Emotionalism versus reason and discipline

Emotional nations [Source: Washington Post, Max Fisher]

By JoeAm

One of the things that fascinates me is the emotionalism of humankind, versus our great strength that allows us to dominate other animals, our ability to undertake complex reasoning.

I think the development of humankind during the last 100 years was toward more powerful reasoning and the application of enhanced powers for enrichment and security. Now, as the world has gotten smaller and more people are interacting with one another, we seem to be tilting back toward emotionalism. Emotionalism is like a self-devouring beast where one spark of emotion creates another stronger one, and yet another, and that continues and is rolling across global society in waves emanating from stressful current events: racism, drugs, empires pushing against each other, immigrants invading our comfort zone . . . and this is pushing out reason as the framework of our interpersonal relations and decisions.

This struck me as I was watching Chinese anxieties rising as the current trade war and internal economic stresses drive some panic:

Emotions rising.

I confess I have tended to think of Filipinos as highly emotional peoples but under a blanket of conservative family values. Other preconceptions I have had of more emotional peoples: Cantonese (Hong Kong), Latin Americans, Italians, Spaniards, Greeks, and Middle Easterners. Those are not negative observations, because it is the passions of these peoples that give them a rich sense of living life, and I am personally drawn to them. I have tended to think of America as more rational and Germans as machines goose-stepping across the logic board.

How surprised I was to find that Americans, in a study done in 2012, were recorded among the most emotional of all peoples. I was NOT surprised that the PHILIPPINES was recorded as the number one most emotional nation on the planet.

And I laughed like crazy when I discovered that Singapore is the LEAST emotional nation on the planet. Of course Singapore is the nation that trolls and former DFA secretaries say the Philippines is like under an inspiring dictator that they liken to Lee Kuan Yew. Singaporeans use reason to deal with their many stresses. Filipinos use something else and I am at a loss to characterize it.

So America is emotional, but it appears that the character of the emotions is different from elsewhere. Americans in 2012 were described as “exuberant”, which I read to be a positive energy. I wonder if the study were redone today, perhaps the exuberance would have changed to anger. It certainly seems that way.

Spanish-speaking peoples are emotional and happy. Africans and Russians are stoic. Middle Easterners are emotional and not-happy.

Look at that map! There is the Philippines, sitting emotional and poor, a lost orphan waif, in the middle of a growing, prosperous, more rational region.

I think high emotion correlates with bad governance and bad thinking.

The business of running a nation is complex. It requires resolving thousands of issues and biases among the people. Get a rational, decent strongman like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew and a nation can overcome immense conflicts and stresses.  Economically progressive and socially harmonious. Get an emotional tyrant who favors control over rational decision-making and we get the Philippines under Marcos and Duterte. Economically regressive and socially troubled. And the emotionalized people are unable to discern good from bad, their own role in it, and the simple cause and effect of their votes.

The Philippines is what it is, I suppose, and Filipinos will be emotional whether I write rational words here or not. They will be emotional no matter what candidates say or propose.

The successful candidates will appeal to the emotional wisdom of Filipinos, if it is a wisdom. If the candidates are rational of policy and decent of values, they might be able to get the nation back on track, but it is questionable whether or not they can make their way into office.

In the 2019 election, several emotions will come into play, among the most pronounced I would guess being:

  • Anger at all politicians
  • Idealized worship of strongmen and women
  • Anger at Duterte and prices
  • Emotionalism of bonding with what local politicians say (tribal)

Not among the emotions in play, I suspect, are inspiration about life and jobs, or satisfaction with decency among  candidates.

I think that means something in terms of why, in early polls, Senator Bam Aquino, who has worked hard and diligently for Filipinos during his term in the Senate, would rank below famous Imee Marcos and strongman executioner (Bato) Dela Rosa.

Candidates for a progressive, well-run, rational Philippines are pushing a very heavy rock up a tall, steep hill. Unless they can find some emotional buttons that resonate with voters, it will be tough getting to the top without the rock crashing down.

Good deeds won’t do it.

Good reasoning won’t do it.


111 Responses to “Emotionalism versus reason and discipline”
  1. ylbnoel says:

    the study’s a bit dated, but the results are quite revealing. thank you for sharing JoeAm!

    • Yes, I hope it gets updated. Glad you found it meaningful.

    • edgar lores says:

      There’s a 2017 study, the Gallup 2017 Global Emotions report, that ranks the Philippines 4th.

      The three countries ahead are all in Latin America — Paraguay, Costa Rica, and Panama.

      The Philippines is still the top in Asia.

