What Is YOUR Goal?

Negros41 500It struck me as I was calming down from another case of my wife’s clock ticking to a different beat than my own that our cultural values are hard-wired into our behavior mechanisms. After all, she and I have had this same situation arise time and time again. I consider the clock to be a metric for good performance. I must be ready on time. My wife considers the clock to be general guidance. She’ll be there when she’s ready.

This is only one example of the cultural divide between Philippine society and American. Rampant disregard of rules in the Philippines is another area of difference. The way of speaking is another. Americans are direct while Filipinos shade their meanings. The endless power struggles waged by Filipinos is different than the American proclivity for self-awareness and confident, straightforward discussions; that is, the entire emotional foundation is different.

In a general sense, either culture is fine. It makes no difference. Americans are a natural fit with Americans and everyone gets along well for the most part. Filipinos are a natural fit with Filipinos and everyone gets along well for the most part. Election season is an anomaly in both nations.

These facets of behavior are established over hundreds of years. There is plenty of material for scholars to examine. For example, what role does the Catholic Church play in the Philippines to promote a general disregard for rules. Confession erases conscience, eh? Priestly bad behavior sets an example for the flock, eh?

These cultural nuances did not just crop up overnight. And they won’t change overnight.

In a sense, neither is right, neither is wrong. The Philippines is a less driven place, generally happier, for sure less suicidal. America is a richer place, generally productive but stressful. The clock signifies the difference. Philippines: casual, no worries. America: driven, stressed.

When the two cultures interact, negative judgments fly fast and furious. Filipinos find Americans arrogant and pushy. Americans find Filipinos uncaring and non-productive. The values differ. They conflict.

We can make a fair judgement of which is the “better” culture only if we use a goal, a benchmark, by which that culture’s effectiveness can be measured.

If wealth and poverty reduction is the goal, the American values are better, albeit with lots of tension. If casual living is the goal, the Philippine values are better, albeit with far less material satisfaction.

I have to laugh. My goal is casual living, as I’m retired, so the Philippines SHOULD be fine for me. But my clock is hard wired. So behaviors hereabouts are not always fulfilling. Like my wife’s loosey goosey clock management. Or other acts that generate sheer frustration. Frustration is common for most Americans, Europeans, Canadians and Australians living in the Philippines.

It is about here that Enumerator in Chief Edgar Lores would swoop in to list the value standards expressed in international human rights covenants. And they certainly form excellent measures on their own. The Philippines falls short against several prominent guidelines, including child exploitation and failure to provide free education. The poor are decidedly disadvantaged.

If this blog were about America, we could certainly zero in on American transgressions, too. Killing civilians in the deadly hunt for terrorists, the Guantanamo torture chambers, or partisan politics supplanting patriotism.

But this blog is not about America. It is about the Philippines.

And the essential question is, what are YOUR goals?

  • Are they to live life free and easy, a standard in which discarding such irrelevancies as the clock is perfectly acceptable?
  • Are they to power through life for self advantage and as much self-enrichment as possible, and to hell with the community Philippines?
  • Or do you foresee a need to build behaviors whereby the drives of ambition and productivity and discipline (abiding by the law) and the well-being of others become prominent?

It seems to me you can choose a casual lifestyle and the rampant national poverty it produces, or you can choose self-immersion and the strife we see today in many places, or you can choose a driven lifestyle with the stress and improved national wealth it generates.

If I were a young, educated Filipino, wanting to provide well for my family, I know most assuredly which I’d prefer. The one where I can compete for fair and honest opportunity. The one where confidence and ingenuity and organization and a good clock matter.

45 Responses to “What Is YOUR Goal?”
  1. The Mouse says:

    I can’t say if it’s the culture itself or the environment created by established institutions or businesses in the Philippines. I find it rather odd that when Filipinos get out of the Philippines, they become one of the most hard working people and law abiding people. Weird, eh? Or maybe, bad habit are left behind?

    I live in a place where there are immigrant Mexicans and immigrant Filipinos and most people I see disregarding the rules are immigrant Mexicans. It doesn’t help that unlike the jaywalkers in the Philippines who at least look left and right, these people don’t. O_0. They just cross all of a sudden, sometimes even with a baby.

