Blame It On Yaya

Israeli girls doing mandatory military service
Israeli girls doing mandatory military service

Let’s admit it. We’re soft. By we, I am talking about us urban middle class and upper-middle class Filipinos. There are many reasons for this, all imbedded in Philippine culture. I submit some obvious ones for your consideration:

1) Growing up with maids – From birth, we have relied on our poorer countrymen to literally wipe our ass. This has made us inutile, dependent, and passive. It also leaves us feeling superior to others. Look at our politicians, including a certain ex-candidate for president who had a “boy alalay” chasing after him, ready to hand water or a wet ones tissue after he goes to the bathroom. How many senoritos and senoritas have servants carrying an umbrella after them to shield their tender, soft skin from the sun? Remember that picture of the Philippine general who rode piggy back on his aide’s back so as not to get his boots wet?

2) Filipino parents are overprotective of their kids – In some countries, once you reach the age of adulthood (generally, ages 18 to 21) you are supposed to leave your parent’s house and strike out on your own. In this country, we still see full grown men being taken care of by their mothers (or their yayas). Some rich scions do not even work, and just live off their parent’s allowance.

Watch when a Filipino toddler falls down and scrapes his knee. The mother panics and shrieks at the yaya; the yaya panics and scrambles to pick up the little senorito. The little senorito bawls like a baby even though he is not really hurt, because…hey, falling down is obviously a big fuss, right? Now look at what happens when a foreigner’s kid falls down. Nothing. They are left to pick themselves up.

3) Our educational system does not impart the correct values – the faults with our upbringing at home are not corrected in school, in fact, the faults are reinforced. Forget meritocracy, our education system teaches us that you can get by on the strength of your last name and family reputation. Professors base their grades on favoritism (usually based on looks and pedigree), and give tests based on memorization of facts instead of understanding of principles.

Such softness and maladjustment actually alienates us from the rest of the country. While us soft upper classes in our elite Catholic schools hone our skills at going to mass, prayer sessions and choir singing, our poorer countrymen are toughened out of necessity. They become Manny Pacquiaos and Hidilyn Diazs. They become seamen and domestic helpers battling the giant twin foes of loneliness and physical danger. They learn sacrifice and get tough; we do not. And so a national dichotomy and disunity is born and perpetuated.

It is not hard to see why such an upper class Filipino upbringing leads to several negative traits easily observed in Philippine society: 1) lack of national identity; 2) loyalty to the family, instead of a broader sense of loyalty to fellow citizens; 3) the inability for critical and independent thought; 4) poor and immature decision making skills; and 5) a feeling of patronage, entitlement and hubris – which in turn translates to impunity (and a whole lot of whining).

What can be done? Does government have a role to play in social engineering?

ROTC seems like a natural solution. In fact, if you look at other countries like Israel, Singapore amd Korea, some form of mandatory military service is used not only for national defense preparedness, but also to foster a national identity and shared experience across social classes.

Since the Philippines has a big population with a professional army, and it is not under immediate external threat from its neighbors like Israel or South Korea, it can arguably afford to not have mandatory military service. Obviously, in modern warfare, manpower needs are less. Still, as mentioned previously, that is not solely what ROTC is for. Singaporeans, for example, see military service as a way to toughen up its new generation of boys that are used to just playing video games in aircon rooms. It is treated as a 2-year rite of passage, and if you don’t do it, you face stiff fines, jail time and no one will hire you.

Remember too that there is currently in place the National Sevice Training Program (NSTP), of which the ROTC is but one of three options. The other two options are community service and literacy service. Since this was way after my time, I can speak about ROTC alone, but my hopes and recommendations should apply to the other two branches as well. God knows, with a professional army and the realities of modern warfare as I mentioned above, the value of an additional reserve soldier should be weighed against the value of another reserve community helper, or another reserve community teacher.

To be successful, ROTC has to be improved and implemented properly. My own recollection was that it was a profound waste of time, made up 98% of marching and drilling in formation during Saturdays. There were two special events: one was when we camped out in the “jungle”, jumped from a 20 foot height into a sandbox, and got lost with our Scout Ranger guide. The other time was when you got to fire a rifle (only one bullet each due to budget constraints). You had to go to one of the army camps, and I was unfortunately absent. Thus I missed one of the two highlights of the whole Philippine ROTC program.

