Plagiarism and Filipinos: the words can mean the same thing

The case of plagiarism supposedly committed by Philippine Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo that was eventually dismissed by the Supreme Court represents a microcosm of a bigger problem, which I think needs urgent attention from Filipinos. The bigger problem that is gripping the whole nation is that of insecurity — emotional insecurity, specifically — whether it is over someone else’s differing opinion, someone else’s valid criticism, or someone else’s superior abilities.

A not-so-original Filipino stroke of ingenuity

Feelings of insecurity can often lead to defensiveness, which is what seems to be transpiring between the UP College of Law and the Supreme Court Judges. Like in any situation in the Philippine setting, perceived feelings of wrongdoing between two parties can lead to misunderstanding and eventually, a total falling out (and if you happen to be living in a place like Maguindanao, massacre!).

Don’t get me wrong; of course, plagiarism is wrong. Rules and conventions have been put up to protect original works from being copied or lifted word for word and then claimed as one’s own. Even just the idea behind the work itself is protected in principle. These rules and conventions generally stipulate that an individual has intellectual property rights over his own words or body of work. The existence of the Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines (IPAP) Copyright law is good. After all, who would want someone stealing their work and then have that someone else claim it as their own? No one I suppose.

While it is wise to show outrage over allegations of plagiarism or any conduct deemed to be an affront to our values as a society, I think some people, even those who hold the highest position in the land are going too far.

To me, there are reasons why this particular issue of plagiarism currently being debated upon at a national level should be put to rest. For one, the judge in question did not do the deed himself; he had a researcher who failed to cite her sources. This fact means that the character assassination directed at the judge in question and those who dismissed the case is possibly an exaggeration.

It has even reached a point where President Noynoy Aquino himself is deflecting the blame of the alleged fiasco to former President Gloria Arroyo. He is making it a case against GMA’s “midnight appointees.” Admittedly, P-Noy has found a really good spin on the matter if you ask me. Something that P-Noy’s fanatical supporters will surely swallow in whole.

P-Noy probably thought that this is a good chance for him to milk this situation until blood comes out of it. Perhaps, literally: this might just result in a bloodbath considering how the UP College of Law is blowing this out of proportion. Obviously, someone has a beef against someone, and the entire Philippine population is shouldering the cost of bruised egos between lawyers and judges.

The offence of plagiarism in the court ruling of Judge Del Castillo has already been exposed and most likely won’t be repeated again by the offender (unless he is stupid), I don’t think people should panic about it being a precedent. Besides, who can stop people from doing something they want to do even without this incident as a reference to begin with? The answer is: no one.

Unless people closely monitor the rise or fall in the number of Filipinos plagiarizing after this incident, we will never know if this really is set to become a precedent. It all boils down to trust. Sadly, Filipinos don’t really trust each other to honor their word.

Unfortunately, last I heard, “plagiarism is not a crime but is disapproved more on the grounds of moral offence.” And that is straight out of Wikipedia. In my own words, someone who takes your work as his or her own cannot really go to jail but he or she may suffer the consequence of her action in some form or another.

In the words of Isagani Cruz from philStar.com in his article published 26th August 2010:

In academic circles, plagiarists are banned for life from entering competitions, applying for grants, being promoted, getting tenure, publishing articles, and the like. There is also the matter of the seventh commandment [in a Catholic university].

“Plagiarism is not only the mere copying of text, but also the presentation of another’s ideas as one’s own, regardless of the specific words or constructs used to express that idea. In contrast, many so-called plagiarism detection services can only detect blatant word-for-word copies of text”

That above statement by the way is from Wikipedia.

You might think that as a blogger, I am being overly relaxed about the subject of plagiarism. Am I not concerned that someone might steal my articles or ideas and claim it as their own, you might ask? The answer is no, I am not that insecure. The reason being is first, there is more where those ideas came from and as long as there are people in the country who continue to say and do moronic stuff (and believe me, we will never run out of them), I will always think of something new and better to say.