    • Joe America says:

      Perhaps Filipino genes are rather like those of the chameleon, leading to flexible social adaptation. I hold that (1) Filipinos are intelligent and know how to get ahead, (2) are pragmatic, and can either laze or work hard depending on the needs of the moment, and (3) like money. Mexicans are creatures of Latin passions and judgment, unpredictable and inscrutable to the pragmatic.

  2. Attila says:

    A Filipino American told me that Filipinos that are here in the US are no different from those living in the Philippines, They just know that if they break the law here they will get caught. He said that the values are the problem and that needs to changed. He blames the Spanish colonial period for it.

    • The Mouse says:

      I guess, he speaks of himself, too, since he’s a Filipino in the US…?

      • Attila says:

        He is a Tagalog married to an Ilongga living in New Jersey and working as an housing inspector. He also said that not all Filipinos but most of them would break the law if they would get away with it. It is in the culture according to him. He is very disappointed by the recent election and in general he is negative about the Philippines.

        • The Mouse says:

          I guess he forgot that there are still many tribes in the Philippines that have minimal Spanish influence.

          But to be frank, I won’t attribute it to “Spanish culture”. Mainland Chinese and illegal Taiwanese are known for those in the Philippines. In fact, the local Chinese dislike these two groups. And I really mean the FOBs from China and Taiwan.


          But this “will break the law if they can getaway with it” is not exclusive to Filipinos or cultures with Spanish influence. It’s common among human species. I’m not PC but should we be attributing being a riot freak to black communities (LA Riots, looting during hurricane Katrina)?

    • Joe America says:

      Enforcement is different, for sure. Enforcement makes the law. Otherwise it doesn’t exist. In the Philippines, it exists very selectively and mostly not at all. And being a whistle-blower is life-threatening. Spanish = Catholic morality and easy confession of wrongdoing. Poof. No guilt.

    • edgar lores says:


      I think there may be a real transformation in the Filipino working abroad. The comments in news and social media indicate that there is leap in awareness in the personal and social conscience of the Filipino. The sinner becomes a saint. I guess being able to go abroad is like being handed the keys to heaven. The attitude is: “Holy Moly! I have escaped the Pit and if I continue to be good then I will be rewarded.” The dream has begun and nothing is impossible.

      I do not deny that there might be recidivism if the Filipino returns. But I have read comments of Filipinos who have worked abroad and returned to retire, and they have kept their heightened awareness.

  3. JosephIvo says:

    The root cause of coming late? An unspoken struggle for power, it tells “I had something more important to do”. Americanos have different means to show that they are important. In our relationship the difference got acknowledged and waived with as mile (most often).

    More substantial is our different attitude towards superstition. Is it just funny folklore or do you have to play it safe, you can never know what these evil spirits might do. In my catholic education it was hammered in that only angels and devils existed as ghosts, all the rest was superstition, thus sinful. Here it looks that the church doesn’t care or more likely doesn’t dare. Don’t fight fear, but install it to make people more docile.

    Talking about fear, losing face or inappropriate behavior po is another major fear. Once abroad this fear falls away, hence the different behavior. (Same as us? There is quit an age difference between my partner and me, in my home country I would fear the comments at the bakery or in the bus, hear I don’t see and even more I don’t care)

    Values you don’t choose, you inherit. It takes a lot of experiences, positive or negative, to let go old values. In Europe the mechanical clocks where invented centuries ago, Angelus was prayed for centuries too at fixed times, later you lost your job for being late at work…. eventually the clock became a metric for good performance. Now some SM’s stops to pray the Angelus too, so eventually punctuality will improve… but I don’t hear the church bells yet. And we need more factories with more people employed, machines follow the clock, caribou and rice don’t.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, almost every dialogue here is power. Superstition does indeed go hand-in-hand with Catholicism . . . and helps the priests with THEIR power moves. Somewhere around here I’ve got a picture of bishops parading with a skull on a pillow.

      I’ll be going to the US next year to introduce my wife to my relatives. I’m anticipating getting a lot of aghast looks as we tour the country. Here, it is like you say, natural, because people look on with some amusement at two people doing what they need to do. Just like villagers, I suppose.

