I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Nationality means nothing

In several FV posts, benign0 has been asking a very difficult question:  What does the “Filipino” stand for? Quite predictably – and prolly because of who asked the question rather than because of the question itself – the horde replied quite emotionally.

It’s actually a very simple question with a very simple answer: Filipino stands for parochial.

Parochial means – insular: narrowly restricted in outlook or scope; being provincial, being narrow in scope, or considering only small sections of an issue; narrow-minded. Ever heard a more concise description of a Filipino?

Flag-wavers of every stripe will of course complain. Not a few will trot out examples of ‘global Filipinos’ or some such bullshit. But, puh-leeze. To every general rule, there is an exception; and if you try to find a definition that will include even the exceptions, you’re gonna be looking for a very long time.


Filed under: Filipino,

32 Responses

  1. BrianB says:

    A lot of countries are parochial, the US included, with very few exceptions. Fortunately for the US, many of these exceptions are in influential positions and are in charge of powerful institutions… not like in the Philippines where the institutions are stupider than the the median.

  2. pendrille says:

    I must agree that I get tired of hearing the ‘effing’ ninoy aquino line: “The Filipino is worth dying for”. And look how far it got him, right smack dab on our currency, just to preserve how much the people get shafted in our time — A ninoy a day.

    Especially if it has something to do with something that shouldn’t be stubbornly pushed, especially when it comes to physical conflict. I prefer Patton’s words of wisdom: “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

  3. cvj says:

    If i wasn’t already familiar with your style, your reaction would be a bit puzzling considering how you called out Charice for singing God Bless America.

  4. Bert says:

    quite a masochistic statement. if you are a Filipino you must be enjoying being called a swine living in a pigsty. enjoy it then you boar!

  5. rom says:

    cvj: not exactly sure what you meant about my style, but good point about Charice. I’m afraid I can be as parochial as they come, uncle. But that doesn’t stop me from pointing out the dirt on my own face, yes? 😀

  6. rom says:

    pendrille: welcome to the smoking room! 😀

  7. cvj says:

    I was referring to your preference to opt for a Meta-position which i previously brought up.

  8. rom says:

    cvj: i don’t see how calling the Filipino parochial can be ‘taking a meta’ but, I’ll think about it.

  9. rom says:

    bert: welcome to the smoking room, you boor. 😀

  10. Bencard says:

    nationality means nothing, rom? try visiting another country without a passport, or with a passport (assuming you are able to get one somehow) showing “citizen of the world” under “nationality”. i bet the authorities will ship you back pronto, if they decide not to prosecute you first for attempting to enter illegally.

  11. BrianB says:

    And wasn’t Iraq bombed with 100 thousand innocents slaughtered? For what, American peace of mind?

    Probably that day in the month.

    The question is, what distinguishes Filipino from other nationalities. I’d say we are probably the only poor nation that is as self-referential, self-absorbed, self-conscious, self-etc. as Americans.

  12. benign0 says:

    I quoted your above post in a comment in FV. The following is the excerpt of that comment relevant to you (which is really a comment that should be a comment entry to this blog of yours):

    It’s actually a very simple question with a very simple answer: Filipino stands for parochial. […] Parochial means – insular: narrowly restricted in outlook or scope; being provincial, being narrow in scope, or considering only small sections of an issue; narrow-minded. Ever heard a more concise description of a Filipino?Rom

    You cite this as a “stand”, smoke, but to me it stills sounds like something that defines us or comes across as a mere quality of ours. America for example has many qualities and is defined by many things (among which “parochial” has also been cited by one of your commentors). But America asserts that it stands for “truth and justice”. Maybe it falls short of that ideal in practice at times. But at least it has a stand on things. That is why it is clear to America where Bush’s presidency failed as it is now clear to Obama where he needs to take America back to.

    Do we Filipinos have such a bar to provide us a similar context for where we need to take ourselves to?

    A bit more food for thought there. 😉

  13. rom says:

    bencard: I have to explain, i suppose. The title was a working title that I had forgotten to change. It stemmed from the theory that, in responding to benign0’s question, nationality should be the least consideration since a Filipino can still be filipino even if he is an American citizen or whatever else citizenship. It’s not meant to be taken too literally – just the logical extension of the favorite platitude of many overseas kababayans: “I may be (insert foreign citizenship here) but I’m still very much a filipino at heart.”

  14. rom says:

    brianb: hence, “parochial.”

