Inferiority Complex: A Filipino Malady?

Discussion in 'Band of Glockers' started by charlie-xray, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. charlie-xray

    charlie-xray Guest

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    A Point of View
    Inferiority Complex: A Filipino Malady?
    by Barth Suretsky

    ----------
    The unedited article below was written below by an American friend,
    Barth Suretsky. This will still be edited but you will get the gist.
    I find his observations interesting. I hope this will make an impact
    on the Filipinos who read this article as I greatly lament the
    worsening situation of our country. - Frank Woolf

    ----------
    My decision to move to Manila was not a precipitous one. I used to
    work in New York as an outside agent for PAL, and have been coming to
    the Philippines since August, 1982. I was so impressed with the
    country, and with the interesting people I met, some of which have
    become very close friends to this day, that I asked for and was
    granted a year's sabbatical from my teaching job in order to live in
    the Philippines. I arrived here on August 21, 1983, several hours
    after Ninoy Aquino was shot, and remained here until June of 1984.
    During that year I visited many parts of the country, from as far
    north as Laoag to as far south as Zamboanga, and including Palawan. I
    became deeply immersed in the history and culture of the archipelago,
    and an avid collector of tribal antiquities from both northern Luzon,
    and Mindanao.

    In subsequent years I visited the Philippines in 1985, 1987, and
    1991, before deciding to move here permanently in 1998. I love this
    country, but not uncritically, and that is the purpose of this article.

    First, however, I will say that I would not consider living anywhere
    else in Asia, no matter how attractive certain aspects of other
    neighboring countries may be. To begin with, and this is most
    important, with all its faults, the Philippines is still a democracy,
    more so than any other nation in Southeast Asia. Despite gross
    corruption, the legal system generally works, and if ever confronted
    with having to employ it, I would feel much more safe trusting the
    courts here than in any other place in the surrounding area. The
    press here is unquestionably the most unfettered and freewheeling in
    Asia, and I do not believe that is hyperbole in any way! And if any
    one thing can be used as a yardstick to measure the extent of the
    democratic process in any given country in the world, it is the
    extent to which the press is free.

    But the Philippines is a flawed democracy nevertheless, and the flaws
    are deeply rooted in the Philippine psyche. I will elaborate.

    The basic problem seems to me, after many years of observation, to be
    a national inferiority complex, a disturbing lack of pride in being
    Filipino. Toward the end of April I spent eight days in Vietnam,
    visiting Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City. I am certainly no expert
    on Vietnam, but what I saw could not be denied: I saw a country
    ravaged as no other country has been in this century by thirty years
    of continuous and incredibly barbaric warfare. When the Vietnam War
    ended in April, 1975, the country was totally devastated. Yet in the
    past twenty-five years the nation has healed and rebuilt itself
    almost miraculously! The countryside has been replanted and
    reforested. Hanoi and HCMC have been beautifully restored. The opera
    house in Hanoi is a splended restoration of the original, modeled
    after the Opera in Paris, and the gorgeous Second Empire theater, on
    the main square of HCMC is as it was when built by the French a
    century ago. The streets are tree-lined, clean, and conducive for
    strolling. Cafes in the French style proliferate on the wide
    boulevards of HCMC. I am not praising the government of Vietnam,
    which still has a long way to travel on the road to democracy, but I
    do praise, and praise unstintingly, the pride of the Vietnamese
    people. It is due to this pride in being Vietnamese that has enabled
    its citizenry to undertake the miracle of restoration that I have
    described above.

    When I returned to Manila I became so depressed that I was actually
    physically ill for days thereafter. Why? Well, let's go back to a
    period when the Philippines resembled the Vietnam of 1975. It was
    1945, the end of World War II, and Manila, as well as many other
    cities, lay in ruins. (As a matter of fact, it may not be generally
    known, but Manila was the second most destroyed city in the entire
    war; only Warsaw was more demolished!)

    But to compare Manila in 1970, twenty-five years after the end of the
    war, with HCMC, twenty-five years after the end of its war, is a sad
    exercise indeed. Far from restoring the city to its former glory, by
    1970 Manila was well on its way to being the most tawdry city in
    Southeast Asia. And since that time the situation has deteriorated
    alarmingly. We have a city full of street people, beggars, and
    squatters. We have a city that floods sections whenever there is a
    rainstorm, and that loses electricity with every clap of thunder.

    We have a city full of potholes, and on these unrepaired roads we
    have a traffic situation second to none in the world for sheer
    unmanageability. We have rude drivers, taxis that routinely refuse to
    take passengers because of "many trappic!" The roads are also cursed
    with pollution-spewing buses in disreputable states of repair, and
    that ultimate anachronism, the jeepney! We have an educational system
    that allows children to attend schools without desks or books to
    accommodate them. Teachers, even college professors, are paid
    salaries so disgracefully low that it's a wonder that anyone would
    want to go into the teaching profession in the first place. We have a
    war in Mindanao that nobody seems to have a clue how to settle. The
    only policy to deal with the war seems to be to react to what happens
    daily, with no long range plan whatever. I could go on and on, but it
    is an endeavor so filled with futility that it hurts me to go on. It
    hurts me because, in spite of everything, I love the Philippines.

