Monday, 25 August 2008

Philippines, Where Did Your Intellect Go?

At first I though it was me, but really, after more than a year in this country (Philippines, in case you didn't know), I am more than a little bit disappointed with the intellectual capabilities of the local Juan (or in American, the local John Doe). Seriously. I'm disappointed.

From simple decision-making skills, to seemingly basic choices, I wonder what is the sort of kindergarten and primary school system this country gives to its citizens. The typical neighborhood dude (in my area, for instance) simply cannot cannot make the simplest of intellectual leaps, probably because they never question anything. When I say anything, it's anything.

Case in point. I was talking to a neighborhood girl who sells me candy on most mornings. She sees me in my silly tight sleeveless training shirt, and asks where I am going. I say I'm heading to the gym. She says, "no wonder you're not that tall". Er..? I'm 20 years old, miss. I started doing weights seriously just about 2 months ago, and since when did gym = vertically challenged? Anyway, I replied that no, gym has nothing to do with height, especially at this age, and that height is basically genetics. She goes yeah, sure, up to whatever you believe. LOL. I can only shake my head.

Here's another laughable logic that I have noticed here. It is when parents or older members of a given family uses two words to explain to their children or younger ones why an action should not be done, like stealing or lying. "Masama yun." It literally means, "it's not good". Er..? Could you please try and give whoever you are trying to teach a little bit more of a logical explanation? Why can't I skip school? Masama yun. Why can't I watch this show? Masama yun. Why can't I miss church? Masama yun. Well thank you for not letting your children and others hear a bit more logic in your arguments. And as for those listening to these stupid answer, please, for the love of all that is holy, question why. No, I am not invoking civil unrest, but really, no good questions equals no good answers equals a backward and ridiculously apathetic society, which is beautiful motherland, Philippines.

Oh and another one, as this post turns into a rant thread. I just cannot understand the average Filipino's fixation on game shows. They're everywhere! I don't get it, seriously. I mean, here you are, sitting in your sparse little kitchen wondering how to get more money, and you switch on the telly and you see an average person just like you winning a few thousand pesos, and you go, oh my, how lucky they are. When you see someone win a million pesos, you go, oh my how very lucky they are! In Tagalog, of course, but you get my point. Er.. Here's the point. Watching people make money in a seemingly lucky way makes everyone who watches this religiously become poor. Why? Simple. These silly game shows breed a nation of dreamers and hopers, a society that wants nothing more than to 'strike it lucky' so 'they can spend it all in one day'. No exaggeration. Here's a REAL conversation I had with a relative.

"If you won the lottery, what would you do with all the money?"
"I would pay all my debts, and give the rest to my family members."

Sounds like a good answer? Wrong! Na-ah! First, that money you won in the scenario will go up in smoke in no time if you just used it to appease your family members. Come on Filipinos. Let's cut the crap already. Helping family who do not help themselves does no one any good. Ever. You know what helps? Using that amount as a capital for a business, or to invest it in companies that make a good deal of revenue. Heck, if I had that much, first thing I'll do is buy stocks from San Miguel. Beer never goes out of business in the Philippines. LOL. Then, passive income rolls in. I think the reason so many people here are so poor no matter how much they make (legally or illegally) is because they have this weird mindset that getting family members to waste money is productive for one's own business. *sigh* The things people do.

Watching a video in class of poor people, one thing struck me. All of these dirt-poor families have a lot of children. In fact, their common denominator seems to be poverty and a ghastly amount of children. Really strange. I would have thought that it takes the mental capacity of a dog to equate more mouths to feed equals to more money needed. Money that does not exist. In the video, a family of nine members live on 30 pesos a day. They are ridiculously malnourished. I stress on the 'ridiculous'. The 14-year old son weighs 12.3 kilograms. TWELVE. Holy crap. Out of the nine kids, 3 will definitely die in a year, and all the rest will die within three. The defense used by the idiots who justify this is that more kids mean more help for mom and pop. Er..? You stupid people. The kids are effing sick! They are literally shaking hands with the ferry-man of hell, that's how ill they are. They do nothing but moan and wiggle a bit sometimes, that's how dead they are. And when they are active, they get weak in a few minutes. What help can they give..? Come on people! A little common sense here please!

Ranting never felt so good. :)



  1. All hail the vertically challenged people who go the gym for supporting the little girl's theory XD

  2. LOL, she's not exactly little. She's eighteen, and she didn't finish high school. Still, it's not an excuse that I would ever accept.

