Wrong Perceptions of Americans

(Part 14 of the “In Defense of the Filipino” series)

ANTI-FILIPINOS love to imagine, fabricate, and propagate stories that would make the United States of America a flawless paradise on earth, and the Americans flawless (and almost angelic) beings.

When they see traffic violations, gossips, graft and corruption, back fighting, cursing, urinating on the streets, spitting anywhere, uncollected garbage, thefts, burglary, and other wrongdoing in the Philippines, they right away say:

Alam mo, walang ganyan sa States!” (You know, there’s nothing like that in the States!)

They heartily believe that Americans do not, for they cannot, commit crimes, mistakes, flaws, etc., and that in America, there are no grievances committed against anyone, people don’t envy each other, there are no gossips, there are no cheatings, there are no fighting, people are honest, they always take care of their families and children, there are no sexual abusers of children, animals and the environment are always protected, and everything is always clean, in order, and progressive. If there are crimes there, they are few, just mild, and always solved by the police. Moreover, it is not the Americans who commit them but Filipinos.

Really?

The United States is a nation of immense wealth and military power. Americans are among the most affluent peoples and are world leader in politics, economy, education, movies, music, literature, medicine, sciences, technology, engineering, robotics, agriculture, and other fields of modern civilization.

America’s greatness cannot be doubted. It is a land of liberty and opportunities. Millions of peoples from around the world try to enter it and settle there permanently. Americans and their native land are really great. But the wrong beliefs about them must be corrected. The following are some of those wrong perceptions that anti-Filipinos always tell.

Error no. 1: Americans are so industrious that they don’t even have time for themselves. All they do everyday is work, work, and work.

Correction: Television, movies, music, sports, circus, theme parks, software games, the Internet, and publishing are multi-billion dollar industries in the U.S.

Americans have abundant time to watch television programs, go to the movies, listen to songs, watch spectator games in coliseums and other venues, enjoy parks and circuses, play computer games, surf the Internet, and read books, newspapers, magazines, and journals. On weekends, they go to the beach, shop in malls, go for strolls through the cities and towns, or have backyard barbecue.

How come they could still do all these if they don’t even have time for themselves and all they do is work and work? Why do they spend more than US$100 billion each year on all those amusements if they don’t even have time for themselves?

Anti-Filipinos say this because when they are in America, they notice that most American families do the cooking, dish washing, housecleaning, laundry, and other chores.

Domestic helpers are not common in the U.S. because they are expensive and few would like to be one, since there are other more productive employments. Such rarity makes domestic jobs expensive, and most American families cannot afford them.

In the Philippines, domestic helpers are not expensive and are common. Thus, even the average-income families can employ them. Because they have household helps, anti-Filipinos do not need to perform the chores. They have plenty of time to relax.

When they land in America, they cannot afford domestic helpers, forcing them to do what they do not do in the Philippines. They become very busy there. That leads them into thinking that in America, everybody is busy and does not have time for himself because all he does is work, work, and work.

Error no. 2: There are no gossips in America; Americans don’t care about their neighbors’ and other people’s lives.

Correction: In the U.S., publishers have been convinced long ago by the age-old belief that people are interested to know about people, whatever their race, sex, social position, or education is. They have interpreted it as a profit-generating industry.

Today, dozens of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in the U.S. capitalize on talking about the backgrounds, lifestyles, romances, and secrets of the rich and famous in politics, entertainment, royalty, business, sports, religion, and other arenas. Those publications have elevated gossip to dignified status through stylish writing and top-quality printing.

Anti-Filipinos claim that Americans don’t gossip because when they are in the U.S., they notice that Americans don’t mind them, and that when they mingle with their fellow Filipinos in their gatherings in the Filipino communities there, they exchange gossips.

Americans don’t gossip with them because they don’t belong to the same crowd. Americans would prefer to mingle and gossip with their fellow Americans. Many American Christian churches proclaim in the doors: “Whites only.” It means that non-whites cannot enter those congregations, and mingle and gossip with whites.

In the U.S., which is home to millions of immigrants, it is only natural for people there to be at ease, to feel relaxed, and to gossip with those belonging to their kind: whites and whites, blacks and blacks, Arabs and Arabs, Chinese and Chinese, Filipinos and Filipinos, etc. Anti-Filipinos cannot understand this.

