(Part 10 of the “In Defense of the Filipino” series)
ANTI-FILIPINOS say that Filipinos, because of their colonial mentality, always prefer foreign talents and products to local ones. This mentality does exist, but it is wrong to accuse us Filipinos of always having it.
Colonial mentality is the thinking that foreign talents and products are always the good, the better, and the best, and that the local ones are of poor or no quality at all. Colonial because our Spanish and American colonizers, during their four-century rule of the Philippines, instilled into the Filipino mentality the belief that foreigners and anything associated with them were the superior, and that Filipinos and anything associated with them were worthless.
Preferring an imported talent or product to the local one is not always colonial mentality. There are reasons why such preference occurs.
Swiss watches, French perfumes, Japanese cars, German gadgets, and Dutch dairy products are admired and sold throughout the world. Peoples of the world patronize them—even if they have their locally made watches, perfumes, cars, gadgets, and dairy products. Is it because they have colonial mentality? Is it because they always prefer foreign products to local ones?
Philippine-made microchips, garments, textiles, shoes, canned foods, farm products, and other goods worth more than US$50 billion a year are exported to many countries. The Swiss, French, Japanese, German, Dutch, Americans, British, Spaniards, Arabs, Chinese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Indonesians, Malaysians, Thais, and Singaporeans are among the patrons of our locally made products. They buy our products because they have colonial mentality? Is it because they prefer foreign products (made in the Philippines) to local ones?
No. It is because of the natural human tendency to appreciate and embrace good talents and products, be they local or foreign.
It is also because of universality. If a talent or product is good, it will really be admired, patronized, and imitated. It has no boundaries; it affects humans—because it is good. This has been proven by the wheel, paper, ink, William Shakespeare, the British government, the United States Constitution, Thomas Alva Edison, the telephone, Albert Einstein, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, the World Wide Web, and countless others.
If imported products are preferred, it’s because of good and better quality. The consumers should not be blamed, for they are only being wise, and wise consumers purchase goods with high standards of quality.
But it is not true that we Filipinos admire and patronize nothing but foreign talents and products only. We watch local movies and television shows. We adore our movie stars, singers, television personalities, artists, scientists, athletes, professionals, magnates, leaders, and other talented countrymen. We use Calabarzon-manufactured household appliances, read Manila-printed books, wear Marikina-made shoes, drink Batangas coffee, own Laguna carvings, and display Ilocos pottery.
It is not colonial mentality when we Filipinos listen to American songs, dance to Cuban music, eat on Chinese plates, wear French clothes, or ride in Japanese cars. It is because we admire quality talents and products, whatever their countries of origins are.
Colonial mentality will only be colonial mentality when one person believes that the good, better, and best talents and products are found only in other countries; when he always prefers foreign talents and products to the local ones even if the latter are better; and when he believes that nothing good comes out of his own country.
Such persons should be informed that Filipinos also produce quality talents and products that are admired and patronized here or in other countries.
Anti-Filipinos compare foreign products with those made in local cheap factories. Naturally, the foreign ones will fare better, since those cheap factories churn out non-quality items. Such mode of comparison is unfair. Quality products should be compared with the same quality products.
If the consumer finds the foreign and local products both of good quality, and he buys the local one, he is helping his country’s economy. If he buys the foreign (just because it is foreign-made), he has colonial mentality.
If the foreign product is superior to the local, and he buys it, he is a wise consumer. If the foreign one is inferior to the local, and he buys it (just because it is foreign-made), it is stupidity.
Product of Colonization. During American rule and the years following it, preference for anything foreign (mostly American) was prevalent. Only in the 1960’s did many people begin to think that they also have their own soul, identity, and heritage to mind and nourish.
Filipinos could not be blamed. They were brainwashed during Spanish and American rule: They were good for nothing; the colonial masters were perfect. Since such brainwashing had been implanted into their thinking about themselves for centuries, it would be extremely difficult to just shrug it off. It would take decades for them to pull themselves out of the colonial quagmire that they had been in for centuries.
Thanks to the nationalism movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Since then, little by little, Filipinos have been trying to obliterate the many negative effects of foreign colonization.