      • karlgarcia says:

        For the 2018 Report

        “Central African Republic, Peru and Sierra Leone top
        the list of the most emotional countries in 2017”
        Guatemala ranked 4th
        Philippines ranked 5th

      • Ah, thanks, Edgar. I must have fed the wrong keywords into google. Missed that one.

        • edgar lores says:


          • popoy says:


            This I not in defense of myself
            Nor a praise for my countrymen
            This is not gospel truth
            But mere proposition.

            We Filipinos are poor or poorest
            In technology or materialism
            But we are rich if not the richest
            In emotionalism.

            That’s may be, perhaps
            WHY the world seem to like us
            Welcome us to work
            And live with them with what
            Are distinctly ours. Though

            They have their own emotions
            Of compassion, empathy, friendship
            And most of all greater than theirs
            Is our love for honest labor,
            Diligence for backbreaking toil.

            In the calmness of silent pride
            Happy and most times smiling
            Unaware we can be number one
            In the world of human emotions
            to have and be born with
            The deepest love for our life partners.

            We don’t fret and avoid to kill
            We bow low our heads in shame
            Our politicians more than theirs
            Can claim topnotchers in corruption
            In their emotions of greed
            And lack of shame for
            Material wealth.
            Popoy 0634231018

            • popoy says:

              Yes, I was sure Singapore is Asia’s Mecca of success
              Been there to admire their Orchard Road and Sentosa,
              Laksa and more at Newton Circus; their Underground
              As modern London tube or Paris Metro. Didn’t see
              Any bomba or live shows of Metro-Manila.

              Loved its Night Safari and Singapore orchids in green gardens
              Ours, beloved and my choice to celebrate our 25th
              Been in Singapore to lead a segment of an Asian regional seminar
              Funded by Hanns Seidel Foundation for SEARCA to observe
              Education and training methods. There I learned to be careful

              To avoid hundred dollars fines
              Not to forget to flush the toilet or spit in the streets
              Singapore was my hub too 18 years ago
              To work in Timor Leste and R & R in Darwin
              But while waiting for planes at Changi airport
              Watching the Telly knocked my heart
              Indeed, Big Brother may be is not watching

              The DOs and DON’Ts I saw;
              Make me ask emotional me, Are they happy
              Or Unhappy? Success and happiness
              Fret not now I told myself are not horse and carriage
              Those were water under the Singapore bridge
              Of memories of eighteen long years.
              Popoy 0943221018

              • popoy says:

                Haven’t been in Singapore for a long time now
                Yet it remains my rare Asian or even planetary model
                Matched only in few countries of old and new Europe
                Where a leader and wife by sheer force of personality

                Of humble perhaps unexceptional intelligence
                Of live honesty and dynamic integrity had shown the world
                Unique strength from weakness to succeed against
                Failure and those so common day to day adversity.

                PM Lee and wife were may be mere two rare AI bytes
                In a cosmos of Terabytes.
                Popoy 091922118

  2. Steven Rood says:

    thanks — this factoid goes into the book!!

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. Emotionalism is our greatest strength — and greatest weakness.

    2. We have “puso” (heart) and this gives us the strength of a lion. On the positive side, this means we endure the toughest of nature’s catastrophes and the harshest of man’s inhumanity to man. On the negative side, it means that we persist in our wrongdoing and our support of wrongdoers.

    3. We are 70% emotion and 30% reason. And our weak reason cannot figure out what is wrong and what is right. Not to put too fine a point on it, what we sometimes feel is right… is really wrong. Logically. Morally. Spiritually.

    4. This is nowhere more obvious than in our politics and in our politicians.

    5. There is a battle between our negative emotions and positive emotions.

    o Negative emotions include sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt, and shame.
    o Positive emotions include joy, love, serenity, interest, and pride.

    5.1. For plundering politicos, the negative emotions of guilt and shame are overridden by interest and pride. Love is primarily directed to self and family. And joy is transitory in gaining a hefty piece of the world.

    6. For the majority of citizens, there is sadness, anxiety, and anger. The blooming and bursting of the bubbles of these emotions swamp social media.

    7. There is no serenity for both politicians and the citizenry.

    8. The balance between emotion and reason should be halfway – 50/50. Given our propensity for emotionalism, it should probably be 40/60 in favor of reason.

    8.1. And reason is not just thinking but critical thinking and systematic thinking. This involves proper categorization, scoping, and logic.

    8.2. At some point in time, when we are aligned and attuned to ourselves and the world, we arrive at serenity, a state of clarity of no-thought and just that one awareness… the peace that transcends all understanding.

