The growing void in the Filipino psyche where substance could have thrived

“The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.”
— The History of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877


Alexis de Tocqueville coined the term: “tyranny of the majority”, and  Lord Acton, as he is quoted above, was among the first, who liked using the term.  I like the term; the etymology of tyrant sounds like it came from the tying of rants, or the tying together of ants.  If you have a majority of ant-sized brains ranting, the term is self-explanatory.

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A paleontologist likes the word too; he named one of his subjects Tyrannosaurus Rex, an apt description of a ferocious predator.  That dinosaur must be complaining, it probably doesn’t want its terrible public image; but the dinosaur can’t complain, as elephants can’t complain when they are found in rooms, only when they are ignored.  The tyranny of the majority is more ferocious than a dinosaur, an elephant in the room long ignored in the country.


In the US and elsewhere, they have long countered the problem by supermajority rules, constitutional limits on the powers of a legislative body, and the introduction of a Bill of Rights.  Ayn Rand further wrote against such tyranny, saying that individual rights are not subject to a public vote, and that the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and that the smallest minority on earth is the individual).  I suppose that is what it is when you have quality equally individuated.  What happens when you don’t have quality, and yet, they have the numbers?  Lee Kuan Yew solved that by seeking a position opposite Ayn Rand; he postponed individual rights when progress was in jeopardy.  His unselfish vision was first.


GRP has a pretty good idea on how the majority thinks.  It has one of the most open, the least moderated, space, through which anyone could express an opinion.  It receives a steady stream of comments, so that we have here a good survey of the Filipino minds that could rival that of SWS or Pulse Asia, especially since the survey of GRP is unadulterated.

What we see is that Tyrannosaurus Rex didn’t go extinct in this archipelago.  It didn’t survive as a dinosaur, but it thrives.  Pinoys are pre-occupied with their showbiz idols and favorite love teams.  They are not interested in their own excellence, but in the “excellence of a few”, by and through which they take their carefree ride.  Much more, excellence is too much hard work, so they like the excellence achieved by accident or by fate, even if such excellence is just of form and not of substance.  True excellence, which is a lifetime effort, is alien to Pinoys, as Lotto is not; thus, their happiness is not deep, it is in the surface — mababaw ang kaligayahan.  However, it is happiness they pursue.

Maybe, it is because they don’t understand true happiness, as they don’t understand the term “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” enshrined in many Constitutions.  Happiness is a feeling, as sadness is; they are the by-products of a situation or an activity.  One can’t cry unless this is triggered by a sad situation.  As one can’t pursue a feeling unless a triggering situation is first obtained, they pursue happiness without first creating the circumstances that allow for satisfying and uplifting happiness.  No, that needs too much hard thinking, hard work, patience and courage.

What is the pursuit then?  Obviously, a cart before the horse. A tropical country, Philippines compete with Russia and Korea, countries with bitter winters, as a top contender in the world in alcohol consumption.  Pinoys are more Mexicans and Spanish than Mexicans and Spaniards when it comes to siestas and fiestas.  They could go broke and indebted just to go ahead with their mini and grand fiestas, and to support other kinds of easy life, and to get ahead of the proverbial Joneses, even if just outwardly.  No wonder, drama actors who convincingly shed tears at the drop of a hat are most admired.  As such tears are artificial, the happiness of Pinoys is also artificial.  Maybe, it borders on hypocrisy.  But, illusions and fantasies have to be sustained, and priorities are a mess.

There is no inner conviction, thus a victim card is their best weapon.  From within and without, they know deep down something is wrong, but they are scared of prying the deep, so they cover this with lots of entertainment.  The culture is of blind faith and of music, and nothing beyond that.  Still, they easily flaunt their Pinoy Pride; although, nobody knows exactly what that means since it is the emptiest of boasts.  As pride is already empty by itself, nobody knows if Pinoys just enjoy flaunting, or they enjoy irritating others by such emptiness.  But, they can’t know any better.

Attack any of their idols, and easily in a bandwagon of millions, the fans will bite back like a cobra aroused from stupor.  The hissing sound alone could be scary for they are in the form of ad hominem ad nauseam.  They hate intellectuals and will not even check if there is validity in the arguments, or the articles, thus, they will not even bother to offer a counter-argument.  It is the sloth of the brain, a contagious virus, its spread unchecked, and they think that is what is supposed to be in vogue.  They are like herds being led to a slaughter, but that is how they tyrannize.  It is the passive-aggresiveness which is said to be the typical psychology of a Pinoy. 