To be successful, ROTC has to be practical. It should emphasize jungle survival skills, disaster preparedness and relief, hand-to-hand combat basics, guerilla tactics and firearms training. There should be an emphasis on basic physical fitness. Given the disaster prone nature of the country, ROTC should be tapped for real world disaster relief. On top of that, and most important, there should be an explanation of why students and citizens are required to do it–which is to defend the homeland and our families. There should be supporting informercials about the Philippine military, its heroes and tradition. To use a “bad word” in the Philippines, there has to be “propaganda” to make ROTC cool.

Proper implementation and rollout are very important. The Philippines should look at the models in other countries and outstanding private programs. For example, The Peace Corps in the US is an interesting model, but instead of going abroad, make it mandatory for college seniors to serve in the Philippine countryside. The Jesuit Volunteers Program (JVP) may be another useful model.

There are so many things that can be done, with a government that has political will (e.g. vouchers to fund a semester of college at public universities in exchange for a semester or two of service as a volunteer teacher or soldier). The country’s youth can be a rich and vast resource in improving the country in the areas of community development, disaster relief, social services and defense preparedness. At the same time, with a properly designed and implemented national program, our pampered youth can learn more about their country and their countrymen. They can be more independent, less pampered, more nationalistic, less whiny, and healthier. Then we will have real adults and real citizens in our middle class and elite, people who have put in real time and effort in nation building, instead of trolling on Facebook.

print

About Charles Englund

Follow or send me an invite on Facebook to keep updated on commentary and new blogposts.

44 Comments on “Blame It On Yaya”

  1. This is , by far, the best piece I read on getreal. You’re spot on with your observation!I hope Duterte reads it. I like your suggestions very much. You’re right sbout the ROTC. It was boring and a waste of time. I did not learn anything new. I hope they revamp it and tske ypur suggestions into consideration should the present admin bring it back.

  2. With the way things are going ( I mean really look around, SEE the news beyond PH ),we are a disarmed and vulnerable generation. Any kind of instability would degrade societies even further. They’ve brought it to Europe for God’s sake.
    Well-adjusted and full individuals don’t come from posh societies. It could just be a case of misplaced value, in that we perceive success to be in the form of external validations ( which doesn’t make sense when the system is skewed to work for the greedy).
    It is timely that the president brought up the idea of returning to the ROTC program or some sort of it. In fact, current circumstances and future prospects call for a militaristic society, like it or not.

  3. This Filipino culture of being brought up by “yayas”, came from the Spanish Colonialist. Mexico and other South American countries, colonized by Spain, have the same culture…

    The Middle Class, can afford to hire maids; hire “yayas”, and other kinds of servants.

    I find Filipinos, even here in the U.S., became “baby sitters” of their grandchildren. They are retired. Instead of enjoying their retirement years. They become Baby Sitters of their grandchildren. Some even petition their , mother or father…so that they can babysit, their children…

    Most of the American family, bring out their children,to be as independent, as they can be…At the age of 21; you have to get out of the family house, and be on your own…

    At an early age: they have sports like: baseball, gymnastics, wrestling, marathon running, etc…

    They have arts also, like: music, literary writing, poetry, playing various musical instruments, etc…

    This is addition to their academics…

    After high school: most join the military, to serve for a few years. After military service. They go to college or university. Uncle Sam pays their tuition, because of their military service. Military service, gives discipline; and toughen the children. They also learn a lot of skills.

    One of the children of my friend, joined the U.S. Marines, became an Aircraft Mechanic. After his military honorable discharge. He got good employment, at Boeing Corporation.

    This culture of “Senyoritos” and “Senyoritas”, is a stupid culture. It makes people very dependent and undisciplined!

    1. I make an oversimplification to make a point of course. It is not only yayas as you point out, that are to blame. Rather a whole culture of privilege founded on the shoulders of our poor countrymen.

      1. @Charles Englund:

        Exactly…thanks for bringing up the subject…it is thought provoking, on what is wrong with us !

