Zen and the Art of Filipino Character Maintenance

It has been observed that Filipinos seem to live in the now, a wholly admirably quality of you have read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle or are into Zen Buddhism. But it does make for a rather chaotic and reactive style.

Face it, planning ahead is not  commonly or skillfully done here. In the context of a prior blog, that’s why taking a 2% excise tax on ore dug out by foreign miners seems like a good deal.  The 2% looks sweet compared to nothing.  Nevermind that a Philippine company, digging the same ore, would pay 13% in income taxes on it. Plus pay dividends. Plus reinvest profits to build more mines.

 It’s a lot of work and time to get a Philippine mining company up and running. So many obstacle, so troublesome. So take the money that is available today.  Focus on the now.
“Ohmmmmmmmmmm . . .”
Not a care in the world about future generations. Never a thought about how precious minerals are. They are here, then gone. They aren’t like trees at all, or rice that you can plant three times a year.
What’s with this lapse of extended thinking?
I’d opine that it is not just a limitation in time. It is a limitation in space, too.
Take Enrile’s million peso Christmas bonus to senators. It follows the laws. Sentors are top leaders and they should be well paid. So what’s the problem?
“Ohmmmmmmmmmmm . . .”
The problem is the insensitivity it projects to poor people. That is what I mean by limited thinking, spatially. The traditional Filipino mind seems relentlessly unable to comprehend that others exist and have needs and feelings. That a healthy community demands the emotional well-being of a whole population. It is not simply a collection of individuals, each empowered to neglect the other.
“Ohmmmmmmmmmm . . .”
Enrile’s gift, plain and simple, was insensitive.
So I view these limitations together.
  • One, in time, the lack of accomplishment at thinking forward.
  • Two, in space, the lack of accomplishment at thinking of the community of others.
So traditional Filipinos are indeed Zen, eh? Very focused, not only on the now, but on the self. Like a single point of light upon which to meditate and center life.
“Ohmmmmmmmmmm . . .”
Now before manualbuencamino comes at me with his hatchet, or GabbyD with his axe, I’d better hunt for a Filipino reference so they know I am not making this stuff up. So that readers know I am not racist or culturally bigoted.
I found a good one. The best, actually: Felipe M. De Leon Jr., Chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Professor De Leon* wrote an article on July 29, 2011 posted in the “infocus” publication of the National Commission for Cultural and the Arts. It is entitled “Culture in Development“.
Here are some excerpts interspersed with my interpretive remarks, or elaborations, as it pertains to the subject at hand. JoeAm says look within. Professor De Leon says:
  • A developing country should not look for the image of its own future in so-called developed countries, but in its own culture and ecology.
Hmmm, a reader just made the same point. Culture is distinct and should be appreciated for its distinctive qualities, not forced to fit into the box of critics. The good professor illustrates why this is important to the Philippines as it strives for development and greater wealth:
  • All  models of development are essentially cultural. . . . Cultural identity is the fundamental source of social empowerment. Rob a people of their identity and they become passive, lost, indolent, uncreative and unproductive, prone to depression and substance abuse, and plagued by a pervasive feeling of malaise and powerlessness.
“Pass the  tuba, buddy.”
JoeAm would propose that the powerless lose hope and the sense that they can be architects of the future. They lose the will and the skill to project forward, see barriers, imagine ways around them, and identify the steps that need to be taken. Problem-solving lethargy.

They also lose the will to be kind to others, and spend a lot of energy justifying themselves.

The professor has an idea as to why problem-solving lethargy is a trait of Philippine culture:

  • Our educational system remains colonial rather than culturally appropriate. Many of our schools do not produce people who are highly resourceful, creative and adaptable to a fast changing and extremely complex contemporary world. They encourage dependence, a job-seeking, employability mentality rather than originality of thought, entrepreneurial qualities and self-reliance on native skills, knowledge and strengths.
Clipping patterns. No pattern, no dress.
  • Our colonial experience seems to have conditioned us to seek rather than create work opportunities, to adapt rather than to innovate, and to conform rather than to lead. The captive Filipino mind, having been alienated from its creative roots, cannot generate economic opportunities within its native setting because of this alienation. The needs and values it serves are external to itself. We borrow alien thought and value systems and forms of expression and produce nothing but derivatives and clones, superficiality and mediocrity? We forget that we can only be truly productive using our own thought processes.

