Education, kids and the culture of impunity

flag ceremony

Obedience and respect . . . or servility?

I ask this as follow-up to questions that Society member Juana Pilipinas fired up about how to end submission as a way of life that feeds into the culture of impunity here in the Philippines.

How do we get to candid expression focused on reason, not emotions?

In the Philippines, emotions seem bi-polar, swinging widely between: (a)  insecurity, fear or submission found in the willingness to bow to crooks, and (b) arrogance, envy or aggression found in a hardheaded assertion of self.

Where is confidence? Confidence tempers both fear and arrogance. It is the platform for reason and the driver of innovation. It underpins good listening and good expression. It generates the belief that “we can solve this problem if we put our minds to it.”

My image of Filipino schools is one of students as subjects of authority where they are ordered to line up for flag ceremony like we did in the army, profess their allegiance even though they don’t know what it means, and march into the classroom to memorize the table of elements, even though they could easily Wiki it in 10 seconds. The focus is to do what we are told because it is what we do, as we have always done.

This is education by the rules. It is not teaching kids to think critically, not allowing them to be self-starters with the initiative to solve problems with their own thinking rather than follow someone’s instruction booklet. DepEd manages by rote and kids learn by rote.

Well, I tend to think this formula handicaps Filipino kids on two counts:

  • It teaches them how to follow rules rather than solve problems.
  • It fosters emotional weakness and the “perpetual child” dancing between submission and aggression.

I must add the caveat that this is not universally the case. There are plenty of good schools, good teachers, and confident, good thinking, emotionally balanced kids. There are just TOO MANY of the other kinds and I’d venture to guess that public schools are the biggest producers of bipolar Filipino youth. The proof is in the pudding, a thriving culture of impunity, servility, silence in the face of wrongdoing, vote-selling, and precious little problem-solving that does not entail bowing to this authority or that. Or to superstition. And in the bowing to special interests, productivity turns to nonsense.


Several billion pesos worth of nonsense by DOTC

Or we get rude behavior, envy, anger, theft and murder . . . and mountains of trash left behind on the trail of the Pope.

When my daughters in the US were young, I served on the Board of their private school operated by a local liberal arts college. The college used the school to perfect new teaching techniques. The early years of schooling (K through 2) did not stress achievement in knowledge, where knowledge entailed taking exams that labeled kids as winners or losers. Instead, the focus was on instilling a joy in learning and confidence in expression. Any step forward, large or small, was praised. There was no condemnation for failure to meet other people’s expectations.

Invariably, the students excelled at the older “knowledge” stage, soaking up new information and applying it with ingenuity and confidence. They loved to learn.

How many Filipino kids love to learn? Love to read? Enter the job market as confident self-starters, adept at problem-solving and rational, unemotional discourse? Confident and able to deal with the hurdles that arise, not just complain or make excuses?

How many leave meek and unsure of what to do next? How many dedicate the rest of their lives to justifying themselves and pulling others down because it hurts to see them succeed? How many look away if they see a colleague or classmate cheat?

Ach, I don’t know.

And I have to confess, I get confused on some points.

It is the emotionalism of the Filipino population that is also its richness, the passion for winners, the easy ability to have fun, or even cry. The laid back approach to time and demands. How did rote learning result in that?

And who am I to judge?

All I can do, really, is ask the questions:

  • By what do we measure good and bad, in cultural development?
  • If we look at results, do we have what we want?
  • If we have what we want, why are so many people complaining about it?

So back up to the basics.

  • What do we want for the Philippines?
  • Productivity or fun?

If it is productivity, responsibility and wealth . . . and the health and easy living that they can buy . . . then I’d argue for a stronger emphasis by DepEd on building confidence within kids and candor at self expression. That is, lose the layers of respectful and largely mindless obedience. Work on the character of the child. And I’d suggest that skills at organizing ideas and innovation are much, much more important than the skill of recitation.

And we have this wonderful additional thought from Juana Pilipinas, bouncing off the enlightening ideas of josephivo:

  • There’s a thought! Why not have someone empowered and patriotic rewrite all history textbooks in a proud and rational Filipino voice? Someone who is grounded, in-touch with global reality, and full of pride about being a free Filipino in a beautiful, bountiful, and happy Philippines.

