Among the triumphalist hogwash we’ve long been attacking is the idea that we are a special people. That kind of mentality is often embraced under the assumption that it is necessary for love of country. That is wrong, and “feeling special” actually does us more harm than good. It is one of those placebos that make us focus on something for its own sake and make us forget tackling problems head-on. It all seems based on a lot of old-fashioned and erroneous beliefs Filipinos have about themselves, which I deconstruct and de-mythify below.
1. Believing that talent or “being special” is in the blood – I busted that myth in an earlier article. Talent is quick self-learning plus practice. In terms of nations, Filipinos have no more special talents than others, because if you observe other countries’ talent shows, they are just as talented. In sports, we may have talent, but beating others is a matter of skill, training and grit – and luck (as demonstrated when our basketball teams get trashed by giants). I also see talent as more a personal thing, not based on your ancestry or group affiliation – unless that group offers you the chance to have grueling training.
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The talent-in-blood belief is likely an offshoot of the old ideas about setting people apart in terms of rulers and followers. The “rulers” try to justify their ruling by conjuring rationales about why they are superior to their followers; among these rationales is talent. However, a rationale is not always the truth. It is often baloney that people package in the guise of “truth” as the basis they use to force other people under their will. Thinking of oneself as superior is not only arrogance; it is in fact one of the causes of exploitation and racism. Remaining under this archaic mindset has kept Filipinos backward.
Filipinos should reorient their beliefs about talent to being a product of nurture than nature, because that is what modern research has been saying. But let’s not forget one important thing: if you’re “talented” but just sit on your ass doing nothing, you don’t deserve to be recognized or given anything. Talent is proven only by actual results – so get off your butt and make them.
2. We are not a specially oppressed people. Colonization may have left some bad effects and was exploitative, but it also did some good. We were given science and technology, which helped improve food, health and educational systems, to name a few areas. As our bloggers have said before, colonizers helped develop our country and propel it into the modern age. Other colonized societies like Singapore and Hong Kong stopped blaming their “oppressors” and instead developed themselves without raising any “I’m oppressed” or “I need aid” whining.
The idea of colonizers owing us because they “oppressed” us is just an attempt at mooching through moral blackmail. The idea of being “oppressed” is questionable, and it is likely to be more truthful that Filipinos oppress each other more than foreigners do (My Family’s Slave, hello!). Also being “oppressed” doesn’t give us license to mooch on the colonizers. That is exploitation in itself.
And about slavery… other countries may have had slavery, but we’re no better. Not only with My Family’s slave; slavery continues in how badly employers treat employees, how our culture of having house help has made us soft and in how indigenous people are treated. I have also heard that some actual slavery still occurs in the provinces. We would be special in violating human rights with how our traditional culture works.
Filipinos seem to hold the harmful belief that when they feel like they lack something, or it was taken from them, they have the right to take it from others. They may also believe that they have a right to make others sacrifice or suffer for them. These are what toxic people do.
Filipinos, or anybody for that matter, do not deserve comfortable lives for nothing. We deserve no special favors or any special treatment. The world owes Filipinos nothing. Filipinos owe it to themselves to bring themselves out of their predicament.
3. We have no moral ascendancy above other cultures. Our priests may claim we have close-knit families as an advantage, but that is also abused by mooching. In OFWism, lazy family members just depend on the “blessings” of their OFW benefactors. That sure puts a dent in our “close-knitness.” Filipinos are not the only ones to have loving families. Good family values exist in other cultures, and it’s more a function of individual cases than being attributed to the culture. In fact, the dark side of Filipino family values is authoritarianism, with parents who want their children to be their servants and ATMs, and will even hurt and abuse their children to “discipline” them.
Bayanihan, pakisama and whatever “special Filipino” traits you can name do exist in other countries too, though by other names. For example, the recent eruption of Kilauea saw Hawaiians help each other and give food and supplies in their own version of “Bayanihan.” Even resilience is not exclusive to Filipinos. In a sense, those traits are actually humanity-wide adaptive features for survival. They are not confined to any one people, and people practicing them aren’t special. They just do what human beings should do.
The Arrogance of “Specialness”
Claiming to be a special people is an act of arrogance. We are not indispensable. Since other cultures can have the same qualities we do, we are not unique. To claim to be indispensible is a strong overestimation of oneself, and indicates a bloated ego. And a bloated ego can actually be an indication of insecurity.
