The self-described Filipino "patriot"

Unfortunately, benny, any and all Filipinos are entitled to their own opinion, and groups of Filipinos of their own opinion should not be seen to demonstrate the dysfunctions of the whole.

You’re getting to the point of using anything and everything done by an individual or even a group of Filipinos to demonstrate that malaise.

Guilty as charged, Mr. Limjap.

But then that’s the same as the way most self-described “patriots” keep highlighting urban legends like that Pinoy who invented the moonbuggy, flourescent lighting, and water-fuelled cars, or achievers like Pacquiao and Lea Salonga, or beauty and reality/telent show titlists/finalists, etc. and then coming to the conclusion that Pinoys are “world-class” and so “galeng“. They’re opposite ends of the same stick.

However there is a big difference that puts the “getrealist” end of the stick at the higher end of the intellectual hierarchy.

The “getrealist” style (as Limjap cites) picks up specimens of said malaise, and draws conclusions from said observations, true. But we go one leap further and incorporate these observations into the progressively developing framework of malaise made up of the various conceptual constructs that can be found all over GetRealPhilippines.com (The Borg).

Now if Filipino Triumphalists (the “getrealist”‘s antitheses — The Anti-Pinoy embodied) can do the same and, for every instance of Filipino individual excellence exhibited, can then demonstrate that such a specimen of excellence can be naturally slotted into the context of a similarly progressively developing framework of achievement, wouldn’t that even the playing field and provide a formidable and real challenge to the “getrealist” thesis?

If such a framework of excellence can be developed — underpinned by instances of concrete individual and sub-group achievement that roll up coherently to a collective but singular thesis of Filipino Excellence — presto!: you have a unified anti-thesis to GetRealPhilippines.com that poses a real challenge to it.

Hey wait a minute… That harks back to my old question to all…

What does “the Filipino” stand for?

… which to this day remains a question unanswered by the self-described Filipino “patriot”.

For the “getrealists” it is easy — Filipinos stand for:

Pwede na yan (“That’ll do”)

Bahala na (“Come what may”)

APTOPIX Philippines Aquino

The challenge then for those who find offense to the “getrealist” thesis on Filipinos is to step up and come up with a similar framework of Filipino Excellence. Obviously no amount of foot-stomping and denial of The Truth will get us anywhere in our efforts to stand up with pride as a people of clear conviction on the World Stage.

In a recent article I posted on FilipinoVoices.com which I titled “The Idiocracy that is the Philippines“, I issue the following reality check on those who presume to keep score on Filipino “achievement”:

Achievement is not a compromise, and losers measure it in relative terms rather than in absolute terms.

…and closed my piece with the following brainwave that adds a bit of meat to my standing challenge to the self-described Filipino “patriot”:

Achievement becomes a simple business, when we simplify our targets, standards, and aspirations.

It is simple, folks. Really™.

Are you an AntiPinoy?

About benign0

benign0 is the Web master of GetRealPhilippines.com
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20 Responses to The self-described Filipino "patriot"

  1. BenK says:

    We are Borg. LOL
    It’s not entirely a joke, though. The community of rational thinkers is growing faster than their comments can be moderated. The Limjaps and those of that ilk should worry. 

  2. benign0 says:

    ha ha. Jon’s alright. We differ on a lot of (if not most) things but he backs his views with solid thinking. 🙂

  3. just the other day i went to an RJ Music Store and I found this very inexpensive (ok it’s cheap) guitar. it was made in pampanga and is being marketed by the Guitarman himself as a proudly Filipino made product.

    a press release posted on the wall indicated that this guitar dubbed “Les Pu” (a bastardization of the name of the recently deceased guitar player Les Paul) is mr. jacinto’s way of helping revive the local guitar-making industry.

    for the price — less than P2000 — it does sound ok. however if you look at it closely you’ll see the poor craftsmanship. it doesn’t look and feel durable either.

    while i commend mr. jacinto’s desire to help i am really concerned that the Les Pu will only make matters worse for local guitar makers. it will only give local makers a reputation of poor craftsmanship.

    Les Pu is a lowering of standards embodied in a musical instrument.

    in comparison, the China-made guitars that have been the bane of local guitar makers have better quality considering that they are produced at a much larger scale). Sure, the China-made guitars are more expensive at around P6,000 up but still what you get is a guitar that won’t disintegrate as you play heavy metal licks and riffs.

