3 SELFish Aspects Of Pinoy Culture That Prevent Progress

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Ladies and gentlemen, before I begin another scathing article, let me tell you that just about two or three years ago, I was afflicted with just about the same amount of selfishness as some of our most hated politicians of the LP today. Indeed, I’m willing to admit that back then, I was every bit the typical Pinoy with the tendency to trumpet “Proud to be Pinoy” at every turn and had little to show as an individual and I was guilty of all three points I’m writing about here. However, a series of tragedies changed me on a deep and fundamental level and I became something more than just the whiny spoiled brat I once was.

SELF-Pity

“Nakakaawa ako! Maawa ka sa akin!” (I am so pitiful! Pity me!)

~A line attributed to one of our many commenters here in GRP

This is the default mindset of many typical Pinoys, especially the poor. For many Pinoys, suffering is seen as a sign of saintliness and that is why, more often than not, we side with underdog even when the underdog has neither the moral high ground nor the qualifications to deserve our support. This is also all further supported by many of our local shows wherein the downtrodden protagonist is made to look “heroic” even though they seem somewhat indolent or weak upon closer inspection because they fail to make a stand for themselves or fight for the good that they believe in.

victim_mentality

Of course, as already mentioned above, I once subscribed to the same beliefs and was often saddled with self-pity and the inability to move on from being a victim. However, when I learned to put aside self-pity due to past grievances and worked instead towards addressing problems of the present, I saw a gradual but significant change in the way I saw the world and the way the world saw me. Not only was I able to make steps towards progress but more people came along to help me on that path to becoming better not just emotionally but morally as well. Whatever the case, it was only when I stopped pitying myself and my situation that I began to see myself as something more and not just as a man who can make his own way in the world but also someone who can make a difference.

And remember, while life may suck for you at any given time and, believe me, I still have those days every now and again, there will always be those who are probably in a worse predicament than you. One of the things that helped me put aside my self-pity was when I saw a little girl selling flowers at a church near where I live. She was just a poor little girl with rags for clothes and was the inspiration for my work “Girl in the Gutter” as she was, sadly, the victim of a hit and run. Sadder still was the fact that the person who ran down the poor girl was a high-ranking police officer and the case was quickly dropped. That day, I realized how self-centered I really was and that pitying myself was just an insult to unfortunates like the little girl who deserved a lot better than what happened to her.

Never forget that if you can stop pitying yourself and stand up for what’s right, you can do things that can make others truly love you and not just feel sorry for you…

SELF-Entitlement

Self-entitlement which can easily go together with self-importance and often goes hand in hand with self-pity above. This is the thought that one deserves something without putting in the effort to actually prove their case. The best example for this are inept political candidates who seem to think that they’re God’s gift to the Filipino people when they have done nothing to actually help the situation of the people they intend on ruling.

Truth be told though, I once ascribed to the same belief just as I was once a wreck saddled with self-pity. However, the tragedies of my life proved to me that nothing in this world is ever really permanent and if we want them to last or at least leave a lasting memory, we need to put some effort in what we do. Simply believing that you deserve something doesn’t mean that it really does. It is through determination, patience and, most importantly, will that will get us what we truly deserve in this life and not whining about wasted efforts

Also, for those romantics out there, love of another person is earned through effort and is not something that is gained by default. You can be rich, smart, strong or beautiful but if you fail to show your love for someone, then don’t expect that person to return your feelings for them. Lastly, remember that a person’s love is something that is given freely and, if the person you love chooses not to return your affection, you have no right to force them into anything.

SELF-Righteousness

Ah, the “I am always right!” concept and is perhaps the greatest obstacle to progress in the Philippines. Also, like self-pity above, I think this is all too often encouraged by the local media which champions “black and white morality” (everyone is either all bad or all good with hardly anything in between) as the protagonists of local shows are designated as “good” even though they appear either too naive or careless to be right and proper “heroes”. Thanks to this flawed way of thinking, majority of Pinoys have failed again and again to improve themselves because they will not allow themselves to accept their own mistakes.