      I agree, the discipline to let go of old values is very hard. I think there is an emerging working class in Manila that does follow the clock. I suspect in a century or two, most will.

  4. edgar lores says:

    1. Surprisingly, the answers to the question of goals are the same: to be happy.

    2. Only the modes and methods to achieve the goal differ.

    2.1. As you say, the Filipino mode is “casual”, relaxed; the American mode is “driven, stressed”.

    2.2. The American method is direct while the Filipino method is roundabout.

    3. Say, the goal was to get a car.

    3.1. The American way is direct and simple but stressful. He would work to get a car or go to the bank for a loan.

    3.2. The Filipino way depends on gender.

    3.3. If female, marry a rich local or, better still, a foreigner. (Present company excepted.) By definition, a foreigner is rich. If not in moolah, then in genes. Either way, you hit the jackpot.

    3.4. If male, the methods are myriad. A male will first consider the American method of working for a car. He cannot go to the bank because he has nothing, neither character nor collateral. He will calculate that at such and such a salary, it will take him x number of years to save for a car. Then he will factor how much he spends on cigarettes and beer and womanizing, and x becomes unknown. Even he puts in extra hours, which he won’t because he is easy and lazy, a car is simply an impossible dream.

    3.5. But the lazy Filipino is enterprising and resourceful. Depending on family, bent and intelligence, he might go for a life of crime and consider scamming people or even carnapping. He might sell a liver although that will only keep him in beer and cigarettes or at best buy him a motorcycle. But if he is ‘intelligent’, he will consider different ‘legal’ means like approaching Mom and Dad for a loan on his ‘inheritance’; asking friends and relatives for handouts; or better still a job abroad. Then he will not only have a car but a house as well. But even better than those methods, he could become a politician (or, if ‘spiritually’ inclined, a priest). If he plays his cards right, that would really be the top and the sky is the limit: car: an SUV or Ferrari; house(s): a mansion and a condo; wife and querida: at least a mestiza, starlets and even actresses.

    4. The American way is the ‘high’ way. The Filipino way is ‘my way’.

    5. (I might write down my serious thoughts on ‘goals’, if my Pinoy side does not get in the way. 🙂 )

    • The Mouse says:

      I just had to laugh at 3.5. Maybe because it’s the stereotypical image of a Filipino


      But then, I think regional culture plays. Having grown up in the Cordilleras, I have seen less of the usual CBCP show up there. There are Catholic institutions up there, too but they’re mostly CICM/ICM. Yknow, Catholicism, Belgian style.

      Even the superstitions are different. Mostly, they just don’t wanna offend the spirit of the dead. But this is mostly rooted in native beliefs than Catholic.

    • Joe America says:

      Beautiful, Edgar, absolutely beautiful.

  5. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Americans are born to live, Filipinos are born to go to heaven.
    Americans live to work, Filipinos live to sleep under the mango tree.
    Americans live in search of happiness, Filipinos are already happy.
    Americans are happy to live a life of wealth and convenience, Filipinos live a life of poverty for heaven is theirs.
    Americans are in search of purpose of their lives, Filipinos already knows the purpose of their lives to be with the maker.
    Americans reads plenty of books, Filipinos only have one book to read, The Bible.
    Americans are charitable, Filipinos live a life of charity.
    Americans do not rely on parent’s wealth, Filipinos are.
    Filipinos believe sharing wealth is an obligation of the rich for wealth of the wicked is transferred to the righteous Filipinos.
    Despite of it all, Filipinos would rather live among the wicked Americans … for their life of convenience and wealth is a blessing from God for Filipino immigrants.


    • Joe America says:

      “Americans live in search of happiness, Filipinos are already happy.” How come it takes me a thousand words to say what you can nail in 10, and much more poetically?

  6. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Now that election is over, is the ban on foreigners blogging about politics is lifted?

  7. cha says:

    To the western mind, time is gold. It’s worth is measured to the smallest unit of measure possible so as to get the most out of it. The minimum wage in most western countries is expressed per hour. In the Philippines, it’s per day. When renting a house in Australia, the rate is computed on a weekly basis. In the Philippines, it’s monthly.

