Why are we where we are now?
(At-length analysis on why the Philippines is poor and what we can do about it)
After a decade in the spa, massage therapy and wellness industry, I have come to realize that an inexperienced staff with a track record of integrity is way more preferable than a brilliant employee with questionable ethics. The latter will become a problem in the future for the spa business. Here is why.
The video below hit the net community especially the Filipino audience online.
Before anything else, let us not talk about schools and crème de la crème. This will not be the focus of my blog. The thing that has really stuck into my mind is when Prof. Winnie Monsod said and I quote, “Eh saan tayo ngayon? (Where are we now?) If they (those in the government) are so good, why are we where we are now?”
In Philippine culture, we have always looked upon people who graduated with high honors, we have always saluted those who graduated from top universities especially those who studied in the US or abroad and we have placed in pedestals those whose diplomas and degrees are much higher than our own. If we are lead by great leaders coming from crème de la crème universities, who graduated with high honors and whose degrees and letters after the name is as many as the alphabet, in essence why is the Philippines still poor? There are a lot of factors and intricacies that this blog will not be able to answer. Suffice to say that one of the things that we have forgotten as a nation, we have placed too much emphasis on the outer realm, the diplomas, the school, the knowledge and the degrees to the point that we have exchanged our integrity for money, wealth or fame. It’s never enough to have a doctorate degree, to graduate with high honors or to graduate from a well-known university. The essence of going to school is for us to hone our talents, our knowledge and skills and apply them into our life, our practice and our work. An impeccable transcript of records, just don’t cut it in the real world of work. Excellence in itself is just not enough. There are a lot of excellent people in school with grade no lower than 1.5 (or A-) but their integrity and honor is as shallow as the cat’s pooo dugged under the soil. Do not get me wrong, hindi masamang magkaroon ng matataas na marka but do not let it overshadow our love for the country and our fellowmen. When Fortune 500 magazine asked the CEO’s of many Fortune 500 companies what they considered the most important qualities for hiring and promoting top executives, do you know what their unanimous answer were? It’s integrity and trustworthiness. Not technical skill, Not education, Not school. Not even a pleasing personality. But still, the good old-fashioned integrity, honesty, honor qualities that the Bible teaches. Only if we would turn and obey God’s word can we qualify to be a person of integrity and honor. Integrity and Honor, these things can never be taught even at Harvard.
Secondly, she said that “if you are going to help this country, you’ve got to be in this country.” The Filipino is also confused. Why? We want to stay in the country but there are no opportunities. There are no jobs that could help the people pay the crème de la crème tuition fees. I must admit, I am already at a point in my life where I am ready to move and I am contemplating on migrating abroad since all my immediate family is in the United States and I am the only one who is still a Filipino citizen. I think there are a lot (I mean a lot) of like me out there, who are ready to leave the country for better opportunities- for good. I do not blame them.
I have found the book, 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country by Atty. Alex Ledesma Lacson (also a graduate of the University of the Philippines) with my own thoughts and links added in CAPS:
1) Follow traffic rules. Follow the law.- THAT IS WHY LADY JUSTICE EYES ARE COVERED BECAUSE IT IS JUSTICE FOR ALL. RICH OR POOR ALIKE. NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW.
2) Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt.
3) Don’t buy smuggled goods. Buy local. Buy Filipino.- STOP BUYING PIRATED COPIES OF VCD’S, DVD’S OR CD’S. RESPECT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. AT LEAST BUY MORE FILIPINO PRODUCTS THAN IMPORTED ONES. HINDI YUNG MAS PROUD PA TAYO PAG IMPORTED. THINK OF IT THIS WAY, IF YOU ARE BUYING MASSAGE OILS PERHAPS A LEMON GRASS, GINGER OR SAMPAGUITA MASSAGE OIL. MADE IN THE PHILIPPINES HINDI BA ANG TINUTULUNGAN MO RIN AY ANG ATING MGA FARMERS AND ATING MGA LOCAL BUSINESS MEN? PARA SILA AY SUMAGANA AT HINDI NA KAILANGAN PANG MANGIBANG BANSA NG MGA FARMERS OR NG ATING MGA KABABAYAN DAHIL SA KAKULANGAN SA TRABAHO. AT THE VERY LEAST, PERSONALLY, AT LEAST 70% OF THE PRODUCTS OR RETAIL THAT YOU BUY SHOULD BE PHILIPPINE MADE.