    • For me, national character is what it is, and my main point is more pragmatic and immediate and is stated in the last two lines. If the ‘decent’ pro-democracy candidates think they will win because they are decent and can explain the importance of decency and democracy, they will lose. They must make decency and democracy relevant to the emotional core of Filipino voters, and be broadly visible. I think former SolGen Hilbay is doing that and Senator Bam Aquino is not.

        • VP Leni has emotionally pitched for Bam Aquino.

          Straight out of Will’s playbook.


        • karlgarcia says:

          I have been waiting for that second emotion line from you.

        • edgar lores says:

          Isn’t this approach dumbing down elections? Should we encourage it?

          How is this different from Imelda singing?

          Well, yes, Hilbay isn’t singing to a campaign crowd. But this approach — entertainment instead of discussion — is almost in the same vein as Duterte and the dancing Mocha Girls and Mocha Babes.

          The following article reveals that Hilbay, as the header proclaims, will be partly banking on his rags-to-riches narrative.


          This is an old gimmick used countless times in Philippine elections, most recently by Villar and Duterte. It backfired in the case of the former but not on the latter. For the latter, the voters were otherwise entranced by his boorishness.

          Unlike these others, I believe Hilbay is entitled to this narrative.

          Australian politicians are advised not to sing or dance… unless they really can. I haven’t witnessed a performance in mid-campaign.

          Obama sang after — after — he won the presidency. He sang “Amazing Grace” and that was pretty amazing.

          • “Dumbing down elections” is a rational argument. Do you want Hilbay to win or only be high-minded and proper? He is actually being both, I think. He issues gems of wisdom and principle on social media, appears regularly on television as an expert on law, and has his populist effort going on as well. He has to get elected before he can start un-dumbing the nation.

          • NHerrera says:

            There is distaste in the end justifying the means and most here in TSH, I believe, do not subscribe to that, in principle. If it takes that selected and relatively benign gimmickry to take out Bato de la Rosa and Imee, and get in Hilbay, I can understand.

            • I don’t think it is gimmickry to recognize what motivates the voting base, and appealing to it. It is smart marketing.

              • NHerrera says:

                Salute! Marketing guru.

              • 🙂 Yep. Salute, understanding soul!

              • edgar lores says:

                I am not sure we can resolve the issue cleanly.

                There is a fine line between recognizing the motives of the electorate and succumbing to them.

                Perhaps the question to be asked by the candidate is: “Do I compromise my integrity by courting the electorate according to their expectations and not according to my principles?”

                Assuming, of course, that the candidate feels there is a conflict between what he is expected to do and what he believes.

                My questions would be: “Where do I, as a candidate, draw the line? At singing? At dancing? At distributing noodles and sardines? At buying votes? At killing my rivals?”

                Do we follow Harry Roque’s strategy of winning is everything? Victory at all cost?

                I would leave the candidate to draw the line. And I, as a voter, will decide whether he is worthy or not of my vote.

              • Well, it is hard to claim that Hilbay is a sensationalist, but he is trying to connect with the human qualities of the electorate rather than promote himself as an elite. He has great latitude in my calculation because he does so much responsible work to compliment that. If you want him to be straight laced and lose, the Philippines loses, it seems to me. So I’m not inclined to be idealistic and a preacher on the matter. Of course your vote is yours. You can make your own determination.

              • edgar lores says:

                Narratives. Telling stories is the way to connect to people. Hilbay is doing quite well there, I believe. He has a rich past and life from which many stories can be told and passed from ear to ear, and eye to eye. And many people are helping to give him that exposure.


              • edgar lores says:

                I might add even the President is focusing the spotlight on Hilbay. He contends that Hilbay’s one-finger salute is the ISIS salute. Any publicity is good publicity.

                To me, the one-finger salute is the equivalent of a High One!

              • I think Hilbay will laugh at him. I do note that VP Robredo is skilled at turning the President’s barbs back at him, suggesting he would be better served by dealing with some of the problems than criticizing her.

              • Hilbay is just being himself. Taking a guitar and singing is something very Filipino.

                Singing is as natural to the Pacific peoples as dancing is to the Africans.

                It is just as natural as his comment on rounding up tambays, that he remembers his youth were tambay after school was when everybody got updated on the latest stuff happening in the barangay, cooled off a bit etc. – this is also in tune with the culture of a tropical country. Even over here in Munich people are outside when it is warm, everybody in the house is a Northern European thing, driven by the colder climate, Swedes who meet at home by the fireplace or Finns who talk things over in the sauna. Italians from Rome southwards also live in the street, but that will be detailed a bit more in a comment to Francis..