Second, I am pretty confident that there won’t be a lot of Filipinos who can fully grasp some of the concepts I write about in my articles so even if they try and pass my writings as their own, they will not be able to defend it. I don’t actually publish anything I cannot defend because I know how cruel blogging can be. So for me to write something that I don’t believe in or the idea of copying someone’s work as my own will be like committing suicide in the blogging world. It’s also all about decency; and guess what: The country is sorely lacking in precisely that — decency. So I won’t be surprised if someone steals my work and ideas anyway. It comes with the territory of being Pinoy.

Thirdly, my articles online are actually time stamped so it would be pretty easy to prove that I wrote the article first before the thief.

Fourth, I actually believe in karma, so whoever steals something from someone will surely pay for the consequences of his or her actions.

All this talk about plagiarism reminds me of this commenter in my previous blog who left this message:

Since when did Steve Jobs and Bill Gates become innovators? They may be wise but they are certainly no innovators. Bill Gates just bought out the many small software companies, together with their proprietary source code, and their R&D Team and brought them over to Microsoft.

Steve Jobs is just a master of Marketing and social engineering, when Apple started it was really Stephen Wozniak who is the technical genius and thus the “real” innovator. He only knows what will sell. How about after Stephen Wozniak left? He just swiped pre-existing technology being developed by many research facilities, and universities around the world and made it to the “eye candy” that you are supposedly familiar of.

Although the topic was about something else, what he was claiming is closely related to plagiarism and copyright infringement.

The comment above has always bugged me because I kept thinking that this guy actually thinks lowly of people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates because they did not invent the very products that made them billionaires to begin with. I find his mentally really odd because I don’t really believe that there is such a thing as an original product in the first place. Almost everything we use is an improvement of someone else’s previous invention, often one that wasn’t even envisioned to evolve into product that would go on to be invented based on it.

The telephone for example, although credited to Alexander Graham Bell, was a result of his research into improving the telegraph system. To quote WikiAnswers:

Bell was experimenting into improving the telegraph system so that multiple messages could be sent at the same time (his theory of the ‘harmonic telegraph’ was based on the principle that several messages could be sent simultaneously along the same wire if the different telegraph signals each had a different pitch). However at the same time he began working on the novel idea that speech could be transmitted electronically, as he accidentally discovered that the sound of a spring being twanged could be heard over his harmonic telegraph system. Almost a year later in March 1876 Bell uttered the first famous words into the device to his assistant in the next room: “Mr. Watson, come here -I want to see you”.

Can anyone else realize the point here that most stuff today like the iPhone and all the other communication technologies, say, are just improvements of someone else’s work? In fact, to quote WikiAnswer again: “While Bell was the first to receive a patent for the telephone, several others preceded his research and credit for inventing the electric telephone remains in dispute.”

While western innovators go up in arms from time to time about the fact that China keeps producing fake goods copied from obviously copyrighted property, it doesn’t seem to stop China or all the other copycats in the world from doing it.

Even though we have laws to protect our original idea from being stolen, it won’t stop people from getting a light bulb moment and say “I can make a better product than that with even more bells and whistles!” And that’s exactly what Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have done.

It is quite obvious that before they even launch a product, they think of everything, right down to the smallest detail. Can you imagine them launching a new design without even talking to their suppliers first, say, regarding all the accessories that go along with their product? The answer is no because they are very attentive to details and that separates them from all the copycats in the world, which is why they are successful.

Selling T-shirts for instance is not an original concept. If you wanted to sell a shirt, you will have to compete with all the millions of people who want to make a quick buck out of selling T-shirts with a fancy slogan. What can set you apart is the quality and the attitudes evoked in a potential buyer looking at your shirt. Diesel and Billabong are international brands that express the idea of a whole different lifestyle; one that equates to “coolness” for the most part. It’s all about having the patience to iron out the right statement you want to make before launching a product. Delayed gratification yields better results than instant gratification and the customers will know if a product has been thought out well.

The bigger problem we have in our society is that, Filipinos are not just bad at being original, we are also bad at being copycats. Just look around us, we hardly have the ability to innovate or improve on other people’s work. The jeepney has always been the jeepney. Yes, we have attached the borloloys like the Mercedes Benz logo and the colorful designs that all but scream “tacky”, but in terms of functionality, the jeepney has remained the same since the Americans left us with the jeep after World War II.

