The hole in the Philippine psyche

Most Filipinos would not recognized good governance, for their focus on self. [Photo from Worker’s World]

Opinion

By Joe America

The Philippines is a damaged culture according to some, and a failed state, looking around. It’s leaders hunt down citizens rather than lift them up. Their response to a global health crisis was to do nothing for four months and then scramble around blaming the citizens. Their position in opposition to China’s theft of Philippine economic rights to the seas is to roll over. Most of the legislature are self-dealers with no sense of patriotic purpose. They have no idea why the founders imposed such a troublesome Constitution on them; to serve and protect citizens is outside their conceptual grasp.

The nation is a mess.

Voters did it. They voted in a populist, a mass crab movement to pull down the competent yellows, who were seen as arrogant for their privileged education and station in life. Voters elected someone like them, rough and crude and funny with his outrageous, dirty humor.

The Mayor.

It seems to me that all democratic cultures have a psyche, the sum of the emotional states of the majority of the people.

Filipino culture has a psyche with a hole in it.

What’s missing?

Most people are missing inspiration, and attached to it, the collective sense of nationhood that assures that people will vote for important goals rather than populists or 500 pesos.

What do I mean by inspiration? I mean a vision of a better life, within reach, if I just work earnestly. The inspiration is in wanting to do that. Honest work. Productive work. Sensible work.

The hole in the Philippine psyche was dug through centuries of oppression under colonial barons and a dictator who stripped away opportunities for self-improvement and replaced them with loyalty and submission. How can you have a vision of nationhood if all you know is obedience?

The Philippines will start acting smarter when the hole in the national psyche is filled.

How can it be filled?

By establishing what American businesses thrive on: promotions and incentives. Jobs and merit increases. Careers, not contract work. There should be a ladder for every Filipino, and especially every young Filipino. College or technical training is the first big step. Then a job with a bigger future than just getting through the day.

End this idea of Filipinos as loyal, resilient, throwaway labor. Contract workers.

Every government agency, every LGU, and every business with 50 or more employees, should be assigned the responsibility . . . by law . . . of building a future for every employee.

It’s that simple.

Fill the hole with aspiration and the nation will start thinking right, as people work and vote to protect their ladder to self-improvement.

 

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