In real life ladies and gentlemen, people are all too often shades of gray or a whole plethora of colors rather than solid black and white. By acknowledging one’s mistakes, inadequacies and wrongdoings, one can gain the chance to correct and improve oneself.

Remember that the worst of people in history like Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Masonobu Tsuji were people who never once questioned their motives and morality as they saw themselves as righteous even as their hapless victims died cruel deaths at their hands.

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30 Comments on “3 SELFish Aspects Of Pinoy Culture That Prevent Progress”

  1. Mr. Grimwald…let us have a “pity party”…
    My late father, told me a good story, about a man who have no shoes. ” I cried, because, I have no shoes, until I met a man, without a feet”…

    No matter what your situation is; there will always be people, in worse situation than you. Help others, the self pity on you will depart.

    Self righteousness is more of a pride. You assume that you cannot go wrong. It is in knowing our weaknesses and strength, that , we grow. You don’t have the monopoly of knowledge. So, learn from others. They have something to teach you…

  2. reading all these posts, I just keep wondering, if you keep insulting these “Fliptards” … are you leaving this country and filing for another country’s citizenship? what is stopping you? why don’t you leave and find greener pastures ..I don’t see you doing anything good (except complain about Filipino traits, customs, etc.) The “holier-than-thou” attitude rubs people the wrong way … maybe I am wrong you guys do something good for the people (we wouldn;t know) but all these complains doesn’t help …

    1. Bob,

      You’re wrong on all counts. “Repetition is the mother of all skills.” What I’m doing is drill my message into my thick-skulled and “self-centered” (Davy) people, that the root of their country’s problems is not only external (other countries and people’s faults), but also internal (their own faults).

      Once my “self-righteous” people realize–and humbly accept–that their aristocratic (arrogant) and selfish (self-serving) ways are the main culprits of their nation’s problems, then perhaps they will start doing something to change their country-destructive attitude and way of life.

      I don’t know what you’re sore about. Am I hitting a nerve somewhere in your ego that made you think I am “complaining” when I talk about what I believe is wrong with my people?

      Complaining and reasoning do not help when it comes to getting through to Failipinos; they will continue to validate and justify whatever it is they say and do. Being “in your face” and “calling spade a spade” do.

      Here is an example that might enlighten you on what I am doing.

      A British newspaper once wrote G.K. Chesterton (a 20th English philosopher) a letter:

      “Dear Mr. Chesterton, what is wrong with the world?”

      Mr. Chesterton promptly replied.

      “Dear Sirs, I Am.”

      If enough Failipino simply applied what G.K. Chesterton’s message literally, then perhaps it will change the current course the Failipinos are on for a better future for their country. Until that important change happens, the Failippines is just swimming in a bathtub full of water, that leads to nowhere, waiting to sink.

      Aeta

    2. [Corrected Version]

      Bob,

      You’re wrong on all counts. “Repetition is the mother of all skills.” What I’m doing is drill my message into my thick-skulled and “self-centered” (Davy) people, that the root of their country’s problems is not only external (other countries and people’s faults), but also internal (their own faults).

      Once my “self-righteous” people realize–and humbly accept–that their aristocratic (arrogant) and selfish (self-serving) ways are the main culprits of their nation’s problems, then perhaps they will start doing something to change their country-destructive attitude and way of life.

      I don’t know what you’re sore about. Am I hitting a nerve somewhere in your ego that made you think I am “complaining” when I talk about what I believe is wrong with my people?

      Complaining and reasoning do not help when it comes to getting through to Failipinos; they will continue to validate and justify whatever it is they say and do. Being “in your face” and “calling spade a spade” do.

      Here is an example that might enlighten you on what I am doing.

      A British newspaper once wrote G.K. Chesterton (a 20th English philosopher) a letter:

      “Dear Mr. Chesterton, what is wrong with the world?”