We are so bad at being original, which is precisely the reason why most Filipinos are so defensive or overly sensitive about other people stealing their work.

Just think about it, if you had the ability to come up with something original, then there’s more where that came from and you shouldn’t be worried about people stealing your idea. Only those who cannot easily come up with an original idea will end up being overly protective of their work.

I guess you can say that my attitude is quite similar to Steve Jobs attitude when he just kept on churning out more products after his ideas were stolen. Obviously, his hard work eventually paid off.

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60 Responses to Plagiarism and Filipinos: the words can mean the same thing

  1. kid dynamo says:

    ..hmmm come to think of it i once saw Obama’s campaign slogan was about “Change” some presidentiable used the mantra “Tayo na sa Pagbabago”

    how about taking credit on the fruits of labor of the past admin and instead of giving even an iota of credit you would make “pasarings” instead…

    do these things count as forms of Plagiarism?

  2. MKDL Studios says:

    Ma’am ilda, that’s a nice entry you have written.

    You say: “Delayed gratification yields better results than instant gratification and the customers will know if a product has been thought out well.”

    I’ll explain: That’s reasonable. It’s like, for example, a rushed film adaptation of any of Jose Rizal’s novels to be released on June 19, 2011 merely for the purpose celebrating his birth sesquicentennial would be a worse idea than a well-planned film adaptation released sometime later (e.g. October 21, 2015) with the intent to educate our countrymen about the failure of our culture.

    • ilda says:

      @MKDL Studios

      That is exactly one of the points of my article. It took 10 years or so for James Cameron to finish filming Avatar. He took his time filming it but his efforts in making it exactly the way he wanted it paid off. The film even has a cult following now.

      One thing regular folks cannot understand about artists is that creativity cannot be rushed. If the inspiration is not there to finish the job, it’s not there. Artists are never happy launching something that is to them still not ready for public viewing yet.

      Good luck with the film! 🙂

      • Antay-antayan says:

        Haha! Talking about art and James Cameron in the same sentence gives me shivers!

      • ilda says:

        I suppose you consider yourself more artistic than James? C’mon, don’t tell me you didn’t like The Terminator and Aliens?!?
        😉

  3. NFA rice says:

    The funny aspect about this story is none of the original authors of the allegedly plagiarized work filed a complaint. And yes, plagiarism requires the intent to steal someone else’s idea, and intent is almost impossible to establish in this case as the offense can be boiled down to a mere failure to make a proper citation. What was the UP Law school thinking when they accused del Castillo of plagiarism? They are professional lawyers. They should know better.

    • NFA rice says:

      Is there a legal way for del Castillo to make the corrections to the SC descision so that the citations can be inserted? Why attribute the failure to malice (intention to steal) when it can be explained through mundane error? Anyone from UP Law answer the question?

    • ilda says:

      @NFA rice

      Glad you pointed that out. I wonder what the original authors have to say about it? Maybe they have the same attitude as I do about the issue.

      I hope the UP Law school will back down already. The law against plagiarism is so simple, but I guess not for the small minded lawyers.

  4. NFA rice says:

    I learned that the document was typed by del Castillo’s assistance in Microsoft Word. Now, that’s fine but MS Word has no plugin to make citations/bibliographies easy. Are they stuck in the stone age?

    SC, here is a clue: LaTeX and BibTeX

    • ilda says:

      Maybe they don’t have the budget to update the software.

    • brianitus says:

      Maybe they are stuck in the stone age.

      Software? Just because a task is hard doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done.  If that’s the case, then the bottom line is not really plagiarism; it’s more like carelessness that came out as plagiarism.  The SC is trying to save face, UP Law Center is trying to rub it in.  Of course, the SC won’t tap-out of the legal octagon.  Why will an SCJ ever admit to katangahan?  

      • NFA rice says:

        Indeed. Admit mistakes, learn humility and provide a contrast to the Aquino administration where accountability is an alien concept.