4) When you talk to others, especially foreigners speak positively about us and our country. – STOP COMPLAINING AND LOOKING DOWN ON OUR COUNTRY AND START ACTING ON SOLUTIONS. STOP BEING NEGATIVE AND PESSIMISTIC. START BLESSING OTHERS AND BLESSING OUR COUNTRY BECAUSE YOU AND I ARE SPECIAL.
I SUGGEST YOU START WITH KNOWING WHY YOU ARE SPECIAL? JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT….
WHY THE FILIPINO IS SPECIAL by Pastor Ed Lapiz
Filipinos are Brown
Their color is in the center of human racial strains. This point is not an attempt at racism, but just for many Filipinos to realize that our color should not be a source of or reason for inferiority complex. While we pine for a fair complexion, the white people are religiously tanning themselves, whenever they could, under the sun or some artificial light, just to approximate the Filipino complexion.
Filipinos are a touching people
We have lots of love and are not afraid to show it. We almost inevitably create human chains with our perennial akbay (putting an arm around another shoulder), hawak (hold), yaka(embrace), himas (caressing stroke), kalabit (touch with the tip of the finger), kalong (sitting on someone else's lap), etc. We are always reaching out, always seeking interconnection.
Filipinos are linguists
Put a Filipino in any city, any town around the world. Give him a few months or even weeks and he will speak the local language there. Filipinos are adept at learning and speaking languages. In fact, it is not uncommon for Filipinos to speak at least three: his dialect, Filipino, and English. Of course, a lot speak an added language, be it Chinese, Spanish or, if he works abroad, the language of his host country.
In addition, Tagalog is not 'sexist.' While many "conscious" and "enlightened" people of today are just by now striving to be "politically correct" with their language and, in the process, bend to absurd depths in coining "gender sensitive" words, Tagalog has, since time immemorial, evolved gender-neutral words like asawa (husband or wife), anak (son or daughter), magulang (father or mother), kapatid (brother or sister), biyenan (father-in-law or mother-in-law), manugang (son or daughter-in-law), bayani (hero or heroine), etc. Our languages and dialects are advanced and, indeed, sophisticated! It is no small wonder that Jose Rizal, the quintessential Filipino, spoke some twenty-two languages!
Filipinos are groupists
We love human interaction and company. We always surround ourselves with people and we hover over them, too. According to Dr. Patricia Licuanan, a psychologist from Ateneo, and Miriam College an average Filipino would have and know at least 300 relatives.
At work, we live bayanihan (mutual help); At play, we want a kalaro (playmate) more than laruan (toy). At socials, our invitations are open and it is more common even for guests to invite and bring in other guests. In transit, we do not want to be separated from our group. So what do we do when there is no more space in a vehicle? Kalung-kalong! (Sit on one another). No one would ever suggest splitting a group and waiting for another vehicle with more space!
Filipinos are weavers
One look at our baskets, mats, clothes and other crafts will reveal the skill of the Filipino weaver and his inclination to weaving. This art is a metaphor of the Filipino trait. We are social weavers. We weave theirs into ours that we all become parts of one another. We place a lot of premium on pakikisama (getting along) and pakikipagkapwa (relating). Two of the worst labels, walang pakikipagkapwa (inability to relate), will be avoided by the Filipino at almost any cost.
We love to blend and harmonize with people, we like to include them in our "tribe," in our "family" - and we like to be included in other people's families, too. Therefore we call our friend's mother nanay or mommy; we call a friend's sister ate (eldest sister), and so on. We even call strangers tia (aunt) or tio (uncle), tatang (grandfather), etc.