            • popoy says:

              As may be a symptom of being megaegolomaniac (my invented derived word) I may have ALREADY DETERMINED or PREDICTED (all, if not the majority of) the winners in the coming senatorial election by applying a positive matrix of variables. I will test the result by concocting an antagonist negative matrix of variables. TSoH apostles may also play with the matrix.

              The matrix is not like the Matrix of Pres Duterte waving to TV audience which MAYBE is nothing but a list of names and some info.

              At random the speculative variables are: health and capability, public service record, human rights, dictatorship, pending cases in courts, membership in political party, member of family dynasty, etc. The points I gave against each variable are base on insufficient knowledge, incomplete facts and at best my opinion on people and events.
              Here below is a PORTION of the matrix for randomly chosen 17 candidates given coded surnames using the military phonetic alphabet showing total points and rankings.


              coded total scores ranked ranks re- winners and
              No. CANDIDATES from variables from scores arranged losers

              1 R. Alpha 52 14th 1st M. JULIET
              2 V. Bravo 61 11th 2nd F. NOVEMBER
              3 K. Charlie 74 9th 3rd F. ROMEO
              4 B. Delta 55 12th 4th M. OSCAR
              5 G. Echo 68 10th 5th L. QUEBEC
              6 A. Foxtrot 8 17th 6th B.PAPA
              7 J. Golf 45 16th 7th E. LIMA
              8 B. Hotel 46 15th 8th M. KILO
              9 C. India 55 12th 9th K. CHARLIE
              10 M. Juliet 99 1st 10th G. ECHO
              11 M. Kilo 75 8th 11th B. BRAVO
              12 E. Lima 77 6th 12th C. INDIA
              13 F. November 99 1st 13th B. DELTA
              14 M. Oscar 98 4th 14th R. ALPHA
              15 B. Papa 77 6th 15th B. HOTEL
              16 L. Quebec 96 5th 16th J. GOLF
              17 F. Romeo 99 1st 7th A. FOXTROT

              Now, just for fun can bloggers and wisemen here, kindly guess what’s in popoy mind scores as to who is No. 1 (M. JULET), No. 12(C. INDIA) and No 17(A. FOXTROT)?
              Below is the list of randomly chosen 17 candidates in their surnames arranged alphabetically: Aquino, Bello, De Lima,Drilon, Enrile, Go, Hilbay, Jinggoy, Pimentel, Poe, Quezon, Revilla, Roque, Roxas, Sereno, Tanada, and Villar.
              By popoy 11481018

    • Recent renewed debates on decency are also to be understood emotionally and not rationally. Decency sounds preachy to many a Filipino while Hilbay’s “Ang tama, ipaglaban” does not. Every phrase has emotional shading even based on who has the (c) to it and what people think or feel he or she is.

    • NHerrera says:

      A politician with an image supported by actual genuine action involving the right mix of emotionalism, rationality and charisma from Day 1 of entry into PH politics is the need of the hour. But it is fight against time with the effects of Climate Change at death’s door. VP Robredo is one such and we have this essentially confirmed in the non-insignificant efforts to cut her down.

  4. chemrock says:

    Joe, some good original observations there, great.

    In Philippines emotionalism has overtaken rationalism when :

    Murderers, drug runners and users, thieves, and many others under some pending legal charges or investigations, are elected and re-elected over and over again into Executive and Legislative pisitions whereas the ordinary citizens applying for the lowest level jobs require a Philippines National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and Barangay clearance passes in order to land a job.

  5. NHerrera says:


    I find that the following Infographics from the WEF Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 relates to our current topic as well as several of past topics — on the logic that emotionalism and rational and critical thinking affects the 12 pillars or factors used by WEF to rank the countries on Business Competitiveness .

    The Gold Standard is Switzerland, followed by Singapore, and the United States. The fourth radial graph is the Philippine profile. In each, the regional average is shown for comparison.

    In the Philippines we are specially inadequate in the following pillars:

    9th Pillar: technological readiness
    11th Pillar: business sophistication
    12th Pillar: innovation
    1th Pillar: institutions
    9th Pillar: infrastructure

    The Administration of course is addressing the infrastructure pillar; one big question though in this particular pillar is whether the resources and loans are addressing the right mix of infrastructures. Here again, if I may, the inadequacy of institutions reared its ugly head.

    • NHerrera says:

      More data and analysis are found in the 393-page pdf file on the WEF’s “The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018.”