But if this positivism is not needed. If it is fun we want, hey, just keep on truckin’. For sure, good parenting can also make a difference. Those kids taught confidence and skill at rational expression will rise, no matter what.

There just won’t be as many of them.


51 Responses to “Education, kids and the culture of impunity”
  1. Simple Mr Joe.
    With classes of 40 plus and two sittings a day what are teachers here supposed to do?
    On a salary of 20000 pesos?
    I was a teacher for 30 years in London. Aquino has put forward more money and some reforms ?
    I admire the hard work of teachers here, but the whole system is massively underfunded.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, a huge, huge challenge, I agree. I’d argue it is “over-kidded” as well as under-funded. Where do you put the funding? Into judges, into education, into roads, into cash payments and resettlements of the poor, into defense . . . into computers and corruption hunting . . . tough, tough, tough.

      But what about the content and way of teaching? Content, the positive history text that Juana mentions, or getting away from memorizing and into problem solving? And think about the authoritarian method, when it is used, when it is not. And push toward computers, especially in high school, to take some pressure off of teachers and facilities. I think there are ways to work better within a weakly funded program.

  2. i7sharp says:

    So back up to the basics.
    What do we want for the Philippines?
    Productivity or fun?

    We can want both productivity AND fun.
    And actually have both.
    Not impossible.

    The Philippines can set the example.


  3. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Joe’s assertion proved why Filipino OFWs are demand abroad because of three qualities: Obedience, Respectful and Servile

    No wonder Filipinos do well in command-and-controlled environment because of three qualities. Just do not let these Filipinos think. Because the outcome is scary like the several billion worth of MRT nonsense. Who do they think they are? Los Angeles MTA? Where greenline trains skirted and never reached LAX?

    Like, the SAF missed encounter, it was Filipino commanders thinking. What the Filipinos are good at is blame. They trumpeted to the Filipinos we, Americans, trained these “Special Forces”. Yes, we did. But we did not tell them to think. They should have consulted us before they went Rambo into enemy territory marching like it was a Parade of Philippine Independence Day.

    It is time to outsource Philippine Government and give it to the big boys: Abroad.

    • Joe America says:

      I have to laugh. I could never figure that green line out either. Here’s a map of it which is rather cool because it tracks each of the trains:

      I think they probably figured airport riders would not use it that much and it would be better to serve the modest-income residents along its path. It connects with the blue line going downtown, which is another fine piece of work, running above ground at street level and slaughtering pedestrians and even cars as it makes its way to the city. The red line is the best, underground, costing a couple of billion per mile to build. You can go from the financial district to the Philippine consular office on Wilshire in about 10 minutes, nary a beggar or drug lord in sight because you avoid that danger zone at Alvarado and around MacArthur Park.

      I love LA.

      Filipinos do have a reputation in the US of being reliable and trustworthy. Go figure. That to me suggests the problem in the Philippines is that layer of officious money grubbers at the top.

  4. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Here are whys I learned nothing in the Philippines:
    1. Our chairs and desks have ticks and mites. We were to bring kerosene, yes, sir, kerosene to poison these pesky insects;
    2. It is so hot in the classrooms it was cooler in the panaderia;
    3. There were 60 of us, pupils, crowded in small room;
    4. We have to share tattered frayed textbooks;
    5. We pray before start of class;
    6. First subject of the day is always religion teaching us to pray so we get good scores and grades, so we prayed. Before the end of the year, 1/3 of the class dropped out and never seen again. I found them selling cigarettes and candies in the streets;

    I think I was the smartest kid in class, section 26. The higher the section number the dumber the students. Section 1 were the elite students. Department of Education had bright idea at that time. Mix the brightest with the dumbest. I realized I was smart because I represented the class to take a test for National Science High School, elite public school. It was an honor. My father was beaming. He was a rock star. He took the credit. I did the hardwork.

    I had a classmate once, Ernesto Gerona, I know he doesn’t mind if he read this. I doubt he ever would get lost this way. I do not know why I cannot forget his name. I do not struggle to remember his name because he was the coolest kid in our class. He wears Amboy shirt which I wished I had. I do not know to this day why polo shirt then was called Amboy. He said the shirt came from a relative in Hawaii. He’ll be going there soon. After we graduated elementary, we crossed path. I JUST WONDER WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM? I wonder whatever happened to his Hawaiian dream. He looked at me. I looked at him. He went thru his business pretending not knowing or seeing me. I pretended not seeing him pushing a kareton full of cans and empty bottles. He still had that Amboy shirt on. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to him.

