“What’s Your Bag?”

bag02I love idiomatic expressions.

Sancho Panza is my idol. Well, one of them, along with Barak Obama, George Carlin, Grace Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Charles Dickens and a bunch of people rich of character who are both compassionate and drop dead intelligent. Well, I suppose it could be argued by some that Carlin and Bierce were not exactly compassionate . . . toward those who are not drop dead intelligent.

“What’s your bag?”

That’s the subject we will deal with here today.

From The Urban DictionaryUsed in the 60’s. It’s like saying “what’s your problem?” or “what’s your deal”

“Hey” 
“Shut up” 
“Hey man, what’s your bag?”

I’m inclined to ask that of readers who get turned off by an American blogger writing blogs about the Philippines.

“Hey man, what’s your bag?”

I don’t get much resistance here on my own blog, but when I comment on Rappler or other Filipino discussion threads, I am regularly taken to task. Sometimes, I’m asked to go back home. Often, people start ranting against the United States even though the topic is clearly about the Philippines. They apparently feel a need to “get even”, as if a foreigner offering up an opinion about the Philippines is an attack on them or the Philippines. Their view is that I should clean up the United States before I drop my opinions here. If the U.S. is screwed up in some way, with mass shootings or tanked economy or warmongering, I have no standing to opine here, and no credibility if I do.

That’s bizarre to me, given that an idea is an idea and the best way forward is putting a LOT of perspectives to the problems we face.

It goes along with people defending what is in their head even if it is wrong, because it is in their head.

These Filipinos argue that one Filipino head is worth two of any other nationality. Or five. Or thousands.

Is that called hubris, or what?

  • Hubris  [hyoo-bris, hoo-] (noun) excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance.

Usually we Americans get nailed for hubris, especially characters like GW Bush. Clearly America does not have a lock on the market for hubris.

Enlightenment comes from new ideas, not thinking and saying the same thing over and over again.

In most ways, I am rather of the opinion that the Philippines need not change. Character, like ideas, is often found in the DIFFERENCES rather than the similarities.

The Philippines will and should always be a place of convoluted history and confusion about who’s a hero and when did we become independent anyway? And that famous gahi ulo character has its advantages, too, if it can be blended with innovation and introspection and charity. It is called confidence in many circles. Driving the roads is a dance, with its own style of courtesy and the lack thereof needed to keep things moving. I love driving and consider making it through a crushed intersection with a fine degree of aggression worth a high-five to my son, who is looking over my shoulder pointing out which vehicles are mean and which are kind based on the design of their headlights and grille.

He is a case in point, now that I think about it. A stubborn kid who is creative and intensely confident. He is more Filipino than American in style. Too many Americans are neurotic, needy wimps. That may surprise you, but it is true.  That’s why the psycho-therapy business in America thrives. You only think Americans are arrogant because:

  • U.S. government’s policy is often arrogant.
  • Many Americans in the Philippines are arrogant.

Brief digression:  America is changing dramatically in ethnic composition. So it would be wise to get rid of the notion that America is white.  Mexicans and other Latin Americans represent huge populations in Los Angeles, Miami, large Texas cities and San Diego. Asians, including Filipinos, have many communities in the big cities. Los Angeles has little Tokyo, Korea Town, China Town and the whole San Gabriel Valley is Asian. That’s about 20 miles of Asian cities. Los Angeles has Cuban and Puerto Rican and Armenian and Iraqi (yes) and Irani (yes) communities; African American communities and blacks are everywhere. Approximately 600,000 Filipinos live in the Los Angeles area, many concentrated in Cerritos (see Wikipedia’s “Little Manila“)

This is a largely harmonious stewpot of largely law-abiding believers in the American dream. Different ethnicities mix harmoniously in government, in business, in schools and in every facet of life.

Can you imagine what a chaotic place it would be if whites did not respect Chinese opinions? Or if blacks did not respect Latin opinions?

Oh, sure, there are racial and ethnic biases. But they do not dominate mainstream discourse. They are the fringes.

So what’s your bag?

Do you welcome diversity and respect outside opinions?

Or do you believe in sanitizing your life, so you hear only Filipino views?

Well, my regular readers are mainly cross-cultural themselves. So I know the answer with them. They respect diversity of perspective.