    To the western mind, time does not wait. It flies. He is therefore in a race against time. To the Filipino, may bukas pa (there’s always tomorrow).

    Time is tied to fate or chance to the Filipino. Hindi mo pa panahon (it’s not yet your time) or pana-panahon lang yan (to each his own time). To the westerner, time is exacting. it’s now or never.

    The Filipino who migrates to a country like America may change his behavior and adopt the western ways for either of two reasons. One, survival. He sees the change as necessary if he is to succeed in his new environment.

    To some however, the change may actually be brought about by a change in point of view. He actually gets convinced, for instance that time is indeed precious. That every minute he wastes in unproductive pursuits is actually money lost. The more he delays paying off his mortgage, the more money he loses paying interest to the bank. And so on. And then he finds himself joining the race. Against time.

    Those who are simply going along with the dominant culture without a corresponding change in their actual views/ beliefs will most likely revert to the old ways when with their fellow Filipinos. Hence the seemingly dual personality Pinoy migrant who manages to be on time for most of his work and other social appointments and then just as easily slides back to Filipino time when he attends a Filipino function.

    The more lasting changes in behavior happen with those who actually go through what is known as a paradigm shift or eseentially a change that entails a break with tradition, with old ways of thinking, with old paradigms.

    A culture can be changed by changing old paradigms. Case in point: the paradigm of racial segregation in America.

    To effect paradigm shifts in a culture, one needs Change Agents. Trailblazers who can champion the change. Aquino is one at the moment. (No more wangwang. Kung walang corrupt, walang, mahirap. Kayo ang boss ko. )Robredo was also one. (Tsinelas leadership. Matino at .

    We need more. That should be the goal.

    • Joe America says:

      I was so proud of my wife today. She was buying my mango juice at the local grocery market, which was crowded and hot and the checker got engaged in some time-wasting minutia. My wife put the juice down and left the store, figuring her time was worth more than that.I’d rather drink water than have her succumb to passive inertia. I’m convinced the Philippines is changing. Slowly perhaps. But one grain of sand at a time – or a wife here and there – is progress . . .

  8. edgar lores says:

    1. In a man’s life, I would say that there are two main classifications of goals:
    1.1. Survival goals
    1.2. Evolutionary goals.

    2. Survival goals are about existence, evolutionary goals about co-existence. The first is to be, the second to interbe. (The verb is from the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.)

    3. Survival goals answer the question of “How am I going to subsist?” The answers are shaped from childhood and will change as we grow.

    3.1. The goal is couched in the sentence, “I want to be” and the object of the sentence is usually a career. For example, “I want to be a doctor.”
    3.2. As children, we play; as youngsters, we study; as adults, we work; and as retirees, we blog.
    3.3. In all stages, play and learning are important and continuous, and contribute to what we would like to become, are becoming or have become. You might say from wannabe to has-been, but I am still in the process of becoming.

    4. Evolutionary goals answer the question of “How do I live?” The answers are largely shaped from where we are born. The answers may or may not change.

    4.1. We are inculcated with the culture of our parents in thought and in deed.
    4.2. The goals are couched in the sentence, “I will do this in this manner” and the object of the second ‘this’ is usually a traditional or inborn mode of behaviour. For example, “I will behave like a Protestant”. Or “I will be gay.”

    5. People who do not satisfactorily answer the question of survival goals are not bothered by the question of evolutionary goals. Their manner of behavior is dictated by the wind.

    6. If I were to define my goal, it would be: “I would like to think in the best way I can, behave in the best way I can, without causing harm. Other than that, I would like to read and listen to music.”