    2. In the USA of OLD, what you say was true. BUT TODAY? NO, in the USA over 50% of 25 year olds have to live with their parents or grandparents due to lack of sufficient Middle-Class jobs. Sure, there are lots of ‘Mc-Jobs’ but not nearly enough to support young Men and Women trying to get out in the world and live independently of their families.

      1. Agree with you there. At the risk of generalizing (but I will do it anyway), the newer generation is definitely “softer” than the older one. The world gradually becomes more affluent and kids have many other diversions and less opportunity to learn independence and character.

      2. There weren’t as many choices as in the “USA of Old” as it is in the USA of New. It’s the same way with the rest of the world. Given as many choices we have today–from the brand of skivvies we cover our asses with, to the model of cellphones we fry our brains with, we are always going to pick the easiest and the trendiest of them all. And these wonderful companies, in their respective industries, are going to make sure they charge us a little more each time we want to stroke our egos. So it’s not a matter of working hard at a burger joint to survive; it’s all about finding that next high-paying job in order to keep up with the Smiths and the Joneses.

  4. Good points. There is definitely kid gloves treatment of adults in the Philippines. People do not learn to take care of themselves, and self-reliance is a foreign concept. It amazes me how many people there ask for a handout.

    The previous poster mentioned the babying being from Spanish culture. This may be true because Mexicans have a very similar culture; everything is done in family groups, and personal responsibility is not promoted. It is as if the individual does not matter.

    Financial upper-class individuals are often mal-adjusted, self-important people who have no sense of community or nationalism. These types are the ones on Wall Street (in the U.S.), who have no problem screwing millions of people out of their savings(banker bailout), because they were raised with the me, me, me attitude. Perhaps mandatory military service ought to be required in the Philippines, and elsewhere, to force allegiance to their country. It would also toughen them up. Actually, a boxing gym has this ability as well. Globalists have allegiance to no one; only money and power.

  5. Filipinos had yayas before the Spanish people came: the alipin were in charge of that. Stop blaming the colonial masters for the current shortcomings of our culture.

    1. I don’t think it’s about blaming colonialism for the servants people hire; it’s just about pointing out where it came from. If it was there pre-Spanish era then so be it; I don’t know. Filipinos are to blame for their laziness and immaturity. They need to recognize the crap aspects of their culture and change them; this is assuming they want to. Some Filipinos are not lazy and looking for a handout, so it’s not everyone.

      As long as the Philippine government bows down and grovels at the feet of foreign governments, there will be a colonialist, slave mentality. I appreciate the hospitality and kindness I receive when I visit and I try to be as respectful as I can. I do notice that some people are too servile; just because I am Caucasian does not mean I am better and need to be served. Treat me like anyone else, stop with the slave mentality and develop some self-respect.

      1. I find that too often with my fellow fainoys and I frown upon on these people. It is more to do with colonial mentality; that people of white skin are more superior to us and needs to be served. I find it all too disgusting, no offense to you.
        In my line of work [I am an OFW]I have come across superiors who always ask for pointers going to meetings. The question is; how did they become a group lead/superiors when they don’t know shit.
        Going back to the issue of ROTC and instilling a sense of patriotism to our country, this is quite an uphill battle for the current admin unless this is to be implemented immediately and with big changes from the previous admins. Mine was a total waste of time that I opted to join a varsity instead of marching endlessly..

        1. There is nothing you can do about the Caucasian (“white skin”) race being more superior to us brown, yellow, red, and black skin. History will tell you that the “white skin” have conquered more territories and fought more major wars than the “darker shade” skin.

          Even the way the world sees beauty is define by the angular features of the Caucasian race. Just ask any Filipino who goes “gugu-gaga” over “mestizo” actors and who they send to Miss Universe pageants as their representative. It’s not your local beauty and personality anymore.

          As far as Colonial Mentality is concerned, unless we change our religion, government structure, philosophy, and way of life to something that isn’t “white-fashioned,” we don’t have a chance of ridding ourselves of our “Colonial Mentality” syndrome.

        2. You said nothing offensive. Placing Caucasian people on a pedestal is sick. It’s the subserviant mentality that exists in some Filipinos.

        3. Incompetent people who become “superiors” or group leaders often get there because of nepotism, favoritism or (mainly) kissing ass. Ass-kissers will always move up the ladder; people with work integrity have a more difficult time.