  15. rom says:

    bening0: you misunderstand. parochial (obviously) isn’t a stand. you’re question was ‘what does the “Filipino” stand for.’ I understood that to mean: what does the Filipino “represent?” or as my answer was formulated: “what describes the Filipino best.”

    Tackling the question as you clarify it now, my answer will only be slightly different. what does the Filipino stand for then? The Filipino stands for survival at any cost.

    If you were hoping for some lofty ideal – like truth and justice – you’d be disappointed. Filipinos like to think that that’s what we’re about, but in practice, we’re more about enlightened self-interest than anything else.

    I’ll do you one better. If you wanted a motto for filipinos – something I don’t think we have – it’d be “Don’t tread on me.”

    Apart from making us sound like a proud warrior race – imagery that we sooo adore – it also correctly implies that we are wont to bristle at the slightest criticism of us.

    The Filipino doesn’t stand for anything.

  16. benign0 says:

    rom, I suspected as much that you misinterpretted my question (Bencard made the same mistake and rightly pointed out the vagueness of how I phrased it).

    I wasn’t after a lofty ideal. In fact, I mentioned in an earlier comment in FV that I didn’t know what the Filipino stood for either. But I will have to beg to differ on your recommendation for the motto part. I already have two for that department:

    “Pwede na yan.”


    “Bahala na.”

  17. rom says:

    benign0: those will work too. 😀

  18. UP n grad says:

    Too early for “It’s the performance, stupid!”????

    I dare say Ka Flor wants performance … the slogans may sound good but why can’t Pinas have fewer pigsties?

  19. BrianB says:

    Filipinos should only stand for HIMSELF, period. Tang ena.

  20. BrianB says:

    wrong grammar pa… !

    Filipinos should only stand for themselves or

    A Filipino should only stand for hisself or

    A Filipina should only stand for herself.

  21. Flipmodej says:

    Bert: Let me then bring up a question, especially regarding your oink of a statement. Do you feel that pinoys should only take soley the good of the country and represent it? Every country has black eyes yet most of the citizens who care about their country pride would own up to it. Maybe a bit embarrassed about it but they knew stuff like that happens.

    Its actually good to look into the bad of the issue because there may be good that comes out of it, such as clearing the misunderstandings of what seems to be something specific.

  22. […] with, our renowned heritage of smallness, our focus on the droll, trivial, and irrelevant, and our insularity, i.e., … […] narrowly restricted in outlook or scope; being provincial, being narrow in […]

  23. ieras says:

    “nothing means everything”

    … if only more taxes were added to cigarettes and alcohols, and less on therapeutic drugs…

  24. Hi, I’m sorry if this is popping out of the blue, but is there any chance we can contact you to guest on ANC tonight? We just found your blog today, and your comment on the iamninoy campaign is something we find very interesting. Cheche Lazaro will be hosting, and I hope you can find the time. We’re dissecting the image of Ninoy today, just as his name rises again in the headlines. I hope this reaches you in time.


    Patricia Evangelista
    Executive Producer
    Media in Focus

  25. […] cannot answer this questions convincingly and with conviction (and by all accounts, we do in fact monumentally struggle with this), then I find it quite laughable that we as a collective of “expertise” presume to be […]

  26. […] to court. It is the kind of conviction only seen in a people who have a clear definition of what they stand for to sustainably fuel their efforts. Ningas-cogon anyone? It is in this light that we learn to […]

  27. Cage says:

    You folks are pretty darn awesome. Been somewhat following your take on this (all of you). But my first time to post. Beggin’ for more..


  28. […] a quick status update on our efforts to come up with a manifesto on what “The Filipino” stands for which we started a while […]

  29. talksmart says:

    Hello. This blog is currently nominated for the Filipino Blog of the Week award (week 181). You may visit the site and vote. Poll can be found on the sidebar. Good luck.

  30. Semidoppel says:

    Hi there fellow blogger! I made a poll and it is about your bet this coming 2010 election. The survey is very simple, choose your president and vice-president. As you can see, I just want two results, a president and a vice-president, these two are the most important because they are the persons who will finalize everything, from bills, laws, government projects, cabinet officials and other government-related issues. With this I can gather information and make a tally of your votes. Please visit the link to vote. Bloggers’ Choice This Coming 2010 Election’-choice-this-coming-2010-election/

  31. Gil says:

    A Filipino is more than what the name suggests…

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