I wish we’d get more full-blooded, dyed in the wool, regular Filipinos reading and commenting here. I don’t know how to do that, recruit the locals.

It seems like there is a “loyalty” factor that keeps Filipinos from commenting here, as if to participate in an American’s blog would be a betrayal of patriotism toward the Philippines. I find it interesting that bloggers like Ellen Tordesillas or Raissa Robles or Angela Stuart never pop in to offer their perspectives. Am I considered competition or something? Do they not agree with the idea of raising the ENTIRE blogging community up by fostering active debate? To make blogging as an “industry” a new social force?

Or they are just self-engaged? Or too busy?

Benigno used to pop in until I raised his ire so much that he threw me out of GRP discussion threads. But he is one of those global guys so doesn’t really count as the home-grown kind of Filipino I am looking for.

J and his partners at The Observers pop in regularly, but they are students of international affairs. So they are globally endowed by force of education, at least. I don’t know where they have lived or traveled. Manuelbuencamino stops by regularly, but he, for sure, has been around (heh heh).

Or perhaps the views I express here are simply too hurtful when I am on a Dutch roll, pontificating insensitively as if MY ideas were the only ones around. It only takes one hurt to chase a reader away forever.

I fired my cousin from working here. You remember her? Angry Maude? She was simply too prickly and blunt. Well, there was also the little matter of her abandoning her post by running off to Palawan with some Filipino stud she picked up at Robinson’s mall in Tacloban.

But it would be nice to have a “born and raised in the Philippines” point of view show up here once in a while. I do promise that my mind would be completely open to any views expressed. I’d guess most globally endowed readers here would also welcome fresh, local views.

I know a large component of the Philippine population chooses isolation or self-containment and confuses that with independence and sovereignty.

As if having friends or allies is a threat to one’s ability to be one’s own man . . . or woman. Or nation.

Pushing others away or withdrawing from them.

That appears to be their bag.

Beyond that, I don’t know. You have to tell me.

What’s YOUR bag?

Comments
44 Responses to ““What’s Your Bag?””
  1. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Joe, majority of the Filipinos wanted to make it appear that they can stand alone without you. 2ndly, Filipinos hate someone that can write goot englischtzes than them that is why benign0 banned you because Filipinos equate inteligence by englsichtzes. The better the englsichtzes the truer the statement. When Filipinos argue, they speakengese englsichtzes to prove their point. That is how we are. That s why I am just totally against perfection of englsichtzes. 3rdly, Filipinos do not want to be told what is wrong with them.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I think Benigno banned me because I was humiliating his thugs with impeccable English and even better logic. Not to mention some really slick insults dealt to the faces of the storm troopers there. I recall muttering “in yo face, Bubba!” as I whipped out an in-kind insult. It was rather fun.

      I understand the desire to stand alone, actually. That is an important second stage after escape from colonization. The third stage, however, is recognizing that others are no threat if I am competent, confident and intelligent. We define ourselves and don’t let others define us. So I believe it is important to push to stage 3. Hmmmm, sounds like a good title for a blog. “The Push to Stage 3: REAL Independence”.

  2. nasescobar says:

    The timidity to express their views, the majority of the people I mean, may be due to poor written
    language skills. Plus there’s a big dose of of hiya operating here too. People generally do not like
    to be laughed at or contradicted for expressing their views. We are Asians after all. We want harmony not strife. I guess this might also involve pakikisama.

    But you are right, those who can must try their best, however, to join in a respectful manner in the conversation towards building a consensus for the good of all.

    • ella says:

      Plus, I guess it comes with the observation that generally Filipinos are so defensive. Any contradiction to what they think is an attack on their person.

      I grew up in a home where my parents encourage differences of opinion and discussions. The phrase “were you thinking?” was so familiar to me because we use it all the time at home. When I left home into the wider Filipino world the phrase “were you thinking?” is construed as I consider them less intelligent.

      Anyways, I do not know is being defensive considered a form of insecurity?

      • Joe America says:

        Yes. That makes sense, and accounts for how quickly some blog threads (other blogs, not here) go to insult. I’ve written a little about this, and will keep pushing. This is consistent with Mariano’s observation, above, and my response is that I need to do an article about “stage three” of sovereignty . . . or personal esteem. When WE define the terms of our relationships with others. Thanks for the perspective.