    I wish him well. I hope his God takes good care of him apparently not. We were 12 years old.

    • Joe America says:

      It is my pleasure, on behalf of the Society of Honor, to present you, Mariano Renato Pacifico, with the Society’s “Louis Jenkins Award” for poignancy in a literary work. I was left speechless, both my mind and heart having been ripped from their anchor posts.

      • Joe America says:

        I take the snap from the center, fake to the right, fade back…
        I’ve got protection. I’ve got a receiver open downfield…
        What the hell is this? This isn’t a football, it’s a shoe, a man’s
        brown leather oxford. A cousin to a football maybe, the same
        skin, but not the same, a thing made for the earth, not the air.
        I realize that this is a world where anything is possible and I
        understand, also, that one often has to make do with what one
        has. I have eaten pancakes, for instance, with that clear corn
        syrup on them because there was no maple syrup and they
        weren’t very good. Well, anyway, this is different. (My man
        downfield is waving his arms.) One has certain responsibilities,
        one has to make choices. This isn’t right and I’m not going
        to throw it.

  5. Jake says:

    The “looser” US educational system ain’t better either. Compared to the rigid structure of Japan and Korea, your typical American student lag behind.

    With all the resources poured into American educational system, even college level Americans do now know where other countries are… or even major cities in their own country

    One American who was studying a pre law thought the Philippines was in the Caribbean

    My cousin attends one of the best schools in California. We were astounded when she mentioned that she thought that SEATTLE was in another country!

    Memorization isnt as bad as people present it to be.

    Given that PH schools are much underfunded compared to their US counterparts, it is amazing that middle class Filipinos know more of their geography and where more “high profile” countries are. Compare that to your typical American working class.

    • Jake says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble here Joe but the US education system, even private schools arent as rosy as you make it out and private school education in the Philippines is not also as bad as you paint it out to be.

      The biggest problem in PH is underfunding of the educational system. Even private schools are struggling in this as not to overburden parents with tuition given the slow rate of salary increase compared to price inflation

      Add to that the practicality of many Filipinos. Liberal arts or any artistic endeavor is not popular among Filipinos because of the economic realities

      I say this as someone who has experience studying in the Philippines and the US. And not many Americans seem to be interested in the world outside the US unless they live in an area populated by many immigrants like the Bay Area. The only area of interest outside the US is Europe.

      • Joe America says:

        Very good, Jake. That is a fair argument, which I would restate to be something like this: “The Philippine Department of Education should be commended for doing so much with so little. Kids across the Philippines get a good education, and a good start to life, and we should thank DepEd and the thousands of teachers for their good work. This culture of impunity stuff has little relevance to giving kids the basics. Discipline and respect should be important elements of a basic education, and memory training is also valuable.”

        That’s a clear and reasonable argument, actually a positive one. You would not change much, and would look elsewhere to improve governance and economic output. Or maybe you would accept them as fine, too, and suggest that I retire from blogging and enjoy the beaches a little more often. 🙂

        I can’t tell if you are arguing that the Philippine Department of Education model should be applied in America to improve American school output. I’d have to give that some thought . . . and might not agree . . .

    • Let me be a devil’s advocate, Jake. While it is true that a few Americans are challenged when it comes to Geography, I attribute that to the mindset that they do not have to look further than their own backyard to make a living. Compared that to a lot of us who grew up with the awareness of our families, friends, neighbors and relatives in the diaspora. Auntie is in Saudi. Mama is in Hong Kong. Uncle is in the US Navy and stationed in Italy… A lot of Filipinos look at the world map because they know somebody who is in a particular country or they themselves want to be somewhere else other than the Philippines. The prevailing mindset for a number of Filipinos is: the only way UP is OUT. Sad, but so true in a lot of instances…

  6. macspeed says:

    Very good topic Joe Am…

    Really right, education by memorization is not learning by heart and mind. Memories stored on temporary part of the brain vanishes in due time, depending on the capacity of each person.
    Learning by heart and mind is a procedure, wherein no one has to memorize, it is a way to learn, even if you stop doing it, for so many years, it will comes out naturally when recall by the brain.