    This is clearly a “pwede na yan” situation. If mr. jacinto really wants to prop up the country’s guitar making industry he should demand better quality from his suppliers. raise the price if necessary just don’t settle for “pwede na yan.” Of course, he should also consider changing the name to something a little more elegant-sounding than Les Pu.

    • Jon Limjap says:

      God that’s sad.

      I saw their equally pathetic TV ad for the Les Pu, and it came across as xenophobic.

      RJ should instead be promoting the more awesome craftsmanship of guitarmakers in Cebu (visit the Alegre guitar company in Mactan island to see for yourself). Unfortunately this is also a dying industry (no thanks to China, but life’s like that).

      While it’s fine to have a 2000 peso guitar, but if you really want a good industry you’d accommodate a whole market ranging from cheap to high quality.

  4. benign0 says:

    Yeah I know what you are saying, betterphilippines. I can’t really understand doing something and not giving it your best shot. By coming up with a mediocre outcome you shoot yourself in the foot by undermining any future prospect of earning trust or confidence from your patrons who are the source of your livelihood. Parang that is such plain common sense that simply escapes the Pinoy mind..

    • Filo says:

      @betterphilippines:
      A tangent: Agreed, that Pinoys are self-encumbered by the propensity to lean toward “pwede na yan” (“that’s good enough”). Worse, in ways we don’t usually realize, we create the very incentives to work within the range of mediocrity. Yes, there are reasons/excuses/incentives for Pinoys to dwell in mediocrity. In the case of that Les Pu guitar, you can be sure that if they had a different set of guitars with fine craftsmanship, “pulidong pulido,” they’ll take that opportunity to charge a significant premium. But with no real confidence in competing with foreign rivals on quality, staying on the cheap typifies the way to go. No wonder the Philippines isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when other nationals talk about the finer things. (Aside: Personally I wish Filipino food were’nt so underrated and obscure to the rest of the world, as we’ve got some of the yummiest food, yet, what’s internationally known about Filipino food is largely about the BALUT. Sure we’re proud of balut, but to other nationalities, we’re Fear Factor.)
      “Di na nila mapapasin ‘yan” (“they won’t notice it”), “buti na ‘yan kaysa wala” (“that’s better than nothing”), and “pabayaan mo na; ganyan talaga” (“let it be; that’s just the way it is”) are other Pinoy values that those of us who manage to live or work elsewhere are able to (fairly quickly) shed in order to adapt to foreign norms. The incentives to keep these values seem to disappear while we’re immersed in other cultures.

      • BenK says:

        You know, there’s a principle in sales that says that prices that are too low lose more customers than those that are too high. People here understand cost well enough, but they have a poor concept of value.

        Here’s my favorite example: every year in the barangay adjacent to ours they rebuild the same four speed bumps on the stretch of the street that passes in front of their barangay hall. Every year they carefully block off half the width of the street at a time, build forms out of scrap lumber, and make tidy concrete speed bumps. Sometimes they even paint them in nice, bright colors. And within four months every year, the speed bumps are busted to shit and totally ineffective at slowing down the traffic. For the price they’ve paid for concrete and labor over the past four years, they could have done it once by digging proper footers, anchoring down some rebar, and building up some good solid speed bumps. Why they haven’t figured that out yet is beyond me.

      • Filo says:

        Yeah. There can’t really be real customer loyalty when the loyalty is determined by the lowest price.

        A few “incentives” to that specific act of mediocrity:

        (1) Kickbacks. They’d be proportional to the number of transactions/projects.
        (2) They keep rebuilding the speed bumps to appear as if they do more work.
        (3) Lack of pride in one’s craft — nobody among them has to care whether the speed bumps last.
        (4) The more the speed bumps break, the more repairs needed, the greater the budget could be for the next appropriation.

  5. What saddens me the most about many self-style Pinoy “nationalists” is their ready embrace of ECONOMIC NATIONALISM. Indeed, this sentiment was so strong among the Filipino intelligentsia that they allowed the RP Constitution to be fitted with an economic straitjacket. Who exactly benefited from the “nationalist” economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution? Here’s a hint–it wasn’t the masa. It’s the few dozen elite families that managed to PIMP ‘national pride’ into a series of (constitutionally protected/mandated!) rent seeking laws that ensured the existence of monopolies to the detriment of the majority.

    If anything, the MASA would benefit from trade liberalization and foreign direct investment but the typical Pinoy nationalist mentality seems unable to grasp this concept. Free economy = more investments = more jobs = lower prices = less people leaving the Philippines due to crappy purchasing power.