So this is the (notorious?) Filipino constraint on productivity, the failure to build a future into thinking.  Rather, the approach is to respond. To adapt. To react. Not to anticipate. Not to plan. There is no way to clone the future, so the architecture of a future path simply does not get done.
But the colonial damage is even deeper according to the good professor:
  • Centuries of being regarded as backward and inferior by the white colonizers engendered in us a collective self-contempt, a psychic malady I would term the Dona Victorina Syndrome. The Dona Victorina Syndrome, a manifestation of acute inferiority complex, is disastrous for national development. It denies and confuses us about our identity as a people. . . . There can be no national unity without a sense of pride in being Filipino. For how do we expect a Filipino to care and work for the good of the nation if he does not even believe in being Filipino? If at the slightest opportunity, he would eagerly migrate to other countries in pursuit of a foreign identity? If at the slenderest sign of political instability, he will stash away his savings in a foreign bank?
Now he gets to Senator Enrile and to JoeAm’s contention, expressed several months ago, that Get Real Post blogger benigno and Senator Sotto and his ilk have exactly the same character, self-righteous, condescending, and contemptuous of the common Filipino. The professor lays the malaise of the Philippines at the feet of the elite, those who, like Get Real Scribe benigno, despise Filipino culture:
  • There is not such thing as a damaged culture, only a damaged self image. If a “damaged culture” exists a all . . . it is only among the Filipino elite, who has the lowest opinion of Filipino culture. . . . The colonial powers inevitably encouraged and supported the emergence of an elite class with whom it could easily collaborate. A serious consequence of this is cultural fragmentation. . . . As a result, the culture of the bureaucracy is more attuned to the needs and values of the elite than to that of the vast majority of Filipinos.
So the professor lays waste to James Fallow’s 1987 Atlanticpiece on thePhilippines as a damaged culture. But he does not say the Philippines should retreat into complacent isolation:
  • We have so much to learn from other countries when it comes to unity, especially setting aside our differences in times of crisis . . . If[we] are to become one nation, we have to begin deconstructing the very negative self-images we have imbibed through centuries of colonial misrule and mis-education, especially among the elite who are the power wielders and thus have the greatest responsibility to serve and be one with the people.
I wonder if Senator Sotto and Senator Enrile can grasp what the good professor is saying. Or if they would apply the Filipino cultural penchant for handling conflicting ideas like water off a duck’s back. Shuffling them off as irrelevant. Even if they aren’t.
  • Negative self-images, whether individual or collective, can cause untold social and cultural damage. We have to begin celebrating our genius as a people and not continue to neurotically wallow in our defeats. According to Dr. F. Landa Jocano, why do we tend to celebrate our defeats – like the Fall of Bataan and the Death of Rizal – whereas other peoples celebrate only their triumphs. Abraham Lincoln was also assassinated but nowhere do we find his body being depicted as he was falling down. Instead, we find him at the Lincoln Memorial seated with dignity, majestically presiding over the destiny of his nation.
I suppose that is why winners like Manny Pacquiao and Jessica Sanchez are cheered so loudly. They are (usually) not flat face-first on the canvas. And it is why JoeAm could almost scream, “YOU WANT A HERO, LOOK AT YOUR PRESIDENT NOT YOUR TV!!”
The professor, fortunately, is more subdued. However he is also passionate:
  • If all cultures on earth are to survive, most of them have to change some of their beliefs and practices in order to become compatible with one another. Cultural relativism has a limit as exemplified by our condemnation of such forms of behavior as exploitation, oppression, torture, terrorism, racism, and genocide.
Like, get right with good values. (Note to self:  send a copy of this blog to UNA honchos.)
And the good professor leaves us with good guidance for development. Like DO SOMETHING about the cultural impediments to healthy thought and productive work:
  • . . . It behooves us to formulate a national action plan, if not a national policy, for culture in development. . . . We have to integrate cultural and economic planning and enable the government to adopt a cultural perspective in development planning. . . .