    Maybe it will sound simplistic, but to go back to what I said above,
    it is my unshakable belief that the fundamental thing wrong with this
    country is a lack of pride in being Filipino. A friend once remarked
    to me, laconically: "All Filipinos want to be something else. The
    poor ones want to be American, and the rich ones all want to be
    Spaniards. Nobody wants to be Filipino." That statement would appear
    to be a rather simplistic one, and perhaps it is. However, I know one
    Filipino who refuses to enter a theater until the national anthem has
    stopped being played because he doesn't want to honor his own
    country, and I know another one who thinks that history stopped dead
    in 1898 when the Spaniards departed! While it is certainly true that
    these represent extreme examples of national denial, the truth is not
    a pretty picture.

    Filipinos tend to worship, almost slavishly, everything foreign. If
    it comes from Italy or France it has to be better than anything made
    here. If the idea is American or German it has to be superior to
    anything that Filipinos can think up for themselves. Foreigners are
    looked up to and idolized. Foreigners can go anywhere without
    question. In my own personal experience I remember attending recently
    an affair at a major museum here. I had forgotten to bring my
    invitation. But while Filipinos entering the museum were checked for
    invitations, I was simply waived through. This sort of thing happens
    so often here that it just accepted routine.

    All of these things, the illogical respect given to foreigners simply
    because they are not Filipinos, the distrust and even disrespect
    shown to any homegrown merchandise, the neglect of anything
    Philippine, the rudeness of taxi drivers, the ill-manners shown by
    many Filipinos are all symptomatic of a lack of self-love, of respect
    for and love of the country in which they were born, and worst of
    all, a static mind-set in regard to finding ways to improve the
    situation. Most Filipinos, when confronted with evidence of
    governmental corruption, political chicanery, or gross exploitation
    on the part of the business community, simply shrug their shoulders,
    mutter "bahala na," and let it go at that.

    It is an oversimplification to say this, but it is not without a
    grain of truth to say that Filipinos feel downtrodden because they
    allow themselves to feel downtrodden. No pride.

    One of the most egregious examples of this lack of pride, this
    uncaring attitude to their own past or past culture, is the wretched
    state of surviving architectural landmarks in Manila and elsewhere.
    During the American period many beautiful and imposing buildings were
    built, in what we now call the "art deco" style (although,
    incidentally, that was not a contemporary term; it was coined only in
    the 1960s). These were beautiful edifices, mostly erected during, or
    just before, the Commonwealth period. Three, which are still
    standing, are the Jai Alai Building, the Metropolitan Theater, and
    the Rizal Stadium. Fortunately, due to the truly noble efforts of my
    friend John Silva, the Jai Alai Building will now be saved. But
    unless something is done to the most beautiful and original of these
    three masterpieces of pre-war Philippine architecture, the
    Metropolitan Theater, it will disintegrate. The Rizal Stadium is in
    equally wretched shape. When the wreckers' ball destroyed Frank Lloyd
    Wright's Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, and New York City's most
    magnificent building, Pennsylvania Station, both in 1963, Ada Louise
    Huxtable, then the architectural critic of The New York Times, wrote:
    "A disposable culture loses the right to call itself a civilization
    at all!" How right she was! (Fortunately, the destruction of
    Pennsylvania Station proved to be the sacrificial catalyst that
    resulted in the creation of New York's Landmark Commission. Would
    that such a commission be created for Manila...)

    Are there historical reasons for this lack of national pride? We can
    say that until the arrival of the Spaniards there was no sense of a
    unified archipelago constituted as one country. True. We can also say
    that the high cultures of other nations in the region seemed,
    unfortunately, to have bypassed the Philippines; there are no
    Angkors, no Ayuttayas, no Borobudurs.True. Centuries of contact with
    the "high cultures" of the Khmers and the Chinese had, except for the
    proliferation of Song dynasty pottery found throughout the
    archipelago, no noticeable effect.

    True. But all that aside, what was here?

    To begin with, the ancient rice terraces, now threatened with
    disintegration, incidentally, was an incredible feat of engineering
    for so-called "primitive" people. As a matter of fact, when I first
    saw them in 1984, I was almost as awe-stricken as I was when I first
    laid eyes on the astonishing Inca city of Machu Picchu, high in the
    Peruvian Andes. The degree of artistry exhibited by the various
    tribes of the cordillera of Luzon is testimony to a remarkable
    culture, second to none in the Southeast Asian region. As for
    Mindanao, at the other end of the archipelago, an equally high degree
    of artistry has been manifest for centuries in woodcarving, weaving
    and metalwork.

