Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In Defence of the Filipino People

The preceding post stakes out some claims which whilst they have some truths in them make an unflattering and sweeping generalisation on the Filipino people of whom I am proudly one.

Does our batchmate or anyone who espouses this view see a glass half-full or half empty? The choice reveals one's attitudes and inner creed.

Fact one, not ALL Filipinos have expectations as claimed in the item. There are many in our country who could have worked and lived overseas who have CHOSEN not to, regardless of the allure of perceived better economic lives away from the homeland. There are many who actually feel a degree of pity for those who have to leave their home for a better economic life. There are those to whom "being abroad" means so little or nothing.

Fact two, the majority of our people (with the exception of a small privileged minority) are materially poor in comparison to Western standards, many are dirt poor, destitute. Economic reason is mainly why many of our compatriots (again with the exception of a very tiny group who are not as financially needy yet chose to move) are living overseas. Peeling off all the layers of every and any reason for leaving the country will reveal the same basic motivation of self preservation.

Fact three, in Western Countries, whatever the governmental rationale, it is easier to obtain and live on credit, encouraged in fact, as was pointed out by "the batchmate". It is easier to take out and service loans. It is easier to find jobs, three jobs if one is willing and able to work. Things such as as red meat, fresh milk fresh fruit, canned goods, medicine, vacation cruises, travels, good times etc are affordable to the ordinary citizens who are willing to work. There are excellent services, social and welfare benefits and aids from the government however corrupt or inefficient it may appear to be. Bills need to be paid as is the case everywhere else but it is easier to manage one's financial resources and situation. Buying everything on credit is not necessarily compulsary. In Western societies, one has plenty of options and choices. Destitution is a choice one does not have to make.

NOT SO in our homeland. Jobs are hard to come by. That is why households there have servants who are paid a mere pittance. Home loan is beyond the capacity of many to qualify for or to service. That is why many of our grown-up children still live at home, some even when they have their own families. That is why we had ghettoes and smokey mountains. That is also the reason many cannot afford such luxuries that those who are overseas take for granted. That is why many of our people are inclined to think that those who live overseas are much better off . In reality and in a practical way, those "abroad" really are much better off than they would have fared if they had never left our homeland.

Do those who are "abroad" live a life of sheer luxury and plenty? Not really. One easily gets accustomed to things which previously were beyond one's capacity to obtain and then moves on to wanting better and better things. Now compare that to those at home for whom the same things are still way beyond their capacity to obtain. It's a matter of perspectives.

But what is the rationale for bringing out this sweeping commentary on the presumptions of a less financially endowed people? Could it be a defensive mechanism to excuse one's failing or hesitancy or downright unwillingness to see and do something about the need of others? Could it be a way of telling those who have these expectations to "hey, back off! Don't expect anything from me". If this is the case, then it is inward looking. When one only looks inwards, one sees only himself.

What this "batchmate who may be hiding behind a cloak of anonymity for a hopefully good reason" says has some truth in it. There is great expectation from many people in our homeland of those who are lucky enough to work and or live overseas. But the real truth is that there is a great gulf between the ordinary Western lifestyle and the ordinary Filipino lifestyle in terms of affordability of the basic needs.

Which is a better position to be in: NEED or GIVE?

Is YOUR glass half-full or half-empty? Your choice reveals the real you.

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