    6.1. Note that “causing harm” is bidirectional, outwards and inwards.
    6.2. This goal is truer now that I am retired, but it has always been in the background even as I attended to the survival goal. In pursuing the survival goal, I had to practice the first part (think), I tried to practice the second part (behave) although not entirely successfully, and I must confess I did not live up to the third part.
    6.3. The values implicit in the goal are liberty, rationality, independence, self-reliance, integrity, respect and consideration. There could be more but I have trouble keeping up with those already mentioned.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, we all cause our harms, for circumstances don’t give us angels to deal with, nor do we have wings though we ought to aspire to live as if we did. Parental values are very strong, no doubt. I learned the value of hard work, of choices, of reading, and that the first thing to learn about driving is “know where your wheels are, son”. My parents tried to teach non-sexual, non-violent Christian values, but I failed miserably at half of that, and even smoked a joint now and then, which would have horrified them. I made the mistake of showing Mom one of my poems, a fantastic 10 page ribald tale that involved a minister abducting a voluptuous young woman, among other unconventional perspectives on prudery and conservative values, and learned that some things are best kept to oneself..But the anchor of my values today remains hard work, good choices, reading, and knowing where the wheels are.

  9. Joe,
    How do you define material satisfaction? does it have to be living the A-life (i.e., mansions, luxury cars, hot and young mistresses, yachts,etc.) or ,in the Philippine case, a comfortable middle class lifestyle? If it is the former, are the hardworking middle class guilty of not working hard enough to become filthy rich? Even Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Jobs seem like natural geniuses. Talent only beats hard work when talent is lazy. I believe becoming a self-made rich person has a formula: Natural affinity in the field + Hard work + Connections + Favorable market forces/luck; none of the components are negotiable.

    “Americans find Filipinos uncaring and unproductive.” Those call centers won’t have moved here if American corporations found Filipinos unproductive hehehe; Uncaring? Did you mean apathetic? How can Filipinos become uncaring when we are one of the most social beings in the world? I think Filipinos show a clannish brand of caring, though.

    When i was in college most of my classmates were hardworking; they just didn’t do their tasks in advance. cramming is very popular in this country with a dash of ego-bloating– “I crammed yet I passed!”

    What’s missing here is long-term orientation; just look at the poor making dozens of babies which they can’t feed, and educated employees spending their money like there’s no tomorrow.

    • Joe America says:

      Superb questions, Angelo. Let me offer some top-of-mind responses.

      American material targets are moving, so most never get to where they are going. I think most Filipinos would be thrilled with a solid middle class lifestyle and the chance to enjoy a few discretionary choices. A chance to relax and have some fun and be represented well among their friends. But that is just guess.

      Your formula for self-made riches is excellent. I agree with it, and that the components are non-negotiable.

      I meant “uncaring and unproductive” in the sense that time management is poor and there is little problem-solving ingenuity or courtesy in evidence outside the first tier companies. Without question, Filipinos are intelligent and CAN work hard. Work is inclined to follow guidelines set forth by bosses rather than be entrepreneurial, and management tends to be autocratic rather than motivational. Your point that classmates are reactive rather than engage in advance thinking goes hand in hand with this. There are always exceptions. Westerners go nuts about the widespread lack of courtesy, casual approach to time, and officious inefficiency in government offices and businesses.

      I would agree that Filipino caring is clannish, or involves face-saving nuances that we direct-speaking westerners see as avoiding the issue. Also, without question, Filipinos are personable and easy (and fun) to deal with.

      Your concluding comment gets right to the root of it. Reactive vs. planned. Rote vs. ingenuity. Authoritarian vs. motivational (Maslow’s heararchy of needs, etc).

      Thanks for the challenging questions. I hope I make some sense.

      • Indeed, creativity/thinking-out-of-the-box is very overlooked and even frowned on in this unimaginative country.

        “Work is inclined to follow guidelines set forth by bosses rather than be entrepreneurial, and management tends to be autocratic rather than motivational.”

        i agree with this and i put the blame on the educational system starting from preschool.

        rote vs ingenuity= i remember in high school math when teachers asked students to just plug in the valuables into the equation and they would call it “intermediate math”. And then I went to a university which offers hardcore and traumatizing math subjects and tests……

        As usual, your answers are spot-on.

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks. And I’m glad you recovered from your hardcore university math trauma just fine.