    However, the most shocking aspect of this lack of national pride,
    even identity, endemic in the average Filipino, is the appalling
    ignorance of the history of the archipelago since unified by Spain
    and named Filipinas. The remarkable stories concerning the Galleon de
    Manila, the courageous repulsion of Dutch and British invaders from
    the 16th through the 18th centuries, even the origins of the
    independence movement of the late 19th century, are hardly known by
    the average Filipino in any meaningful way. And thanks to fifty years
    of American brainwashing, it is few and far between the number of
    Filipinos who really know - or even care - about the duplicity
    employed by the Americans and Spaniards to sell out and make
    meaningless the very independent state that Aguinaldo declared on
    June 12, 1898. A people without a sense of history is a people doomed
    to be unaware of their own identity. It is sad to say, but true, that
    the vast majority of Filipinos fall into this lamentable category.
    Without a sense of who you are how can you possibly take any pride in
    who you are?

    These are not oversimplifications. On the contrary, these are the
    root problems of the Philippine inferiority complex referred to
    above. Until the Filipino takes pride in being Filipino these ills of
    the soul will never be cured. If what I have written here can help,
    even in the smallest way, to make the Filipino aware of just who he
    is, who he was, and who he can be, I will be one happy expat indeed!
     
  2. horge

    horge -=-=-=-=- Lifetime Member

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    Barth's got an interesting read right there.
    That said...


    I know who I am, and I like who I am.
    I know a fair bit of my country's history, back to 900 A.D.
    I'm deeply fortunate to have been born Filipino.

    I don't really know what an 'inferiority complex' is.
    I do know, as a Catholic, that humility is a virtue

    ...as is the ability to drink any foreign devil under the table.

    :supergrin:
     

  3. Allegra

    Allegra

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    Fascinating , for an american expat , he even writes like a Filipino
     
  4. royal glockster

    royal glockster

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    Sad....but true!!...We need not go far. In this forum, a lot of gun-owners want to be indentified with their Para-O, STI/SVI, Kimbers..etc. rather than with their SAMs or Armscors..:sad:
     
  5. 9MX

    9MX Rei!

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    I agree. But in my case, I'm proud of my SAMSCOR:banana:
     
  6. navychief

    navychief Guest

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    it's sad to admit but what Barth wrote is very true. i'm sure we all can have a couple of reasons on why the Philippines has turned to be this way. inspite of all the $$$ coming into the country, not much improvement on the national economy.

    i'd say it's greed...another is bad politics...politicians turning into businessmen instead of public servants...not till the Filipino people starts caring for one another that things will start moving to the right direction. what do you say?........
     
  7. isuzu

    isuzu

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    You hit the bullseye, Navychief. It's greed that's bringing the Philippines down. People joining politics to be in business; stealing from the government coffers, and stealing from the people.

    And I think it's not only politicians. A lot of businessmen (and women), exploit the working class by not paying them enough (taking advantage of the readily available labor), and raking huge profits. Little do they know that if they pay the working class well enough, these people will have more disposable income, and this would propel the economy even more.

    Just my observations.
     
  8. antediluvianist

    antediluvianist Guest

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    Sure, many things in the Philippines suck. I am in healthcare, tell me about it.

    BUT.... there are many, many places in this world that are worse. Much worse.

    We are citizens of the planet, and of the human race, before we are citizens of any specific country. Most countries are fairly arbitrary agglomerations formed by historical accident. There is no particular reason why Sulawesi (The Celebes) should be in Indonesia instead of the Philippines, or why Palawan should be in the Philippines instead of Malaysia. Historical accident.

    There are many worse places in this world to live in than this group of islands, and there are many better ones. I am neither proud nor feel inferior to live here. We are all born where we have been born by accident, we are all members of the same species and all live on the same planet/breathe the same air etc. , so pride or inferiority for belonging to one arbitrary legal construct doesn't make sense to me. We all die.

    Aside from that, Armscors kill just as well as anything else.
     
  9. chowchow

    chowchow Guest

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    After reading this it makes me want an Armscor 1911 for keepsake, lol. Malakas kase yung influences sa atin lalo na sa psyche natin, esp the things we see and hear while growing up.
     
  10. Allegra

    Allegra

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    But i'd rather live here than aywhere else
    I love it here
    Mahal ng maid sa states
     
  11. saki1611

    saki1611 BOG's #1611

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    definitely true! almost all nations in asia that have very good standing are deeply rooted in their culture, sad to say we're not among them. i'm definitely proud of armscor and sam's but these local manufacturers have even much respect to american consumers than us. armscor for instance is selling their guns cheaper in the US than here, they even offering lifetime warranty in the US and have a very good costumer service for the americans, and these are contrary on what they have for filipinos. this doesn't include the shooting range and staff. :hugs:
     
  12. Kaiser Soze

    Kaiser Soze Notorious

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    I am, always have been, and forever will be proud of who I am.