So extensive is our social openness and interrelations that we have specific title for extended relations like hipag (sister-in-law's spouse), balae (child-in-law's parents), inaanak (godchild), ninong/ ninang (godparents) kinakapatid (godparent's child), etc.
In addition, we have the profound 'ka' institution, loosely translated as "equal to the same kind" as in kasama (of the same company), kaisa (of the same cause), kapanalig (of the same belief), etc. In our social fiber, we treat other people as co-equals.
Filipinos, because of their social "weaving" traditions, make for excellent team workers.
Filipinos are adventurists
We have a tradition of separation. Our myths and legends speak of heroes and heroines who almost always get separated from their families and loved ones and are taken by circumstances to far-away lands where they find wealth or power.
Our Spanish colonial history is filled with separations caused by the reduccion (hamleting), and the forced migration to build towns, churches, fortresses or galleons. American occupation enlarged the space of Filipino wandering, including America , and there are documented evidences of Filipino presence in America as far back as 1587.
Now, Filipinos compose the world's largest population of overseas workers, populating and sometimes "threshing" major capitals, minor towns and even remote villages around the world. Filipino adventurism has made us today's citizens of the world, bringing the bagoong (salty shrimp paste). Pansit (sauteed noodles), siopao (meat-filled dough), kare-kare (peanut-flavored dish), dinuguan (innards cooked in pork blood) balut (unhatched duck egg), and adobo (meat vinaigrette), including the tabo (ladle) and tsinelas (slippers) all over the world.
Filipinos are excellent at adjustments and improvisation, managing to recreate their home, or to feel at home anywhere .
Filipinos have Pakiramdam (deep feeling/discernment)
We know how to feel what others feel, sometimes even anticipate what they will feel. Being manhid (dense) is one of the worst labels anyone could get and will therefore, avoid at all cost. We know when a guest is hungry though the insistence on being full is assured. We can tell if people are lovers even if they are miles apart. We know if a person is offended though he may purposely smile. We know because we feel. In our pakikipagkapwa (relating), we get not only to wear another man's shoe but also his heart.
We have a superbly developed and honored gift of discernment, making us excellent leaders, counselors and go-betweens.
Filipinos are very spiritual
We are transcendent. We transcend the physical world, see the unseen and hear the unheard. We have a deep sense of kaba (premonition) and kutob (hunch). A Filipino wife will instinctively feel her husband or child is going astray, whether or not telltale signs present themselves.
Filipino spirituality makes him invoke divine presence or intervention at nearly every bend of his journey Rightly or wrongly, Filipinos are almost always acknowledging, invoking or driving away spirits into and from their lives. Seemingly trivial or even incoherent events can take on spiritual significance and will be given such space or consideration.
The Filipino has a sophisticated, developed pakiramdam . The Filipino, though becoming more and more modern (hence, materialistic) is still very spiritual in essence. This inherent and deep spirituality makes the Filipino, once correctly Christianized, a major exponent of the faith.
Filipinos are timeless
Despite the nearly half-a-millennium encroachment of the western clock into our lives, Filipinos - unless on very formal or official functions - still measure time not with hours and minutes but with feeling. This style is ingrained deep in our psyche. Our time is diffused, not framed. Our appointments are defined by umaga (morning), tanghali ( noon ), hapon (afternoon) or gabi (evening). Our most exact time reference is probably tanghaliang-tapat (high noon), which still allows many minutes of leeway. That is how Filipino trysts and occasions are timed: there is really no definite time.
A Filipino event has no clear-cut beginning nor ending. We have a fiesta , but there is bisperas (eve), A day after the fiesta is still considered a good time to visit. The Filipino Christmas is not confined to December 25th; it somehow begins months before December and extends up to the first days of January.
Filipino say good-bye to guests first at the head of the stairs, then down to the descamo (landing), to the entresuelo (mezzanine), to the pintuan (doorway), to the tarangkahan (gate), and if the departing persons are to take public transportation, up to the bus stop or bus station.