        • JosephIvo says:

          Insecurity, not knowing what to eat tomorrow and fear go hand in hand. Fear and thinking out of the box are known enemies. “We survived today, so if we do exactly the same tomorrow we might survive again”, poverty kills initiative, kills change. The dynasties don’t want change neither to keep economic and political decision power in a few hands. These fat cats are too lazy to think of new solutions, they only can repeat themselves. The church wishes that Rome would still be powerful and the center of the world as 2000 years ago, they are not the drivers of innovation. And isn’t there too much respect for the elder?

          A strong dynamic middle class is needed, able to request and recognize decent teachers, daring to try and do things differently, eventually daring to challenge the rulers and thus status quo.

          But how to keep the lightness of being? How not to lose all the positive qualities of the Philippine society? I don’t need a clone of America.

          • Joe America says:

            Yes, one materialistic, politically poisoned, over-consuming war monger is enough. I think we will all get our wish, but the question is, will we be around to admire the loose but productive, fun-loving but mature, technologically connected but personable Philippines? It’s a 20 year project, give or take a few years.

          • edgar lores says:

            Indeed fear is the great motivator.

            And fear tends to expand into other areas. The physical fear of hunger turns into the psychological fear of not being a master and the master of our domain.

      • The Mouse says:

        Joe, do you think the inefficiency in the Philippines is brought about by its protectionist policies? Philippine laws, as we know, have long protected the oligarch companies and we know how this huge local companies treat their employees.

        This brings me now to another thing. I think the OFW phenomenon is really a bad thing as some people project it to be. Filipinos go abroad, get exposed to other cultures. Hopefully, with the economy maintains its momentum and we hope to see these OFWs come home bringing with them not only their skills but also new viewpoint about the world.

        Another point: the foreign capital inflows from BPO. Although the BPO industry seem to hire more of the “middle class” people, I think one of the positive things that the BPO industry brings is it connects Filipinos to the world without living the Philippines. Most BPO in the country cater to foreigners so it is necessary to train these people regarding etiquette.

        Hopefully, these two “phenomenon” will help transform Filipinos and make them even more flexible and perhaps confident.

        The face saving culture is very Asian. IMO, it’s even more of a big thing in East Asian countries than in the Philippines.

        • The Mouse says:


          I meant to say:

          the OFW phenomenon is NOT a bad thing as people project it to be

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I think protectionist policies limit competition and the need to provide good service. Also innovation. I have only recently come to agree with you on OFW’s. It is only bad in those cases where people are not emotionally up to it, and get depressed, or when families are torn apart. For most, I think it broadens and enriches.

          Good point, also, on how the BPO industry broadens the Philippines. I think we are witness to the rise of a nation in more ways than economic.

        • The Mouse says:

          I used to think that the OFW phenomenon was “embarrasing” until saw this interview of Jaime Zobel de Ayala. He makes good points, IMO, about OFWs bringing in more ideas from the outside world to the Philippines.

          • edgar lores says:

            Hold on to your embarrassment. The OFW market is tiered and can be divided into high-skilled, medium-skilled and low-skilled. High-skilled are IT, engineers and doctors. Medium-skilled are health workers, hospitality workers, assemblers and seamen. Low-skilled, mostly using brawn, are construction workers and domestic helpers. Construction work is A-OK but domestic helpers? Sometimes these are elementary teachers who work 18-hours a day under abusive employers. I think this is the segment of the market that we can leave to other nationalities.

          • The Mouse says:

            If there is embarrassment, I think it should towards those who suddenly feel they’re above others just because they’re working abroad….never mind if it’s the job other nationalities do not want. LOL

          • edgar lores says:

            LOL. I wonder if it takes two jeepney loads of relatives to see off the proud OFW to the airport, and three jeepneys to welcome him back on his leave.

