October 11, 2013

If we could only aspire to be Filipino

The Filipinos are smarter than we are.

Though it is foolish to make such a blanket statement, they are socially brilliant and have the stability for happiness. Not only do they understand others' thoughts and intentions as other Asians do, but they also understand the West. This is a brutal combination of social brilliance that may never be defeated.

The Filipinos have the individuality for intense personal opinion, but also the appreciation for wit and playfulness, AND they can work in collective ways as well. Their social balance is eminent. They were an economically powerful nation by SE Asian terms just 40 years ago until a totalitarian government led by Marcos destroyed the nation's wealth.

They had been colonized by the Spanish for 300 years until the Americans took over. However, the Americans ruled benevolently and shared their cultural secrets like Coca-Cola and KFC's signature recipe, which made the Filipinos identify with the Americans as their cultural superiors.

This "colonial mentality" as the Filipino students are taught to call it, is the reason they feel inferior to Westerners. Though only technically under American rule for 50 years, they remain a colony of sorts, and some have even described them as "little brown Americans." This deep-seated inferiority complex as a nation continues to haunt their future as they tend to accept their lot in life as poor.

Filipinos have intense pride and love for their country, which is made clear if anyone takes a shot at another Filipino. From a cultural perspective, they have a zest for life that may be unparalleled by any nation on Earth. Children dance and skip down the street for no reason whatsoever. Adults joke all day long with one another no matter their situation.

The deeply Filipino concept of "bahala na" (what God wills) gives them the flexibility and freedom to have joy despite sometimes intense poverty. When discussing their culture, Filipinos will tell you that "Isang kahig, isang tuka" (peck once, eat once) is the way they live. They work once and they eat once. This is sufficient if not preferable to what is often three pecks for one chance to eat. A rich Western view may be "work once, eat a million times."

Though they may be poor, due to the soaring Filipino spirit, I will forever be humbled and thankful for being blessed to know them.


  1. Obviously the author knows nothing regarding the truth about Marcos.

  2. Thanks for reading my post. What's a good place to start learning about the other side of the Marcos regime?