And JoeAm would specifically recommend a focus in the schools on better skills and disciplines in thinking forward, in time, and person to person, spatially. In simpler terms, how to plan and how to build community one positive, supportive relationship at a time.
_______________________

From Wikipilipinas:

  • Felipe M. de Leon, Jr., is professor of art studies and head of the SubCommission on the Arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. He was former chairman of the humanities department of the University of the Philippines. He is also a lecturer and researcher in the international academic circuit. He comes from a highly gifted and musical family. His father was the National ArtistFelipe Padilla de Leon.
    Hie is active in promoting and preserving Philippine indigenous musical forms, such as musikong bumbong. In 2003 he was project director of the First National Bamboo Music Festival, explaining that the country’s bamboo music is a reflection of the Filipino people’s ingenuity and sense of community.
    As Commissioner of the National Commission for Culture and Arts, de Leon delivered a series of lectures on Philippine culture entitled “Philippine Development: A Cultural Perspective” at the Center for Pacific Asian Studies, Stockholm University on May 2, 2006; “Approaches to Understanding Philippine Culture” at the Philippine Embassy on May 3, 2006; and “Management by Culture” in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 4, 2006.
Comments
36 Responses to “Zen and the Art of Filipino Character Maintenance”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Years of being betrayed by our leaders have made us focus on the present, zen if you like, to be paranoid, to be on survival mode, and with leaders like Enrile or businessman like Lucio Tan, not to think of a bright future.DocB

  2. Yes, I think that is exactly what the Professor is saying. If you try to be creative and are whacked back for it, you give up on being creative. It is also the danger of the libel provision of the Cybercrime Law. If a writer dares to be edgy, he risks getting slapped down. It promotes this authoritarian suffocation of the out-of-the-box expression.There is a culteral connection here, between past oppression and current blindness to how that oppression expresses itself in Philippine culture. Just as there is a connection between the House resolution banning Justin Bieber from the Philippines, and lack of innovation and problem solving . . . . not skill, for the skill is here . . . but boldness.

  3. Edgar Lores says:

    1. The professor’s observations on the failings of Filipino psyche and culture are luminous.1.1 He says that our image of the future and values have been hijacked by our colonizers. We are copiers not innovators. He suggests we lose our negativity and regain pride. He recommends a national policy for cultural development.1.2. Question: Has he proposed a vision of the future of Filipino culture? Beyond preserving native musical forms?2. My impression is that our collective vision of the future is along the lines of the Singaporean and Malaysian models. These are societies comprised of ethnical diversity, a tolerant and non-discriminatory populace, an efficient infrastructure, a responsive and responsible government, but most of all a highly developed commercial and business environment with high-rises and malls to cater to and serve the appetites of a largely consumerist society.2.1 I think this vision is lacking in Zen (enlightenment) because it is based on two limitations that destroy harmony with others and with the land: it is self-centered and the main goal is self-satisfaction.3. If I were to articulate a vision of the future of the country, very broadly it would be this:3.1 First of all, we should recognize that the country is basically two places: the urban place and the rural place. For the first place, we should think big and for the second we should think small. The first will be bustling, the second placid.3.2 We should take advantage of the fact that the country is split into so many islands so that the parallel development of an urban culture and diverse village cultures is possible.3.3 The urban place can follow the Singaporean model. Metro Manila will still be the premier city but satellite cities should be developed in all regions and in all major islands. The seat of government, as suggested before, should be transferred to another island, preferably Masbate island for strategic purposes.3.4 The rural place will follow how I imagine the mythical Shangri-La would be. Or how Bali was a century ago. Or how a Japanese village is. Or how Biliran is without any hint of superstition and violence. A place where gentle, kind souls live in harmony with each other in a sustainable environment. Where Filipino art and culture in all its forms – the tinikling, the rondalla, the lechon, the local festivals – can be encouraged and preserved.