  10. Adrian says:

    1. Looks like Filipinos are hardwired to be taken care of.
    1.1 Pamahalaan (pamathalaan, this means government). The root word of the Tagalog word for government is “bathala”. This means god. Leaders are expected to be as caring as their bathala.
    1.2 1.1 may be one of the reasons why we are not as independent as the Westerners. We always look forward for somebody to represent us. Of course this is a generalization.
    2. Filipinos are “lazy”.
    2.1 There was an account, I think by Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, that Filipinos are “lazy”. He arrived at this conclusion when he observed that a Filipino stops gathering food though what he gathered will only last for a few days.
    2.2 2.1 is conflict of Filipino and Western view. This may be explained by their own definition of “property”. West build empires, Filipinos are like “why? there’s plenty for everybody.”.
    2.3 There must be a time where the resources are well managed and everybody is free to enjoy these.
    2.4 Rizal has a good (biased) annotation of this book (look for Morga’s book).
    3. Time. The most exact unit of time in the Tagalog language is “tanghaling tapat”, but this could mean 12 or 1 PM.
    3.1 “Araw” (day). “Araw” is divided into “umaga” (morning). Maybe “madaling araw” (dawn), but I don’t know of any division into hours, minutes, seconds.. etc.
    3.2 Filipinos have their own definition of time.
    4. Music. In Western music, you’ll know what part of music is being played. Think of Beethoven’s symphonies, there is a start there is climax, and there is ending. These parts are easily recognizable. Contrast this with the indigenous Filipino music (Igorot music), there is no defined start and finish or middle part.
    5. Being direct to the point. This is Eastern, the Bible is written this way. Instead of getting to point, a Filipino will dilly dally with words accompanied with a smile and some “annoying” gestures. 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Wow, that makes SENSE. For the first time, ever, I comprehend why the judgment of time differs so markedly from Western. This is a legitimate, culturally seated framing. Why, indeed, work under the hot sun to gather too much food that will only rot, when it is so abundant. Relax! That same perspective exists among all the day laborers who are my neighbors today. When enrichment is not the goal, life gets happy and the clock is a machine of nonsense.Thanks!

      • edgar lores says:

        1. Point 1 is a penetrating observation. Here we are one week after the election, and already we are relying on a Robredo-Poe or Poe-Robredo tandem to head off Binay and solve the political dynasty and the backsliding problem. I had this internal reaction when Cha pointed out the reality of paradigm shifting by change agents. Why do we have to be externally motivated? Why can’t we change from within? Why depend on professor, priest or politician? Or wife? 🙂

        2. Education should teach us how to think, not what to believe and what to think.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, but in the “how to think” should be a process called hunting for knowledge, which considers what others may suggest we think, and the ability to sift through that, finding grain or chaff and getting better and better at being able to distinguish between the two.

          The business community uses the term “self starter” to mean an employee you can put into a job and rarely counsel because he figures things out for himself. Self starters find themselves upward bound because they take the pressure off of superiors rather than add to their burden. If we had the ability to measure the percentage of “self starters” nation by nation, I’d guess the percentage is small everywhere. Maybe 3% in the US and 0.5% in the Philippines. Most managers here are not self-starters. That’s why processes often burden customers rather than help them.

          • edgar lores says:

            I use the term self-motivated, which is a rose by any other name. Those are very low percentages.

            I guess the world is young and humanity is young. The promise of democracy is equally in the notion that we are equal and in the notion that we can become anything. In America, the second notion is emphasized, expressed in the dream that “you can become the president.” To me, the dream is a balance between achieving the second part of becoming anything but without destroying the first part of being equals. The president is equal to the ordinary citizen who pays his taxes. Actually, I think PNoy expresses the dream better: “Kayo ang boss ko” (You are my boss.).

          • Joe America says:

            To which I respond, “okay dynastic underling, kindly get FOI passed so I know what the hell is going on around here!”

        • cha says:


          The paradigm shift, at personal level, is an internal process. Only the person himself is capable of changing his own mindset.

          The change agent may be a person, event, or any material object (a book perhaps) that causes one to rethink a previously held belief or opinion, or way of doing things.

          Can one change without being triggered by a change agent? Of course. Perhaps by process of introspection or meditation like a Buddhist monk or an Edgar Lores.

          But there’s also nothing wrong with being triggered or inspired, motivated to change by something outside of the self. Think Noli Me Tangere and the revolution against Spain or the assassination of Ninoy and the Edsa Revolution. Then there’s Nelson Mandela..Martin Luther King…

          The world would have been a very different place if it didn’t have its fair share of change agents.

          Of course too, the change agent need not always be a larger than life figure like those already mentioned. We all can be change agents to each other simply by becoming good role models. We do this by being the change that we want to see.

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