      Click to access TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2017–2018.pdf

      Rank 01 Page 290/393 on the Switzerland Profile
      Rank 02 Page 274/393 on the Singapore Profile
      Rank 03 Page 313/393 on the United States Profile
      Rank 56 Page 249/393 on the Philippines Profile

    • Highly interesting. I wonder if it means anything to people in government. I wonder if NEDA takes it as a challenge.

      • NHerrera says:

        A look at Singapore’s Profile is interesting. To me the high rank of Singapore in

        * Institutions
        * Infrastructure
        * Health and primary education (to which PH is not relatively wanting, considering it is constrained by resources)
        * Higher education and training
        * Labor market efficiency

        boosts its

        * Technological readiness
        * Business Innovation
        * Innovation

        Hence its high Competitiveness ranking.

      • karlgarcia says:

        They are by here by the uneasiness of doing business.

        “Latest rankings show that of the 137 countries, the Philippines ranked 56 in its overall competitiveness. The ranking seems unchanged but there was a slight improvement in terms of percentile ranking (58.70 pctl vs. 59.12 pctl). For this edition, the Philippines had its highest ranking in macroeconomic environment, the 26th best in the world. Despite this significant achievement, the country should pursue reforms in improving government bureaucracy, addressing supply of infrastructure and reducing corruption – cited as the most problematic factors for doing business. It is expected that the implementation of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 (RA 11032) will further increase our rankings.”

  6. Francis says:

    “…high emotion correlates with bad governance and bad thinking.”

    On the contrary—I would disagree with the notion that restrained emotions would likely lead to good governance and that emotions running high would likely lead to bad governance.

    Russia—not exactly an exemplar of a well-run state, is quite restrained. Central Asia is also quite restrained—and so are swathes

    The “First World” varies extremely in terms of emotional range. Yet, a case can be made that the “First World” are on average more emotional. There is USA and Canada on the extremely emotional end of the scale, the Western Europeans and Latin Americans closer to the middle but still on the strongly emotional side of things, the Germans and East Asians (and the Italians!!?) on the middle portion of the scale—with the South Koreans and especially the Singaporeans being the odd exception of being emotionally restrained.

    Not a statistics guy (I barely passed my Stat 101) but my guesstimate is that rather emotions correlate more to development, rather than less.

    And I don’t think it is cold logic—reason—that alone separates us from animals. Emotions too. Our emotions are the same, yet different compared to emotions of animals. The emotion of human beings is something that is far deeper than the mere gutteral instinct of animals; I think that it is not just reason, but also our emotion is what separates us from animals. Can an animal fully know as we do the joy of the discovery of new knowledge—or the transcendental feeling of spiritual euphoria?

    Norms. Religion. Morality. This cannot be boiled down to logic—but are something beyond logic in some aspects. Fuzzy. What compells me to be rational anyway, but a love for reason itself? In that sense, there is no false dichotomy between emotion and reason: good emotion leads to good reason—another way of saying this: good moral convictions lead to sound rational behavior.

    Edgar’s Thawt comes to mind.

    Yet, “emotionalism” is nonetheless a problem. Of what? The problem is not the river itself called emotion which floods the lowlands—but the direction of the river. Americans are so adamant (somethings some think—too adamant) to defend their liberties—not just because they are rational, but because they love their liberties. Love. The East Asians are so driven to secure their nations’ prosperity not just because they are acting rationally—but because they love their heritage, their community, their values. Love. An emotion—the supreme emotion.

    Perhaps, the article is aiming in the direction. It is not a problem of too much emotion, too much love—but a problem of:

    -Emotion directed in the wrong place—love of faction not nation, love of family not community, love of self not others, love of wanton self over love of a better self.

    In the end, all action—no matter how logical or illogical—must stem from impulse. Will. Emotion.

    Foster upright emotions to foster upright behavior.

    • Francis says:


      Do not ask people to be rational—make them love Lady Reason.

      All else will follow.

    • Francis says:

      Addendum 2:

      Philosophy = Philia + Sophia; Love + Wisdom

      Love of Wisdom.

      Even cold logic is just a subset, a tool of philosophy—of a love for wisdom.

    • The article was aiming to make the point that Filipino yellows (those favoring democracy and civility) will not succeed on the basis only of good deeds and rational arguments. They have to connect emotionally with an emotional people. You yourself have made this point in the past, as it has been the great failing of the liberals to this point.

      As the article points out, emotions come in many different flavors and for some aspects of productive development (say creativity) are probably good. Passion for productivity would be a fine adaptation of emotion for good works. But using it to attach to a tyrant and live through his excesses I would argue does little to promote productivity, security, or prosperity. I’ve not statistically tried to correlate emotionalism with, say, GDP growth or wealth. You are probably right, it doesn’t necessarily correlate. Maybe someone will do it. But that is not really the point I was after.