First time visitors of GRP say they are repulsed by the negative tone of the articles.  But, that is only because they read things out of context, and the context is what we are talking about now.  Regular visitors already know that truthful mirroring of a society should always result in well, what can we say, the true image.  If it is negative, then the image is negative; if positive, then positive.  No one can mirror what is the opposite unless one is in the business of government propaganda.

Abraham Lincoln insisted that public opinion is a formidable social and political force.  Imagine that force in the Philippines.  It is the tyranny of mediocrity.


Anthills are anthills, even ahead of history.  And in an anthill called the Philippines, the ants go about their lives oblivious to the over-all scheme of things.  They will only bite when they are only directly adversely affected.  The common good is beyond their parochial sight.

Maybe, there was a time when they cared.  But, nobody knows now when that was.  After independence, a semblance of independence and democracy, a martial law, two people power revolts, and many elections, the anthill is still the same depressing anthill.  The ants are tired and have switched off to what are the common good and serious issues; individuals, families, being each ever more an island to themselves.

Historians are wont to divide history into stages, periods, or eras.  Specifically, in the Philippines of late, they want to talk of the pre-martial law years, the martial law decades, and the present after EDSA1.  This is hogwash for the anthill is still the same anthill; nothing has changed.  In fact, it has gotten much worse lately; it has become the worst Asian anthill underneath the glowing government propaganda.  China totally disrespects the anthill, for it knows the leaders of the anthill are an unabashed treasonous lot who are for sale to the next highest bidder at the slightest promptings.  At least in the past, the corrupt tried to cover things with law; today, they simply disregard any law.  Patriotism is a subjective term among Pinoys; it depends on who defines it.

So, what are the milestones and jump-off points that historians are talking about?  They are just anniversaries to mark dates when the country each time has gotten worse, more than anything else.  It is crazy why they still celebrate such anniversaries.  But, it is this insistence of the self-proclaimed historians that has given every reason for the apathy of the majority.

The laws of the land have become ever more selective and subjective, and yellow.  So, Filipinos, terribly frustrated, don’t even bother now to understand the power of the majority.  Thus, as individuals and as a people, they don’t want to think now how it is utilized, much less how it is managed and how it is controlled. 

On top of that, they no longer have a conception on what is supposed to be the job description of the CEO of the land.  They think executives are supposed to be some kind of Angelina Jolie, Oprah, or Mother Theresa, who gives away freebies and charities.  CEOs have been compared quite often to a captain of a ship, or a bus driver, so voters have actually been voting politicians who think and act like reckless bus and jeepney drivers on shabu or marijuana. This is not to insult the drivers for they are actually better than the politicians.  At least, the drivers work to earn a living; the politicians earn not to work, they just steal the country blind.  They are the real low lives in Armani suits and designer barongs.

The apathy of the majority is the real objective of the TraPo.  Apathy is the only way these politicians and showbiz type personalities get elected.  But, apathy is the very reason for the tyranny of the majority.   And the society gropes in the dark as nobody knows now who tyrannizes who, adding to the myopic vision of all.


As opposed to modern societies, the Philippine society is more of the traditional one.  Its aspirations are modest; it just wants to be a decent society.  But, even in this, it has failed miserably. 

Obviously, the obtaining situation has been made possible because no vision has been made available to invigorate, inspire and unify the citizenry.  Election campaign promises and slogans have all just turned out to be a grand cover-up for the sinister plots to only benefit the powerful few, and the people are now very suspicious of these things, especially, after uncovering the unscrupulous hypocrisy of Daang Tuwad, er Tuwid.  Still, each administration had the gall to claim fantastic performance, because the society at large has a vague idea of standards against which performances could be measured.  The typical standards are too technical for the ordinary man in the street.

Let us now borrow the methodology of the the think tank at Witherspoon Institute, and see if we could have a society standard that is more accessible.

* * *

Point A

A traditional society is in general the home to protecting every life, every liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  At the minimum, it strives to be a decent society.  Home has three ingredients/ components: 1) the individual, 2) the family/ immediate community, and 3) the law/ the government.  If this was a manufacturing process, rather than a home, the three are the raw materials, but they are also at the same time the machinery or the system, as well as the final products themselves. 