  6. Basically, Filipinos are pompous bastards before, and after, the Spanish came. That pompousness has gotten worst in the last 30 years with ABS-CBN’s brainwashing campaign of “Proud To Be a Filipino” and aristocratic television programs like “Kris T.V.”.

    Also, Filipinos try to live the cosmopolitan lifestyle of high rises condominiums, shopping malls, brand-name automobiles, and widespread consumerism at whatever cost.

    Even some “Yayas” demand a periodic pay raise, benefits, won’t eat leftovers, and will threaten their employers with resigning if their requests are not granted.

    Arrogance and selfishness are inherent qualities among Filipinos.

      1. Bitch, you want to see and experience real poverty, spend some time in war-torn Syria and Somalia. You’ll see then the Philippines is not a poor country.

        The Filipinos had enough agricultural produce to live on prior to 1986, before the Chinese businesses tranformed their fertile farmlands into “concrete jungles” of subdivisions, shopping malls, and other commercial properties.

        Now our arrogant and selfish people have no choice but to enslave themselves to their Chinese masters as OFWs, low-paid “contractual” workers, and turn to a life of crime to keep up and maintain their cosmopolitan lifestyle.

        No siree, the Filipinos are not poor; they are only poor in thinking because they are always trying to compare themselves to the Ayalas, the Lopezes, the Aquinos/Cojuangcos, and other elitists of this country; and will do their damnest best to be like the objects of their envy, even if if it means selling their souls to the devil.

        1. our people wants to join the rat race. they see success if they have a car and a 2 million peso condo unit the size of a small room. lol

  7. My high school Citizen Army Training (CAT) was way more productive than ROTC. During my CAT days we held jungle survival training, rappelling, and other necessary skills.

    ROTC? We just stayed under the scorching sun till noon and be gone.

    1. yeah ROTC is useless. though my CAT days we joined the pinaglaban parade in san juan. erap was the president at that time.

  8. Nothing wrong with Israel’s and South Korea’s conscription programmes.

    Gal Gadot, of all people, used to be a martial-arts instructor in the Israeli Army before modelling and the big screen beckoned. Now she’s going to bring Wonder Woman to global cinemas.

    SoKor’s programme is likewise such that even K-Pop stars also have to render – and endure the same gruelling regimen every Park, Lee and Choi have to go through

  9. The price we paid was the price men have always paid for achieving a paradise in this life–we went soft, we lost our edge.

    1. Notice that all the great powers of the world have deep martial traditions. Military power and prowess in the battlefield and a strong appetite to wage war to protect and EXTEND their national interests accounts for much of the foundation of their greatness.

      1. “…to protect and EXTEND their national interests accounts for much of the foundation of their greatness.”

        It’s just romanticizing hegemony and imperialism on their side of the spectrum but to us “the foundation of their greatness” is also the foundation of their greed!

      2. If we impose “deep martial traditions” in the Philippines, the crooked politicians would be straighter, the rich Chinese would be poorer, and the brainwashed Filipinos would be smarter.

        But then the imposition of “deep martial traditions” would be too demanding for these arrogant and selfish motherfuckers, and they will soon be crying Human Rights violations left and right.

      3. In the case of PH, we have “deep marital traditions” – the likes of which push couples to produce as many walking ATMs as possible to ensure a bright OFW-remittance-filled future while safeguarding the passing of dysfunctional cultural DNA on to the next generation.

        Worlds apart – unless of course Du30 can turn the nation into a progressive discipline-inculcating police state.

        1. Because of course OFWs were passed down from Aguinaldo’s semen down to Duterte’s, despite the economic dislocations responsible for mass Pinoy emigration into greener pastures being of recent duration.

          (And let’s be honest — if Pinoys in general were more prosperous, they’d be far less likely to look for jobs elsewhere — because leaving your family behind hurts, believe it or not — and indeed they were before the latter years of the Marcos regime.)

  10. What a thought provoking article. Kudos to the author, unfortunately, the philippines is a happy go lucky nation. Hates discipline. Toughness and nationalism is a foreign concept to my kababayans. Maybe a drop of 2 nukes to Luzon will wake the pinoys up. I highly doubt it. HOY GISING NA AKING MGA KABABAYANS!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.