  5. ChinoF says:

    As I see it, and based on previous material I’ve read, both sides erred. Del Castillo could have owned up to his (or his staff’s) mistake and could have released a revision of the decision. And the UP Law group could have called for this instead of a resignation. Calls for resignation seem to be an unhealthy fad in Philippine society. It turned into a “pataasan ng ihi” contest, which is a tad too common in our society as well. 

    That’s the problem with the SC who are expected to act as “transcendent beings” (see Chapter 8 of Greed and Betrayal by Cecilio Arillo; similar problems with the judiciary happened in Cory’s time). 

    • NFA rice says:

      They are interpreters of the Constitution, so in a sense they are above petty politics. To be fair to the SC, the charge of plagiarism against del Castillo has a political odor.

  6. oroncesval says:

    Hello.  Not sure I would go along with knocking the jeepney.  It may be obsolete but it is most likely cost effective; the alternative is a fully airconditioned minibus that costs 4 or 5 times as much.  The same with the lowly motorized tricycle.  Filipinos make do with what they have and can afford.  What’s wrong with that?

    • ChinoF says:

      Well, someone said that the jeepney is actually losing its cost-effectiveness these days; check the comments of T0da and Mad Man here

      But here’s the idea why the jeepney was used: it is a symbol of non-change and mediocrity, and how the Filipino people stick fast to the same tried-and-failed solution over and over again and expecting different results. Based on its being a copy of the Willy’s Jeep of WW2 (that’s the “plagiarism” part) and not being changed over the years. Here’s one of our resident writers’ opinion on that. 

      If it would be retained, I’d would rather have the jeepney as a tourist ride or “side feeder” system for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), like the Transmilenyo in Bogota, Colombia. Fellow writer Orion has discussed it here.

      • ChinoF says:

        Let me add:

        “the alternative is a fully airconditioned minibus that costs 4 or 5 times as much.”

        That’s the initial cost… but as t0da and Mad Man said in my comment, in the long run, the earnings may actually be better with the jeepney. See, the focus on the initial cost keeps them from looking at the long-term results – something that Filipinos need to be taught. 

        “Filipinos make do with what they have and can afford.  What’s wrong with that?”

        If Filipinos continue to “make do,” all they’ll do will be to improvise rather than innovate, then they will have less chance of creating “world-class” products and rising up in competitiveness. Competitiveness does not stem from just making do. 

    • Jay says:

      The jeepney is part of the small picture of the big mass transit mess of inefficiency, especially in Manila. It is effective in smaller areas but honestly, even a massive bus with a set schedule and (LOL) paved roads would be more effective over time, if not a bit more expensive. (Especially in perspective of the DPW which their kickbacks are reliant on certain projects)

      The alternative can actually WORK, if they got rid of jeepneys in certain junctions and made it out to be the sole vehicles used for public mass transit. Sadly, even the urban planners and engineers then couldn’t foresee the mess Manila would become, though they did not see its population density exploding at that rate either.

      Which is why the problem is that Pinoys can’t into foresight. Pinoys can make do what they can afford is a sad generalization considering the culture of poverty where people living in shanty communities fill their abodes with stuff that would otherwise be above their means of surviving.

      I know in certain business sectors sustaining old is much better, such as I.T. where you are better off riding older, familiar systems than spending money on an overhaul if only to attain a marginal increase in productivity. But in case of infrastructure and mass transit, everybody benefits from it and for a long time. Why do you think Marcos’ projects, after decades now still exist and are utilized on a daily basis? It adds up to the whole argument for why the Philippines should be attractive to foreign investors and businesses, but sadly the authority figures can’t even look beyond to see the shining beacon of investing in fruits of labor that are well worth the expense for.

    • ilda says:

      @oroncesval

      Quote:

      Filipinos make do with what they have and can afford.  What’s wrong with that?

      Sorry, but you just proved my point that Filipinos have no originality and have no ability nor desire to improve on any technology invented by others.

      Most people are just nostalgic that’s why they cannot let go of the jeepney but I personally find jeepneys unsightly.  They are the number one cause of chaos in major and minor highways in the country and a source of pollution to the environment. 
      Frankly, I don’t know why you think that the only alternative is the “air-conditioned mini-bus that cost 4 or 5 times as much.”