    One sample is driving. Anyone who knows how to drive then stop for years then a will to drive again, that knowledge re-appear without much effort. Going back when one does not have any knowledge for driving, one has undergone understanding the parts of the car, then, the way to start the car, the way to drive, the way to reverse and so on and so so…automatically stores in memory bank of the brain…that is the key word>>understanding<<

    Hence DepEd has to change the rules. Learning by understanding rather than learning by memorization will promote good citizen. When a citizen is good, he/she knows what is right and what is wrong. When one has this goodness, it reflects into the physical being and affects the good attitude of a society, resulting in good behavior, good community and course good leaders….

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for nailing that point so well, learning by understanding. When one understands, one can find different paths to take, for different reasons. When one learns by rote, one follows the path someone has already drawn out for you. You don’t discover much, or reflect on why I am where I am.

      • Bans Godoy says:

        Yes, this applies to western education Joe, not to the Jews and Chinese. They memorize first and understand later. Check their books and classics education materials.

        Obedience, respectful, servile are standard in the corporate world. OFW is the examples. While critical thinking is good and needed at the top corporate or government leadership, righteousness, moral compass education should be the guiding trail, else plain critical thinking leadership like the Philippines Leadership is going to a cliff.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, I think there is a lot to be said for paying the top government officials a whole lot of money so they don’t have to cheat for it, or go to America to get it, and we’d get really capable, good-thinking people in top slots. Their talents will multiply through their underlings. Maybe I shouldn’t worry too much about Philippine education because it will produce the broad base of working stiffs, and the few skilled managers who can deploy them well will filter to the top one way or another.

          The whole nation can’t be executives or poets or doctors or lawyers.

          Still, I wish they’d vote a little differently . . . more on skill, less on popularity . . .

  7. Bans Godoy says:

    Just share my observation:
    I have four children, graduated high school in Los angeles, California. I am a product of Philippine education. During my children graduation, I attended the LA county all high school graduation ceremony.
    At the center stage stands all the 10% performing students. Two races stand out, the Jewish and the Asian. Why?

    Education includes three (3) influeunces. 1, academic school class, 2, home tutoring and observation, 3, community influence encounter and observation. So why Jewish and Asian tops the class? Why Not at large? Here is my observation.

    1, Jewish american family culture is Hebrew theocracy in democractic Society.
    2, Asian American family culture is Confucian, Toaist in democratic Society.

    Now the Filipino family are islanders Polynesian/Astronesians to begin with, later some influence of Chinese intsik traders, followed by Spanish Kastila catholic religion, followed by American democratic education. No wonder, Kastilanoy and Chinoy excel in the government and economy of the Philippines.

    With underfunding, this collateral damage results from government officials corruption.
    Good academic education is a product of good government
    Man’s education is a product of good academic, family and community.

    Need change! Binay? Same banana. Any Senator? Same banana. Any Congressman? Same banana. Who? How? When? Interesting eh!

    • Joe America says:

      Your observation is most pertinent to the topic. I draw two important conclusions from the cultural comparisons. (1) Family lifestyle and the expectations and assistance of parents plays a huge role in a child’s education, and (2) corruption hurts kids. The better solution rather than JoeAm picking on DepEd would be to pick on parents or politicians for failing to develop an “excellence in education” discipline in the family.

      The reality of the political system is that it only draws into the elections friends and relatives, so it is hard to draw in a different banana. Even businessmen like Manny Villar are political players. I don’t know of any profound educators who could do the job. Maybe elect Cardinal Tagle as president, eh? Or Leni Robredo. She seems outside the bubble of corruption, at least.

  8. Juana Pilipinas says:

    “And we have learned that to raise a happy, healthy and hopeful child, it takes a family, it takes teachers, it takes clergy, it takes business people, it takes community leaders, it takes those who protect our health and safety, it takes all of us.

    Yes, it takes a village.

    And it takes a president. It takes a president who believes not only in the potential of his own child, but of all children – who believes not only in the strength of his own family, but of the American family, who believes not only in the promise of each of us as individuals, but in our promise together as a nation. It takes a president who not only holds these beliefs but acts on them.”