        • ella says:

          Go ahead with “stage three” with Filipinos going out of the country, I am sure they are exposed to everything and anything outside. With these exposures, they are opening their minds and hearts to the real world and are making comparisons with what is wrong and right in the Philippines (in all aspects culturally, etc) and the country where they are in.

          With Filipinos that are in the Philippines I am sure the wonders of technology like the internet will also help widen their perspective.

          Mr. Joe am, the RH Bill is one example that I could think as an example of Filipinos widening their perspectives. After several years it was passed into law by congress. And for ordinary Filipinos, especially to the women it is a welcome bill.

    • Joe America says:

      Ahhh, very good. I wondered about the language factor, because the people who do comment are very literate. That could tend to muzzle someone with weaker English skills. I do try to set the tone here that we should be respectful of all comments, and commenters, and I don’t mind when people go off into Tagalog to complete an idea. I also don’t consider spelling or sentence structure to be material matters worth commenting on, much less correcting. But for sure, that is probably a factor that restrains some commenters. I’ll have to go on a “Tagalog welcome” campaign, eh? Might even have to learn some skills myself. Thanks for the insight.

  3. manuel buencamino says:

    An idea is an idea but it is not easy to separate it from the bag where it was pulled out of. That’s probably because for the longest time mankind was used to framing ideas or making them legitimate based on where they came from. By what authority do you speak or show me your badge is probably a good way to describe that frame. And then the 60s came around and it became “question authority.” Which is a good thing because it allowed people to think for themselves. But it also made everyone an authority. And that is where you run up against those who tell you, who are you to criticize me and tell me what I should be doing? In times like that, maybe the better approach is to ask, for example, why are you not obeying traffic rules instead of telling them that where I come from this is how we do things and we are a lot better off than you for doing it. Maybe you should ask thought provoking questions and then let them figure out the answers themselves instead of spoon-feeding it to them. In short, instead of opening yourself to what’s your bag, you might be better off asking them what’s their bag. Because the fact of the matter is you are not from here and you have not yet become one of us and so people will always want to see what’s in your bag before they engage or dismiss your ideas not because they ain’t good but because they don’t like the bag where you pulled them out of. At least you will know whether the person you are engaging with is interested in discussing your idea or discussing your bag.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the perspective. I will say only that I have different attitudes toward Philippine ways than I did when I first arrived. It is always a progression toward enlightenment and the only hard rule is that we do our best, and display a reasonable amount of courtesy along the way.

  4. JM says:

    I was born and raised here in the Philippines. I don’t mind your criticisms of my country. They are eye openers/educational as far as I am concerned. A few I think are too ideal but most if not all are still logical and interesting.

    Offtopic: A general observation of other races (i.e. Americans and Russians)
    I’ve been playing an online war game casually after work hours. I play with different people mostly Americans, Russians, and some asians. I find it funny how different your views are. The Americans want a democratic type of leadership while the russians are dictatorial. I was really surprised, I didn’t expect their conversations to heat up too much for a simple game. In the meantime, we asians want the two to just get along and play. Now, I have a picture as to why Russia and America are not allies.

    • Joe America says:

      Look for my upcoming blog on “The Third Stage of Sovereignty”. I think you are there already.

      Your war game lesson is quite amusing, really. I’m enjoying the Snowden bruhaha between the two states. The old spy games underlie the whole episode.

      I live in an area where there are a lot of Dutchmen. They make Americans seem shy with their outspoken opinions. ahahaha, I also dated a Czech woman for a time. I’m not sure if was cultural or just within that family, but I never won an argument.

  5. Jo says:

    The name is Jo, born and bred in the Philippines. I’ve been lurking in your blog since I stumbled upon one of your comments on another blog I also lurk in–Raissa’s.

    I can’t say I agree with the English thing because as far as I know, language has never stopped a Filipino who is passionate in expressing his opinion. We are an opinionated people and there is nothing we enjoy more than showing we have one, never mind if it’s just about the latest reality star to be kicked out and why it’s unfair and how it’s obvious that the network had a hand on it. We thrive on both the silly and the serious–unfortunately, we expend more time on the former and gloss over the latter.

