Defeating other Nations is a False Hope of Filipinos

The Gilas basketball team lost again. Fans and pridists are up in arms and awash with salty tears over it. As some observers said, Gilas seems dependent on their import and use very little teamwork, and even after many defeats, continue to use the same failed methods (you could sum it up as “bahala na si Batman”). However, instead from my usual tirades on pride, I’ll go on to a core attitude that is related to a bigger issue.

serbia gilas loss

Photo courtesy of Philippine Daily inquirer

Filipinos seem so desperate to beat other nations because they want to make this a source of pride and a way to forget that they are a third-world society. If this is the case, they should look to the Dragon Boat team who garnered many victories. But even if we beat other countries in games, it does not bring a true lasting uplifting of Filipinos. I mean no disrespect for the Dragon Boat team and other winners (or even Gilas), but really, after all the sports victories, the pain of being a third world society is still there.

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As I have said before, the source of the greatest disappointment is setting the wrong bar or goals in life. Being obsessed with the defeat of others, from the personal to the country level, whether games or something more serious, is such a thing. It’s the immature and self-absorbed mindset of a street runt believing that beating someone else is a way to look great and prove oneself.

Filipinos’ desire to feel superior is the cause of the so-called inferiority complex. In short, the inferiority feeling comes from the failure to obtain that superiority feeling. They set an unachievable goal, then fail, and the crash from that hurts because of how lofty and unrealistic the goal was.

People who are going on anti-China rampages can also go too far. Some are going anti-China on Facebook just for the likes. Sure, Chinese tourists are annoying and China’s bullying in the seas, despite being more a defensive move for its trade routes, is worth some questioning and opposition. However, portraying China as the next “evil superpower,” after how the United States portrayed the then-Soviet Union, to the point that everyone must drop everything else they’re doing in order to stop them, is a gross exaggeration. Trying to rouse everyone else to want violence or war against the Chinese based on that exaggeration is a Fool’s undertaking. People who want war with any other country don’t know what they’re asking for (take for example, the ill-advised incursion of some Muslim tribes into Sabah back in 2013).

Before we dream of beating other nations and being a “glorious empire” as ridiculous romanticists boast, let’s put our feet on the ground and remember what really makes nations great.

1. Material prosperity – Before any nation becomes greater than others, they had material prosperity. Our esteemed webmaster Benign0 has described before how nations (kingdoms at the time) during the Age of Exploration sent explorers to obtain precious resources. They secured regions not for pride but for these resources. Even today, resources are what nations fight over and make deals on. Conquering other countries was not the end, but the means to an end, that end being material prosperity.

With material prosperity, we can achieve great things. For example, the point of the moon landing was not just that the US can achieve it, but that it has the resources to do so. In the case of our sports programs, I would say that lack of material prosperity has also affected them, since they don’t have the necessary support. Perhaps what led to this is Philippine sports being plagued by politics, leading us to the next point (since politics is full of unethical stuff after all)…

2. A moral compass in the right direction – Yes, many have said a society that pays regard to ethics and morality tends to be first world. You can see that among the major European countries, Singapore, Japan and the U.S. Some Americans though lamented that recently, the U.S. moral compass has been slipping, and that’s why it’s going through economic downturns (regulators failing to clamp down on unethical mortgage practices has been cited as one reason for the 2008 crisis).

The most Catholic country in Southeast Asia is ironically one of the societies whose moral compass seems to be failing. The “opposition” is complaining about President Duterte, but the moral compass of even vehement anti-Duterte criers is deficient. And for a long time, the behavior of the ordinary Filipino had showed that our culture long lost its moral compass, whether on the road or within government offices. I partially blame bad Filipino behavior on the desire to be lords, whether a drug lord or palamunin lord. This also comes out in why Filipinos like to beat other countries even in just sports – to feel like lords. It’s the wrong reason for being sports fans.

Of course, let’s practice discernment against those with a false moral compass, such as the attack-dog senator, the corrupted person of “justice” and the unattractive shill.

Also, Filipinos are among the people who complain about the “imperialism” of others, and yet some of them dream of having an empire. If you don’t like others’ imperialism, don’t dream of imperialism yourself.

Filipinos need to ditch the cultural baggage of power-hungriness. And we should review our attitudes towards other countries. Desire to defeat or shine above others is an attention-getting runt’s attitude, and it won’t help the runt but get them into trouble. It’s better to focus on improving one’s situation in life and more; in analogy, the runt decides to stop being a runt, get a job, save money and have a better life. Instead of demanding respect and attention, better to earn it. That’s perhaps why the Philippines finds people who want to be kings instead becoming OFWs, call center and BPO workers and other types of “servants.” Life humbles us. In the case of sports, if you lose, learn the lesson, correct the mistake, and do something different so that you may win. But make improvement the goal, not winning (although this may be lost on pride-demanding kulang-sa-pansin Filipinos).

Before conquering others, Filipinos should conquer themselves, because they are their own worst enemy.

12 Replies to “Defeating other Nations is a False Hope of Filipinos”

  1. In the Netherlands (the country I live in) all sports are club oriented and not school/college/university oriented. That also means that all sport clubs do have a youth department (youth academy). Youngsters can start playing a sport from the age of 6. Within all youth teams there are performance teams and recreational teams.

    Maybe that is something to consider to start in the Philippines in order to improve the overall quality in all sports.

    1. Another case of following the American system – the way to a professional contract is pretty much through the college ranks. In fairness, in the Phils you need at least a college diploma to get any part-way decent job, so getting a scholarship to play basketball is a decent trade-off. Provided you go to a UAAP or NCAA member,of course.