    ~Hillary Clinton, “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child,” August 27, 1996

    I believe the African proverb that Hillary used as a reference in her famous 1996 speech is very applicable to a lot of issues in the Philippines. It takes a village to: 1) Teach our children well. 2) Stop impunity. 3) Eradicate corruption. 4) …

    • Joe America says:

      It does indeed take a village, sometimes arguing while trying to figure out a better way. But always driving toward a better way.

      Haha, it also takes a gas pedal and steering wheel . . . (energy, direction).

      • My experience in the Philippines is that everybody have an agenda. Or do they? It is very hard to get a straight answer or arrive at a solution. Case in point, a date is needed for a reunion. A few voiced possible dates, then the conversation got off on a tangent. Everything under the sun was discussed except for the date. Then there was cooking, eating, drinking and more talking. The date forgotten. Everybody was having fun except moi because I was so focused on the DATE. The solution? Yup, you got it. Take the wheel and drive. Set the date and tell everyone to be there. Maybe every village should have a take charge person with a whip?

        • Joe America says:

          Ahhh, yes. I have to laugh because my wife and I keep having this discussion deja vu deja vu all over again and again. I thought maybe it was a girl guy thing, but maybe not. I go to the store to buy what is on my list, she has no list and goes to the store to look around. My joy is getting the goods and getting out. Hers is the looking around and the discoveries and the promos or freebies. Maybe America is a man and the Philippines is a lady.

          I’d go for a take charge person with a whip if it is the right person. Mostly, though, they end up like Marcos, intoxicated with their power. So let’s just continue the little aches and pains, and avoid the big one, okay?

          • bauwow says:

            One of my teachers told me that the Spaniards kept us ignorant and free from education, so we can continually serve them and more importantly, we will not learn to think for ourselves. I do agree with Juana that majority of Filipinos was raised to think that the only way to go UP is OUT.(ang galing!) One can observe that once a Filipino goes abroad, he eventually sees his country in a different light, he learns to think for himself and finally cares for the welfare of his country.

            Maybe, the oligarchs and the people that control the country use this same tactic so they can perpetuate and continue their hold on the country.

            Lastly, I hope you have an upcoming blog about the Mamasapano Massacre. Borrowing from the late and great Francis M., ….you cannot talk peace if you have a gun.

            • Joe America says:

              I was writing on the massacre this morning, but it is a hard one to do. I tend to get worked up and it does not make for the best writing condition.

              I don’t think there is a “plot” to keep the masses ignorant and compliant, but I think scalawags like Binay will manipulate and use the neediness and simpleness of the masses for personal gain.

              • bauwow says:

                Indeed, it is a piece that will be very hard to write. I don’t want to hijack this blog, and I guess that I will have just to wait for your upcoming blog regarding the massacre, as I’m sure everyone following you are also waiting. Emotions are running high.

              • Joe America says:

                Maybe I’ll get it out late today.

          • Bans Godoy says:

            This person with a whip is a group from outside and inside of the Philippines. Historically, like the group Dr Rizal, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, Lee Kwan Yao, Ding Xiaoping, George Washington and revolutionary leaders, General Chang Kai Shiek group in Taiwan.
            Maybe not born yet, maybe germinating outside, maybe being nurtured now.

            This is purely my mental speculation based on historical perspective of Asia and America.

            So I agree, just continue endure the aches and pains. Keep the awareness.

            • Joe America says:

              Good plan. We’ll keep our eyes open for that benevolent whip slinger and strive to minimize the aches and pains through comprehension and good deeds.

              • Bans Godoy says:

                The hope of change is the new bred patriotic Filipinos combining the Kastilanoy, Chinoy, pure Pinoy, FilAm, FILCanada, OFW middle class, who love the Philippines, supported by academia who are intellectually awakened, the suffering of the relatives back home, the broken families due to poverty and national corruptions. Some leaders should rise up to claim the national change in 2016.

                Easier said than done eh! This Filipino dream of hope tickles me, he, he, ala eh!