To come out with quality products, if still not world class,  one could consider tweaking, adjusting, or fine tuning, if necessary, any of the three at any given time, or all of the three at the same time, in order to improve the raw material, or upgrade the system.  The product could not be tweaked that much, it could only be packaged well.  And lately, that is all what they have been doing, packaging the product by propaganda to make things appear fine and dandy.  They have not bothered to find the optimum balance between the three components, or to find improvement either raw-material-wise, or system-wise.  The actual product, therefore, may not be what the package says, because the powers-that-be have their own hidden agenda, which has become lately very apparent.  Government has nothing to do with uplifting the society, obviously.  (We have known this, but let it be Point A.)

Point B

What and how to tweak?  GRP regular commenter from Europe, Robert Haighton, and others say that the biggest problem of the Philippines is the emphasis of #2 above, the family, which results in the de-emphasis of #1, the individual.  It is easy for him to say that, he comes from a Western culture.  But Asian cultures have time immemorial been family-oriented.  It is difficult for Asians to comprehend a society that is not as such, for family has always been the last defence against any form of tyranny that may come from within and without #3, the law/ the government. 

Still, Robert has a very valid point.  An over-emphasis on the family could breed irresponsible individuals, because of the protective mantle natural to the family.  But, that also creates over-burdened individuals as well.  Either way, the result is a weakened #1.  A weakened #1 means a weakened #2 for both components are inter-dependent.  It is really an interplay of the culture vis-a-vis the system.  To be specific, there should be a comprehensive academic study on how the tax system could make utang na loob a strength rather a weakness.  But, the outright rejection of the bill proposed by Sen. Angara and Cong. Miro Quimbo to reform the antiquated tax system is downright irresponsible, if not criminal.  It cripples the responsible members of the society, thus, crippling the society as a whole, and it boggles the mind why leaders would do that.  (This is Point B.)

Already, we have obtained two parameters for the society, and standards against which we could measure our leaders.  Let us proceed.

Point C

Above obtains for the society a vicious cycle (Above #1 and #2 are in direct proportion to each other.)  It is the vicious cycle of poverty in the Philippines.  What becomes apparent is that we can’t sit by our lonesome selves, happy and contented as if individuals, or families, were each an island.  This is the apathy we already discussed earlier.  But here, what is made clear is that apathy not only tyrannizes, it gnaws at the stability of society in no uncertain terms.  We could never tolerate ideas and individuals, leaders or not, that would want to perpetuate that situation for it affects us directly in palpable ways. (This is Point C)  We just wish we had voters who have the critical mind to see through this and thus, could vote wisely.  Those who are critically inclined in their thinking are almost obligated to inform others. (Point C-1)

Point D

Above should suggest that tweaking the three components could be a complicated endeavour, and it is not a one-time process, but a continuous one.  In fact, they could prove to be delicate to handle.  As shown by recent decades, an over-emphasis on #2, family, risks an intractable population size; a weakening of it, a demographic winter, a vacuum that massive influx of immigrants could exploit, as we are witnessing today in a surprised and overwhelmed Europe. 

But, managing an optimum balance of the components could only be provided by foresight, a focus on planning, which, hopefully, could yield a vision that is not hazy.  And if it is hazy, it has to be reformulated until it is clear to all.  That requires dedicated leadership with goodwill and transparency.  (That is Point D, and makes Point C even more critical.  Apathy allows a leader with ill-intentions to utilize the tyranny of the majority to his advantage without the majority even knowing about it.)

Point E

If #1 and #2 are inter-dependent, #3, the law/ government, is also inter-dependent with #1 and #2.  What has happened in the Philippines is that #3 has become, or is deliberately made to be, increasingly independent of the other components.  (It is a most critical point, and it is Point E.)  It is the most irresponsible direction that the Philippines has taken, almost with full cooperation of the entire citizenry (please refer again to Point C).  It is insidious in character, no matter from what angle it is viewed.

Yes, Point E is that obvious and it is that simple, but often, common sense is normally not that common.  Every legislation, every jurisprudence, or every government program that is not clearly directed at strengthening #1 and #2 in equal measure could not only be a waste of time and money, but more critically, does contribute to the further weakening of #3, the law/government itself. 

Worse, what is obtained is an ever bigger vicious cycle as lost opportunities have multiplier effects.  Thus, we should not be surprised about the present day stagnation of the society.  The national psyche veering towards depressing hopelessness, that has given rise to the net sobriquet, Failippines.  It will take momentous effort to wake-up a people that loves pretending to sleep — a reason why GRP writers write as they do.