    For a list of concrete steps that need to be taken, check out Why is the Philippines Poor?

  6. just the other day i went to an RJ Music Store and I found this very inexpensive (ok it's cheap) guitar. it was made in pampanga and is being marketed by the Guitarman himself as a proudly Filipino made product. a press release posted on the wall indicated that this guitar dubbed “Les Pu” (a bastardization of the name of the recently deceased guitar player Les Paul) is mr. jacinto's way of helping revive the local guitar-making industry.for the price — less than P2000 — it does sound ok. however if you look at it closely you'll see the poor craftsmanship. it doesn't look and feel durable either.while i commend mr. jacinto's desire to help i am really concerned that the Les Pu will only make matters worse for local guitar makers. it will only give local makers a reputation of poor craftsmanship. Les Pu is a lowering of standards embodied in a musical instrument.in comparison, the China-made guitars that have been the bane of local guitar makers have better quality considering that they are produced at a much larger scale). Sure, the China-made guitars are more expensive at around P6,000 up but still what you get is a guitar that won't disintegrate as you play heavy metal licks and riffs.This is clearly a “pwede na yan” situation. If mr. jacinto really wants to prop up the country's guitar making industry he should demand better quality from his suppliers. raise the price if necessary just don't settle for “pwede na yan.” Of course, he should also consider changing the name to something a little more elegant-sounding than Les Pu.

  7. Jon Limjap says:

    Thank you for the reply, benign0. I’m sorry it took me too long to respond.

    For the record I am as peeved at people who claim that the monumental success of individual Filipinos (e.g., Pacquiao, Nepomuceno, Salonga, etc.) prove the excellence of the whole. Only the consistent production of such talents would probably prove such, and so far the only place I’m seeing that consistency is in billiards.

    Too bad billiards isn’t an Olympic sport.

    I’m not sure I’m still amenable to the methods that you apply, but I do agree that a framework of excellence must be thought of and executed, somewhere, somehow, to be able to claim that we really excel at something. Billiards won’t be enough for that.

    • benign0 says:

      No problemo, Jon. Reality checks (specially those where I am at the receiving end) always inspire me. That’s often the most misunderstood part of my “style”. I poke a stick at people’s sensibilities and expect to get a robust counter-challenge. In most cases we get lame or adhoministic responses that lead nowhere, instead. 🙂

      You don’t need to be personally amenable to any of my “methods” as I respect your views whatever way they ago relative to mine. As such, I think we do agree on the underlying principles and maybe differ/agree on some of (or aspects of) the applications on top of those principles.

      But, yes, at the end of the day, achievement is the only way the Philippines will ever get sustainable respect, both from the global community and, more importantly, from its own citizens. No amount of prayer or waving “L” signs will get us that respect.

  8. Katierhoda says:

    Growing up, I was taught to not be ambisyosa for two reasons: 1) an ambisyosa woman will likely not be able to fulfill her role as wife and mother because she is focused on her career; 2) masyadong komplikado ang buhay pag mayaman. Ok na ang simpleng buhay dahil walang masyadong iniisip.
    Except, there are many career women out there who are also great mothers and wives; and I don’t want to be the sort of person who is walang iniisip. (Do you ever wonder what’s going on in the tambays’ mind when they stand around and stare at stuff? I live in Paco, Manila and I commute so I see a lot of people standing outside their houses just staring at the passing jeepneys.) We have to put ourselves in these people’s shoes to understand why they think like that. It is a sad fact that regardless how loud our voices are, we will always be dismissed by people who have resigned themselves to accepting the typical Pinoy mediocrity. To their minds, there is nothing wrong with mediocrity – instead, it is desirable. But the most annoying fact of all is that Pinoys generally think success is mainly due to a person’s luck not effort. So how do we change this mind-set? Blogs generally only reach the middle-class upwards. There has to be a better way to make people listen – even if they do not think or change their minds (which we have no control over) at least we get them to listen. Missionaries plunged themselves into unfamiliar and dangerous surroundings to convert the pagans. The communists went to the poor distributing the communist manifesto translated into the local language. We need to get out of our comfortable middle-class intellectual existence exchanging ideas with people who already or will likely agree with us. There has to be a better way than writing blogs. Admit it, blog writing, while helpful, is just small potatoes. I want a big potato. I want an explosion. I am currently writing a novel the theme of which is the idiocy of the Filipinos and how it can be destroyed. It is in English because I cannot write in Filipino (but hopefully it will be translated), but a novel can easily infiltrate dogmatic minds especially if the descriptions are so frank and so familiar that people who read it cannot deny it’s truth just like what the Noli and Fili accomplished. I do this becaue this is what I can do. I do not desire to go to law school nor be a politician; but I want to write.