  4. andrew lim says:

    Come to think of it, Filipinos historically never really got into making hard-edged scientific discoveries and achievements on its own. We had a maritime past, but it never reached the level where they could sail the globe and visit foreign shores using the stars as navigational tools. We never reached the stage where we pondered forces like gravity, electromagnetism, etc. and created devices which could make use of these. Grappling with understanding the physical world scientifically gives you a sense of the time scale of the earth and the universe. And that forces you to plan for the long term- in agriculture for instance. The point I'm driving at is this: from a pre-historic culture with an understanding of nature based on superstition, we segued into another set of superstitious beliefs imposed by the Spanish catholic church.That stifled the birth of a scientific tradition and stifled creative thinking. But with travel, education and tech transfer, we have caught up. It's all up to us now. No point blaming history. Just learn from it.

  5. Well you have sparked my thinking, for sure, as I was struggling this morning regarding the pros and cons of both American and Philippine culture. Struggling because they can be either good or bad depending on the context. But what a wonderful challenge: to take a reasonably accurate, pragmatic look at Philippine culture today, and articulate what it should be directed toward.Well, this could be a book, in which case you should write it. Or it can be a provocative opinion blog, in which case I WILL write it. Maybe for Monday.Why Masbate? Refresh this poor tired mind . . .

  6. The penalties the Church cannot see, eh? Or see, but not acknowledge. For want of a God, we stifled a nation.Indeed, the Philippines can launch from here. Learn, and move on . . . Good advice.

  7. JosephIvo says:

    1. I would like to refer to your “living in a bubble” blog. Indeed people living in a bubble can only live in the here and now. A reason for this bubble mentality is fear. Fear for flaring-up violence is too common, so let’s stay together and close for the outside. Fear for the supernatural, “did we chase the bad spirits?”, “no mistakes against Feng Sui?”. Basic fear for tomorrow, will there be rice. Fear for the powerful, they can make you miserable by just a snap of their fingers…. 2. COPYING!!!! From plagiarism of Soto to karaoke and everything in between. While copying you can hide, not copying is fearful, people could say “it was your idea!”. Ideas can only grow here in consensus. 3. Filippinos yearn for Philippine pride, to identify with doubtless Philippine heroes. It explains the success of Binay, not using papaya soap, 100% Malay appearance and the success of P-noy using Tagalog, wearing a barong whenever possible. Both not ashamed to be Filipino.But it is more fun in the Philippines! We need an other good professor to analyse why this is. I still couldn’t figure out why, but I’m here for that reason only!

  8. Edgar Lores says:

    1. Masbate is the geographical center.2. Strategically, it is completely surrounded and protected in the north and the west by the tip of Luzon; in the south-west by Samar; in the south by Cebu and Bacolod; and in the west by Panay.3. It is accessible by sea and air, and has excellent harbors.4. It will shift the Manila-centric focus on economic and cultural development that the Visayans and Mindanaoans have been complaining about for ages.5. It is largely rural and agricultural and needs urbanization.6. Historically, "it was the capital of the islands in the early part of the Spanish occupation."

  9. Yes, the reason for being here. There are the practical matters like favorable exchange rate, and for me, my wife has no real interest in going to the US. But there is also a richness to life here, an authenticity largely lost in the whirl and whiz of modern US life. In that context, the cultural depth or the tensions of life here become the attraction.