    2. School-oriented sports is never going to work because not every public school (or private) has the budget to form a competitive team. Sports costs money and schools have much more important things to spend on than athletics. This is why a club based on a certain area solves that problem as it recruits all the kids for a small fee rather than let them pin their hopes on schools they can never afford. The system needs a complete overhaul. We’re not harnessing all the available talent this country can offer because the best (and those with potential) are siphoned off to only a select few schools in Metro Manila. Let’s be frank here: the present system is simply a copy of the American system which will never work here because it costs too much money to run for schools outside of the MM area.

      You only need to look at the rookies from Europe compared to those in the Philippines. CJ Perez is considered a rookie in the Philippines at the age of 25, while Luka Doncic is a Euroleague rookie at the age of 15. That’s a huge disparity and the latter is already playing in the NBA. Ditto for football where you have Javier Gayoso still playing in the collegiate ranks at the age of 22 while Kylian Mbappé is already a professional footballer for PSG at the age of 19. The reason for this is fairly straightforward: there is no proper grassroots program whatsoever in this country–even with its most popular sport, basketball.

      Even then, only a small percentage will go far because basketball is unforgiving to those who are under 190 cm tall.

      1. Interxavier,
        Thanks for your comment.

        Its a bit funny (for lack of a better word) but most sport athletes come from poor backgrounds. So probably there is the most/biggest group of talented athletes (soccer/football, basketball, baseball, you name it). Do you know a worldwide known soccer player who graduated from Yale/Princeton/Harvard/Oxford/Cambridge university? I dont.
        A 2nd benefit/gain for doing sports is (trying) to avoid obesity (spelling?) and staying away from drugs and crime.

        So, the Philippines have all the ingredients to excel at least in a few sports (and I dont say this sarcastically. Far from it).

  2. The Filipino mindset is dysfunctional…most of us, were brought up by dysfunctional political leaders, religious leaders and other kinds of leaders, who themselves are dysfunctional…

    Our government is so called: “democracy”. But what do we have ? We have : “kleptocracy”, where any political leader , or any government leader can help himself/herself to get rich quick, in any way they can… the crook, Andres Bautista of the COMELEC is a good example…We are power hungry – Lugaw Robredo is a good example…winning a VP position , by hook or by crook…and this woman has a thick face and thick hide…not ashame of her being a cheater…

    We are a Feudal Oligarchy …just look at our tenancy system. The politicians use the poor people, during elections, to get votes…farmers in our country are most of the poorest Filipinos…but, no leader ever desired to push the Land Reform program. It is because most of our political leaders are “hacienderos”,

    We don’t have any manufacturing or industrial base, that can power us into industrialization. Instead, we depend on other countries for their export. We even import rice from Vietnam, Thailand, etc…we cannot feed ourselves. If we don’t import rice, we will all starve…

    I don’t see any politician, who want to solve the rice sufficiency problem…Instead, we lost our time in debating, if homosexuals can marry, and use “straight people’s” restrooms.

    Most of our younger generation are addicted to rallies. Instead of studying their lessons, to contribute for the solutions of our country’s problems. They try to solve the problems thru rallies…

    Most of us are not interested in the field of Science and Technology. We are interested in :soap operas ;show biz people; going abroad as OFW; winning an election, by hook or by crook; getting into a good government position in order to dip our kleptomaniac hands into any kind of fund; getting rich quick; scam anyone who can be scammed; etc..

    Forget the basketball sports…we will never win any, because , we lack teamwork…It is the “pasikat mentality” that will never make us champions.

    We are now the economic basket case of Asia. It is because : we never learned our lessons !

  3. There are three beings in our society, the above being, middle or center being, lower being, of course our target is the center, that would be the human being, but since many of us still wants to be lord over others, then that would be above being, and certainly miss the target.

    1. Sarda,
      every athlete that wins a gold medal (or just wins a match/game) is better than the rest. And thus is he/she/they above everybody. That is the name of the game. Improving oneself and then winning. (survival of the fittest is based on this). In sports second place doesnt count.

      You think you won the silver medal. No, you lost the gold medal.

      1. I’m just showing what I imagine what a moral compass looks like where it indicate ones level of being, the highest level is the God level, the middle level is the Human level, the lower level is the animal level, so if we are trying to lord over others, the indicator will be swinging in between God level and Human level or between Human level and animal level but not exactly pointing at the Human level. So what is suppose to be the target?

        1. Sarda,
          all I can say is that god does not exist for me. And that the bible is a rather dumb, stupid book. So, all that counts for my are the rules and laws sets by the government and my own rules. Life is very simple.

  4. Even in creating a National Sports organization, there’s corruption and politicking, and who doesn’t love cheering for a perpetual underdog who doesn’t understand that being a Chihuahua running against a Great Dane in a race means there’s little fairness when biological advantages renders your competing, moot. There’s also a the joke of getting foreigners to play for their adoptive team and nation.

  5. The desire for power over others drives every interaction in the Philippines, IMO. Literally everything is viewed as a zero-sum game: if I gain, then he must lose. If he gains, then I will lose. Sometimes the Filipino will mete out punishment simply for the sake of it – if I can’t win, then I will take steps to ensure nobody else can either.

    People here seem not to comprehend the idea of a win-win scenario, which perhaps explains why sports teams lack cohesiveness, and why the economy (which depends on strategic co-operation as well as competition) goes nowhere.

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