Filipinos need to shed historical baggage and take control of their future!

The Philippines reminds you of an oligarchy because it is an oligarchy.

Whether all this has anything to do with colonialism is irrelevant: whatever happened in distant history cannot be changed, and besides the actors involved are long dead and gone. The only thing that Filipinos can change is their present and future, and they seem extraordinarily reluctant to do this.

Tax money, broadly speaking, is just wasted. I believe this happens because Filipinos in general are absolutely hopeless with money. They have no idea how to use what they have to full advantage, preferring instead to whine endlessly that they don’t have enough. Give a 50 million peso budget to someone with that mindset, and he’ll just blow it on rubbish, since the uppermost thought in his mind is that it’s not enough to do whatever pie-in-the-sky project he really wants, so he might as well spend it on hookers and Johnny Walker.

As for the submissiveness: I rarely, if ever, encounter this, but I’m aware that it exists. You’re probably right that it’s just kowtowing to someone who might be able to grant them favors. I hate people addressing me as ‘sir’ because the intonation (and accompanying behavior) is condescending. It is, paradoxically, disrespectful. I take it as a passive-aggressive thing. The problem is that the Filipino has yet to understand the distinction between Pride (ie., hubris, otherwise known as one of the seven deadly sins) and Self-Respect.

Quite possibly this is all something to do with being conquered; but really, it’s time to get over it already. Instead of erupting in anger when foreigners (legitimately) criticize Filipino behavior, they could debate with those foreigners as equals and thereby gain respect. A challenge is not “control”. By becoming aggressively defensive every time someone flags up something important, they lose the respect they desperately crave.

Duterte’s war on drugs, as I said, has resulted in every other problem the country faces being neglected. I’m not denying that the country doesn’t have a drug problem. It absolutely does. And quite frankly, when things get this bad, perhaps it’s time for a cull. But has anyone stopped to consider why? Let’s say Duterte kills all the drug dealers. What then? You have a new generation coming up who are being braindamaged by junk food and a nonsense-riddled education system, and when they leave school they’ll face a predatory State which prevents them from earning an honest living. Going out selling drugs is actually a rational decision: you don’t have to declare your activities to the BIR, for a start. Pinoys cheat and steal and defraud and prostitute themselves because illegal activities don’t attract any attention, while running an honest business puts you at risk of blackmail, imprisonment, or at minimum the huge expense of complying with complex and nonsensical laws and a punitive tax regime.

Incidentally, while I broadly agree that there are a lot of scumbags washing up on these shores, there are a surprising number of good, honest, and smart people who actually want to make a positive contribution. However, because they ARE smart, they generally keep their heads down. Doing good in the Philippines is frowned upon, doubly so if you’re a foreigner.

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