    And that’s the thing. Most of us are trivia junkies, subsisting on information and mistaking it for knowledge and critical thinking. I fall into that trap myself, just content to know ABOUT something instead of KNOWING it.

    Which is why I was attracted to this blog. You don’t know about Filipinos and the Philippines–you know the Filipinos and the Philippines. And that’s awesome.

    As I said before, I lurk. I rarely comment online–I used to lose sleep over discussions and arguments I get into. I was too intent on dragging people to my side, to agree to my point of view, to show that I’m right and he’s a moron. I’ll never win anyone to my side with that, of course, and I learned that really, I shouldn’t be trying to. Many times we should just agree to disagree, and that’s one of the hard lessons a true-blue FIlipino find hard to accept. Just look at RH Bill.

    All in all, I just want to say that I’m here, I hear you, and I’m one of your avid readers. I don’t agree with you all the time but I always take something away from you, and most of the time, it’s a deeper appreciation of my homeland.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, Jo, thank you for stopping in and tossing one myth to the wind. I appreciate it.

      You write: “Most of us are trivia junkies, subsisting on information and mistaking it for knowledge and critical thinking.”

      THAT is what I mean when I say in many instances people are looking at trees and not the forest. I see that a lot among government agencies, and even in the Legislature (and a Constitution that is packed with particular law). The important question usually is how to take good care of the forest. My approach is generally forest-based, even if I don’t always know what trees are growing in it. 🙂

      Keep on lurking. I appreciate that, too.

  6. JosephIvo says:

    I always disagreed with my brother in every argument until an outsider interfered, then we would both attack the outsider with no mercy, whoever’s side he was supporting. My country is split along ethnic lines, ready to dissolve, daily commentaries in all newspapers. When I see an article of a foreigner about us, I don’t try to understand his arguments, even if he argues for our side,but I read it to see where he misunderstood the complexity of our situation. Insiders versus outsiders in sport clubs, businesses, religions or nationalities, the reflexes are the same. Filipinos are no exception.

    Powerful countries or countries with an independent tradition such as Holland or Switzerland have no problem to be outspoken in any environment. Countries with powerful neighbors or a colonial past are more introvert, more careful in sharing thoughts with a foreigner. We learned to shut up instead of getting the attention and possible ire of a more powerful outsider.

    Why to fight if you know that you cannot win? Joe wins an argument on all levels, language wise very few (if any) can beat him, his logic is quite solid, high energy and competitiveness is substantial. You cannot outsmart, out-wit or outpace him so you better give up.

    In my mother tongue I can explain all shades of grey (no, not the 50 shades), in English I only know the words black and white. Expressing a thought without the right emphasis, the right ambivalence, the right wittiness is scary. (I never had a passing grade in any of the languages we had to 5 learn in high school.) Colloquial expressions fail, the correct meaning of a word misunderstood, my language is not current, not consistent, a mix of colloquial, old fashion, hip or literary, possibly all in the same sentence. And even if one acquires some fluency, “traduire est trahir un peu” as the French say (translate is to betray a little).

    But I miss the Filipino voice too.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, I refuse to argue with you (today), because you are one person who tests me to the extreme. And please don’t invite your brother to join in or I might have to call Angry Maude back, and who needs that? Thanks for your sharp insight into the differences and ignorance we bring to the table, and thanks as well for your kind words.

    • J says:

      Are you serious? Your English is perfect!

  7. cha says:

    If you build it, they will come.

    If you write it, they will read it.

    If you ask, they will answer.

    🙂

  8. edgar lores says:

    3. Dis strange talk-talk, ya know!
    1. Dis fella Joe he aks what’s yur bag and ev’rybodie talk-talk about wha’ts in Joes’ bag. Nakakahilo. Nakakaloko.
    4. It no mattah wher Joe cum from. We know he cum from beeg island across beeg ocean.
    2. When he talk-talk about Pilipines; he make strange noises. He tink Pilipino strange birdie. Make like Americano.
    4. Ayee! It don mattah! Talk-talk like cook-cook, yah? Ya unnerstand? Tu comprende? Ya put dis and ya put dat, and ya put ev’ryting ovah the fiah. An’d it all cum out delisyos. Masarap…
    7. Mebbe; #Mebbe not?!