Point F

Because #1 is relatively weak, mediocrity rules.  Or, mediocrity rules, and that is why #1 is weak.  Which is the cause; which is the effect?  Another vicious cycle.  (And, that should be Point F.)  Very few individuals have been aiming high; the majority has been contented with scratching with the chicken than flying with the eagles.  Anti-intellectualism has become pervasive in the society, and gone are the days when teachers are the most respected individuals of society.

* * *

But, Olympic archers always aim the arrow higher relative to the bull’s eye.  Which means that if we aim low, we will always end up with something that is even lower.  If such is the case, then we can’t just be interested in a thriving society, or just a decent one.  We need a dynamic one.

If we are interested in a dynamic society, two more components have to be introduced: #4, the University and #5, the free market.  A dynamic society promises additional opportunities for individual development and promotes intellectual, economic, and social progress.  Because of the foregoing points enumerated above, the Philippines is way off the mark.  It looks like it is not even in the game.  It has set its sight quite low.


Distinguishing traditional societies that strive for decency and modern ones that strive for dynamism is of essence to this analysis.  There are distinct characteristics between the pre-modern and the modern ones.  It does not mean we have to make a drastic choice between the two, but we have to see what elements are constitutive and what are instrumental — what is the core and what is just for utility.  That should allow the society a clearer perspective on what is needed to clean itself of corruption or to get its act together and what is needed to catalyze progress.  The goods of tradition does not need to be sacrificed in the pursuit of progress, or the opportunities of modernity does not need to be lost in the preservation of morality.  The aims of decency and dynamism could actually be successfully balanced.  Each characteristic of the phases are inter-dependent.

Compassion and competition are intrinsic in individuals.  Both have value, but also danger, if they are not in optimum balance.  The majesty of law has to be regained, as laws can’t just be instrumental.  What should be stressed is the importance of inner conviction and its regulative effect in both economic activity and moral cleansing.  The operative words: inner conviction.  While aiming for utopia will always be a folly, dignity of politics has to be an ever present aim.

Clearly, the health of a democracy depends on the education of its citizens.  The added challenge is that the global village continues to shrink. Society today often has an international dimension.  That means education has to include academic theories of political realism on the one hand and liberal internationalism on the other.

We now take up component #4, the university.

Point G

Some would say that there is one more component: religion.  Even dynamic societies ensure religious liberty, but, let us not be bog down here by religious debates.  To theists, may I suggest imagining #4 as already inclusive of said aspect, as atheists and agnostics might also want to imagine #4 as absent of the same.  For now, it is a moot and academic discussion as the default is that three of the leading universities, Ateneo, La Salle and UST, are run by RCC.  (This will require a separate cover in view of the neglect of state universities like UP.)

What is more relevant for our purposes here is whether the university is best understood dynamically, as an engine for research and the increase of knowledge, or traditionally, as a place for its transmission.  It would be fantastic if that is the debate the society could have; such would indeed reflect a society interested in elevating the intellectual discourse.  (Please consider this as Point G.)  This should be a target in any event.

Point H

Unfortunately, we could not even proceed to that level of Point G, since #3 (as already mentioned in Point E), has been pre-occupied in being independent of all other components.  “Real” education has been thrown under the bus and ran over many times. 

The Constitution had the good intention of specifying that the biggest share of the National Budget should be to Education, but actual implementation have all just amounted to minimally complying with the law, rather than in advancing its spirit.  Thus, while the budget may seem to have been increasing, it actually has not, when inflation is accounted in.  With increasing student population, budget per student has actually been dramatically decreasing.  (It is important to note this as Point H.  If we need a dynamic society, then we need a government that will not compromise this sector.  It will invest in the future with courageous conviction and unwavering persistence.  We should vote accordingly.)

Point I

But, that is not the pernicious part.  It is the philosophical foundation that now undergirds the approach of the Philippines to education.  Schools no longer mold the culture.  It is the culture, sick or not, that molds the schools.  And in an age of media and social media, how could schools compete with those in the molding of youth?  (That should definitely be Point I.)  And with media only interested in their profits, any investment on education could be negated any time.  The future looks very bleak.  (It is good to recall here Points C and E, for they are the major contributing factors.  We want to hear Point I in the presidential debate, for it has something to do with the life and death of the society. )

Point J

More to it, Education has yielded its position as the objective judge of utilitarianism, and other current philosophies in vogue, and instead given in to utilitarianism itself.  Thus, curricula are adjusted to a moving target, the job market.  But, what takes precedence, principles or practicality; abstract or material; substance or form; the long-term or the short-term; intellect or emotion; ideas or money; “to be” or “to have”?  First things come first; what kind of education do we impart if they are contingent to fad? (Point J)