      • NHerrera says:

        The correlation, if there is such a correlation, may go something like

        GDP = a*Emotionalism b*Rationality


        a = 30 percent at the most?
        b = (100 – 30) at the least?

        [Do not mind me guys — I am like a hammer who sees everything as a nail. 🙂 ]

        • NHerrera says:


          GDP = a*Emotionalism + b*Rationality

          • sonny says:

            I would go with the product, not the sum. Like momentum = mass x speed. 🙂

            • NHerrera says:


              • sonny says:

                It’s always been a puzzlement, NH: when to use addition and when to use a product. Which one gives more facility to understand the factors? One shows discreetness, the other shows interdependence. I think.

              • NHerrera says:

                The simplest correlation of a dependent variable (GDP in the current case) over several variables (emotionalism and rationality in this case) is a linear one with “a” and “b” representing the coefficients to be determined. But there are non-linear ones too as you propose.

                The choice of a linear correlation over the non-linear one — this latter one is usually not as convenient to do — is what better fits the data involving the variables, dependent and explanatory or independent variables.

                [Sorry for going technical on you, sonny. 🙂 ]

              • sonny says:

                I can only think what happens at zero-condition, viz set emotion = 0, or reason = 0. In multiplication, “G” winks out faster. 🙂 Addition it is. Pass the hammer, NH.

              • NHerrera says:


    • (and the Italians!!?)

      I would say the study might either have averaged out Italian values from North to South, or even worse taken a sample from the wrong place, just like some Filipino political surveys took only Davao as a sample of Mindanao. North will be less emotional and the South very emotional. Like I wrote to Joe, from Rome southwards life takes place on the streets there. Sicilians can go from very happy with you to very angry in seconds, the exaggerated version of that can be found in the comedy “Analyze This”. with Robert De Niro as a Mafia boss.

      Although I guess inspite of all emotion a Sicilian will still decide rationally because business.


      Emotions, Intuition, Reasoning are I think three layers of perception that human beings have. Emotions give a first, primitive idea of where one stands. But they can also be WRONG. The emotion you get when hearing a song with special context for you (first kiss or whatever) can be out of place today. Even intuition can be out of place as the context changes. Just like artificial intelligence can miss the correct pattern, learn to look for the sunlight in a photo and not for the tank it is supposed to memorize as in some older research projects. Reasoning is most accurate if used properly but you have to have the time to apply it. Therefore the sequence is emotion -> intuition -> reason and if you have little time to react or your emotional intelligence is low you may act on feelings only, which might be good or not.

      A lot of Filipino emotionalism has to do with trust issues. The Philippines unlike Japan is a low-trust society, for good reason. So the feeling whether you can trust a candidate, will he do something for me and my family or just for himself, is a decisive factor for Filipinos. The feeling that “Robin Hoods” (some have called Binay that, imagine him in green tights) will do more for them than “decent” people who only care about the educated, English-speaking Manila crowd (to use several cliches) is hard to shake. Trust is needed, this is the feeling the likes of VP Leni and Hilbay are able to establish – while Mar Roxas dismally failed and fails.


      Of course morals and laws ultimately come from empathy, though they try to make up for a major fault of empathy – that by nature we feel it mainly for those we are close to – or think we are close to. A certain tribalism or nationalism extends empathy but can do only so much..

      • Of course Filipino pakiramdam (sensing or feeling the other person) excellent in family, clan and barangay settings, shows its weaknesses in less personal situations.

        Social media for instance, where people judge facial expression of others based on fotos taken in entirely different contexts, or judge people from different social groups.

        For instance I had issues with some Filipinos decades back because “hindi ko sila pinansin” (I did not greet them) in town, but I was deep in thoughts with exams or my thesis.

        Of course the barangay culture has difficulty imagining anyone can be thinking of something else, as it is very present-focused and hardly introspective, but a mutual friend explained.

        Now imagine the same with Mar Roxas, multiplied by social media to national tsismis up to the conclusion that “he is arrogant, looks down on ordinary people”. Basically a rural/tribal mindset not able to cope with a broader, more varied social context, passing judgement.

        • sonny says:

          I’ve seen it operant through my years in American society: Filipinos do live in a shell or “semi-permeable membrane” of personal relationships from strangers right up to friendships; our extra-personal memberships in community, professional, vocational or religious group milieus repressed or abetted by that Filipino brand that, for lack of a better word, is “malagkit.” The exposure of Filipinos to other cultures is a must to learn to leverage this trait and acquire an expanded sense of objectivity (less emotional/more rational). I think.