      Mr. Chesterton promptly replied.

      “Dear Sirs, I Am.”

      If enough Failipino simply applied what G.K. Chesterton’s message meant literally, then perhaps it will change the current course the Failipinos are on and ensure a better future for their country. Until that important change happens, the Failippines is just swimming in a bathtub full of water, that leads to nowhere, waiting to sink.

      Aeta

      1. Aeta: Chesterton was actually a popular author, not a philospher. The newspaper’s question prompted him to write a book (which is only partially tongue-in-cheek) entitled ‘What’s Wrong With The World’. It’s still in print. Filipinos might find it interesting: Chesterton was a Catholic and many of his ideas are sympathetic to Catholic philosophy.

        1. Long time ago , his fictional priest that solved murders was made into a TV series with Richie Cunningham’s father whose sidekick was a hot nun.

        2. Marius,

          It doesn’t really matter if Chesterton was an author or a philosopher? His published work (which makes him an author) was based out of his own philisophy–Catholic or not (which makes him a philosopher). I think you’re nitpicking this one.

          Aeta

  3. Question, where is the national pride in this country? The country has been one of the top retirement destinations for years. It actually used to be a place that the Chinese and Koreans immigrated to for a better life, after the wars in Asia. I think the problem here in this country is that somewhere, the traitors of this country started filling people’s heads with dreams. I know many people that go overseas work and retire that never come back to the Philippines which is not logical at all. My pension in America requires me to get another job and work for the rest of my life in America, because my ex wife receives 2/3 of my retirement pension. My American pension here allows me to live a okay life without ever having to work again. I also get to follow my dream of going back to university here and actually getting a doctoral degree. I have many friends that are from the Philippines that retired from the USA military like me. They now live the retired life working another job in America, just have a comfortable life. I always ask why not go back to the Philippines where your US military pension would enable you to have an very nice life? The answers to this question all varies, but the bottom line is simple. They rather stay away from their home country and live a hard life than come back to their home country and enjoy a nice retirement life where they could do everything from opening a business or just sit on their butt all day long.

  4. I believe the practice ( for pinoys like Grimwald and many writers of GRP) of the moral imperative of not doing unto others what we do not want others done on us would relieve them of any guilt towards themselves or derision( contempt, this feeling or holier than thou attitude,feeling of being on the higher moral or intellectual level, etc etc) towards their fellow pinoys.

    Humility and positive assertiveness are my two suggestions for any writer to communicate effectively to be able to convince the reader to act proactively and productively.

    1. Boggs Lee,

      First you have to get past the arrogance and selfish egos of the Failipino people before you can suggest “humility” and “positive assertiveness” as alternatives for reforming the Failippines. Others have tried and it is like trying break down a concrete wall with a wooden baseball bat.

      Just look at the difference opinions on GRP on what needs to happen to the Failippines. Instead of everyone trying to agree to disagree, it seems as if everyone is bent towards disagreeing to disagree even further. Well, multiply that scenario over a hundred million times and you have clear picture of the Failipino people in the Failippines and throughout the world.

      Nope, I say the best strategy to get the Failipino people to wake up from their self-manifested delusions is to “call spade a spade” and the “in your face” approach of making them realize that their arrogant and selfish nature are destroying their country and their relationships with one another.

      Aeta

  5. Plus instead of helping one another, Filipinos try to pull each other down.

    Well, what can you expect from inhabitants of a shithole archipelago? We should change the national animal to what best reflects the Pinoy talanka psyche…

    shellfish

    any aquatic invertebrate having a shell or shell-like carapace, esp such an animal used as human food. Examples are crustaceans such as CRABS and lobsters and molluscs such as oysters

    1. zaxx,

      That’s a good one. Instead of having the Failippine eagle as the national bird of the Failippines, we’ll replace it with a “crab” to represent the crab mentality of the people.

