concluded, he went on to ask: “I thought I won.” As if he seemed incredulous that he lost.

In a previous article long ago, I remember recounting the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. It’s a fairly old story and I don’t think many people still remember it now. Anyway, the story is fairly simple. To summarize, there was once this hare who was so full himself because he was so fast. He believed that he could beat anybody in a race. But then one day, a tortoise called him out on his dickery and challenged him to a race. The hare, believing it was some kind of joke, took the tortoise on, not believing he could be beaten in any way. During the race even, he decided to sleep on the side of the road, believing that even if the tortoise caught up with him, he could beat him easily. To his horror, he overslept and the tortoise won that race.

We are all too often like the hare in the story, believing that our skills are enough to bring us victory. Worst yet, many of us use the power of personality over that of actual skill, leading to things like actors and actresses who can’t sing being called singers anyway just because they have pretty faces or politicians who know diddly squat into leaders of the country.

We Support Only What We Like

The thing is, while I too was dismayed by the performance of our representatives, I think that they too are victims. I’m not excusing their poor performance but I’d like to say that what happened was a result of negligence on the part of our government and the common people. More often than not, we support only what we like.

Tying in with the above statement and Benign0’s article here, most of us only care about what we like and not what we should care about. For instance, take the rabid support we have for Pacquiao and the Azkals but our tendency to overlook everything else. Even that figure skater of ours who did well in the Olympics only got media coverage when he succeeded. It’s like we don’t care about the efforts of others unless they succeed and, even then, we easily forget them over things that we like.

In other countries for instance, athletes dedicate their lives to a given support. They give it their all, long before the announcement to the competition even arrives. They are not just supported by their government, they are also encouraged to push themselves harder to become even better at what they do.

However, again, we focus all our attention on things like boxing, basketball, billiards, soccer and beauty pageants to the detriment of everything else.

Look, as a metaphor, I hate math. In fact, just hearing or reading the word math makes me feel absolutely murderous. However, when I was a student, I had to study it anyway. Why? Because it was a necessity!

C’mon guys, in any sporting event, it’s not enough that we need to be represented but we need to be represented well. When we stick only to things that we like then I can promise you that the failure of John Elmerson Fabriga and John David Pahoyo are just some of the things we’ll have to be embarrassed about. Remember, even if you excel at a given subject, you still won’t graduate if you ignore all your other subjects.

No, I’m not going to blame Mr. Fabriga and Pahoyo for this latest fiasco. If anything, they’re simply victims of a biased and unjust society. If anyone here is to blame, it’s the common Pinoy’s negligent behavior towards things they don’t like. 

18 Replies to “Filipino Culture and Its Loser Mentality”

  1. A loser is someone who complains INCESSANTLY,while providing absolutely no solutions to the problems you continue to write about……

    1. yet here you are reading a whiner’s post and even offering a piece of your time commenting with absolutely noting to offer as a “solution” except another form whining. calling an alcoholic out about his problems is the first step to curing the disease. you expect too much of the writers here if you feel an entitlement for a ready “solution”.

      1. Yet again we witness how filipinos take any kind of criticism poorly….should I put on my kid gloves next time?

    2. thanks man. Your comment was needed as i hab been complaining ablot lately like a girly man. Time to get up again.

      1. If your gonna speak english,explain yourself clearly,cuz I can’t for the life of me understand wtf you sayin’ bro….

    3. Sheesh isip bata ka pa rin ba at kailangan ka pa namin pakainin ng mga solusyon? Well that’s your problem for not seeing any “solutions” by this article’s author failipino.

  2. Pride is born as a mountaintop on a valley, but dies as an abyss in which it is too deep and too dark to see the better.

    Consider an achievement accidental if it is not coupled with modesty. Because if the achiever had endeavored for it, it would certainly have killed their pride.

  3. A good head rests on a good body. That was the ancient anthropology. That was the rationale and foundation of the Olympics. The idea could only come from Greece, the seat of ancient intellectualism and reason, whose influence is still very much evident today. When the elites of the Roman empire needed to educate their youth, they imported Greek philosophers and teachers. That accounted for the powerful and widespread impact of Greek thinking in Western thinking, an offshoot of the empire. That thinking is still very much felt today because underneath every politics through all the ages is that longing to be somehow be that Roman republic in its glory.

