Will the Pinoy Way ever work?


The Pinoy Way is that set of behaviors, mannerisms, and cultural idiosyncrasies which have become a staple and hallmark of Filipino culture and society as we see it manifest today.

Filipino culture is seemingly built up on three pillars of dysfunction. This means that all the observed dysfunctional behaviors of Filipinos as of yet (I or other GRP writers have yet to see an exception) can be traced to or can be seen as a manifestation of these three. They are:

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1) Pwede-na-iyanthat’ll do. Filipinos are merely content with satisfying minimum requirements and wallowing in mediocrity.
2) Bahala na – often expressed as “fatalistic behavior”, and roughly translated as “come what may”, it refers to the Filipinos’ tendency to “leave things to fate” instead of taking the time to think things through.
3) Culture of impunity – Filipinos, quite simply, are very tolerant of wrongdoing and rather incapable of keeping in check, for the right reasons, those among their own who exceed the boundaries of what can be considered upright, decent, and civilized behavior.

With those in mind, let’s enumerate certain behavioral tendencies that are readily observable in Filipino society:

1) The me-first attitude – Filipinos express this, for example, through cutting lines, maniacally driving through roads, or perpetually having the mindset of “what’s in it for me” over “what can I contribute to the greater good”. This behavior also prevents them from working together to achieve things that they need to achieve as a society.
2) The pakiusap mentality – as GRP webmaster benign0 has put it, this usually shows itself through, at best, making appeals for consideration that take into account unforeseen circumstances, or at worst, a request to work around established rules.
3) The diskarte mentality – diskarte is a quintessential Filipino term that usually refers to finding a way to get things done (gawan ng paraan), and more often than not it involves skirting rules, laws and procedures that are perceived to be cumbersome, even if they are established and necessary.
4) The victim mentality – Filipinos see themselves as unfortunate victims of circumstance, and are quick to blame their misfortunes on external factors. They also like to pull this card whenever they find themselves on the unfavorable or losing side of an argument. Never mind that there are cases wherein their situations which were a result of a wrong decision that they made.
5) Going through the motions – Filipinos, as a collective, are up to this day and age rather incapable of thinking about and doing things differently. They keep doing the same things over and over and yet expect different results.
6) The culture of entitlement – somewhat related to the me-first attitude. Filipinos like to think that they deserve a better fate, or that they deserve a better government, without putting up the effort and generating the results needed for better things to happen. They think that simply by virtue of being Filipino, good things should happen to them.
7) Pinoy Pride – is something that GRP writers (including yours truly) have written extensively about. The most common manifestation of this is that Filipinos take the accomplishments of individual countrymen, those who succeeded on foreign soil, and attach them to the entire Filipino ethnic group, and try to pass them off as proof that the entire Filipino ethnicity is “great” and “respectable”. Yeah, Manny Pacquiao! Yeah, Pia Wurtzbach!
8) Inability to accept criticism – I don’t think anything more really needs to be said about the Filipinos’ balat-sibuyas tendencies and their paper-thin ego that takes everything personally.

There are many more behavioral tendencies out there that can be mentioned. I leave it as an exercise to the readers to link and these behaviors to and derive them from the three pillars of Filipino cultural dysfunction mentioned at the start of this article.

Now comes the obvious question:

What are Filipinos going to do differently in the coming years?

This is something to take into consideration, all the more important in 2016 because it is an election year. Filipinos will take to the polls once again to wield the power of the vote and to show what Filipino democracy is (or isn’t) capable of. They had a chance to do things right six years ago, when the pool of candidates seemed to be much more qualified. This time, the list of candidates seems to read like a bunch of buffoons and a contest to see who deserve to be called Dumb and Dumber.

As has been stressed here in GRP many times over, problems cannot be solved using the same thinking that creates and propagates them.

Indeed, the Force seems strong with Filipinos this time, but it is the Force of Stupid. Nah, let’s just call it the Dumb Side of the Force.

[Photo courtesy: simplyhealthchiropractic.com and Bahay Kwentista ]

10 Replies to “Will the Pinoy Way ever work?”

  1. “Do not underestimate the power of the dumb side of the force.” – Darth… PNoy(?) (When his apprentice Mar is feels losing).

    or Dark, I mean Darth Binay?