People will say, you are a traitor if you don’t support this, we should be proud! But some readers have pointed out that being arrogant is different from being proud. Being genuinely proud does not need boasting to others or imposing oneself on others. Being proud is best not said, and is better expressed in action (saying: actions speak louder than words). As I have written before, you can be happy with yourself without validation from others about being “great.”
We are not special. In truth, no one is any more special than the other. Any claim of any nation, culture or society to be better than others is arrogant and disastrous. It is the opposite of what many nations and cultures have declared acceptance of, such as human rights and peaceful cooperation – a declaration we agreed to be part of.
In the modern age, we are supposed to embrace a universal acceptance of equality and egalitarianism that fosters respect for all people. Filipino culture however is stuck in the medieval-colonial age mindset that if someone is special, they should rule over others. Filipinos hope to find themselves as these special rulers over others, but reality often comes in to bite them back and bring them down to earth. Overcoming this delusion is an important step in turning around the fate of this country, as without it, we will always be trapped in a Matrix of our own making.
I believe, as my cohorts here do, that what Filipinos embrace as their culture is what actually pulls the country down. And those who seem to be anti-dictators, who may also believe themselves to be “heroes,” are the real dictators.
13 Replies to “Why Filipinos are never a Special People”
Same thing you see every day. Entitlement. BASTA PINOY DA BEST. The pinoy is talented in one thing. Leaving trash wherever they go and ignoring every sign there is to ignore. Pinoys are not good in international basketball because there are rules. This lack of discipline is apparent in history. We have never conquered a country nor have we repelled an invader. Of course people are proud of the texting capital of the world. We can be proud of that.
Whereya been Gogs, good to see ya. people are NOT special. some have top notch talents but anyone that thinks they are special, exceptional ir chosen, are usually just arrogant.
Look at the JOOZ, they are murdeers, not special.
With due respect, I think you put way too much blame on the individual for his failures.
Filipinos do work hard and abide by the law… in other countries. If they don’t abide they are certainly more conscious of it and are even afraid. Why this isn’t much the case at home makes one think.
The flaws you have described are pretty common to people everywhere when there isn’t an overseeing force strong enough to make them disciplined. (I think even Japan was no better than today’s Syria back in the day. People even used to dump human waste on London streets.)
You might be downplaying the power of a bad example. People follow the lead of their elites. If the culture was backward, you should check the trendsetters.
It is true that men should learn to better themselves. But do you actually expect they will do it on their own just because they read about it even if their leaders and peers are not shaping up? Likely only a handful have that sort of initiative.
One must acknowledge that personal effort and virtue is less effective in an environment of limited opportunities and compromised institutions such as a third world country. Which compels many Filipinos to accept being migrant workers, but if there is anyone glorifying the migrant life, it probably isn’t the migrant.
But now under the new government changes are made and the tired old yellow guard is being swept aside by the people. Maybe we should just stand back and allow the reforms to play out rather than lambast the person for the backwardness of his country.
I doubt too much blame on the individual for their failures is wrong. If there’s a job available, but they don’t want to work, the blame can’t go to someone else. Of course, I know not all Filipinos are like this, but there is so much of the negative side that they already make up a significant part of the population. And, as webmaster Benign0 says, if they number enough, then a generalization gets more support.
When it comes to OFWs always being compliant to laws, there’s actually another article on this blog that says otherwise.
I believe the influence of elites on ordinary people is overrated. I believe the elites are just scapegoats for people’s habits. People do what they want, and if they’re told to change their habits that they formed on their own, they will be quick to point to elites. It’s passing the buck. Also, there were “elites” that were once ordinary people. Such as those who became politicians through a break. I always believe the habits of a people originate bottom-up, not top-down. Changes in people and individuals can’t always be relied on government, it’s the culture and media that are more influential on this. And I don’t see the media as “elites,” they merely pander to what people want. For example, the mooching and wanting to receive blessings without any work, or being a “secret child” of a rich person are wishes already among poor people, and the local TV shows just pick them up and encourage them.
I do agree we should let the new government proceed with its changes, but the root of our problems still lie in our culture and individual habits. Changes are best encouraged through groups that operate at the grassroots level.
Everybody is created unique, maybe , in some other ways:” special”. All of us has talent, skill, knowledge and abilities to contribute to humanity. Thinking that Filipinos are special, is arrogance and braggadocio, that borders to delusion and priggishness. We are overly convinced of our own superiority and importance…Why were we colonized by colonial masters, if we are that special ?