Need empirical evidence that we have been rapidly deteriorating?  Our universities look like they are in a free fall in the rankings of universities in Asia.  Gone are the days when many foreign students came, who all should have been welcomed for they contribute to the diversity in the campuses and to the fringe benefit of producing well-rounded graduates, which could only happen when there are cultural exchanges.  It is therefore not hard to believe we are mass producing dumbed down graduates.  And, there is nothing more disheartening than to see our teachers applying for DH jobs in Hong Kong or Singapore for they get more pay that way.  (Recall in Point B that when we weakened component #1, we start weakening what constitute a decent society.)

Point K

We will not discuss component #5, the free market, at length not only because this is really such a big topic requiring a separate cover, but because what happens here is really the outcome of what actions are effected from Points A to J.  Suffice to say that we don’t have a level playing field in the market is because of the wrong priorities as could now be seen point by point above.

* * *


We started by suggesting that our society is being tyrannized by various and unrecognised forces, defined and undefined.  We tried to define some of them.  This write-up does not claim that forces as enumerated above are the only tensions present, they are far from exhaustive.  But, hopefully, above offered a simple, basic, way of looking at things from a helicopter point of view.

I don’t know if it offered a better understanding of what is tyrannizing the society, why they are obtaining, how they came to be possible, and who are contributing to the situation.

The side benefit, hopefully, is that we were able to see how the different elements of society are in tension even if they could only be covered by broad strokes, and how such tensions could possibly be eased.  The writer has and will not attempt to offer any solution, but it is an attempt towards contributing a better way of judging our candidates for 2016.

In general terms, we have to get rid of apathy, emphasize education, and all other priorities follow.  The priorities have been spelled out from Points A through K.  Hopefully, they are not muddled.

[Photo courtesy Go Girl Cafe.]

38 Replies to “The growing void in the Filipino psyche where substance could have thrived”

  1. That “growing void in the Filipino psyche where substance could have thrived” is automatically filled by the delusions of Pinoy Pride, in which reality is based on the ‘individual’ Filipino version of it—not as a whole of one nation.

  2. Thanks for the PhD Thesis…it is an academic point of view; to explain, what is wrong in our mindsets and in our country, as a whole. There are many Unknown Forces, that affect the Psyche/Subconscious Minds of Filipinos. We have to look also in the Collective Unconsciousness of Filipinos. It is factor. Please read the works of the German Psycho Analyst: Carl Jung; to understand this field.

    However, in my own opinion. Filipinos have a hard time removing the “Shackles” of their pasts; mostly their colonial pasts.

    They are too dependent on their “leaders”, who exploit and steal from them. You can see how they worship their political leaders. And how these political leaders behave, in office.

    You can see how the lives, of most Filipinos are intertwined with politics. They talk politics; they sleep thinking about politics; they murder and kill, because of politics; they die for politics…it is like the Radical Islamic mindset on their Islamic religion.

    Do not discount what the Spanish, and American colonizers have contributed to this mental psyche dysfunction.

    1. 77Hayden007Toro999.999,

      It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what is wrong with the Philippines and its people.

      It just take an honest self-analysis, and the sincere humility to admit, that Filipinos are motivated by selfish interests and arrogance–that were brought about by their tribal tradition, aristocratic tendencies, and deep-seated envy and covetousness–that are destroying the Philippines and its people.


      1. Aeta:

        This is the reason, we are Blogging. I am not a Rocket Scientist, nor do I think you are…

        Just use your common sense; and compare to other people in other countries. Why we are as , we are…

        It is good to be exposed to other people; other cultures; and other peoples’ beliefs and traditions. It is very educational…and you can see that other people have their weaknesses and strengths, also.

        To reinforce our strengths, and slowly work over our weaknesses; could be the “magic bullet” to turn us around.

        1. 888Toro007Hayden999.77777,

          Well, I’m glad neither one of us are rocket scientists, or we will not be able to get the rocket project off the ground because we’re too busy blogging.

          I think Filipinos, as a whole, have done enough comparisons of their lives to other countries that they have already learned the difference between right and wrong, and what they need to do to put the Philippines on the right track to recovery.

          Unfortunately for us Filipinos, we are not accustomed to setting our differences aside–especially our individual pride–to learn to trust one another and work together as one people.

