Filipinos seem to love to boast being the best in something. Best workers, best actors, best artists, best singers, best this and that. We even ride on Manny Pacquiao, Charice Pempengco, Arnel Pineda or any other famous Filipino as the best, using it as a springboard to boast that Filipinos are the best. But it turns out that we are only best in boasting. And the world laughs.
We call this triumphalism. But is there really any triumph? Even if Filipinos boast being the best in this, the best in that, what proof can they show for it? Boasting on being the best should come with proof that they are the best. Otherwise, the boaster proves to be a liar. Unfortunately, that is how many Filipinos are turning out to be around the world.
If Filipino nurses are the best in the world, as this one claims in response to Adam Carolla:
Then why is there an ad like this in Facebook?
I will also challenge the Filipino nurse who thinks they are the best; there are benchmarks and standards of performance. In my view, they can only be called the best if they, to use an exaggerated example, attend to twice the number of patients, give the right medication 100% every time, are the most liked by both co-workers and patients, are the most efficient in maintaining records and yet may be even earn less, compared to nurses of other countries. And they should not complain. If they complain that they are being “oppressed” by other countries without proof of the above traits, then they don’t deserve to be called the best.
Commenter Jon says this about Filipino doctors who become nurses abroad.
The funny thing those Filipino doctors who are working as nurses brag that they are top doctors in the Philippines.
All they could do is boast the position they lost at home. They brag, but aren’t they also crying over spilled milk? Their brag is also contradictory; if they were top doctors at home, then why did they settle for being nurses?
When Adam Carolla used scathing words to remind us of our own inferiority complex and our pathetic habit of relieving it by riding on the fame of achieving Filipinos, Filipinos got mad. But Carolla was like another person telling a pimple-ridden person, “you’ve got a big, ugly pimple on your nose.” That pockmarked person explodes in a raging rant against that other person, calling him racist and all that. But that does not remove the pimple from the nose, and it’s still there for everyone to see. Besides, the idiot causes his own pimple, others don’t give it to him.
Lately, triumphalists in the news were hyping the visit of the US ambassador and foreign dignitaries, saying that it’s something to be proud of since the foreigners are purportedly honoring their “great” leader. One such writer even encapsulates his arrogance in such laughable words: that the Philippines is the “darling” of the world with Noynoy as head. They really think that Filipinos should be the darlings of the world? That makes me fall off my seat. Good thing Benedict Anderson had another opinion that jibed with mine… that the Philippines certainly is a bad influence to other countries in showing them how to defy authority and seek anarchic solutions to regime change.
It’s a habit of Filipinos to boast something about their country or culture. But one can spot problems in these boasts. For example, Filipinos boast their large extended families, implying that a big family is good; but foreigners will laugh at these Filipinos draining their bank accounts and maxing out their credit cards to support such a big family. Filipinos love to boast their sumptuous fiestas, but foreigners will wonder at the profligacy of these, not to mention how it’s being done at the risk of poverty that the fiesta junkies will later complain about.
That’s the problem with Filipinos. They like to boast and say that they’re the best in something, claiming that it is a benign national trait. But when someone criticizes them, even constructively, they get mad and play out their victim mentality. They think the whole world is jealous of them and pulling them down, when in fact they pull their country down with their own bad habits and poor decision-making. It’s like the pockmarked guy blaming everyone else for his pimple.
The problem with triumphalism is that it is only boasting for boasting’s sake. It does not cure the ills and problems of the country; the massive poverty, OFWs being separated from their families and being forced to work abroad, the bad economic situation at home and all that. In fact, triumphalist boasting aids in denial of our problems and provides false relief from them, an escape from reality. Suddenly, the “benign national trait” becomes a deadly flaw.
For example, this guy can always boast that our country’s women are the most beautiful:
And thus he should not be surprised to find out that what Carolla said about sex tours is true after all:
So this little lady says to Carolla:
Sorry, missy, I beg to disagree. No way can Filipinos today brag to be the best in world now, when they are the ones that put their own country in the pits. That doesn’t mean they are the worst… saying that if you’re not the best, then you’re the worst, is a false dichotomy. They just couldn’t claim to be the best, because there is so much proof of otherwise. But we may become the worst if we don’t change the direction our country is going.
Triumphalists will even say that they’re patriotic. They rationalize, “you’re Filipino! You’re supposed to think of your country and countrymen as the best! That is your duty!” Are you sure that is the correct duty of Filipinos? If a Filipino becomes a world-infamous criminal who slips past the law every time, you’re still supposed to think of him as the best? The best criminal, maybe?
Filipinos have to stop believing that they are special. We have to stop spouting out boasts that we are the best and instead work on being the best. Perhaps our goal at the moment should not be being the “best in the world.” Rather, let us work first to stop being something the world pities, and finally become something the world praises. And we should not make pride our goal. Rather pride is a consequential reward earned from doing it right. We should seek doing it right because it will uplift our cultural and national well-being.
If they’re not the best now, then what are Filipinos? Whoever coined this word had it cleverly put:
“Tango = Tanga nga, Gago pa!” 😉