    Against that background, there was no way that Gnosticism could flourish. Gnosticism was, and is, a multi-headed beast, but one of its major tenets is that matter is a fallen, inferior form of being, produced by a low-level deity. The soul is trapped in matter, and the whole point of the spiritual life is to acquire the gnosis (knowledge) requisite to facilitate an escape of the soul from the body. When the biblical thinking of Christians finally dominated the empire, Gnostic thinking ended up being relegated very much to the fringes. Bible emphasized that matter is good; redemption is not really that escape of the soul from the body, but rather the salvation and the perfection of the body. Because it does not denigrate the body, it should not allow the intuition that the body and mind are in antagonistic relationship.

    What has that got to do with the present topic, which is sports? I will get to that directly, but I think it is important to first have a perspective of that said struggle because we in the modern world are very much under the spell of Rene Descartes. This is the reason why many could not get the point that Benign0 and Kate Natividad were intuiting in their articles, and the same point this article of Grimwald is hinting. The point is that NATIONAL SPORTS IS THE MIRROR OF THE NATIONAL PSYCHE, and for that matter, the national identity and the national aspiration. No identity, no aspiration, we are like the Rohingyas, but this time drifting in the sea of public opinion that scorn those who have no where to go. Why is this not obvious? Because Descartes, in discussing the res cogitans (thinking thing) and the res extensa (thing extended in space), drove again a wedge between the spirit and body. Because we are very Cartesian in thinking, we are in more ways than one neo-gnostics. This should not be a surprise because the shadow of Descartes’ dualism have influenced Kant, Hegel and most modern thinkers and academics. That is what we have been chewing from elementary thru college and via modern media.

    (This neo-gnostic mind can be demonstrated and dramatized by the latest sensationalized news of the Olympian Bruce Jenner transforming to Caitlyn. Because his mind said he is a woman, he made his body follow the mind via a medical procedure. It didn’t occur to him that the body dictates the mind as well as the mind dictates the body in equal terms. That dichotomy of the mind and body cannot be possible in a non-gnostic, non dualistic, thinking.)

    Thus, what we have today in Olympics and almost all sporting events are just about medals, and the fame and fortune that come with that, and nothing beyond. It is all about money and the commercials. So, FIFA, a supposedly prestigious sports association, could also be so corrupt if we go by the latest news.

    In that respect, we probably have to look at China as the exception. Because of their aversion to Western thoughts and thus less influenced by the dualistic thoughts, they are more similar to the way the ancients thought. Even if the reason why they are not dualistic is because they don’t believe in a soul, we still can’t take away the fact that they may be more akin to ancient philosophers in this regard. Thus, even when they were still poor, scraping the bottom, which is really not that long time ago, they always saw to it that they always had full participation in the Olympics and the likes. It was not about money. It was about the national spirit, about the national psyche. which is more than national pride or prestige. In every sporting event, it was about measuring if their standards was in par with, or better than, the best in the world. The medals were just the measuring sticks, the medium, and not the objective. Hopefully, modernity will not damage the purity of the Chinese in sports, so the world could always have an image of the thoughts of the Greeks when they started the Olympics.

    Sports, beyond physical exertion, agility, etc, is really more about the spirits of hard work, patience, consistency, perseverance, sportsmanship, fairness, teamwork, and giving credit where credit is due. Competition is there because we have to aim for excellence, the only way real achievements could be produced. It is not just about winning over another, although that is part, but it is really about safeguarding against falling into mediocrity. So, the medals are just visible by-products, which really falls short of the inner joy experienced by achievers who only compete with excellence, no matter in what form excellence manifests itself.

    That is the reason why Sports have always been an important component of Education. Classrooms are for teaching theories and principles. Sports are there to augment and inculcate the spirits mentioned above. What is the use of a thinking human, if he/she does not have a character? In practice, sports is the best approach in building the character of the youth. That is the rationale why every Catholic school in PHL has sports in their curriculum — and possibly why Ateneo, LaSalle, UST have consistently been dominating UAAP, etc. You can’t call yourself a Christian and be only after mediocrity. Those two are incompatible terms. Excellence is the enemy of mediocrity.