In a way, other people's tardiness and extended stays can really be annoying, but this peculiarity is the same charm of Filipinos who, being governed by timelessness, can show how to find more time to be nice, kind, and accommodating than his prompt and exact brothers elsewhere.
Filipinos are Spaceless
As in the concept of time, the Filipino concept of space is not numerical. We will not usually express expanse of space with miles or kilometers but with feelings in how we say malayo (far) or malapit (near). Alongside with numberlessness, Filipino space is also boundless. Indegenous culture did not divide land into private lots but kept it open for all to partake of its abundance.
The Filipino has avidly remained "spaceless" in many ways. The interior of the bahay-kubo (hut) can easily become receiving room, sleeping room, kitchen, dining room, chapel, wake parlor, etc. Depending on the time of the day or the needs of the moment. The same is true with the bahay na bato (stone house).Space just flows in to the next space that the divisions between the sala , caida , comedor or vilada may only be faintly suggested by overhead arches of filigree
In much the same way, Filipino concept of space can be so diffused that ones party may creep into and actually expropriate the street! A family business like a sari-sari store or talyer may extend to the sidewalk and street. Provincial folks dry palayan (rice grain) on the highways! Religious groups of various persuasions habitually and matter-of-factly commandeer the streets for processions and parades. It is not uncommon to close a street to accommodate private functions, Filipinos eat. sleep , chat, socialize, quarrel, even urinate, nearly everywhere or just anywhere!
"Spacelessness," in the face of modern, especially urban life, can be unlawful and may really be counter-productive. On the other hand, Filipino spacelessness, when viewed from his context, is just another manifestation of his spiritually and communal values. Adapted well to today's context, which may mean unstoppable urbanization, Filipino spacelessness may even be the answer and counter balance to humanity's greed, selfishness and isolation.
So what makes the Filipino special?
We are brown, spiritual, timeless, spaceless, linguists, groupists, weavers, adventurists. Seldom do all these profound qualities find personification in a people. Filipinos should allow - and should be allowed - to contribute their special traits to the world-wide community of men - but first, we should know and like ourselves.
From the Special issue of Light Touch Magazine, vol. 8 number 3, Copyright 2004, Glad Tidings Publication
5) Respect your traffic officer, policeman and soldier.- RESPECT ANYONE WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE AND HONOR OUR KABABAYANS.
6) Do not litter. Dispose your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve.
7) Support your church.- GIVE AT LEAST 10% OF YOUR INCOME, SALARY, COMMISSION, PAY(ANY MONEY THAT GETS INTO YOUR POCKET) TO CHURCH AND A SMALL PORTION TO ANY CAUSE/S YOU BELIEVE IN. THIS IS ONE WAY TO PROSPER FINANCIALLY. EVEN IF YOU ONLY RECEIVE 1 PESO. MANAGE THAT PESO WELL AND IT WILL GROW.
8) During elections, do your solemn duty.- PRAY FOR THE CANDIDATES AND VOTE FOR THOSE WHOM YOU FEEL CAN DO THE JOB WELL. NOT ONLY BECAUSE THEY ARE POPULAR.
9) Pay your employees well.- FAIR TRADE AND LABOR. IN SHORT, GIVE THEM MORE THAN WHAT THE GOVERNMENT MANDATES.
10) Pay your taxes.
11) Adopt a scholar or a poor child.
12) Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law and love our country.- DO NOT SEND THEM AWAY TO COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ABROAD FOR SO LONG THAT THEY FORGET WHO THEY ARE AND TURN THEIR BACK AWAY FROM WHAT THEIR COUNTRY IS LIKE TOGETHER WITH ITS CULTURE AND BEAUTY.
In summary, this would be an enlightening read which was sent to me by a friend and fellow OFW way back in 2004, just click on this link or if it does not work click on the link below:
It’s a big challenge for all of us Filipinos (wherever we may be) to do something. We are helpless on our own. We cannot trust ourselves not even our own intelligence. We need someone higher than us. We need Christ. Let us surrender our lives and our country to Christ and do something.
Now, what would be your next step?
Written by Eunice