Some years ago, a friend of mine when he took a taxi did the customary conversation with the driver. The latter lapped on with the usual statement that life is hard, etc. My friend asked why life is hard for the driver. The reply was that the driver has two women, and thus a lot of children to feed from both. My friend then answered, “well it’s your fault that life is hard,” and it went back to the “life is what you make it” wisdom.
This friend of mine also shares with me a certain view: it is hard to change our view that the Filipino is a stupid creature. Like the driver in the taxi, Filipinos just keep on doing the stupidest things without even being concerned whether what they do is right or wrong. Rather, they defend everything they do as right.
They elect a gambler, drunk and womanizer to the highest office in the country; it’s right daw. They suspect their spouse is cheating and cheat the same; it’s right daw. They steal money from an employer because they were denied a raise; it’s right daw. A lady is cheated by her husband, and gets treated like trash, is even battered, but she sticks to her husband despite his obvious harem of women, just to keep the family image intact; it’s right daw. They throw trash on the street and call you stupid for keeping your candy wrapper in your pocket until you find a trash can. Now with the scattered candy wrappers clogging the drains and causing floods, who’s stupid?
When someone like Adam Carolla, Alec Baldwin or Teri Hatcher says something true yet scathing about Filipinos, the latter flares up in a needless rage, while other countries would take such snipes in stride. When they learn that a chocolate product has their name on it (Filipinos Bar), they chase after the company, saying that it is insulting them; meanwhile, other countries would not mind seeing their nationality used as a brand name. Filipinos also habitually spew hot air all over the place, claiming to be the best, when all that they are is the best in boasting. Then news comes of a Filipino animation company that openly committed dishonesty towards a foreign company. Then they wonder why the advanced other countries “oppress” us poor Filipinos.
Of course the example of the taxi driver is one of stupidity thanks to corrupted values and thinking in this country. Some people think that procreation is an absolute must; so when they’re in love, they should have sex and produce children. Why do they do it even if they earn barely enough for themselves? Just because the church said you could (and should) “go forth and multiply“? Hello, that is so OLD Testament. We don’t do that anymore. Hmmm, come to think of it, some have sex thinking that they won’t have children from it. Then the children come out. “Bahala na,” the parents say.
OK, so some people will tell me that I’m cruel to think of other people as stupid. Or even racist to say “Filipinos are stupid.” But the thing is, open your eyes… there they are. Stupidity is a biting reality. Well, for me, at least there are a lot of dumb Filipinos. Those who wouldn’t know a spoon from a fork even if you explain it to them. They’ll just say pareho lang ‘yan, gamit pang-kain. You tell them what’s right and wrong, but they can embrace the wrong even if they know it’s wrong. They may or may not rationalize that it’s right for them, but you’re dead right that they’re dead wrong. “Di naman ‘yan magiging masama kung di mo iisipin na masama ‘yan.” Yeah, right.
However, in conclusion, I would agree that the Filipino is not necessarily dumb. Many Filpinos are “matalino” and all that… they’re just not using their coconut shells. They choose not to. Or they tend to use it the wrong way. Now that I see it, it’s not that they’re stupid. Nagpapakastupid. Nagpapakatanga. Nagpapakabobo. They’re not really stupid. They pretend to be stupid because they think it makes life easier. After all, the thinking process is a painful act.
But exercise can be a necessarily painful act to order to have a healthy body. No pain, no gain. Why can’t they exercise their thoughts to have a healthier mind? It is because Juan Tamad is an influential role model? Or is it just that people always want the good life and are not willing to make the sacrifices necessary for a meaningful and not just a good life? Pakasarap lang ang nasa isip ng mga iyon.
Also, after pretending for so long, can it be that the pretension soon becomes the truth?
Stupidizing the culture can also be blamed on the media (that is owned by local oligarchs). There are lots of “dumb” heroes on screen, which the likes of Judy Ann Santos, Andrew E and Angel Locsin have portrayed. Even foreign media is to blame, with Forrest Gump and Mr. Bean becoming cult icons. It reinforces the myth that dumb people can be happier than wealthy or intelligent people, and that intelligent and wealthy people do not deserve to be happy. So “dumbing down” has been the trend in popular culture, and it has rubbed off on its viewers. And it is a harmful influence.
Filipinos also love to pass the buck; they either blame other people for their problems (GMA) or depend on other people to improve their condition (Noynoy). But they never look to themselves to see if the problem is with them. I rest my case: the stupid are still around. Or at least those who choose to be stupid. And one aspect of the solution to our country’s problems is to de-stupidize the Filipino – not impossible but certainly hard to do at this point in time. But then again, John F. Kennedy said that the harder things are more worth doing.