When I found this website, I was like an endangered animal in the wild that stumbled upon a group of other animals that looked like itself. They turned out to be not exactly of the same species, but it was still a refreshing sight to see.
Any Filipino who is reasonable enough would and should be able identify with the general sense of logic presented on this website. He may not identify with the spirit of it, but he must know that this blog was made not for his benefit but for the benefit of the owner and other expats. He may view such a spirit as one of intense hatred, annoyance and mockery, but on the other hand, he may acknowledge that truth is being exposed. Truth is being told with passion, and it is this passionate truth-telling that the teller benefits from.
Incidentally, there’s another set of beneficiaries — the men who are prone to shunning the idea of ‘testing the waters first’ before settling down in a marriage relationship with a native Filipina. Here we find stories of foreign men expressing their regrets about having married their Filipina wives, and if these stories can help enlighten the novice before he gets entangled in a web of conflicts he does not foresee, then a more worthy kind of benefit is passed on.
To me, those are the three beneficiaries in ascending order of importance: the reasonable Filipino who learns new things and finds amusement in pampering his mind with reasons to utter the expression ‘that’s what I thought,’ the expat who writes and mingles for ‘therapeutic’ and gregarious purposes, and the pinay lover who needs to be cured of his astigmatic foresight before he decides to venture into the wild.
It has been argued that the expats on this blog are not being racist. I agree. But let’s be honest, if someone calls it being ‘nationist’ instead, it wouldn’t make much of a difference at the very core — at the emotional level, that is — but he would be more on point. There’s no need to get caught up in the immaterial argumentation of semantics; I’m not referring to the whole but to the core in the first place. I’m talking about the feelings involved, which I don’t blame you (expats) for having. I’m not even trying to accuse you of being nationists, if there is ever such a word. I’m just putting into perspective how strong your sentiments are.
If you ask me, I look more on the big picture and understand that these negative emotions and sentiments are the unfortunate result of a clash between two cultures which happen to have progressed at substantially different rates of intellectual evolution. If anyone fails to see it that way, then he needs to zoom out and widen his horizons.
While saying that, however, I do not mean to take away anything from the Filipino’s faults and transgressions. Just because he is arguably a victim of congenital, historical or geographical happenstance doesn’t mean he’s not accountable. But it so happens that my topic for today has nothing do with the Filipinos’ misdeeds and failings, which a lot has already been said about I don’t feel I would contribute much of value by pinning up more examples of such things on the corkboard.
The topic of this post, rather, is about how this whole issue of Filipino fail encounters affects us on a personal level and how we deal with it. For this we need to step back from ourselves and look at the bigger picture, see what kind of persons it is shaping us into. We may not notice it, but the Filipino can turn an intelligent individual into someone he is not or does not want to be — prejudistic, irritable, trapped inside a box from which the only real outlet is a small hole called the internet, etc. It can affect our health too.
It is a good thing that the issue has been dealt with, courtesy of this blog’s owner. If it has not, you would all have gone loco. Because your sanity is worth fighting for, you came up with a positive use for all the negative emotions that Filipino fail encounters have to offer. You spoke about your frustrations for psychiatric and therapeutic purposes. As it turned out, without the strong ill feelings and sentiments and your reactions to them, this blog would not have been created and the truth would not have come out as lucidly as it has. And this means no benefit for beneficiary #3, aka the future expat.
In that sense, it is the ‘expat’s burden’ to roam the wild and tell the townsfolk what he has seen and heard. There’s an argument to be made that you the expats are doing something heroic. You are the ones who have to deal with the thorns, leeches and snakes of the jungle and tell about your experiences for the benefit of others, as well as yourselves.
But sometimes you may also want to hear from the tarzans who have lived all their lives in the jungle. It may help you widen your horizons to see what it’s like from their viewpoint or know how they are able to survive without being bothered too much by the thorns and snakes. I am one such tarzan, and if you want to see what it’s like from my perspective, here it is.
I am going to make it easier and use the term ‘filethic’ — the kind of Filipino ethic that spawns corruption, the me-first attitude, loud karaokes at night, pinoy time, pinoy pride, leeching off a relative’s foreign husband, cheating a taxi passenger, etc. It is a fact that the Filipinos’ sense of right and wrong is as warped as their sense of reasoning, which this website has termed as ‘filogic’. Filethic and filogic exist, no question about it. When you go to this website and talk about your irritating experiences with Filipinos, in essence you are sharing your personal accounts of filogic and filethic encounters.
Here’s the thing. From the expat’s perspective, there’s only one factor that interacts with the manifestations of filogic and filethic, and that is his bigger, more reasonable mind. The two are like cola and chlorine. Mix them together and there’s going to be an intense clash with fumes oozing from the surface. The contents of this website, in essence, mirror the products of that reaction.
From the reasonable Filipino’s perspective, however, aside from his having a bigger mind, there’s the factor of childhood experiences. Once in his life he experienced not reacting negatively to filogic and filethic because his mind was not yet fully developed. This experience helps him adapt to life in the ‘wild’ as his mind gets bigger and reactions between cola and chlorine become more frequent. It’s like a counterbalance to the adverse effects of having a big mind in a small-minded world.
This is why the reasonable Filipino may identify with the logic of PFB but not necessarily with its spirit. He may share the same sentiments, but not the same magnitude of emotion with which the expats carry them.
The intelligent expat’s lack of a counterbalance leaves him vulnerable to the psychological effects of filogic and filethic. He may deal with it by leaving the country, adapting by pretending he has a small mind, or adapting without any pretensions.
Expats on this blog seem to use the last method. Instead of pretending that you have a small mind so you can relate to the locals and the locals can relate to you, you let your mind be as it is, but at the expense of being more receptive and reactive to filogic and filethic irritants than everyone else in this country.
And that is why you needed some form of ‘therapy’. PFB therapy is beneficial, don’t get me wrong. I’m not necessarily against it. If it works well for you and you’re having fun, then good for you. But pragmatically speaking, the sheer abundance and tenacity of filogic and filethic can be overwhelming, and if you don’t want to spend a lifetime dealing with these irritants after the fact, there is another way of dealing with them, which is to add a counterbalance. I’m not saying you toss PFB out the window, because the truth is, for as long as you are in this country you will probably still feel caged in a box, looking through the internet peephole for some precious sanity maintenance. But therapy isn’t all there is.
(To be continued in Part 2)Published in