    • Joe America says:

      I have never laughed so hard in my LIFE. Especially the numberology, no 8’s and two 4’s, that be mighty big bad feng shui, no matter, ’cause 7 my luckee digit, according to wife number . . . ummmm , , , I forget . . .

    • Mel NL says:

      You made my day, Edgar!
      Joe, I always read your blogs. Sorry if I can’t comment regularly! Me, busy reading!! But have no time to comment….hahaha

      • Joe America says:

        Good to know you are there, Mel. Reading is good . . . and, indeed, commenting can end up taking a lot of time. If I am constructing a response to a complex matter, that comment can take 15 minutes to compose, destruct, and re-compose.

      • edgar lores says:

        Mel, Have you read the short story “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes? I was trying to channel Charly and adhere to Mariano’s prescriptions.

        P.S. Forget about the movie and the novella.

        • Mel NL says:

          Edgar, thanks for suggesting the book . I searched and found it in our library. The comments about the book are all good!

  9. begalon says:

    “These Filipinos argue that one Filipino head is worth two of any other nationality. Or five. Or thousands.”

    Hey man, are you serious about this Filipino who said that pharse above?

    I have to freeze my head too and directed me to come to the reply box before I loss my head. What I wanted to say quickly is that whoever is this guy I would like to say:

    oh yeah, he must be EGGHEAD.

    Yeah Joe, that is why all we can come with is over decorated jeepneys. haha… If a Korean says it, it is admirable, but if Filipino says it I will go eat my scrambled two eggs with lots of tabasco.

    Meanwhile let me go back reading the rest of what’s your bag.

    Oh

  10. J says:

    As you know, I always lurk in here, Joe. But I only comment if I have something unique to share. I guess that’s the attitude of others as well? I’m not sure.

    Anyway, since everyone has said what i wanted to say, I only have one remaining comment for this post: You fired Angry Maude?! Really?! She’s a refreshing, thought-provoking, and entertaining writer man!

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Well, too late for that, Maude is not Angry anymore because she’s busy with lucky Filipino stud. Most of all, there is no internet in Palawan. Palawan still use wireless smoke signals 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Maybe she’ll tire of touring the underground river and I can unfire her. Have you been to that place? It’s a big black horizontal hole filled with tourists and tour guides who tell lame jokes to try chase the creepiness away. It is the kind of ride that makes you happy to see the end coming, a little speck of light that rushes up to embrace you with life again.

  11. edgar lores says:

    To answer THE question seriously:

    1. I have many bags, none with a French label. I will use the phrase to mean, “What are my concerns?”

    2. If I were to list them in order of priority, it would look something like this:
    o Provision/support for family (Very Important but not urgent)
    o Personal enlightenment (Very important and very urgent)
    o Personal pleasures, in particular reading, music and surfing (Important but not urgent)
    o Help rid mankind, in particular Filipinos, of delusions (Very important but not urgent)
    o House/yard chores (Important but not urgent)

    3. From the perspective of constructs, the priority would be: Family, Self, Countries then World.
    3.1. God is implied in the second item, personal enlightenment.
    3.2. The missing constructs would be Community and Church.
    3.3. In a way community for me is cyberspace. The real suburban community and the national community I am fortunate to live in are doing fine. Thus only Church is missing.
    3.4. But not really because one of my bags is delusional religion. And in a certain sense the universe is a church.
    3.5. The Self construct is problematic. I – whoever “I” is – wish to attain No Self. The verb “wish” is also problematic. It implies desire of the Self. It’s a strange loop.

    4. Have I missed anything? Yes, personal maintenance. I have not exercised much in the past month or two. Have to take this up again in this month. Tomorrow.

    5. My biggest bag would be personal enlightenment. As JoeAm says the overriding goal is “progression toward enlightenment”. National enlightenment cannot be achieved without personal enlightenment.
    5.1. The biggest pocket in my bag would be the collective – and personal! – failings of mankind: greed, anger and ignorance and the consequent suffering.
    5.2. The second biggest pocket would be methodology. As noted, organized religion is out.