  10. Well it is like a good idea that will never happen, I suspect. I have argued in the past for development of "Greater Manila" to shift growth along the Subic/Clark and Clark/Manila expressways. I suspect that will happen in small steps rather than large planned ones. Like Clark will become more popular out of need rather than design.I like your conception of rural areas as serene and peaceful, dedicated to agribusiness and resorts. But I think there are too many babies for that to happen.You are a fine idealist. Dreamer? Too advanced for the thinking here. Not too advanced for someone like Lee Kuan Yew (sp?), but I think even President Aquino cannot stretch that far.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hey Joe, I only use my hatchet when needed. In this essay, I will just use my finger to point out that the good professor says what Jose Rizal said a hundred years ago explaining the Indolence of the Filipino I think it was. But the colonial period is long past. We can't lay all the blame on colonizers anymore.These days the positive things you are looking for are still found in pockets. Some places are doing it, other places are beginning to wake up, and others are still sound asleep. Communications have not bridged the islands nor communities separated by mountains within islands. The internets will connect the dots when it becomes widely accessible. Ignorance is sometimes mistaken for something else.For now, Zen it is as it was before technological advances happened. Science and technology takes the Zen out of living. We are like the Europeans and the Americans were before they moved to science and reason away from magic and superstition. And note that their development was also uneven during the great shift. Resistance to change. Anyway, it will happen and it will be much faster than in the West because we now have the advantage of technologies not available to them when they were making changes. – MB

  12. Actually, there are more positives than I knew about, basically because I was buying into what others were saying because I knew no different. My ignorance, and I owe you and your hatchet for some of this enlightenment. Plus when you have an Arroyo in charge, not much shine gets through. So it is nice to see a cabinet full of earnest working people instead of political lackeys.Indeed, the US path was rocky as hell. So no need to expect the Philippino path will be somehow smooth as silk.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I dropped by Baclaran yesterday. Place is a shithole, trash everywhere, the smell of piss and vomit permeate the air. Hundreds of idle tricycle drivers sleeping in contorted positions, jeepney drivers occupying more than half the road. Homeless everywhere in varying degrees of undress. Sidewalk vendors hawk their bacteria-addled shit on the entire stretch of the sidewalk. The ground was wet. Why the hell is it wet? I only pray its just water. The mass of humanity around me is just sickening.A lot of fellow pinoys say this is part of our "charm" as a "culture". Jeez. Worst is that this ignorance is contagious. I can almost see why our colonizers from long ago called Filipinos "Indios". Undisciplined savages. Yeah, I said it. – patrioticflip

  14. I guess you could say it is a "rustic" community, if trying to sell real estate there. Or "authentic".Shithole would not work, actually.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Mr Anonymous,They called us Indios from Indian. When Columbus landed in America he thought he was in India. From then on all natives they called all natives indios.What you saw in Baclaran is the end product of lack of planning and corruption. – MB

  16. The problem is the insensitivity the recent Fun in the Philippines advertisement projects to poor brown-skin-punk'd nose Filipinos that tisoys are wealthy and generaly acceptable in social circles. That is by limited thinking, spatially. The traditional Filipino mind seems relentlessly unable to comprehend that others exist and have needs and feelings, too. That a healthy community demands the emotional well-being of being liked despite of their color and the form of their lips and nose of the whole population. It is not simply a collection of individuals, each empowered to neglect and discriminate the other because they are not tisoys

  17. It is not my fault of being culturally shocked. If I had spent my childhood in the Philippines I would have considered it normal.

  18. Back then, Andrew, scientific findings like evolution and gravity and earth revolves around the sun was blasphemy. Religion screwed the Filipino minds to this day thru willing Brilliant Philippine Media whose journalists still believe that God makes things happen.I bet you if Joe's son ask him why the sky is blue, absolutely, Joe would Google the answer instead of stock canned answer from Filipinos "the sky is blue because God made it so"

  19. HA! HA! Ha! Buencamino and GabbyD needs references what Joe has to say? These duo do not have observatory faculties? Could they be blind? Deaf? Or they are in their own small world?I do not need to quote Michaevelli and miguel cervantes to make my statement compelling and speak factutom pablum probandum infinitum to intimidate my readers to impress my knowledge so take my word for it?.

  20. Maybe we should team write an article some day.Indeed, you have to get outside the fishbowl to see that you are in a fishbowl. My job, in that context, is to bring the world into a fishbowl.Yours is to break the glass.

