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Bashing versus Praise: A synthesis of sorts

So far, these are the positive Filipino traits that my little brainstorming exercise netted. Fourteen positive traits as opposed to thirty-three negative traits.

  1. wildly creative
  2. intelligent
  3. adaptable – extremely adaptable in fact, in foreign settings
  4. long-suffering
  5. hospitable
  6. resilient
  7. fiercely loyal
  8. caring and nurturing
  9. generous
  10. good lovers – especially jeepney drivers. LOL!
  11. tend to be meta-positionists i.e. given two opposing sides of an argument (’A’ and ‘B’), he/she tends to formulate a third position (’C’)
  12. are transparently spontaneous
  13. are religious
  14. appreciative of sports heroes

What does that say about us? More to the point, what does that say about our chances of getting out of the cesspool we find our country in? Seriously. Although traits like creativeness, native intelligence, adaptability and resilience seem to be ingredients for a Filipino resurgence, you have to wonder whether in the real world, these traits aren’t canceled out by laziness, self-indulgence, the lack of discipline, the lack of follow-through and the like.


Filed under: Filipino, , , , , ,

5 Responses

  1. cvj says:

    I don’t think it is a given that the positive and negative traits cancel each other out. Whether a positive trait works for us (assuming we accept that such traits apply to the group, which borders on committing the ecological fallacy), all depends on the context.

  2. cvj says:

    IMHO, beyond individual traits, i think what we Filipinos have is more of a coordination and cooperation problem.

  3. rom says:

    cvj:it amazes me no end how fiercely you refuse to acknowledge that filipino traits play no significant role in the mess our country is in (please, if I’m understanding you wrong, educate me). In my opinion, we are, by default predisposed to failure precisely because of these traits. It is only when we, through conscious effort – such as in the case of really driven Filipinos and Filipinos who are forced to live among other cultures (such as OFWs are) – that we are able to rise above our faults and succeed. Left to our own devices, the tendency to crash and burn grows by leaps and bounds.

    You once told me that it wasn’t culture so much as wrong policies (or sequence of policies) that was to blame for our woes. I doubt that very much. Even if we had good economic policies, what good will they actually do when the people who are supposed to carry them out simply aren’t predisposed to approach the situation with even the basic discipline sound policy requires?

    Or maybe, you’re saying that bad policies bring out the worst in us? But who makes the policies anyway? People like us. So, if culture weren’t such an issue, doesn’t it follow that at some point, some of us would actually make good policies that do not bring out the worst in us? But that hasn’t happened yet, has it?

  4. cvj says:

    Rom, as i mentioned in my first comment, what i dispute is the equal weight that you have assigned to each positive or negative trait. I don’t think the relationship is as simple and straightforward as that. To repeat what i said in your previous blog, i think the cause and effect relationship between our problems and our traits is more about our problems leading to the traits that we see (as per Ha Joon Chang). Persistent lack of job opportunities encourages ‘laziness’. Lack of capabilities encourages ‘dependence’ etc. etc.

    If we develop, then our image will change, as it has for those segment of Filipinos who are OFW’s. Even so, those traits will really not disappear as these are human frailties. I base my conclusion on the fact that i’ve seen the same frailties in other nationalities but in their case, it is less of a factor.

    Who makes the policies anyway? Aren’t these the folks you see playing golf in Wack-wack? If you consider economic and social inequality, then it would be easier to answer why the ‘good policies’ that bring out the best in us hasn’t happened yet.

  5. Mimic says:

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Mimic

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