    6. When reading, I try to stay open and receptive and take note of my initial reaction. I tend to agree with those that buttress my native inclinations, especially those that offer new perspectives.
    6.1. Of great interest in broadening my world are informative and insightful opinions in unexplored areas or even in over-trodden ones.
    6.2. All opinions or essays trigger a reaction – denial, dis/agreement, delight, reflection, boredom – and it will happen, on the rare occasion, that one will upturn my world with the force of sudden revelation. I live for those moments.

    7. On a sidenote, Cha’s son asked, “Can there be a gay Buddhist monk?” The best answer I can glean is Yes and No.
    7.1. Yes, in that Buddhism makes no distinction about the object of love. Love is love.
    7.2. No, in that a monk cannot act upon his desire: he cannot form any attachments. Lay people can.
    7.3. Desire is the human condition. All major religions say the path is the ‘proper’ channelling, the nullification or even the extinction of desire. My current wisdom is that human desire in all its forms is acceptable to the degree that it does no harm to anyone including self.

    • Joe America says:

      1. I dreamed last night that I was carting things through the department store in my big green army duffel bag. It was heavy, but I launched it up to my right shoulder and bore the weight on my legs. Therefore, I do not need to exercise today.

      2. Clear and reasonable. Me too, as I figure you are not surfing the Brisbane River.

      3. Community can be vague or tangible, depending on one’s degree of involvement. I’m involved in my community to the extent I spend money here. Money binds us in ways that ideas don’t. Church is an organization of man, or a place of worship, where that which is worshiped can be a fiction of man, or a quality of merged inner and outer being. That gets to your “universal”.

      4. See number 1.

      5. That one pocket must be huge.

      6. Yes, especially 6.2.

      7. The last sentence is a grand flourish to tie it all together. Fantastic distillation. Desire is an energy of the psyche. It needs certain restraints, but it indeed is what keeps us moving forward.

    • cha says:

      7. Thanks for clearing that up. The younger one was supposed to get on that track as she’s currently doing 2 units of Studies of Religion(for Year 11) but I think she got distracted and actually needs still to come down from the high she got when she read what the Pope recently said about gay priests (“Who am I to judge them?” ). Guess who her biggest hero is at the moment.

      As for my own bag, I find that as with most women my age, I can’t really carry as much around as I used to. I even have taken to toting a handbag instead of the shoulder bags I preferred before as I have recently become prone to tendonitis.

      And so likewise is my predicament carrying the weight of my, other people’s, and the world’s (!) problems on my shoulders; I now know I can only handle so much. 🙂

  12. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Here is my beef http://www.forbes.com/sites/naazneenkarmali/2013/07/31/manila-moneyball/
    No Filipinos only tsinoys tsinays, tisoys and tisays. The Filipinos work for them in slave condition and powrs cut off if power bills unpaid http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/world/asia/power-is-cut-to-philippine-province-over-unpaid-bills.html While Americans selling their military junks to Philippines http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/31/us-philippines-usa-idUSBRE96U0IG20130731

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, the gap between haves and have nots is rather obscene.

      Our province, which is rich with natural sources of energy, untapped (thermal and hydro), has scheduled brownouts about twice a month, all day, and intermittent brownouts when weather conditions are appropriate. Like, whenever a big cloud passes by.

  13. Killer says:

    Pinanganak po at lumaki sa Maynila, bunga ng Tarlac, Pampanga, Samar, at Palawan.

    With profuse apologies to the gentleman, I shall attempt an Edgar Lores:

    1. We are bred to see lines of loyalty. Always. There are the major branches of Family, Religion, and Ethnicity. You have witnessed how Filipino nationalism is practiced: we will pummel each other and our nation to the ground–that is our right–but will promptly defend Filipino honor when it is put into question by a foreigner. We like to think we are citizens of the world but we have yet to completely understand that this global nation is defined by the differences within it as much as it is by the similarities we all share. On this note:

    2. We were (are, really) still discovering how to go about living in this Democracy thing and the Interwebs fell on our laps. Too much, too soon, in my opinion. As we were left baffled as to why our forays in free expression resulted in Kristina Bernadette Aquino, we soon had the faculty for more free speech and were quick to utilize it to wax eloquent on News Site commentary sections and social media–places where lucid discussions go to die.

    3. I do not see right or wrong as having nationalities. Perspectives like culture and history must be considered, of course, but the fundamental quality of an argument can be determined by universal truths.