  2. I would like to add a few things of which I think (I am quite sure about it) why the Philippines will remain what and who they are: backward, dysfunctional, a poor 3rd world country for centuries to come.

    a) high context culture versus low context culture.
    b) the number of people that are so religious
    (according to Wikipedia, +/- 95% of the total population is religious).
    c) utang na loob.
    d) being so obsessively family focused/centered/oriented.
    e) the obsessively culture of and definition of the word respect.
    g) conformity versus individuality.
    h) not being able (or not wanting) to follow the path of Maslow’s pyramid.
    i) the concept of Hiya.
    j) stupid, backward laws and constitution (no divorce, no abortion)

    Confrontative surface values
    Bahala Na: Bahala Na translates literally as “leave it up to God (Bathala)” and it is used as an expression, almost universally, in Filipino culture. Filipinos engage in the bahala na attitude as a culture-influenced adaptive coping strategy when faced with challenging situations.

  3. Bad Habits are hard to break. Much more, the bad behaviors of many of us. Our culture has many negative characteristics in it. Maybe, it was because, we were colonized. The colonizers, were the criminals/misfits in their country. And, we emulated them.

    Is there a way, we can improve ourselves? This is a 64 pesos question; at Aquino’s runaway economy inflationary rate.

    Yes, we can improve; if we want to improve ourselves. Discard what is not working in us. Add what works in us. It is that easy. However, the mind may be willing; but the “body” and our bad attitudes do not want to give way, to what the mind wants.

  4. making the pilipinos happy??? jail all turncoats in political arena and the media.
    the senate report on mamasapano massacre under Grace Poe, is confidential as of now. it doesn’t mean sparing someone. it will come out soon.

  5. I’VE heard it said that ” IF IT HARMS NO ONE, DO WHAT YOU WILL “, is a good starting point in considering reformatting one’s consciousness. For it is true that the contents of one’s mind is his or her consciousness and we are a consciousness. And let me stress that ” HARMS NO ONE ” means not to harm any member of the 4 kingdoms of nature namely the MINERALS, PLANTS, ANIMALS AND HUMAN BEINGS! THIS HAS EVER BEEN THE TEACHING OF THE ANCIENTS OR THE WISDOM AS THE GODS KNOW IT. The article detailing the throw back of the kind of thinking indulged in by a large majority of us Filipinos are elucidations of the said slogan of the ancients whom the ROMAN CHURCH gave the name PAGAN. THE ANCIENT KNOW THAT THERE’S ONLY ONE LIFE COURSING THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE, THUS, EVERY BEING IS RELATED WITH EVERYONE ELSE. THIS I THINK IS THE KIND OF THINKING WE SHOULD EXPLORE TO BRING HOME THE POINT OF A NEED FOR A QUANTUM LEAP FOR OUR CONSCIOUSNESS. I THINK THAT ABSENT THIS ALL MEASURES ARE ONLY PALLIATIVE.

  6. There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as ‘moral indignation,’ which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.

  7. how do you go about this:
    I have a delivery truck, all over manila are anti- smoke belching groups. we religiously, regularly, had our oil changed, filters and exhaust ducts cleaned, but are still caught exceeding the allowed emission. we can’t argue with them, can we? We have a delivery to make, we cant run around with one plate missing. They accept bribe for sure. Pakiusap, lagay or whatever you want to call it. Do we have an option? Can we call senator Legarda, MMDA, DENR, Mayors of each Cities here in M.Manila to complain? The best solution for now (until i hear from you) is BRIBE!

    1. Well, you COULD try getting your truck fixed.

      As far as I can tell, the country has some of the most lax environmental standards on the planet. It shouldn’t be that hard to comply with them.

      To be fair, part of the problem is that good-quality equipment is simply not allowed into the country. Want to buy a state-of-the-art European-spec diesel engine? Too bad. Not allowed. BOC says so. Here’s a nice Chinese version instead. It’s cheaper. See how the government looks out for your interests?

      Nevermind that the Chinese engine costs 50% more to run over its lifetime, which is 50% shorter than the European one. Don’t forget to vote for us at the next election!

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