It is like the, Jews, who call themselves: “God chosen people”. It was unfortunate that the German Nazis, murdered six million of them in Germany, during World War II. If they were , ” God chosen people”, why would God allowed them to be murdered in Gas Chambers by the German Nazis ?
Maybe, calling ourselves: “special people”, make us feel better of being, OFW s, working in foreign countries, as household helps, laborers, etc.. We are abused, underpaid, overworked, and even murdered by our foreign employers.
And by the way, special people cannot be OFWs. Special people do not send their best brains , to work in foreign countries. Special people do not allow brain drain, to happen in their country. Special people do not steal from their National Treasury. Special people do not cheat in elections, by SMARTMATIC and HOCUS PCOS.
Of course, all dwellers of this Planet Earth are God’s special people, because , we are all humans, living on this this Planet Earth, our home.
You read too many lying history books, there are no real body counts and NO EVIDENCE to support the claims made by Israelis that 6 Million of them were murdered by Hitler, many perished from dysentery, measeles, etc etc as did many other people, not just the JOOZ, you believe what you are told too easily
Visit the Death Camp at Auswitch in Poland. The Death Camp is still there standing, with the buildings, and the gate, welcoming you, the sign : “Work makes men Free”, in German; the railroad tracts and the crematoriums. View the documentary movies of the liberation of those Death Camps, by Gen. Eisenhower, and the Allied Forces … You are a Holocaust denier. View the documentary movie of the Nazi War Criminals, Judgement at Nuremberg, Germany, where those Nazis, responsible to the Holocaust, were tried, by the allies military judges .Maybe, you are , a Neo Nazi. “Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it”, from the historian Philosopher ,
SO WHAT,? YOU NEED DOCUMENTES, WHO DIED? ‘HOLOCAUST DENIER’ BWAH HAH HAH HA !No, see what I wrote, there needs to be a Death Certificate, to prove a death…….THE GERMAN ARMY KEPT DETAILED RECORDS ABOUT EVERYONE THAT DIED IN THEIR CUSTODY, BUT NO ONE IS EVER ALLOWED ACCESS TO THE RECORDS.
THE JOOZ ARE NOW COMMITTING GENOCIDE AGAINST THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE, and the entire Western Media is acting as if it is NOT HAPPENING..
THE NUREMBURG TRIALS WERE SHAM TRIALS, IT IS WELL DOCUMENTED, THEY WERE KANGAROO COURTS AND THOSE “ON TRIAL” were put on trial without any evidence what-so-ever.
As far as history repeating itself, seeing some of the So-called Elite Jooz being ‘PUT DOWN’ is something I would have no problem with, Netenyoohoo especially, and his entire scumbag family.
I have some dcumented evidence I will post right here IF youbrespond to this, as far as 6 million death certificates go, of dead JOOZ, I BET YOU CANT PRODUCE THEN, CAN YOU ?
Murderers don’t document their murders. Neo Nazis, do not give sensible rebuttals. Radical Palestinians do not own the Holy Land. They are following a stupid religion, with promise of 72 virgins , after they bomb themselves and the infidels.
i don’t think the president is coaching the congress and judiciary what to do. maybe it’s the pilipinos silent revolution against the yellow dynasty thru social media postings/comments that did the fall of the yellows. I think so.
Power seems to confer on its possessor a mantle of superiority, specialness, and sexual potency, which the envious person desperately wants because he feels himself on some level to be inferior, unimportant, and impotent.
the littering part is true. I have NEVER seen such PIG-LIKE behavior in an entire society! BUT THAT HAS NOT MUCH TO DO WITH BEING SPECIAL, and as it is NOT common for an entire Nation of people to consider themselves special….those who think so are mistaken, look at the JOOZ, nothing special there. Hitler was right, just came up a bit short. Where is he when the Palestinians need him, too bad I say !
The Mufti of Jerusalem was allied to German Nazi Adolf Hitler, in World War II. The Palestinians have something to do with the Jewish holocaust.
The rightful owners of the Holy Land are the Jews. God gave it to them…King David, established Jerusalem, as its capital. Only when the Roman Emperor Titus, forced the Jews out of their country, and became dispersed thruout the world, was the lowest point of the Jewish nation. Some were exiled in Babylon and Persia. Some in other countries.
The Jews came back, to their country, in 1947, to establish , Israel. U.S. Pres. Truman, recognized the nation : Israel.
Recently, U.S. Pres. Trump, recognized , Jerusalem, as the capital of Israel. The U.S. , and other countries, moved their embassies in Jerusalem, Israel. History is now made in our century.