          As long as Filipinos continue to deny that they are still suffering from the same Crab and Colonial mentalities that afflicted their ancestors, no positive change will ever happen for the Philippines and its people.


    2. Hahaha, Hyden. You know it is no PhD thesis. But, thanks much, I am taking it as a kind compliment.

      Never got around to read Carl Jung. I prefer Victor Frankl, the Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, who survived Auscwhitz. He started logotherapy after the war, and it is now an important field in psychiatry. His books, “Man’s Search for meaning” and “Will to Meaning” are what I wish NGOs who are in social work in PHL would use in counseling.

      Quotes from Frankl:
      –Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
      –When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.
      –Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.

      Stephen Covey’s top selling book on 7 Habits.. was very much based on Frankl thinking.

      Talking of thesis, I could actually write a long one on why PNoy is a narcissist and Bongbong Marcos is a philosopher. Both have suffered almost the same amount of mental anguish, but moved in opposite direction. One benefitted from the suffering. And, I think I would be 100% correct in my psychology of the two by using Frankl methodology.

      Point is everybody has a luggage coming from one’s background and childhood. They say life begins at 40. It is because at this age, we should have ridden ourselves of anything in the mind that is hampering progress. Thus, it should be all green light from there.

      This colonial past, subservient thinking in Pinoys could be corrected if there was just a massive move by media, schools, local governments in applying the logotherapy of Victor Frankl. Saw the immediate impact of it on employees when I helped a friend running a consumer distribution was having problems with HR. Now, they want to be big, and the initiative is not coming from the top, but from the bottom. Hehehe, my friend who is averse to risk, segurista, is slowly being forced to be a risk taker. Imagine employees trying to push the boss, hehehe. That would be something if it could be translated on a nation wide scale.

      Problem with Philippines is that greediness at the top is syndicated. Once, you get there, they will kill you if you want to get out and be clean. So, many at the top just allow their mind to be perverted because gradually they like the lifestyle, which actually started as just a way of self preservation, and then, they try to justify everything afterwards, making what is bad as good. That is why we have seen so many who were just great in the private sector become terrible guys after just a year or a couple in government.

    1. Thanks, Cezar. The cause of the mentality, attitudes, etc is what we’d like to know. As beautiful houses are built by great architects, everything starts with the mind. Philippines could be great if more and more people get attracted to ideas rather than personalities. And having travelled Asia quite extensively, I know Filipinos are fantastic thinkers and don’t lag behind their Asian counterparts.

      There is crab mentality because the society is not about debating ideas. It should be about loving ideas, this would slowly put a stop to the squabbling, because if an idea is good, it will be recognized no matter where it is coming from– it may even come from somebody you don’t like. This is what we who are critically inclined should be pushing.

  3. no society is totally dysfunctional and bereft of hope – Somalia was a ‘failed’ state for over 20 years whose only viable industry was piracy, yet just to its north is Somaliland, independent since 1991, an oasis of peace and democracy surrounded by warring and failed or failing states.
    How long can such a blessed state of affairs last?
    How long is the day, how short is the night?

    1. walter p komarnicki,

      Many people–especially Filipinos–try to compare the Philippines’ problems to that of other countries’ problems. It made the people feel better and undermined their problems, but the problems didn’t go away. In fact, it made the problems worse.


  4. Progress depends on the mindsets of the individuals of a nation. In the Japanese mindset, if your job, is sweeping the streets. You must sweep the streets very clean; and do your job very well, for the good of the whole community.

    Here, in the Philippines, if your job is a street sweeper. You are looked down, by your fellow Filipinos. Same as the Spanish colonizers, look down upon the Filipino Indios.

    Can you observe, how our political leaders are behaving? They behave like the
    Spanish colonizers. They violate all laws; because, they think, they are above the laws.They steal from the National Treasury, as much as they can, when they are in power. And their “asongot” followers behave the same way. Can you observe, how Aquino’s YellowTards are behaving?

    Be that as it may, the stupid Filipino Indios; don’t even raise any objections or condemnations. They just accept their Fates, as meekly, as they are easily bullied.