    I literally wear it proudly on my sleeve.

    Is this proof enough???

    [​IMG]

    I agree with navychief and isuzu, it's bad politicos and bad businessmen who are ruining the country...this is why I quote Gerry Kaimo's battle cry:

    Mabuhay ang Pilipino ! Pero Hindi lahat. Mabuhi ang Pilipino! Pero dili tanan.
     
  13. kcboy

    kcboy CHEEPUCK.COM

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    basta ako mga BOGs, i love the philippines.....at BILIB ako sa kakayahan ng pinoy, basta magkaisa tayo....dami natin magagawa.:thumbsup:
     
  14. kcboy

    kcboy CHEEPUCK.COM

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    sir kaiser soze,

    parang batista ang dating, another half pinoy that is proud to have filipino blood....
     
  15. Kaiser Soze

    Kaiser Soze Notorious

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    Mwehehehe, 100% local breed ako bro!

    Seriously though, I was worried that if I got a Philippine Flag on my arm, people would think I'm a rabid Batista fan, so I got a tat of the Republika ng Pilipinas Seal instead.
     
  16. atmarcella

    atmarcella

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    pride=identity...

    if a person does not have identity he does not have pride.

    how can we filipinos have pride when manila or the national government is destroying our identity?

    all over this country, the identity of non-tagalogs are being gradually, slowly extinguished.

    how?

    cebuanos are being taught tagalog from grade 1 to 2nd year college, its also being done to chabacanos, warays, illongos, bicolanos, pampanguenos, ilocanos etc. and its disguised as "pilipino".

    all these bcos manila wants "unity through uniformity"......

    uniformity.....that word reminds me of the movie "ants".....are we that same kind of society???

    should'nt it be "unity through diversity"?

    but how do we communicate with each other is the instant question...

    im not saying that you teach a waray only waray, you can also teach him cebuano come high school, so that if he plans to go to cebu, which is the biggest city in the south, he will know how to communicate, tagalog in the first 2 years of college, so that when he reaches manila, the capital city, he will also survive.

    point is, to have pride you must have identity, how can you be proud if you dont even know your roots?

    in my hometown, iloilo city, mass is said in english and the dialect, hiligaynon, it is a formal form of illonggo. when i happen to attend mass in the dialect, i do not understand it...why? ...you tell me why....

    when i was a teenager and frequented cebu, i had a hard time talking to people there...why?... you tell me why?

    if you have pride in your roots you will have pride in yourself.
     
  17. charlie-xray

    charlie-xray Guest

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    It is indeed sad, and our country's dire situation I don't see a major change happening soon.

    Pero para sa akin, may pag-asa pa ang pinas. Kailangan lang simulan natin sa mga sarili natin minsan, bakit pagka ang pinoy nasa Singapore or Dubai takot mag-litter, takot mag jaywalking, pero pagka nasa pinas parang everywhere's a trash can. Nasa sarili natin, pagka sa US prompt at tama ang binabayarang tax pero sa pinas ni-ultimo konting adjustment na puwedeng pandaraya gagawin.

    Simulan muna natin sa sarili natin IMHO, aminado akong tsinoy pero wala pa ring mas sasarap na bansa kungdi ang pinas dahil yan ang maangkin kong bansa ko.
     
  18. chowchow

    chowchow Guest

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    Ganon ba yon na may lifetime warranty sa mga imports dito? Isa sa mga incentive yata yan para makuha ng American market. Gina compete nila ang Springfield Armory, marunong din ang Armcor. Thus that apply to Rock Island 1911s too pare? I was thinking of getting one in the future.
     
  19. navychief

    navychief Guest

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    _______________________________________

    bullseye again! it all starts sa ating sarili. huwag manlamang sa kapwa para di tularan, huwag mandaya para di gumaya ang iba etc, etc...
    one thing i hate hearing/reading over and over again is when Filipinos say "kawawa naman ang mga mahihirap or tulong ito para sa mga mahihirap, etc,etc". Nobody is born poor, if we accept that we are poor then that's what we will be. I grew up knowing the Filipino people was smart and hard working, to me that's wealth. Why do you think Filipinos are the most in demand when it comes to overseas jobs? Is it because of cheaper wages? I don't think so! It's because Filipinos are smart and hard working people!!! I've been to different countries and have seen our countrymen doing well...well liked by their hosts. If we can be proud, successful and law abiding people overseas, why can't we be in our country? Hopefully, i can see this change in my life time.
    :supergrin:
     
  20. navychief

    navychief Guest

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