  21. I refuse to answer but I think your fine use of a dead language perhaps suffices."Factutom pablum probandum infinitum" ahahahahahahaLawyers, eat your hearts out.

  22. GabbyD says:

    "Our colonial experience seems to have conditioned us to seek rather than create work opportunities, to adapt rather than to innovate, and to conform rather than to lead. The captive Filipino mind, having been alienated from its creative roots, cannot generate economic opportunities within its native setting because of this alienation. The needs and values it serves are external to itself. We borrow alien thought and value systems and forms of expression and produce nothing but derivatives and clones, superficiality and mediocrity? We forget that we can only be truly productive using our own thought processes."can you offer any kind of example that proves any of this? that this is anything more than a rant?actually, i have a more fundamental objection: how can one prove any of this.this is no different from B0's generalizing — its impossible to prove anything of it, but it possesses a veneer of intellectual thought.take the first phrase: "Our colonial experience seems to have conditioned us to seek rather than create work opportunities " — how can one prove that? is there ZERO creation of work opportunities?

  23. Well, you'd have to take up your argument with Professor De Leon, as those are his words. Given that he was formerly Chairman of the Department of Humanities at UP, I'd say he has the credentials to speak on this. I'd say he and BO may practice the same art, conceptionalization, but the Professor is more pointed toward constructive acts as an outcome of the "generalized deductive synthesis" he does. You don't like generalities. But they can be useful to guide hard acts. If you don't believe the Philippines needs to change its culture, that's okay, too. Many are happy with it. I'm trying to fit in, too, and hope some power broker will see fit to pay me generously to slant my writing to his agenda. Reference today's blog.You know, I dearly want to adapt to Philippine culture rather than try to change it.

  24. GabbyD says:

    oh i thought u agreed with him? the fact that he is an academic is immaterial to the logic of his argument. sure, he can put pretty words together, but that doesnt mean it makes a lick of sense.i'm ok with generalities. apples are red, bananas are yellow, etc. but for people and things that are patently untrue: ""Our colonial experience seems to have conditioned us to seek rather than create work opportunities ""seriously? surely, we have to , at some point, critically question the assertions being put before us. right?

  25. Yes, I agree with him. His sentence rephrased would read: "Our colonial experience seems to have conditioned us to seek work rather than create work opportunities." So you look around and wonder why other Asian nations have more manufacturing and trade and the Philippines is wallowing in small-farm agriculture. You don't see that as testimony to what he is saying? There has to be a reason the Philippines has lagged international modernization and productivity. What is YOUR reason?Yes, you should ask critical questions of assertions you don't understand or disagree with. As long as you keep an open mind that you may find them disagreeable because you DON'T understand, and are willing to learn.And as long as you go past the critique to point to solutions to agreed problems.

  26. GabbyD says:

    "So you look around and wonder why other Asian nations have more manufacturing and trade and the Philippines is wallowing in small-farm agriculture. "why look at asian neighbors? why not compare to say, tibet? did their colonial culture: "conditioned us to seek work rather than create work opportunities."? (hint: NO) what about countries that have less manuf. than RP? (there are many of those) have they been "more conditioned"? by what? by whom?asian nations have more manuf? is that proof of creating work opportunities? But alot of asian neighbors receive FDI. F stands for Foreign. is that evidence that they need FDI coz they are locally unable to "create work opportunities"? seriously?think about it.

  27. I did. I agree with the Professor. You are entitled to disagree and be completely complacent about the Philippine economic circumstance. I chose not to be.

  28. GabbyD says:

    huh? when did i say that the philippines was great? to be categorical: NO. everyone, including the prof believes that.the only issue is: does this prof have anything useful and true to say? again: i invite you, in what way did our colonial experience "seems to have conditioned us to seek work rather than create work opportunities"? if its manuf, whats the magic number? how many locally earned firms must there be to fulfill his criteria? maybe we should ban foreign ownership — 100% local work opportunities? its an incredibly arbitrary standard. totally unfair and unhelpful.