    But even that rationale is now lost in these schools. Instead of sticking to what should be, they have searched more and more for what is convenient in doing things, and worse, acceding to what the public wants to ensure profitability. But, what can we do; a good many of the priests/ clergy are themselves neo-gnostics in thinking, so how can they even purge theology from the superstitions that is very much part of the animistic PHL even before Christianity came. Is this the reason why in a country, which is supposed to be 80% Catholic, religion and mediocrity go hand in hand? Either we go biblical in thinking, or we go neo-gnostics as advocated by Descartes, Kant, or Nietszche, but you can never blend the two, or you get a confused public. It is the biggest irony, I think. No wonder CBCP is now perceived as a meddlesome lot. And thus, among other things, Ateneo, LaSalle and UST have lost their impact on society. These are just prestigious schools, but really empty for they have become the symbol of the great ocean span between the rich and poor. So the rivalry of Ateneo and LaSalle in UAAP is good for entertainment, but it never uplifts the national psyche.

    This is one reason why nobody gives a damn about the corruption going in the sports agencies, bureaus and departments. Like the CCT, the amount allocated to a beneficiary is arbitrarily imposed by this or that fee. So, an athlete entitled to say a monthly 15k pesos allowance gets only 5k in effect because some official said such and such
    fees have to be deducted. Talk to our athletes and you ll know this is true. Never mind our taxes, there are also a lot of private donations in support of Sports. Believe you me, 80% of that goes to the officials. So, we have sports commissions that have more chiefs than Indians. Have you not noticed that when we send delegations to international events? We send 10 officials for every two athletes. We can laugh at this, but this is an outrage.

    So let us ask, for example, where is the accounting of the US$ 2 to 4 million that is sent annually by FIFA for the development of football in the grass roots? I am sure it didn’t go there for we at this late hour still had to import players for our Azkals team. Even Azkal, if we think about it, is a private initiative. If we waited for govt, we will be waiting for kingdom come before any competitive team could even be conceived. Thus, I would understand our two divers going to the SEA Games with just the idea of a junket. Hell, they can jump like Hermie the Frog, and who cares. The whole idea of Sports in PHL is about junket and shopping for the latest designers’ craze at the event venue.

    We may scoff at the corruption in Sports for in terms of peso value, they are small compared to that say in Customs, smuggling, LTO, DPWH, and such and such tongpats. But, think of China when they were poor, and you will see that this corruption is sucking blood directly from the very soul of PHL. We love basketball because it is about quick goals; we love quick fixes. Many Pinoys don’t like soccer because it is about strategy, teamwork and patience. But, we will never change if we look at Sports only for its fame and fortune. Pinoys idolize Pacquiao because he got tons of money for his effort, but what about the rest of our athletes, how do we support them? In other words, China is where it is today because from the start, they have been interested in CHARACTER, not personality. And, that cannot be over-emphasized.

    How can our interest be on strong characters if we are always and only obsessed by personalities? Is it any wonder why the word achievement is generally foreign to Pinoys, whether in Sports and other fields of endeavour?

  4. The two Joker Divers, just are not on par, with the Asian Olympic standards, for diving competition.

    Whoever, sent them there is to blame…no sufficient time for practice…no preparation.
    Their performances were a Disaster…it is the Filipino “pwede na yan” mentality; that had shown up again.
    Their performances reflect the performances of our leaders…

  5. Well, in everything, Sala-ula talaga ang pinoy. Emulate and take a cue from the Japanese, when they are tasked to do something, they say “it’s 80-90% preparation, 10-20% execution”. Pinoys never prepare in just about everyhting!

  6. The above lengthy comment begins with quotes, citing ancient greece and the olympics,their beginings….BUT KEEP IN MIND……….

    The greeks were the ones that found fish bone fossils inside sedimentary rock and deduce that fish can swim through rocks. Tell me what good head believes that bullshit today?

    Some of these articles,man IDK….what the ”””

    1. Classic Pinoy trait of emphasizing a great civilization’s shortcomings to make it look like it’s as shitty as the dysfunctional Flip counterpart. Try a better tactic next time.

  7. Add,
    when it comes to China (and sports) you only paint half the picture. Kids are torn away from their parents and undergo a heavy regiment of daily sports activities. We call that drilling. There is no such thing of objecting to the master (trainer/coach) bec that might send your family into a hell. Kids MUST feel honored to be picked for that special training/coaching. Its a very hierarchical relationship.

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