      May I also suggest replacing the golden-yellow sun on the Failippine flag with a yellow crab. We just have to remember to add 8 tentacles on that yellow crab, to represent the 8 primary rays on the golden-yellow sun of the current flag.

      I don’t think the Failipinos will be able to tell the difference; they’re already very familiar with crab mentality since it’s an everyday part of their lives.

      Aeta

      Aeta

        1. Grimwald,

          “Eight pointed CHAOS star should stay”? That would make for a retarded-looking Failippine flag: a yellow-golden crab in place of the yellow-golden sun, with “eight pointed CHAOS star” around it.

          Well, since we’re talking about ‘Fliptards’ here, whose only purpose in life is to preserve their aristocratic arrogance and selfishness, regardless of what happens to their country and their people, I don’t think anyone will raise a cane on the physical deformity of the yellow-golden crab with “eight pointed CHAOS star” protuding from its body.

          “CHAOS,” afterall, is such a fitting description for the way of life of ‘Fliptards.’

          Aeta

        2. zaxx,

          Love it! The new Failippine flag:

          Shellfish + Selfish + Chaos = the new ‘Fliptard’ flag.

          Aeta

        3. Glad you liked it Aeta. And Pinoys should never forget how much they owe the triumvirate of Filipino zombification (Cory, PNoy, Kris) which the 3 Yellow stars stand for.

    2. zaxx,

      That’s a good one. Instead of having the Failippine eagle as the national bird of the Failippines, we’ll replace it with a “crab” to represent the crab mentality of the people.

      May I also suggest replacing the golden-yellow sun on the Failippine flag with a yellow crab. We just have to remember to add 8 tentacles on that yellow crab, to represent the 8 primary rays on the golden-yellow sun of the current flag.

      I don’t think the Failipinos will be able to tell the difference; they’re already very familiar with crab mentality since it’s an everyday part of their lives.

      Aeta

    3. zaxx,

      That’s a good one. Instead of having the Failippine eagle as the national bird of the Failippines, we’ll replace it with a “crab” to represent the crab mentality of the people.

      May I also suggest replacing the golden-yellow sun on the Failippine flag with a yellow crab. We just have to remember to add 8 legs on that yellow crab, to represent the 8 primary rays on the golden-yellow sun of the current flag.

      I don’t think the Failipinos will be able to tell the difference; they’re already very familiar with crab mentality since it’s an everyday part of their lives.

      Aeta

  6. Can someone write about the Filipinos escapism? Like the one commented by William, he said he met some expats in the US and they said that they rather stay and work in the US than to come back to Philippines. The question is why? I don’t see the logic in it.

    They can surely live a comfortable retired life as they have a dollar pensions. It’s mind blowing.

    1. Dusk, I would pay top dollar to read an article about how the Filipino escapism is destroying this country by having people not bringing their skills or money back to their home country. It is very logical and cost effective for OFW’s to come back home and spend their retirement days here in the Philippines. I fear a article about the Filipino Escapism will never be written, because it will hurt many people’s feelings and expose them as traitors to their own home country.

      1. Dusk and William E. Jackson,

        I, for one, came back after spending years abroad and have tried starting two or three businesses. I ended up closing all my doors because the local government officials wanted to be greased all the time, my business suppliers keep raising their prices because there is no price regulation, I cannot turn my back on my employees because they were stealing from me, relatives I have never heard of are coming out of the woodwork to ask for help, and my neighbors were envious and probably plotting against me because I had a businesses and they did not.

        Yes, you can live a nice, comfortable life in this country if you have a generous pension and keep to yourself; but, as soon as you try to start a new family or a business on a limited pension, you’ll run the risk of spreading your pension thin or losing your shirt due to all of those problems I had mentioned above.

        The reason OFWs do not want to start businesses in the Failippines is because they do not make enough to start one, they do not have anyone trustworthy enough to whom they can leave their business to while they are gone, their money gets tied up on their families’ day-to-day needs; or, these OFWs are simply not business-minded at all and just want to work abroad—at least until their children are finished with school and on their own, or, they can no longer do so due to illness or death.

