The Philippine Curse

Sunday, November 30, 2008

No matter how much you stir, you still can't get chocolate pudding from a tub of shit. No matter how many times we change presidents, political systems, and the hosts of our noontime shows, the Philippines will still suck principle-wise.

If I were to be asked what the root of all our problems are, from corruption to poverty to a very low quality of life, my answer will be very simple.


Asked to use one word, I'd say "culture".

Asked to use two words, I'd say "Wais culture".

Asked to use one sentence, I'd say "It's all about our low regard for other people and our high expectations in return."

We live in a society pervaded by a culture that enshrines the ability of a person to use his creativity to get ahead of others. A "wais" culture. "Wais" is a word that doesn't even have an equivalent in English. By definition, it's being crafty, but only specifically to get ahead of others.

We are part of a nation that raises their young to develop this trait. If a person is "wais" he is a person who will be destined for great things in life. We are taught to smash the mold, go beyond what's expected of us, and ultimately succeed above all else.

In reality, by doing so, all we ever really do is leave behind a lot of shattered molds that nobody will bother to clean up.

At its very core, we are being taught by this culture to cut lines, plain and simple. Cut lines where we can so we can succeed faster. If success is worth fighting for, it's damn worth fighting dirty for.

I'm sure I'm not the only one seeing what's wrong with that.

The basic principle of a properly functioning society is having people who can fall in line. Looking at most industrialized countries, their economies are built not by the coat and tie guys on top, but by a stable base of proletarians who are more than happy to keep in line. They have cultures that reinforce that norm. Ask any Hindi about their prevalent caste system. Ask any Japanese hivemind office worker. Just ask.

Life is a pyramid.

Not everybody can be on top, and that's where the idea of "wais" fails.

If you're in a line and it's wais to cut the line to get ahead, if everybody cuts ahead, then in the end the line will move even slower, or worse, not move at all. The same goes for society and everything that can use "line cutting".

Imagine an entire country filled with line cutters.

Line cutters who will glare at you if you don't let them cut the line.

Yeah, that's us right there.

The curse is in our culture and cultures are a lot harder to kill than bite-size presidents. There is no changing a culture on a small scale. You can't setup a rally that will change that. (When was the last time a rally changed anything anyway? 1984?) No coup will ever remove a culture, unless your goal is to unseat every single person in this country (which is gutter-stupid).

If you can't see this big picture, no matter what you say,

you're part of the problem.

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