  5. when will education start to take a transcendental leap here in our country? imho, majority of these negative and pessimistic traits are a by-product of a dysfunctional and uneducated parents. parents who never had the chance to go to school or if they did, they were in a depressing condition which hinders learning to take its brilliant toll on them and taken abashed by surviving the sickening conditions of poverty. there are certain traits that should be left to rot in the first place and for me its primarily the utang na loob. I can firmly attest this as lot of people now depend on me for their financial needs. they come up with all the blabber in the world that I now instantly have the responsibility(whether I like or not) to help them out. this creates more room for you to be stuck to where you are and instead of gaining advantage, you then become another brick in the wall.people who suffer from the same scenario. as per ayn rand ‘that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings.’ those who are taking sacrificial offerings will then take the form of complacency. they now begin to take you for granted, take the offerings as mandatorily given every pay day or make you succumb to their needs because of utang na loob. this is just one out of the thousand if not in millions of the vile concepts of our soft ass culture. having that said, we, the people who participates in GRP may have cracked the rosetta code, but then again, how can we have this standard of thinking spread like aldub crazy?

    1. Yes but only partly, utang na loob are common in all developed and rich country. I believed in the essence of give and take…that my friend is a form of utang na loob…that is how business grows and in this new age, they call that networking…so my friend that is not a big factor of the Philippines …. The big factor is and nobody here in BRP are talking about or saying is that the Philippines is a POOR country…No trade , no industrialized capability ..and big part of stealing is because of that…but the politicians who should be the model for change are the number one thiefs…The poor steals for a good reason… they eat and survive…but the politicians steals…….for reason of greed here my friend that is the majority reason of the Philippine problemmmmss……they are POOOOOOORRRRR country…

      1. Do you know the primary industry in the Philippines? It is POLITICS. Once you get into politics and win. If you are in office/power. You could Steal taxpayers’ money/national treasury money, as much as you could and get very rich…

  6. Whoa. Had to stop and convert the whole article into a pdf document so that I can read uninterrupted. But from what I have read so far, this just disse3cts everything most of us Pinoys are behaving. I won’t have to post another comment. Keep this up. Baka sakali may mga di gaano sensitive na makinig. Rakenrol.

  7. Can’t help but read this great article twice. Just want to add something on Point B – Family

    One of the best known reason typical Pinoy parents have kids is so there will be someone who’ll be responsible for them when they retire or became elderly. This cultural trait “utang na loob” is also at work here because it was being imposed by the parents (even grandparents) to their kids. Typical Pinoy parents support their kids growing up and send them to school and once the kids graduated or got a job, the parents stop seeking opportunities to grow and live independently, for them it’s the kids turn to support them, utang loob nila iyon sa kanila for what they did for them when in fact being a parent or having kids naturally comes with responsibility of providing for your children and giving them good education. Aside from the lack of planning in parenthood, typical Pinoy parents also lack planning on what to do once their children have grown.

    Supporting one’s parents (and siblings) even when they can still work or are capable individuals is not being family-oriented but abusing one’s self and as for the members who are asking for not even half but full support, they are merely being selfish. This twisted version of cultural trait of “utang na loob” and being “family-oriented” must go if we want to succeed on having the family as building blocks of our society and for each individual to focus on their growth and make the most of their talents.

    1. I think you have the correct observation, Naknak. But, it is not about throwing the bath with the baby in it, but finding the golden mean — anything in excess is bad.

      1. Yes, of course. To be fair, taking in consideration the dysfunctional system that we have, others can’t help but land in unfortunate circumstances like not having good education that actually is the gist of mediocrity and mediocre life, being a victim of typhoon and not getting exact support that can help them make a rebound from disaster, getting unexpectedly sick or getting caught in an accident that can turn one’s life to the worse, etc. which contribute to being dependent. But I hate to be a softee about it because it’ll never be too late for anyone to start anew, learn new things, and help each other rise instead of putting one’s fate to the hands of the toughest or kindest one in the family or the society. Perhaps what the people are forgetting is that they have a choice, they should choose and when they did, it should be the best choice. Sacrifices are not just done by one body but that of every member in exchange for a better life for everyone. But I’m honestly hanging on to the present and upcoming generation to break the backward traditions. Be truly modern. Filipinos often think that they are modern if they are in the trend or have the most modern stuffs. However being modern is really about thinking differently, questioning and changing the old ways that’s holding progress back.

  8. “thus, their happiness is not deep, it is in the surface — mababaw ang kaligayahan. However, it is happiness they pursue.”

    I know a lot of young workers who work hard and are happy to work for their family, to help in sending their siblings to school, to build a bigger or better house for their parents. Doing that they feel they are already fulfilling their obligations. And if they fulfill their obligations, they are happy. And they have very simple dreams, too. For the males, have a stable job and build a family. For the females, get married and have children. Bigger dreams? Have fully furnished homes, house and lot. Give kids good education then retire. Then kids will support them in return. Then they will just watch teleseryes and funny noontime shows in their free time. What bliss.