A number of local celebrities say that Americans really don’t gossip because when they are in the U.S., Americans don’t have time to mind them, unlike here where the moves they make are noticed.

Americans don’t mind them because they are totally unknown or nobodies there. They are famous only within the Filipino communities there. Americans mind the celebrities in their country, who are mostly their fellow Americans. Why would they mind someone they are not even aware of?

To know the extent of gossips in the U.S., WordsCanHeal.org commissioned Luntz/Lazlo to survey 800 adult Americans on August 17-21, 2001. The numbers of Americans were calculated based on U.S. Census figures.

The survey found out that 117 million Americans listened to or shared gossip about other people at least once or twice a week, 51 million admitted that people said something hurtful behind their backs at least once or twice a week, and 63 million admitted that people said something untrue about them at least once or twice a week.

Only 13 per cent said that no one ever said anything hurtful about them behind their back, and only 7 per cent said that no one ever said something untrue about them behind their back. 31 million said something about someone behind their back that they regretted later at least once or twice a week, while only 25 per cent said they never said anything about someone behind their back that they regretted later.

As to how much of a problem was gossip, 69 per cent of adults said that it was a somewhat or significant problem in schools, 79 per cent said it was a problem in the workplace, 80 per cent said it was a problem in politics, 84 per cent said it was a problem in reports given by the news media, and 88 per cent agreed that it was important to reduce gossip and verbal abuse in schools, places of work, and within families.

These statistics tell the real truth: Americans do gossip. Now, whom should we believe? People who, because of their wrong perceptions of Americans, blindly believe that Americans never gossip, or the Americans themselves who admit that there are gossips among themselves?

Error no. 3: Americans are very mature when it comes to love, marriage, and sex.

Correction: Thousands of American husbands beat their wives. If they were mature enough when it comes to love, why do they slap, punch, and kick their wives?

More than two million divorce cases are filed each year in the U.S. If they were mature when it comes to marriage, they should be able to handle their relationships very well.

More than one million babies are aborted each year in the U.S. Why resort to murdering innocents if they were already that matured in sex? They should have known that they would get pregnant, and thus there would have been no unwanted fetuses.

Error no. 4: Americans are not thieves.

Correction: In the U.S. in 2003, there were one larceny/theft every 4½ seconds, one burglary every 15 seconds, one motor vehicle theft every 25 seconds, and one robbery every 1¼ minutes, or more than ten million cases of stealing.

There were 413,402 robbery offenses estimated at US$514 million, or an average dollar loss of US$1,244 per offense; 2,153,464 burglaries estimated at US$3.5 billion, or an average dollar loss of US$1,626 per incident; 7 million cases of larceny-thefts worth US$4.9 billion, or an average value of US$698 per offense; and 1.3 million motor vehicle thefts estimated at US$8.6 billion, or an average dollar loss of US$6,797 per offense.

Of the robbery cases, 41.8 per cent were committed with the use of firearms; 39.9 per cent with hands, fists, and feet; 8.9 per cent with knives or cutting instruments; and 9.4 per cent with other weapons.

Of the burglary incidents, 62.4 per cent were forcible entry, 31.2 per cent were unlawful entry, and 6.3 per cent were attempted forcible entry. 65.8 per cent took place at residences, and 62 per cent of residential burglaries happened at day.

Larceny-thefts accounted for 67.3 per cent of the estimated 10.4 million property crimes. The largest portion of these cases (26.4 per cent) involved motor vehicle thefts.

Law enforcement agencies made an estimated 13.6 million arrests in the entire country. These did not include traffic violations. Of those arrested, 70.6 per cent were white (Crime in the United States, 2003).

In 2004, 27 of the major U.S. retailers apprehended 689,340 shoplifters, up 4.86 per cent from the 657,414 apprehended shoplifters in 2003 (17th Annual Retail Theft Survey, conducted in 2004 by Jack L. Hayes International). Of those shoplifters, 64 per cent were white (Crime in the United States, 2003.).

Error no. 5: Americans don’t cheat.

Correction: In the U.S., white-collar crimes amount to US$300 billion each year (ibid.). These crimes include bribery, extortion, blackmail, embezzlements, counterfeiting, money laundering, forgery, and frauds in banking, bankruptcy claims, insurance claims, mail, tax payments, and credit card transactions.