  29. GabbyD says:

    Let me share what I think is (potentially) a real cultural problem — class relations.in my discussion with MB at propinoy, he said that employers (masters — he used this word!) have total appropriability over the surplus of their employees generate for them. my comment:"this sentence is telling: "As an employee, she has no business rewarding herself for a job well done."wow, thats extreme. From a mgt perspective, this may represent a philosophical divide between you and alot of the mgt literature out there about the employee-employer relationship.but whatever — i'll accept as a fact that you believe that all the surplus of the relationship is 100% under control of the employer. fine."i think many filipinos think the way MB does, and there is a disdain for personal service work, there is a disdain for "tipping". its a class issue as well. personally, this can be a problem when there is an expectation that service workers should have no power over their surplus'. now, this disdain is true in many places too. but its much more severe in the philippines — look at how cavalierly the word "master" is bandied about. you are/were an american — lets play an analogy: employer:employee is to master:____?

  30. To me, it useful and true. You ask questions that are beyond the scope of this particular blog. They are worthy questions and I invite you to search for answers to firm up the standards. Alas, I have work to do to come up with more wild generalizations for Tuesday's blog. I think Maude is doing Monday's.

  31. master: indentured laborer.I have been following your dialogue with MB and it is a little more elaborate than the quick excerpt you have inserted above. It deals with Enrile's right to spend the taxpayer's money. If there is disdain for personal service work, that is new to me. As for tipping, traditions in the Philippines differ from the US, I believe because of widespread poverty here. To me, this is similar to the difference in birthday or Christmas traditions where gift-giving is not lavish in the Philippines because so many people don't have the money to buy discretionary gifts. That is a cultural difference that is understandable and will likely change if the Philippines develops a broad middle class.

  32. GabbyD says:

    indeed! i'm sure u know that the word "amo" is used often. thats a CULTURAL PROBLEM, which is quite obvious and pernicious. ___see? even u and i cannot agree on the stylized facts on how service work is looked on? tell me if being a barber, carpenter, etc are respected businesses? if we cant agree on such simple things, how can we begin to discuss the supposed effects of colonialism on creating work?"To me, this is similar to the difference in birthday or Christmas traditions where gift-giving is not lavish"… and yet to others, filipinos are overly lavish. there are essays on how excessive fiestas are, that they'd spend months of income on fiestas. PS: my claim is that his analogy is wrong, logically and socially and economically, and is only teniously linked to enrile.

  33. Barber and carpenter are respected businesses to me. They are not to you?Yes, good point about lavish fiestas, as counterpoint to low-key Christmas giving. The fiesta is I suppose parallel to American Thangsgiving, which is celebration of family. The fiesta has a little "harvest festival" of the agricultural Philippines tossed in, as well as family reunion.That is a positive cultural tradition. Corruption is a negative one. So are class biases, to the extent they exist. That opens up a new discussion point and I'd have to give that some thought. I've recognized that there are different classes, but not the notion of discrimination between them.It is best to take up your disagreement with MB with MB.

  34. GabbyD says:

    "Barber and carpenter are respected businesses to me. They are not to you?" they are, but we are talking about a broader "filipino culture" — generalizations if u will. barbers in, say black society, are social glue. construction workers are important in the history of large urban centers, and used to be middle class (or a ticket to middle class). talk about teachers. teachers used to be respected in localities. ask around how important teaching/teachers were socially, speaking.you believe fiestas are positive, and that it has a harvest festival feel? but what if the harvest wasnt good? will that stop spending on the fiesta? really? or will people borrow, to continue with a lavish fiesta tradition.THESE are legit cultural questions that can have real economic effects.

  35. GabbyD says:

    there are lots of other things really wrong with the prof analysis."According to Dr. F. Landa Jocano, why do we tend to celebrate our defeats – like the Fall of Bataan and the Death of Rizal – whereas other peoples celebrate only their triumphs."bs. MEMORIAL DAY comes to mind.also, why not celebrate the assasination of lincoln vs the execution of rizal?because one was an assasination and the other was an execution. its as simple as that.

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