  9. If I were to vote, I would intentionally vote for the goofiest candidate. It is my theory that when the people can outwit the leader, the more respected their voices will be.

  10. Thanks for an advanced preview of your upcoming book. This is like attending a class on “Filipino Psyche 201”. So if we buy the book, will it come complete with diagrams and visual aids? 🙂

    The anthill analogy is a good one. Filipinos don’t seem to see the bigger picture – it’s all about “what’s in it for me!!!”

    They think the Job description of the CEO is to entertain them. Did you know that you need to be a good dancer now to win the elections?

    I just finished reading: “The Way Forward: The Path to Inclusive Growth” by FEF President Calixto Chikiamco, which I bought at National lately on the day he launched the book there (except that I was in such a hurry, I didn’t get to hear his talk).

    You both have the same depth of analysis. Keep up the good job in enlightening the zombies.

    I did a talk at a school in my home province a month ago (public service):

    Not as advanced as “Filipino psyche 201” though. Cheers

    1. Sorry to disappoint, zaxx, but no book is forthcoming. It would be a losing proposition in the Philippines. There are more zombies in the anthill called the Philippines, and they are not interested in this kind of books. The money a Filipino author whom I know gets from his book couldn’t even pay for his lunch and monthly electric bills.

      Blogging is better. You are not expecting any financial reward, but the output you produce gives you satisfaction far more rewarding the money. Even if one guy just read it, one is already happy.

      But, thank you for your very kind words. Appreciate it coming from a guy who himself just wrote a great article in GRP and from a guy who has a fantastic web site that has many great ideas. Yup, cheers.

      1. Thanks Add.
        Yeah blogging is surely a fulfilling and effective avenue for our common crusade. I just hope more ants and zombies find their way here – the more minds awakened the better.

  11. i have the book of Alexis De Tocqueville: Democracy in America. it’s still sealed though since i’m reading LKY: 3rd world to 1st.

  12. To paraphrase an expat called FAFI: “democracy doesn’t work if the people are idiots.”

    From the way I see it, the only way the Philippines can prosper is if someone does a complete hostile takeover. So the locals can’t justify their excuse “that’s the way it’s done it the Philippines!” Anymore. Said overlord must have a plan to make the populace follow or face the consequences.

    1. Ricardo_Diaz,

      Democracy does not work for the Filipino people because their value and principles do not match the values and principles of the people who founded Democracy in another country. We Filipinos just adopted the concept of Democracy without truly understanding its meaning—just like what we did for our religion (Catholicism and Protestnism) and westernized way of life. Nothing is original among Filipinos except our tribe-like, feudal attitude and mannerism—which still predominantly encompass our way of life today.


      1. Hence, punishment is needed like beating with a cane, or tied up to a tree with fire ants or a whip. a tribal mind requires tribal punishment.

        1. andrew,

          Tribal (Crab) Mentality is what’s wrong with Filipinos. You can see this feudal mentality in the competitive and oppressive attitude and behavior of our people toward one another. This tribal mentality is confounded even more by the aristocratic (Colonial) mentality of our Spanish and American lineage and heritage.


  13. How on Earth can anyone theink that ‘postponing individual rights in order to implement a personal vision’ is not the very definition of being ‘SELFISH’. IDC what LKY said or did, he was told what to do and say every step of the way, the BS that the ‘greater good’ was what he stood for is the trickery involved in a totalitarian regime appearing as if it is not. A great PR move worthy of Ivy Lee status, but not much else. Ivy Lee, as well as Ayn Rand, were despicable Jews.

    1. Sounds like an anti-semitic rant, Angela. But, I won’t understand where that feeling is coming from one coming from an archpelago remote from Israel.

      It shows you never got interested in getting to know a unique and exceptional man. His vision is now visible, three and a quarter hour away from Manila: Singapore. It is benefiting many, including Filipino diaspora, and that is selfishness? He and his wife had a relatively spartan wife. At the height of his power, his mother maintained her “sari-sari” store, never taking advantage of her son’s political clout. I think, at the end, people have to by judged by results they deliver. PR campaign or not, the result of his vision speaks for itself.

      1. Correction: That’s not spartan wife, but spartan LIFE. And not to by judged, but to BE judged

        Hehehe. I’m still sleepy this Saturday morning. Have a good day, anyway, guys. Had a rough Friday evening.

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