In 2002, looting company funds, which caused losses of more than US$60 billion to investors, led to the arrest of the chief executives of Adelphia Communications, the sixth biggest cable company in the U.S. (AP, July 26, 2002).

Two former executives of WorldCom Inc. were also arrested for hiding US$3.8 billion in company expenses from investors and for helping push the telecommunications giant into bankruptcy (AP, August 3, 2002).

Throughout 2002, massive accounting fraud costing more than US$50 billion were discovered among corporate giants like Enron Corporation, Merck, Reliant Resources, Xerox, Rite Aid, Tyco International, Waste Management, Global Crossing, CMS Energy Corporation, Dynegy, Qwest Communications International, and ImClone Systems.

In April 2007, schools across the U.S. decided to ban using iPods and Zunes, since they could be hidden by the students under clothing and used to cheat during examinations. Schools had already banned baseball caps (since students could inscribe the answers under the brim) and cell phones (since students could exchange the answers to each one).

“It doesn’t take long to get out of the loop with teenagers,” said Mountain View High School Principal Aaron Maybon. “They come up with new and creative ways to cheat very fast” (AP, April 29, 2007).

Error no. 6: Americans are not corrupt.

Correction: On November 29, 2005, Randy Cunningham tearfully resigned as member of the U.S. House of Representatives after admitting that he had received US$2.4 million in bribes from military contractors to influence the award of defense contracts (AFP, December 4, 2005).

This was just from one congressman. If other lawmakers would also admit it, bribery and corruption in the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and city and town councils may run into billions of dollars yearly.

Error no. 7: Americans cannot kill their fellow human beings. If there are murders in America, it is not they who commit them.

Correction: In 2003, there were 16,503 murders in the U.S.

In the murders concerning a single victim and a single offender, 92.4 per cent of black victims were killed by black offenders, and 84.7 per cent of white victims were killed by white offenders.

In the murders with victim-offender relationship data, 32.3 per cent of females were killed by their husbands or boyfriends, and 2.5 per cent of males were killed by their wives or girlfriends (Crime in the United States, 2003).

Many of those murderers are led to the death penalty. Since it revived the death penalty in 1976 until 2005, the U.S. government has already executed 1,002 convicts. Of these, 578 were whites, 338 were blacks, 63 were Hispanics, and 23 were of various ethnic origins (AFP, December 18, 2005).

Error no. 8: Americans are very disciplined.

Correction: When the Chicago Bulls won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship title in June 1991, residents of their home city, Chicago, celebrated their victory with melees. 100 people were arrested, and dozens of stores were looted.

In June 1992, when the Bulls won their second straight NBA title, riots sparked again in Chicago City. Residents went wild—throwing bottles and rocks, vandalizing, and looting. 107 police officers were injured, more than a thousand people were arrested, 340 business establishments were looted, and US$10 million was the estimated damage.

In 1993, when the Bulls won their third straight NBA title, 533 were arrested for disorderly conduct and minor vandalism, while five policemen suffered minor injuries when rocks and bottles were thrown in crowds (AP, June 21, 1993).

During those riots, advantage-seeking residents looted stores like Levi’s, Sara Lee, and Wal-Marts, taking with them anything, from apples to wines, pants, jewelry, etc.

Similar incidences also occur when collegiate teams win championship titles, driving bright and good-looking students to riot, steal, and defy the authorities.

On August 29, 2005, hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and other southern U.S. states. Trapped residents looted the stores and laughed about it down the streets, as they pulled bags and carts that they had filled with grocery items, jewelry, laptop computers, and other goods.

Casinos were raided, and guns and knives were emptied from weapon stores. Those who formed themselves into armed groups committed rape, murder, and arson. They proved that even in times of disasters, indeed there were people who still took advantage of others. Seeing such scenarios, many police deserted their duties, with some joining the looting.

Error no. 9: Shopping malls in the U.S. are constructed not in the cities but on the outside of the urban areas—in the mountains.

Correction: In New York City alone, there are more than a thousand shopping malls. Anti-Filipinos must have seen a mall constructed in the mountains, and they already want to imitate such insanity.

Why would malls be constructed in the mountains? They would destroy the environment, and nobody would go there because they are far from where people live and work. If we would imitate things done by other peoples, let’s imitate the good ones and not their insane acts.