    4. We will get these things sorted out soon.

    • Joe America says:

      Ahahahahaha, I dearly fear that Edgar will be sorely tested to keep up with this absolutely pithy, brilliant enumeration of the Philippine character. The bits I enjoyed most:

      1. Defined by the differences . . . we share.
      2. Quick to wax eloquent . . . where lucid discussions go to die.
      3. I do not see right or wrong as having nationalities.
      4. We will get these things sorted out soon.

      Thanks for sorting them out so well, here.

      • edgar lores says:

        No can possibly overtop or kill the Killer.

        • Killer says:

          Maraming salamat po sa kanilang dalawa; aba po ang inyong lingkod.

          Mr. Lores, I appreciate how you are able to dissect and present ideas the way you do. I smell a philosopher. Does not my nose deceive me?

          Mr. Am, you’ve gotten me hanging out here so long and so often I shall have to pay you rent at some point.

          On a note related to items 1 and 3, I must say that I agree with Mr. Buencamino’s commentary on Thomas van Beerbum. Mr. Beerbum shouts “Solidarity!” and “Empathy!” but all I hear is Guilt.

  14. What’s my bag? I wish it’s Jansport like most hip and trendy Filipino teenagers LOL.

    In blogging, I’m usually tolerant of the perspective of foreigners on Filipino culture, values and norms. What i don’t like is when they spew nonsense which are not supported by facts and thorough observation; most of these bloggers are those who haven’t been in the Philippines. There are also ignorant expats, who love dissing the country as if they hold exclusive ownership of the solutions to the problems in the Philippines, because of their unwillingness to bond with locals and belief in their superiority.

    On one hand, I see substantial, well-informed foreigner comments as a more objective view especially of the negative traits of Filipino culture; Filipinos are not self-deprecating and emphasized “Shame/hiya” and “Dangal/reputation.” Worse, they treat every debate as a personal issue and resorts to personal insults instead of arguments when things get rough. There’s a reason why I hang out here more often, and I troll sites of Major networks hehehe.

    My bag: So what if i lose a debate? Anyway, winning an online debate won’t make me rich hehehe

    • Joe America says:

      Ha, yes, I can certify that this kind of thing will not make you rich. You make a very good point though, that there are odd-balls in both the Philippine and American social sphere, so no one ought pretend supremacy. I’d add that we ought not judge the whole by the exceptions we observe, that we don’t like. I am as much guilty of that as anyone as I generalize a lot (statistics bore me). But I’m striving to temper the judgments so that I offer “perspectives” rather than avidly bitch and moan.

      • bebot says:

        Some Filipinos are quite wary and curious of foreigners that they have difficulty to be open, accepting and respecting their perspectives. However much depend largely on their life’s orientation and experiences. I would say that people who have low score of openness have low tolerance for different views, as such endorsing prejudiced views, but those people high in openness tend to have more liberal political views, have preference for variety and intellectual curiosity.

        Openness is such a strange word to these some Filipinos, the absence of such in their life, is so detrimental to how they view the world, always a half empty glass instead of half full glass.

        • Joe America says:

          As you characterize it,openness is threatening. Maybe even frightening, causing the defensive reactions. I can almost visualize that as a movie scene, with the character shrinking behind a blanket. I view that fear as a national trait as well. It seems to me that the Philippines is worried too much about threats to sovereignty over trivial incidents. For example, when a lost orange US drone washed up on a beach. A nation that is open to, and engaged, in the world would not be quite so sensitive I think. Confidence helps and the current economic boom should help in that area, I think.

          • bebot says:

            US drone is one of the latest weapons deployed by the US to counter global terrorism and counter insurgency initiatives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia which are really hotbeds of terrorism. I am open in the use of drones to curtail / halt terrorists spreading their wings throughout the world to protect more civilians lives. It’s a choice between the terrorists’ lives and the civilians’ lives – a choice over few lives with that of thousand lives.

            The current Philippine economic boom should trickle down to the lives of the poor people, but due to lack of proper education / qualifications and training, coupled with lack of manufacturing / industrial employment opportunities, it would be extremely hard for the government to solve the employment dilemma. PNOY and cabinet members are doing their best to solve these problems.

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