      Gosh, Filipinos really do give up so easily in looking for other alternatives. No wonder the jeepney will remain with us forever.

      • oroncesval says:

        Maybe you’re right that people give up easily but I suspect it’s because “pushing it” won’t get anywhere anyway.  I remember Rizal’s defense of Juan Tamad.  He wasn’t really lazy for himself, just lazy if his efforts simply enriched the colonial masters.  

        Many Filipinos “take it easy” in the Philippines but work hard abroad.  Why?

      • blueredicedtea says:

        @oroncesval

        “Many Filipinos “take it easy” in the Philippines but work hard abroad. Why?”

        why? because:

        limited opportunities
        our s-hit culture hence the antipinoy logo

        get my drift?

      • ChinoF says:

        Rizal defended Juan Tamad? But then again, even if he did, that’s no excuse for us to defend him today. It’s simply wrong to defend the tamad. And what Blueredicetea said.  

      • ilda says:

        @oroncesval

        If only Juan Tamad tried his best to impress his colonial masters by being more productive and innovative, he would have gotten more respect from them. Juan didn’t even have the foresight to prepare for the future. He could have told himself, “I will work hard now so that I can acquire the knowledge and expertise for my own personal gain. I might need it one day.”

        We are not under any colonial rule anymore (at least not directly), what’s stopping Juan Tamad from being more productive and innovative now? Is Juan Tamad still worried that he will just “enrich” his boss if he does?

  7. Bloggerdaw says:

    This article was posted/written October 29. Then this:

    “The offence of plagiarism in the court ruling of Judge Del Castillo has already been exposed and most likely WONT BE REPEATED AGAIN BY THE OFFENDER (unless he is stupid), I don’t think people should panic about it being a precedent. Besides, who can stop people from doing something they want to do even without this incident as a reference to begin with? The answer is: no one.”  (Emphasis mine.)

    This was 3 days ago:

    http://www.gmanews.tv/story/204346/sc-justice-faces-another-accusation-of-plagiarism

    • ilda says:

      @Bloggerdaw

      Thank you for your comment. Let me start my response by quoting one of our resident trolls here at AP:

      Naman, naman,naman….” 😉

      You pasted a link to a news item, which states that there is another “alleged” case of plagiarism against Judge Del Castillo that was recently discovered. So, you now think that I am wrong in saying the deed will “…most likely WONT BE REPEATED AGAIN BY THE OFFENDER”.

      Well, guess again dude, just in case you missed it, please read the following points:

      1. The second “alleged” plagiarism was committed on the 8th of April 2010 and NOT after his plagiarism case was dismissed by the SC. It says so on the newspaper article itself. So therefore, the discovery of the second “alleged” plagiarised work does not prove that the dismissal of the first case of plagiarism serves as a precedent to continue plagiarising. 🙂

      2. A person is considered innocent until proven guilty. The matter hasn’t even been brought to court yet so don’t think that he is already guilty. To quote the Supreme Court spokesman,Jose Midas Marquez:

      …the high tribunal will only tackle the matter when the latest plagiarism allegations are brought to the court formally.”

      And this:

      Admittedly, this second allegation is only a ‘preliminary’ study. It is suggested that before serious allegations like these are hurled, especially at this time, they be results of deliberate and thorough consideration, as they add nothing but further confusion to the present situation.”

      3. Like in the first case of plagiarism on his ruling on comfort women, it is obvious again (but not to the small minded) that it was the researcher who committed the act or who was careless and not Judge Del Castillo himself. Frankly, whoever was the teacher of that researcher back when she was still in school should also bear the brunt of the blame because I have a feeling her dodgy ethic started when she was still young.

      Hopefully, you will be more enlightened after reading my response above. The problem with most Pinoys is that they fall for this “trial by media” style. Filipinos in general are suckers for sensationalism. This is why we will never be united as a people.

      Our own media is tearing us apart and we are allowing it to happen because we don’t use our critical analysis. We rely on the media too much for information.

      And just in case Judge Del Castillo and his researcher repeats the offense after all this drama, well, obviously “he is stupid!”