Error no. 10: July 4th is the most popular holiday in the U.S.

Correction: Anti-Filipinos say this because they project that Americans have a good sense of history and give much importance to their country’s historical events and figures.

Most Americans prefer Christmas as the most popular holiday in their country. They spend much on food, gifts, greeting cards, parties, carols, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and other things associated with it.

July 4 is celebrated with games, picnics, bands, and fireworks. But Americans may find it childish to give as gifts or display in their homes American flags, pictures of American patriots and presidents, and other nationalistic paraphernalia, unlike during Christmas where they can display Santa Claus and Christmas trees without any trepidation of being laughed at.

Error no. 11: Americans are not gamblers. They work so hard that they never pin their welfare, improvement, and future on gambling and other get-rich-quick schemes.

Correction: In 2002, gamblers in the U.S. lost US$68.7 billion at casinos, tracks, lottery outlets, legal sports books, bingo halls, charity gaming halls, and card rooms (Gross Annual Wager, compiled by Christiansen Capital Advisors, International Gaming & Wagering Business Magazine, August 2003, p. 1).

In 2004, according to official figures from the Federal Trade Commission, 950,000 people lost US$100 million to bogus get-rich-quick schemes like instant-cash investments, pyramiding, high pay, big commissions, and mail sweepstakes.

Worshippers. Why is it that anti-Filipinos have heavenly conceptions about Americans that even if they clearly see that Americans also commit cheating, stealing, gossiping, and such other acts, they still would not believe that Americans do them?

One answer is that they already have the premise that Americans are perfect. Thus, it would be impossible for them if they see that there are also Americans who commit flaws. Another answer is that they already worship the Americans. We just wish that the Americans would also worship them.

These facts are presented here not to insult the Americans. They have been made by the Americans themselves or are official releases from the American authorities.

They are presented here so that those people who believe that Americans are flawless would no longer think that Americans are that perfect, and thus would stop from always making America and Americans the bases for the rightness of everything: “In America. …” “Americans are. …”

And so that they would also stop thinking that because Americans are the way they are, and because we Filipinos are not the way Americans are, then we are already at fault.

We Filipinos have our own character, values, culture, life styles, and outlook on life. The Americans have their own. Ours are different from theirs. We can never be like them. We should be proud of and develop our own.

Just what can you say to a Japanese who hates his being a Japanese and tries desperately to become like a Chinese? One who hates himself and is dying to be like someone else is a person who throws away his dignity.

Comments

  1. George says

    Very interesting article. It’s true that perceptions of America may be quite different from the outside. But I am an American and see your point of view daily. It’s really very mixed. Those of us (myself included) who are not rich or in the middle class do have to work a great deal just to make ends meet. But there are plenty who take their good fortune for granted and do not consider the source of their wealth or the suffering caused by their demands (for example, sweat shops, environmental damage, etc).

    In your efforts to make your country a better place, certainly it’s good to see what others have that you would want but it’s disappointing to see that be a source of envy. Filipinos should be able to do better than the US. For example, look at some of the western European countries. They aren’t so bogged down in classism and selfish consumerism. Their governments have better policies to protect and support the prosperity of their citizens. It’s true that no place is perfect, but there are far better examples to emulate than the US.

    All the best to you.

    • Jon E. Royeca says

      George says: “In your efforts to make your country a better place, certainly it’s good to see what others have that you would want but it’s disappointing to see that be a source of envy.”

      There is no effort on my part to make the Philippines a better country than the U.S. or any other country on earth. We Filipinos know very well that the Philippines is impoverished and backward, and thus we can never make any pretense that we are better, as shown by millions of us who are willing to leave our land of birth for good.

      My purpose in writing this series is to defend the Filipino against the prejudices that have been implanted into our consciousness. I wish you had read the series from the very first part. If you read only this part, then you will have a misconception that I or we envy America. Please, be reminded that according to international surveys, we Filipinos are second to the Polish as the great admirers of America in the world.

      Like what I’ve stated in this particular article:

      “The United States is a nation of immense wealth and military power. Americans are among the most affluent peoples and are world leader in politics, economy, education, movies, music, literature, medicine, sciences, technology, engineering, robotics, agriculture, and other fields of modern civilization.