  7. NHerrera says:


    RTC 148 Judge Soriano throws away DOJ’s charges against Senator Trillanes.

  8. wbar says:

    Hey Joe…Any plan to post topic about influx of Chinese in the Philippines?

    • I may do one in a few months as an update to the one Karl links us over to. I understand better that many work the BPO industry serving the Chinese online gaming addiction, and that is an industry totally at the mercy of the whims of China, as the business is not allowed in China. That makes the real estate industry vulnerable, and possibly banks, so I don’t think it is a small deal.

      • wbar says:

        Thanks Joeam…the question there is..are they really workers or from Chinese military?

        • I’ve heard the rumor but would not have a way to research that. I was in Immigration in Manila a few months ago and about 50 Chinese were lined up for some kind of group processing. They were young but did not impress me as being military. I tend to think the US . . . um, information agencies . . . would have knowledge of what is going on and, if it is military, find some way to “out” that information. I haven’t seen anything so I’m skeptical.

        • madlanglupa says:

          More like no more different from OFWs but they’re well-protected yet aren’t military.

          However, it’s not far-fetched that the Ministry of State Security would insert their own agents disguised as workers and executives.

    • karlgarcia says:

      @Wbar, sorry that what was meant to be wbar.

      • karlgarcia says:

        There is a crackdown in China, so to beat the system many gamers found a way and that is to set-shop in the Philippines.

        Anti-addiction or fatigue system Edit
        In 2005, the General Administration of Press and Publication, and seven partnership ministries, including the Ministry of the Information Industry, proposed a solution to the perceived threat of game and internet addiction in the PRC. The idea was to implement an anti-addiction mechanism that would lock players out of a game after a specific time interval. Also referred to as a “fatigue system” the proposed mechanism was a piece of software installed on the computer and compliant with every MMO active in Chinese game space. Developers were requested to alter their games to allow the fatigue program to monitor a user’s playtime, when the player spent more than three hours online in one day the system would then limit their ability to continue playing, either by turning off in-game reward mechanisms or stopping play. The fatigue system would also be paired with a real name ID system, to ensure that individual players could be more easily tracked, and their game play controlled. After the initial announcement there was a large public outcry from both adult gamers (currently at least 50% of China’s online gaming demographic), and developers who were left scrambling to find a means of implementing the system into games already being played. These general complaints caused the Chinese government to delay the implementation of the system from 2006 to April 2007; they also restricted its use to only affect players under the age of 18.[15]

        • karlgarcia says:

          Despite EO13 ( illegal gambling)and the plunder charges of certain officials Wally Sombrero persisted on lobbying for online gaming.
          I guess the senate investigation concentrated on the prosecution of the BI officials, and the online gaming threat/ opportunity was just an aside.


          With regards to the Chinese military coming in and out of the country co-mingle with the 200,000 Chinese (as of Jan 2018), I think I will go with Joe that the information bodies would have redflagged it already.

        • karlgarcia says:

          The Anti-addiction/fatigue system after complaints from the adults made the government restrict its use only for players undrer 18.
          So adults were no longer monitored for time spent gambling.

          No one updated the wiki article, so I guess this still applies.

  9. andrewlim8 says:

    Has anybody noticed how we have missed that nice feeling when right prevails over wrong, when good triumphs over evil since Duterte took office in 2016? 🙂

    Ang tama, nilalaban.

    Ang tama, tama. Ang mali, mali,

    • The nimbus of Duterte has significantly faded. As a Roman commander would know the mentality of the barbarians he is fighting, I assume Trillanes also gets the savage mindset.

      The mindset of Duterte and his followers being barbarian, the nimbus of invincibility and omnipotence is extremely important for the chieftain. Once that is broken his power over his followers slowly dwindles. “Ah, mahina pala” is what some soon ex-DDS might think now.

      • andrewlim8 says:

        It is said that aides to a Roman general would say this after another military conquest:

        Memento mori!

        Remember your mortality. All the earthly power and treasure you accumulate, you cannot hold on to forever.

        Who has the balls to say this to Duterte? Trillanes. Alejano. Hilbay. Aquino. Hontiveros. Diokno. Tanada. De Lima.

        • NHerrera says:

          A variation of that

          Memento mori!

          that I read is a slave holding a laurel crown above the general, standing on his chariot, in a triumphant ceremonial ride to Rome’s seat of power — the slave repeating that over and over as a reminder of the general’s mortality.

          It may help if a similar thing is done to our leaders and top officials. It may help Enrile too.