      Cherio! 🙂

      • Bloggerdaw says:

        Haba ng reply mo dude. 

        “3. Like in the first case of plagiarism on his ruling on comfort women, it is obvious again (but not to the small minded) that it was the researcher who committed the act or who was careless and not Judge Del Castillo himself. Frankly, whoever was the teacher of that researcher back when she was still in school should also bear the brunt of the blame because I have a feeling her dodgy ethic started when she was still young.”

        This is really funny. Yup, my batchmate can sleep well since most “small minded” Pinoys will not know that this Senator is not the REAL author of bills being submitted under that Senator’s name. Thank you Capt. Obvious.

        And wow this “the problem with most Pinoys” really gave me a good grasp of Zeus Salazar’s Pansila/Pangkaming Pananaw. Good day Mister 🙂 Best of luck!

      • ilda says:

        @Bloggerdaw

        Looks like you’re the one who’s going to need the luck. Your statements are incoherent and do not make any sense at all.

        I can always count on Pinoys like you to come back with moronic statements when they’ve got nothing concrete to say 😉

  8. Hyden Toro says:

    This is a classic case of diverting the issues, or Diversionary Tactic. It is used in warfare and conflict. How about his role in the tragic Hostage situation? Was it fully investigated? No answers came from him. He used the blame game and the guessing game. How about his Sec. Puno admitted to had received Bribes? No, answer came from these people. Sec. Puno is still in the job. Too many worms already…if you open more cans in the Noynoy Aquino administration: more maggots will come out. So, he must resort to this Plagiarism issue to divert your attention…he can no longer mesmerize people on the EDSA myth…

  9. kikapoo says:

    This also reminds me of typhoon Ondoy. Rico Blanco was on a rush to release his song Bangon to the public so that the people trying to salvage whats left of their lives will surely be inspired by the song and make bangon.

    Such rushed creativity only yielded to a song that resembles Micheal Jackson’s Earth Song with the beat of Paramore’s Decode.

    Why am I talking about rushed creativity when in fact, Rico Blanco has been committing subtle plagiarisms these past years. Not his musical compositions gravitating towards foreign-sounding instead of having a distinct OPM flavor.

    • Jay says:

      Its funny since many local pinoy hit music artists (specifically from the ABS-CBN camp) complain about how they aren’t getting preferential treatment for acts as oppose to international ones, which DRAW a hell lot more. These same pinoy artists live off much like how Charice has appealed to global pinoys: singing covers.

      Of course Parokya ni Edgar have used certain music from international acts to create their hits (Mang Jose is pretty much based off the Kids are Alright by Offspring, Pa Order is based off the music from System of a Down – Chop Suey) but at the same time, they don’t complain and probably like the fact that using the music increases their popularity and noteriety.

      • ChinoF says:

        Covers are aplenty anywhere these days. There were a few I liked in the 1980s too (Like Power Station’s “Harvest for the World” and Communards’ “Never Could Say Goodbye”). But today, covers are only platforms for demonstrating singing prowess… doesn’t sound like music to me. 

        For me, one serious case of local music plagiarism was when Orange and Lemons took the whole melody of “Chandeliers” by Care and made it into “Pinoy Ako,” the Pinoy Big B(r)other theme.  

        Parokya’s “Pitsa Pie” samples the “I Will Survive” disco song melody. 

    • ilda says:

      @kikapoo

      It is a fact that most Filipinos prefer those kinds of songs. They enjoy listening to “rip-offs”. Diba si Rico J Puno just used Barbara Streisand’s song for his hit “The way we were?”

  10. mel says:

    So true, Ilda!

    It seems it is already a lifestyle here in the Philippines to patronize plagiarized materials.
    A whole book can be copied, pirated films, faked cellphones, bags, shoes, clothings, eyeglasses, etc.

    I find it disgusting when people wear and carry those things. Worst, the market is full of such stuffs. Where are our regulatory bodies? We have been copying and illegally producing things for several years now and who cares?

    • ilda says:

      Hi Mel

      I can never understand why people buy fake goods. I love watching films so much that to watch pirated DVDs is unthinkable to me. But a lot of Filipinos however, take pride in owning a whole collection of pirated DVDs. Some even think lowly of people who still buy original DVDs.