    So, what esle can we do that is not small potatoes?

  9. uncle pinoy says:

    I can’t think of an answer right now, Katierhoda, but I will think about it some more and post at a later time. In the meantime, since you mentioned that you wanted to write a book on Filipino idiocy and “how it can be be destroyed”, can I ask that you give us a synopsis of your solution(s)?

    Thanks.

    • Katierhoda says:

      The solutions are nothing new really. They are what we keep pointing out. But here is a crude description of the plot:

      It describes the experiences of a female protagonist (Let’s call her Ara) educated in the typical Pinoy values and the lessons she concludes from her deliberations.
      There are five major life stages and here are the lessons:

      Childhood – adults and other recognized authority figures have power over you because you say “yes” to them. To gain freedom you have to say “no.” This is the stage when we realize the stupidity of what was taught to us and had the courage to admit it.

      Teens – after saying “no” Ara wants to rebel. This is the immature stage in life when we think the answer to everything is to rebel and destroy, kinda like the way some activists say “Kill all politicians” THis also shows how Ara is human and does not have the answers from the very beginning but must experience hardships before she discovers the “truth” whatever this truth is.

      Late teens – Rebellion fails because the world is stronger than an angry teenager. Ara turns to isolation. This is the part which describes how A deals with the personal aspects of her existence. This is also a description of how we can become jaded and pessimistic after a major failure and so forget about such nobel goals.

      Early 20s – Isolation is not the answer. Ara can’t deny her nature and she becomes increasingly restless in her isolation till she realizes somehow that the answer is idealism. This is the stage in life when we become self-righteous because we think we have found the truth and so we make other people agree with us or else we call them idiots. This stage is similar to the early teens but with less angst. It’s also a transition period from pseudo-intellectualism/dogmatic acceptance of an ideology to mature intellectual thought.

      Late 20s – Ara becomes more realistic and realizes change is an individual choice and to force others to accept a truth is to be paternalistic and authoritarian. We cannot be absolutely sure of the truth or correctness of our beliefs. This stage describes how Ara becomes a true intellectual.

      It seems rather long from the looks of it, but I mimic Tolstoy’s style in War and Peace where he lingers on significant scenes and fast-forwards the insignificant ones even jumping several months or years.

      Cheers!

      • uncle pinoy says:

        Start writing it, K – it has the makings of a bestseller. =)

        “[C]hange is an individual choice and to force others to accept a truth is to be paternalistic and authoritarian.” This is a good central theme of your novel-to-be. I don’t know if you are offering this as a solution, but personally I think this is as good a “solution” as anything we’ve suggested so far. It may not be a solution in concrete “to-do” terms, but it may be a solution in terms of a “thought process”. Government may try to influence certain behavior through taxes and programs, but government should never be paternalistic and authoritarian.

        Another great solution you mentioned is “Kill all politicians”. Kidding. Well, almost.

      • uncle pinoy says:

        Oh, and to answer your original question: be a teacher. Start with high school or even elementary school age kids who are more attentive to what you have to say. Teach them to make the right choices. Tell them about what went through Ara’s head growing up. Instruct them how to handle the angst. Advise them that anger and isolation are not the answers. Inform them that hardships produce character.

        Finally, search for the truth yourself, K. There is an answer.

      • benign0 says:

        Nice framework. It follows a kind of a coming-of-age theme mixed with Nick Joaquin’s Candido’s Apocalypse and Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye journey-of-coming-to-terms story line.

        And I can see the implied parallels with some of the issues around approaches to thinking that Pinoys collectively struggle with in their regard to authority, freedom, and personal accountability.

  10. benign0 says:

    @ Katierhoda:
    I look forward with excitement to seeing your book. Don’t be perturbed by people who seem to find it within their prerogative to tell people how much or how little they do for their country. Each one of us has our individual sets of talents and skills and therefore each one of us will have our individual ways of taking action.

    I think this encapsulates that syndrome of not taking personal accountability for one’s fortunes that grips the Filipino psyche:

    – When we succeed it is “by God’s graces”.
    – When we fail it is “God’s will”.

    There is no room in the above philosophy for the kind of character that takes control of one’s own destiny.

  11. Pingback: The Filipino: Worth dying for? 22% of Filipinos disagree

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