Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Filipinos Lack Pride and Confidence?

Last night, I had a conversation with a realtor I may be working with in the Philippines. The topic of Filipino pride and confidence became a part of our conversation when she used the word "kindly," as in "kindly tell me when..."

I noticed that many Pinoys use this word. Kindly tell me. Kindly show me. Kindly give me. Kindly pass the. Kindly this. And kindly that. Heck, kindly everything and anything. See it can get annoying. Point is, I hear this all the time from Filipinos. So I decided to be blunt and asked her directly, "Why do Filipinos use this so much."

At first she said that it was her way of being respectful. She said that Filipinos use it often because they are a very respectful culture, and it's like saying "paki" as in "paki-usap". It's just like inserting the word "please" to a certain request or command. In American, we say, "would you please tell me, " or "could you please tell me..."

In the end, it came down to one point, Filipinos indeed lack a certain pride and confidence. They can't be bold enough to just say "hey, tell me when" or "give me the information." Instead, they bow their heads or NOT look a person in the eye when speaking. It's all about the "yes ma'am" "yes sir" "opo" "oho." Such a culture of many paradoxes. Paradox? They are so brave and bold in the People Power movements. Yet, when it comes to everyday life, so submissive. Even the Pinoys in the US; many of them are like this. Must be the upbringing.

The Filipino realtor said it's because the Philippines has been conquered by so many different other cultures: Spanish, Japanese, American. The Philippines always had to bow down to someone. Now the country is being infiltrated by so many other races: Chinese, Korean, Indian. I love the fact that it is becoming a diverse country. I'm all for diversity and respect for all human kinds. But with this diversity, it becomes harder and harder to define what or who is a Filipino. Chinese are Filipinos. They are called Chinoys, right? Someone correct me here if I'm wrong. I think there comes a time when things will be defined as "ethinically Filipino" and "naturalized Filipino."

Get this. You can see the lack of pride and confidence where ever you go. Go to Greenbelt 3. Havana. Non-Filipinos are worshiped by the Pinoys. Go to the province. You put a white guy there, and everyone washes his feet and kisses his ass. Okay, okay. Not everyone. But almost everyone.

Me, I will treat you not by the color of your skin, but by the content of your character. That's the Martin Luther King in me. It's all about treating someone not by their social status, the thickness of their pockets, the lightness of their skin, or the smell of their breath (though sometimes that can be a killer). Treat someone because of their humanity. The very fact that they are human being, they deserve just and fair treatment.


Anonymous said...

Yes, your right filipinos always bow down, passive, always agree especially when the idea comes from other race and culture.
But if you happen to talk to anybody who i may say is confident and is well educated, you will be suprised, some have brilliant ideas, though they cant express it in your native tounge, you know what i mean.There is always that notion that americans are great speakers , but i think , filipinos does have to.

Anonymous said...

In certain you have the point. We must be proud of ourselves leave the pride inside and tass noo kahit kanino and not to bown down. Hope that filipino fellows would think about the difference between the two concept. We must stand to the word of Carlos P. Romulo, ' i maybe small but full of knowledge, you may stand 3foot tall than i but i tell you, you have non which i have." I may not know the exact word being delivered by thig small guy but he alone nominated as the UN Secretary General.

Anonymous said...

I think at times you mistake "passive, bowing down,etc" of Filipinos as being submissive and a lack of confidence but did you also think for a moment that it might be because our "culture" has raised Filipinos to be respectful, kind, hospitable,and modest. These same characteristics is what set us apart with other races. If you are proud of being Filipino, don't try to change their character and make them more self-conscious and ashamed of their heritage. Instead have them accentuate these good attributes because they are what makes us who we are.Believe me, behind that seemingly timid facade lurks one incredible Filipino!They do not have to show that off, they know...

Anonymous said...

I think it depends on where yoo go. As to my personal observation those who have been Spanish-influenced are more slikely to drool over foreigners(whites to be in particulat) You go to a predominantly muslim and/or igorot population, they don't. The Igorots don't think of foreigners as inferiors nor superiors

Marvin Macatol said...

Two points:

I speak Cebuano and we do not have "opo" or "oho" in our language. This shocks Tagalogs whom I started to mingle with when I went to Manila to go to college. Now I have learned to use "opo" or "oho" etc, but in my unguarded moments, you can still catch me being "disrespectful."

Second point, I do deliberately take out the "paki" word to issue a clear order or command to someone. My boss does that to everyone. I do that to my own, even with a higher pitch. That behavior is absolutely normal in USA. But that's considered being "bossy" in the Philippines.

I have a dominant character myself and I find that very frustrating. A friend once told me I don't belong here. I should go abroad. I found that observation absolutely unfortunate.

Taken too far, sometimes the cultural demand for being respectful gets in the way of getting the job done. Taken to the other extreme, getting the job done can get in the way of good relationships. As to me, I want both: relationships and results.

Why not?

AIEPRO said...

Revisiting my blog. I understand now that a balance of respect through actions and words is very important.

When my American culture meets my Filipino culture inside of me, I get hot inside, but I always try to find a compromise. Nowadays, I am more understanding of the Filipino culture and the different situations.