      • blueredicedtea says:

        @ilda

        “I can never understand why people buy fake goods”

        ill let you understand: cheap, meaning easy to access s-hit

        for video games and….errr….videos (VCD,DVD) sturgeon’s law meaning 90% is s-hit until proven otherwise…..oh wait we have rental shops which will look if this is s-hit or not but the problem is rental shops are rare….i dunno if astrovision rents some videos…..

        and speaking of video games……if i talk about foreign material that is not released international……..some niche will pirate it.

        i could be wrong though but when speaking of pirated…it means it distributed the material in illegal means while plagarism is what you mentioned above…..

        and by the way ilda…interesting read..your article i mean.

      • ilda says:

        @blueredicedtea

        Yeah, we are good at figuring out how to copy the small stuff. Some Filipino guy will always know another Filipino who sells pirated video games or DVDs. If only we knew how to channel our talent to something more useful and beneficial.

        I’m glad you enjoyed the article! 🙂

      • ChinoF says:

        My take: Fake goods provide a vicarious experience of “konyari wealthy.” And that’s another issue; Filipino culture is rife with the appreciation of vicarious experiences rather than the real thing. Like even when they are poor, they want to own expensive branded consumer goods for the feeling of richness. And if the real branded goods are expensive, they’ll go for the fake ones… they’ll feel rich. That’s the shallowness of this part of our culture. 

      • ilda says:

        Exactly Chino! They think that they are wiser than the rich people because they only pay peanuts for the fake ones. But what they don’t realise is that it’s not about the name, it’s the design,functionality and the quality that’s more important. If you buy the fake ones, it won’t last as long and you promote the throw-away culture.

  11. brianitus says:

    Ilda,  

    The situation after WWII was a big game-changer for mass transit and it was a solution during that period.  However, after more than 50 years of service, I think the jeepney should be retired as an active example of Pinoy innovation/ invention.  While it has had “improvements,” like the aircon jeepneys & e-jeepneys, they’re more for show rather than for their functional benefit.  The ideas had been unsustainable. 

    What’s today’s game-changer for us Filipinos?  What’s the “next jeepney”?

    • brianitus says:

      since walang edit function sa comment:

      The situation after WWII was a big game-changer for mass transit, “the jeepney” was a solution during that period.

      oops. buti na lang di ako taga korte. 

    • ilda says:

      Hi Brianitus

      Tama ka. Imagine after 50 years, ngayon lang naisipan lagyan ng aircon?

      I’m sure there are other countries where the US military left some of their jeeps behind but the Philippines is the only one who copied the concept of the jeep and unfortunately, only made very little improvement on it.

  12. benign0 says:

    Isn’t placing the Mercedes logo on a vehicle that is an insult to the automotive engineeering profession a form of plagiarism?

    Pinoys who are champion illegal downloaders of copyrighted movies and music and really bad-a$$ copycats should clean their own backyards first before presuming to scream bloody plagiarism. 😀

  13. oroncesval says:

    ” what’s stopping Juan Tamad from being more productive and innovative now? Is Juan Tamad still worried that he will just “enrich” his boss if he does?”

    @ilda:
    1st q: he’s not as smart as those who find a way to go abroad. maybe he couldn’t afford good education, or he wasn’t serious about studying.  so, you’re perhaps partly right; it could be partly Juan’s fault.

    2nd q: yes. by law, labor gets security of tenure.  that makes the employer less willing to pay high wages, or even to hire.  that’s why you see many who just “sit around.”  and if the employer is a monopoly or quasi-monopoly, he gets to maximize profits at the expense of the consumer while paying labor peanuts.  labor isn’t that un-smart, so he finds a way to shirk.  think about it the next time you pay for electricity at a price higher than in the industrial countries.

    • ilda says:

      @oroncesval

      Sorry, pero medyo loser mentality yata si Juan Tamad.