      • edgar lores says:

        The Filipino perception of Duterte as a strongman should change… should have changed long ago.

        Duterte was weak:

        o On his treatment of De Lima, Sereno, and VP Robredo.
        o On his surrender on the WPS.
        o On his kid-gloves handling of Peter Lim and other untouchable drug lords

        Any man who abuses power is a weak man.

  10. Sup says:

    Facebook start a little cleaning……Hope they have the ”discipline” to do this regularly from now on….

    Pro-Duterte, pro-Imee pages removed from Facebook due to spam behavior
    Published October 23, 2018 8:00am
    Updated October 23, 2018 8:46am

    Some pages and accounts showing support for President Rodrigo Duterte have been removed from Facebook due to supposed violation of spam and authenticity policies.

    According to a statement from Facebook issued on Tuesday, a total of 95 pages and 39 accounts were removed including pages such as Duterte Media, Duterte sa Pagbabago Bukas, DDS, Duterte Phenomenon and DU30 Trending News.


  11. NHerrera says:


    Salvador Panelo, current Presidential spokesman:

    ” … The palace respects the constitutional independence of the judiciary and it will continue to do so. As we have said, the executive branch has and will always bow down to the majesty of the law … In the same way, we welcome the affirmation of the validity of the proclamation issued by the President as it signifies that this administration is not engaged in the political persecution of its critics but is only enforcing the law … The Office of the President will not preempt the Department of Justice or the Office of the Solicitor General from deciding the legal course it deems necessary in the case


    • Sup says:

      MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Solicitor General Jose Calida will go straight to the Court of Appeals (CA) in a bid to reverse the decision of Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano junking the motion for an arrest warrant for Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

      “He will not file a motion for reconsideration, but go immediately to the Court of Appeals and appeal the ruling of the court with respect to the non-issuance of warrant of arrest,” said Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Tuesday, October 23.

      The appeal will be filed “soon” as Panelo is already preparing the petition, he added.


  12. Side note regarding our big brother to the West, as stated in the New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/opinion/china-interpol-meng-hongwei.html

    In the pre-Confucian system, shame, or chi (恥), was said to be possessed only by the most courageous. Chi was so important that the statesman Guan Zhong (720-645 B.C.), later much acclaimed by Confucius, said it was one of the four moral foundations of a nation. But Confucianism has been co-opted by China’s ruling class over time, and turned into dogma and tool of thought control. Chi, that inner sense of shame, has been debased to mean merely not having face. Who has face now? The rich and powerful.

    China today is rich and powerful; therefore, it has face and simply cannot be embarrassed.

    Therein, we understand both China and the Philippines’ current leadership. Lie, kill, steal . . . it’s all good because there is no sense of shame, no conscience, no need for troublesome emotions like having a conscience.

    Oh happy day!

  13. madlanglupa says:

    OT: As a mutual friend muttered, “lutong makaw”.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Filipinos can not participate in any big project because of strict entry rules.
      They look for experience and capital.
      Most don’t have both, but finds a foreign partner with experience and money.
      But even those with money like Ramon Ang have money, in the case of being the third telco his foreign partner backed out, due to regulatory, and competitive issues.
      Then we have a body that is supposed to prevent monopolies or oligopolies, but big projects are capital intensive, so we still have oligopolies.

      Now for the VIllars, I agree it is conflict of interest.
      How do put to an end duopolies and situations of conflict of interest.
      We tried legislation, but it is already a web of multiple interests?
      Even if I sometimes disagree with Micha, she has a point(about opolies), but I don’t still know how we untangle the web.

      • karlgarcia says:

        The Villar got the Franchise to build a telecommunications system nationwide, but they still have to find a foreign partner for them to be able to bid for the third telco.

  14. eduardomaresca says:

    I am married to a Filipina and I find myself constantly dealing with strong emotions. A Filipina easily loses her cool and vents and the atmosphere gets really intense and all the more so because the extended family takes sides with her and this really puts to the test a Western husband’s emotional intelligence. I consider dealing with “emotionally charged” Filipinos the ultimate spiritual and emotional practice….

    • edgar lores says:

      I like the response of “spiritual practice.”

      There is a theory — in reincarnation and Buddhism — that this is the precise reason for the existence of Planet Earth. That there are many planets and planes of existence. That Earth is a unique plane in which we are incarnated and set challenges. And that our purpose is to meet and overcome these challenges to attain enlightenment through many, many lives.

      In reincarnation theory, we are oftentimes reincarnated with the same souls. In each instance, we may change roles. The wife in this life may become the husband in the next life, and the husband, the wife. Each to learn the lesson of the other.

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