  9. David Murphy says:

    My kids attend private schools here in our small town. I am appalled to read their examination results, not because of their scores but because the questions are focused on specific, generally insignificant facts with no reference to principals or to the relevance of the facts in a larger framework. For example, there is a question that involves the name of a specific flatworm but no mention of the system that classify the various types. It is rote memorization at its worst, with the teachers rewarding students for the temporary ability to regurgitate facts that they will not remember a week later and will have no need to remember even that long.
    In this case I believe the basic problem is the lack of proper training of the teachers. To use your own words, they teach by rule and by rote and not by teaching kids to think critically, not allowing them to be self-starters with the initiative to solve problems with their own thinking rather than follow someone’s instruction booklet. DepEd manages by rote and kids learn by rote.
    Admittedly it is harder to challenge kids to think for themselves and encourage creativity and a holistic grasp of a subject rather than teaching specific and easily graded facts. And since the teachers graduate without acquiring these skills the schools themselves must educate their teachers. That doesn’t happen here.
    Like many situations in the Philippines, money and resources play a role. My children’s teachers are generally very young and inexperienced and while they are teaching they are learning the practical and essential teaching skills like establishing and maintaining discipline and order and lesson planning. And they are hired because they work cheap. What’s worse, by school policy they will be retired after 10 or 15 years at most, when they have acquired the essential skills, to be replaced by the clones of their earliest years. Sayang!
    I hate to cite problems without offering solutions. It is possible that some parents or other interested adults could volunteer to teach the teachers how to stimulate critical thinking and how to stimulate interest in the subjects that will inspire the students to read and learn rather than memorize? I have no background in education and I’m not sure I know how to do this and certain that I have no qualifications for teaching it to professional teachers. But maybe some of your readers do. Or maybe I could be a self-starter and utilize the incredible resources of the internet and educate myself.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, that’s what I see in my son’s education, too. Mindless learning. Fortunately, he gets challenged at home. One of these days, I’m going to draw up two lesson plans, one for 4th grade and one for 9th grade. The content will be how to acquire information, brainstorm and solve problems. Maybe a few other things as I roll through the lesson preparations. It will require little teacher skill because the beauty of it is that the kid has to do things for himself/herself. That may be something that has more impact than blogging. I’ll sell it to DepEd and use the proceeds to develop a really swank computer learning center at my kid’s private school. If DepEd doesn’t want it, I’ll peddle it to private schools and they’ll knock the socks off other kids at various competitions.

      • sonny says:

        According to my late linguist-uncle, the facility for languages gets hard-wired by age 13. I wish the DepEd or some appropriate language group would develop Orthography for the two Filipino languages all Filipino children are born into: Pilipino and his/her own regional language (the major regionals), Grades 1 thru 6 should be the times to learn these languages. These, together with English and Math should compose the compulsory subjects from Grade 1 thru 12. I would further suggest to include courses in Human Geography and Integrated Sciences to round off the the Grades 1 – 12 curriculum. The rote problem would become moot. The same uncle suggested 52 as the retirement age for all teachers in the trenches.

        • Joe America says:

          You know, I agree. My young son is learning Tagalog and it is amazing to me how he picks it up whereas my calcified cranium resists all knowledge and my wife dies laughing at my botched pronunciation. I have, after reading comments here, tempered somewhat my objection to memorization. Perhaps my calcification is a failure at developing that skill as a child. But problem-solving – with all the disciplines that go into it, finding information, brainstorming, organizing steps – ought to be taught I think.

          • sonny says:

            Critical thinking is a vertical process that is picked up according to many factors in the educative pathway. The catalysts are mentors and master teachers along the way. To my mind the memory substrates are exercised best at the elementary grades and the integrative faculties are best challenged starting at Grades 9 thru 12. This is where the mentoring intervention is best positioned. One of the best legacies of our American colonial past was the concept of Normal schools and nautical schools. These were in fact the first schools by the American colonial government.

            • Joe America says:

              Interesting, and fits with the scheme I related in the blog. Grades k-2 focused on the joy of learning (with lessons like language, too), 3 to 9, memory and technique. 9-12 integrative and knowledge expansion. Almost makes me want to go back and do school over again . . .

              Almost . . . . ahahaha

              • sonny says:

                You and me both, Joe. I remember my yearly excitement of getting the list of books to buy and getting my hands on them to bring home, the smell and feel of the hard-bound texts from the school bookstore. The school has always been a second home to me. When I migrated stateside the one that impressed me the most was the way American society practiced teamwork in work and in sports and the sense of order. Everyone seemed to understand these as national givens. Now I think these are necessary because of the individualism that is ‘officially’ imposed at 18 yrs.