      1. The life we have now is the result of all the decisions we made in the past. Whether Juan stayed in the country or now lives overseas, if Juan chose to be mediocre in the past, his existence anywhere now will definitely be mediocre. FYI, not all Filipinos who made it abroad worked hard to be there. Some were just petitioned by their relatives and more often than not, these people are the ones who do not value the life they have overseas. The reason being is because some did not want to leave the country in the first place, so they complain about the life they have in their adoptive countries and are nostalgic of the life they left behind.

      2. I cannot relate to what you are saying. Surely, if you work hard and are resourceful, even if you get peanuts for your regular salary, you will find another source of income to augment it. That is, if you use the skill you’ve acquired in your work. If you cannot get enough training for the kind of skill you want to have from your work, you should acquire more skills by learning a new trade somewhere else in your spare time instead of partying or going on a drinking session with your buddies.

      Remember, there is always a solution. Juan just finds a lot of excuses not to look for them.

      • oroncesval says:

        What can I say?  There is unemployment globally because of some kind of failure in the labor market, not all of which is the “fault” of the unemployed.  Juan may or may not be lazy or undeserving, but that doesn’t mean you can generalize that all of them “deserve” their condition.  That’s all.

      • ilda says:

        @oroncesval

        Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of people who said that getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to them. You know why? They said they finally had the time to do whatever they have been wanting to do but never got the chance to because they were committed to a 9-5 job.

        Some of them turned their hobbies into a thriving business after they lost their jobs. These people were wise enough to acquire new skills on their spare time even while they were still employed. They had the foresight to prepare for the worse scenario. Sadly, not a lot of people have foresight especially Filipinos. Most of us are so used to hand-outs. Most of us do not think outside of the square.

        As the saying goes, “when one door closes, another opens.”

  14. oroncesval says:

    Hello ilda:

    Long ago, I had a curmudgeon of a prof in economics, then the head of the department, who counselled me and other grad students about “spoiled brats” in the ivy league.  He said one such kid came to him complaining that economics was “too hard.”  He told the kid, “Have you thought of suicide?” 

    We all had our nervous laughs since we ourselves had our fears that we weren’t good enough – the way Larry Summers put it – “Are you smart enough”?

    You’re right, there are people, lucky ones, who can turn a hobby into a gold mine.  But there are more average mediocre people out there.  By definition lots of them, not just Filipinos.  John Rawls and his disciples would grieve for them, since by your sights, they have no hope.

    Perhaps I exaggerate. 

  15. Maki_Alam says:

    Speaking of pirated brands, may nakita akong Louis Vuitton na basahan na nilalako sa kalye. O diba, sosyal ng basahang Pinoy! ;D

    “Unfortunately, last I heard, “plagiarism is not a crime but is disapproved more on the grounds of moral offence.”” — I think when it becomes a crime, it’s called copyright infringement.

    “Only those who cannot easily come up with an original idea will end up being overly protective of their work.” — Not necessarily. Writers/musicians/movie producers go to great lengths to protect their copyrights, not because they cannot easily come up with original ideas, but because it’s their intellectual property. Stealing someone’s copyright is no different than stealing their wallets or their car or their jewelry.

    • BongV says:

      remembering my class in Calculus – am just wondering whether Newton should accuse Leibniz of plagiarism or the other way around –

    • ilda says:

      The possibility of acquiring fame and fortune is the main reason why people get overly protective of their work. Someone earning money or getting recognition from your work can make a big difference to the way you would view the world. Now, if you easily come up with an original work, then you would dismiss copycats as flattery.

      You know, when it comes to writing about the dysfunction of the Filipino culture, I don’t really mind if people steal my ideas. I don’t care if there are other Filipinos out there who start writing the way we do as long as they do not copy my articles word for word. As you can see, it’s really impossible to copy it without getting found out. My perspective is entirely my own and it would be hard for others to defend something they have not thought of themselves.

      The main objective here is to influence people to think outside the square. If there are more and more Filipinos who begin to think like the AntiPinoy writers, then that can only be a good thing. I don’t think that the great philosophers even worried about plagiarism during their time, they were more concerned about more important things like the understanding of the fundamental causes and principles of the universe.

      My wish is for more Filipinos to think the way we do. If copying our ideas means there are more Filipinos spreading the truth, I welcome it.

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