Friday, October 18, 2013

Generalisations about Filipinos work even if they do not apply to all


There is no problem with generalizing if the generalization can be observed in the majority…it doesn't have to be all. The characteristics mentioned can be observed in all societies. The relevant point is to what degree they are common in other societies and within the Philippine population.
Unfortunately observational and anecdotal evidence is all that is available rather than hard data.

I have been a keen observer of my own country's character all my life. I haven't just accepted how my countrymen see themselves. Having lived in PH for 5 years my personal experience and observation can be summed up as:

1) a high level of narcissism. Probably developed in childhood by either being treated as a prince or princess or (ironically) being neglected. The evidence of the prince/princess treatment is everywhere and ranges from having a yaya to putting up billboard size displays congratulating someone for graduating. And a myriad of behaviours in between. You don't have to be rich to be treated like a prince or princess.

2) a high level of co-dependency. Again developed during childhood usually when a child is browbeaten by parents into believing they (the child) are responsible for things for which no child should be responsible. Guilt and shame are common weapons here…even if the parent feels no guilt or shame that their daughter goes of to work as a prostitute.

Alternatively co-dependents are produced by Narcissistic parents. These parents expect/demand only the best (their interpretation). What it is really about is that parent desiring the accolade and admiration reflected from the child.

3. Schadenfreude. For all their protestations of being loving caring people the filipino is as happy from the failure of another as they might be from personal achievement. Indeed one requires personal effort, the other nothing except standing around waiting for fate.

4. Jingoistic thin skin. Probably related to 1 and 2. All countries have a degree of jingoism. The reasonably healthy ones also have an ability to question this. When my country's swimming team did poorly at the last olympics we didn't say we were robbed, cheated blah blah. We looked at why "we" failed.

There would seem to be a lot of deep seated problems in the filipino psyche generally. More OFW, more champion boxers, more celebrity, even a better economy will not change any of this…at least in the next few generations. It really does require the filipino people to think hard and question themselves as individuals and as a nation.

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