  3. You have good points. It hurts to hear you say these things bluntly but it's the evident truth in our underprivileged society. It's the recurring dilemma even our own Political Science professors are facing, "Who's to blame? The government or the society?"


  4. I felt the anger just by reading this. It's like your shouting at everyone. haha

    I have to agree with all the points stated. Especially the poor = more kids thing. I still wonder why they do that.

    Though I have to say something about the "family members" thing. Uber family oriented are what most Filipinos are. They can't help but give a helping hand whenever they can to family members (sometimes even to family friends). But it also gets to a point where enough is enough. Though what you are saying is also true.

    Another truth within your post, Beer never goes out of business in the Philippines. 100% True! LOL

  5. Zee: Who's to blame? Well, "blame" is hardly the word. I feel that it is more on, "who's responsible?" The answer is, of course, all of us.

    It doesn't help that the society is underprivileged, but let us all learn a lesson from Singapore. A kicked-out nation to a leading nation in international commerce. Amazing? No. Just hard work and drive from its people.

  6. Joe: Your comments are, of course, some of the best in my blog, and I appreciate your explanation. I do see this; I live in an apartment building where 5 floors of six are occupied by people related to each other.

    But yes, most of the time, the 'help' solicited from other family members do cross a line, and it is sometimes hard to see where that line is until it's too late. Take it from me, I'm experiencing it.

  7. Good thing my mom taught me all the right reasons. haha. hoorah for a great mom.

    may i just say that i'm not a fan of the closely knit family members thingy. it's irritating actually, especially when your relatives ALWAYS ask for money. It's either their child is sick, with no money for tuition, worse, asking money for their child (who has graduated from college, and has worked for over a year)to be able to pay his placement fee to go abroad.

    call me UN-Filipino with what I just said. It just pisses me off. Big time.

    Anyways, very, very good read Jason.

  8. Thanks for the comment and feedback, Chris.

    Actually, I know first-hand how it is when family members, perfectly capable of working and earning money, asks for financial help. More than once have I (me, personally) been approached by a family member asking for a large sum to pay for another relative's tuition. Of course I will not. This, of course, made me look like a cold-hearted person with the said family members. Disappointing.

    Close-knit in the sense that everyone remembers everyone's birthdays, greets each other 'hi' every time they meet, or asking each other's well-being is fine with me, just not asking for help when you cannot even help yourself.

    And no, you are not un-Filipino.
    You are, simply, a Filipino who's mature enough to think beyond the average Juan's capabilities, as all the other posters in my blog are (so far).

  9. its one thing to share your blessings and another to be asked by someone who is very capable of handling it themselves.

    I'm not saying its a bad thing since one of the best places to ask for any kind of help is within our families. But constantly doing so or making it look like a habit, even for extremely small things, is beyond acceptable.

  10. I agree 100%, though I wouldn't share my blessings with family members who have a track record of mishandling finances.

    That's a no-no for me. :)

  11. "More than once have I (me, personally) been approached by a family member asking for a large sum to pay for another relative's tuition. Of course I will not. This, of course, made me look like a cold-hearted person with the said family members. Disappointing."
    Yes, it totally makes sense to ask you, a student, who is not even working yet, for financial help.

    I get you on the stupidity. It happens here in Malaysia too as you very well know already.

    The other day I was in Servay looking for facial wash. One of the shophelpers came up to me and asked me if I needed help/what I was looking for. I said I was looking for Dove facial wash.

    She stared at me.

    My mum and I stared back.

    She stared at me some more.

    I finally got impatient and said, "So? Do you have it?"

    She scurried away to go look.

    Wtf. LOL. She asked me if I wanted help in the first place!!

  12. ROFL that's a great story jie. :P
    What are you doing buying groceries in Servay? LOL. Giant (I assume it's still there) still has more stuff. Ahaha..

    Yeah it does happen in Malaysia, but the extent it happens here in the Philippines is crazy. The problem is, a lot of people justify why they ask so much from relatives. Those borrowing/asking always say, 'family first' or some other version meaning something similar.

    Disgusting, cave-man mentality.

  13. Haha! Wasn't grocery, just went in coz Servay has a lot of local sweets and snacks. Like durian kuih! XD

  14. Eww. That is beyond gross jie.

  15. What! Durian kuih is soo good!

    Word: jobie

  16. We are so beyond off-topic. :P
    And I hate durian.

  17. You miss out on so much.

    I know XD

  18. Just to acknowledge your statement, no, I am not missing out on anything.

    Remember, we have dried mangoes here. :D