        Aeta

        1. Aeta, you tried to run a business and that is great with me. Let me give you a example of the traitors to your country, that I am talking about. I served in the USA military with many Filipinos who retired. The average retirement pay in the USA military is $4,500 US dollars a month. Filipinos make up 22% of the USA military immigrants and almost 5% percent of the total USA military. They are the largest group of foreign born immigrants in the military. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/immigrants-us-armed-forces#7 Only 7% of the USA reitred military, Filipinos will come back to the Philippines to retire. Now, please tell me your answer truthfully. How is it that many retired USA military American born citizens come to the Philippines to retire and live a nice life; but USA military Filipino born citizens living on a pension on average of $4,500 US dollars a month cannot figure out how to retire and live in the country that they grew up in?

        2. @Aeta, So by then basically you are saying that there isn’t much of a choice for the Filipino expats to come back to their homeland and have a decent life without anyone trying to destroy their way of life?

          That is truly disturbing, so then if you came back you can’t even sleep at night because you were thinking who will stab you next? So I can say that the saying “No man is an Island” can be applied to the Philippines. Because everyone is his and her own Island. Nobody trust one another, even their own blood.

        3. Gonna correct the last part, the one with the Island I meant it’s “everybody for himself”. Got confused with all this.

        4. William E. Jackson,

          Okay, if you are talking about Failipino expats living in the U.S. and now receiving pension then that is a different story than the OFWs to other countries who have very limited financial choices.

          These U.S. based Failipino expats have a different frame of mind because they live in what is considered the “land of milk and honey,” since the U.S. has been a dumping ground for most Failipinos who migrated out of the Failippines since the late 1800s. Moving back to the Failippines is considered a step down from a convenient life in the U.S, according to most Failipinos’ standards.

          According to the 2010 census, there are over 3.4 million Failipinos now living in the U.S. Even if the U.S.based Failipino military retirement is about $4,500 a month, the majority still refuse to move back to the Failippines to retire because their children are living in the U.S. and have already invested so much in the life in this country to walk away from .

          Not only that, but these Failipino military retirees’ (who are mostly men) have wives who do not see the practicality of moving back to their homeland, where their social security income are reduced and Medicare benefits stops. But these wives biggest fear is the thought of having to deal with the prospect of having their husbands cheat on them with a much younger women.

          After all, being a pensioner in the Failippines—especially a military retirees with a monthly pension of about $4,500—is not something to balk at. So even if these military retirees are not too attractive and old, they are still considered a good catch to Failipina women who are looking for financial security than love.

          Aeta

        5. Dusk,

          That’s about right. It is becoming more and more expensive–and dangerous–to live in the Failippines due to the rising cost of living, with local industries unable to provide jobs to the population to off-set inflation, so the people have to resort to any means possible (including engaging in illegal and unethical activities) to survive.

          You’re damn right I cannot sleep at night and worried about my family’s safety. I live in fairly decent home, drive a fairly decent car, formerly owned businesses, and my wife and kids do not look like they are about to go hungry any time soon.

          At the same time I’m surrounded by people from all walks of life—some I know and care about, and some I don’t want to know because of the dubiousness of their characters—which I have personally experienced and observed after living in this country for so many years.

          Just a few month ago an elderly couple’s home in my neighborhood was ransacked by armed thugs while the owners and maids were held at gunpoint. The police never caught the thugs who were responsible for this crime but everyone suspected it was an “inside job”; there were no signs of forced entry, as if someone deliberately left the front door unlocked and allowed these assholes in.

          So, this “no man is an island” only works if the people around you are willing to contribute to the cause of everyone’s survival. No such beliefs and practice exist in the Failippines, where it is “every man [or woman] for himself” and to hell with everyone else.

          Aeta

  7. We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.

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