              • Joe America says:

                That’s true, isn’t it? Americans (adults) bond more through competition than they do through family. That is a new insight to me. There is a level of bonding that is intense, and a style of “winning and fair play” that filters through the whole of society. Great! Thanks.

              • sonny says:

                A final anecdote, Joe. I promise. 🙂 My first basketball game on US soil was a game played at Williams Arena, at the Univ of Minnesota. The Golden Gophers starting five included Dave Winfield, Jim Brewer (later both drafted to NBA & NL); full house (12,000), all screaming their hearts out, outstanding cheerleaders (female of course). I couldn’t believe the electricity generated by the crowd, the pace of the game, the level of coaching and size of players. So this was the original NCAA. Our NCAA of 6 teams in Manila became puny. And before that time Vito Cruz Rizal Memorial was the center of my basketball universe. (by the way, I saw Mychal Thompson and Kevin McHale play in that arena as freshmen). 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, my, you do do nostalgia well, and the memories come ripping out of the cloud bank. My college gym was a crackerbox that seated 3,000 and we the ag fans brought our dying rabbit calls and all kinds of noisemakers including youthful lungs that made that little madhouse beyond loud. Our star player was a guy named Bill Green who one day rained 48 in on the University of Denver, after one of their players had taunted him. That place was crazy crazy. Bill Green was built a lot like Dave Winfield, 6′ 7″ of power, but he was terrified to fly. So he did not go pro. Pity. We had this ancient building called “Old Main” with a gym in the basement . . .

                But enough, enough! Basketball is my favorite sport. I retired from full-court ball at 58, but still shoot at the hoop in the driveway. I also pitched baseballs until I blew my elbow out. One should not throw curves at age 12.

              • sonny says:

                Joe, retired from full court at 58?! Man, I’m just a spectator compared to you! My best was 3 vs 3, with first to reach 12 was winner. Cheers to you, JoeAm!

              • Joe America says:

                I rather think you can run circles around me on intellectual subjects, but I once slam dunked in a game, disproving the notion that white guys can’t jump.

                Well, I was 21 and it was technically a goal tend, but the refs weren’t very good.

                Cheers back at you.

          • sonny says:

            You are truly kind Joe (the intellectual part – Lores will get a kick out of it) ha ha! On Filipinos and basketball, check out PACIFIC RIMS by Rafe Bartholomew, an entertaining romp & read about our height and national obsession. A toast of Red Horse to basketball, Joe! 🙂

            • Joe America says:

              Ah, such finesse, sonny, to connect the right drink to the right game. Just off the cement court, tired, happy, hot . . . camaraderie with the guys, winners and losers and ribbing and laughs . . . A big swig of the big brown bottle to you, Sonny. To basketball, and Filipino stylin’ . . .

      • sonny says:

        Education reform/revolution was one of my acid tests for the justification of the declaration of Martial Law declaration by President Marcos. I was expecting then that an enlightened intellectual infrastructure for a young Philippines would be the main beneficiary together with the physical infrastructure of a burgeoning economic vitality. The Philippine population then was 42 million. Lost opportunity …

      • sonny says:

        Now should be the time to make Comprehensive Education Reform a vetting parameter for the presidency and the DepEd!

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I agree. I wonder if it is a hot button for the greater public though. The Aquino administration has built some 60,000 classrooms, which is great. Now lets work on the quality of the content coming through those rooms.

        • sonny says:

          Joe, Sen Paolo Aquino’s dad, PNoy’s uncle is maintaining a post-highschool Tesda-certified vocational all-expenses paid trade school, complete with post-training job placement capability in Leyte. So far has a 100% track record. I am assuming the Aquino clan have very strong sensitivities to education having been brought up by Dona Aurora Aquino, the no-nonsense matriarch of the clan. I have high hopes for the young senator when he comes of age.

          • Joe America says:

            Senator Bam being the young senator? He is very impressive already. Tops in my book. Focused on meaningful legislation. Hard worker. Smart . . . gets right to the issue.

  10. Well explained sir.
    Thoughts relevant to the article:
    -It’s just sad that anti-intellectualism is the prevalent culture in the Philippines thanks to mass media.
    -Most teachers inculcate to their students, “Study hard in order to finish college, in order to work abroad.”
    -The average college-educated Filipino’s primary concern is survival and obtain some of life’s comforts (fancy gadgets, clothes, car).

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