      “America’s greatness cannot be doubted. It is a land of liberty and opportunities. Millions of peoples from around the world try to enter it and settle there permanently. Americans and their native land are really great. But the wrong beliefs about them must be corrected. The following are some of those wrong perceptions that anti-Filipinos always tell.”

      Thanks, George, for reading and commenting on this article.

      • FRED says

        Sir,This article is so flawed in its reasoning I am compelled to tell you the following: the things that do not happen in the states dont happen because of the wealth of the people and the penalties and stigmas attached to urinating in public and littering, to name a few.Spitting in public is just a gross thing for a female to do and I see old ladies in the fils. do it all the time and it makes me sick!!! The USA is copied by the filippines BADLY.You are all filipino’s and you exploit each other to the worst degree imaginable.The GOCC’s and their total lack of accountablilty to the people whose money they are stealing is reprehensible.That is only one area of corruption.When election time rolls around you kill each other to get into gov’t. so you can become corrupt like those in office.It is sad to see as in the states the exploitation goes across ethnic lines,and I will not be specific here as it could make me seem a racist for just pointing it out,when in fact it is the exploiters who are the racists.Lack of money and a few national ways of thinking,undoubtedly caused by no variants in the way the young are educated in the fils,are the cause of what is going on in the philippines.If living in a place that was paying enough to its citizens so they could afford garbage bags,litter would be reduced dramatically.Money is the problem,and not enough of it is in the hands of the average filipino.Do not expect a change until the corruption is stopped and all the people can earn a decent living. As for Americans you have no clue as to your line of thinking about we do not committ crimes,there are no sex-crimminals etc…The USA is one of ,if not the most,violent country in the world.The word sex-offender is outrageous because it labels rapists,child molesters and guys who frequent whore houses under the same label and going to get laid ,and paying for it up front,is alot different than raping a child,but the treatment and stigmas are the same.
        The States has many problems and everything is a big deal to the point that life is no longer enjoyable there.It is why I reside in the Philippines.However I am repulsed by alot of things I see in the fils and it is not just me who sees it and is repulsed by it.But again,until someone has the guts to stop the corruption and business people are willing to pay their employees a decent days pay,nothing will change.Poor Benny Aquino would be sickened if he saw what has happened to his pinoy homeland,even if his Son is now the president.

  2. Genghis says

    Please get your facts straight before you go mouthing off your opinion to others about the United States of America!
    Many of the points that are trying to be made are just opinions not fact and lets go to the Filipinos are hypocrites point that is not listed in the Anti-Filipino section now if you closely examine both articles you will see this is just a blow hard and has not a real fact for study and probaly never been to the States as you call it. So I could go on and on for defense but it is pointless with this kind of absurd mentality

    • Khan says

      I was thinking the same thing. Why would ANYONE spent so much effort defending wrong things. That energy could be better spent trying to educate the ignorant behaviors mentioned.

  3. Jon E. Royeca says

    The facts presented here are mostly based on information given out by U.S. government agencies themselves, like the “Crime in the United States,” which is an annual publication of the U.S. Department of Justice.

    This article wants to prove to anti-Filipinos that what they are saying about Americans are not all true, like their claims that there are no gossips, cheating, corruption, crimes, and other wrongdoings in the U.S.

    This is not an attempt to embarrass or destroy the image of the U.S. because the facts presented come from the Americans themselves. The U.S. is the greatest country on earth, and so it is totally useless to challenge it.

    There is also no hypocrisy on our part because we Filipinos know that there are crimes, wrongdoings, and other flaws committed by us.

    I am not also defending the flaws that we commit. What my articles are trying to accomplish is to challenge those anti-Filipino remarks that degrade our race, like this one: “Crimes happen only in the Philippines! And are committed only by Filipinos!”

    Such comments are completely racist and untrue. We need to defend ourselves.

    It is like saying that “black peoples are evil because of the diabolical color of their skin.” If blacks defend themselves, that is only the right thing to do.

  4. john says

    the grass is always greener on the other side.
    Im american, and i can say life is not easy here in the states easy. bills, bills, bills. work, work, work. i do not mean to complain, about life here, for i realize that life in the philippines is much harder overall, but filipino’s should not have the perception that life here in the states will be peach and roses. I know a lot of filipinos here in america that are broke. Even when they work two or three jobs they are still broke. Yes, they may have that brand new SUV, nice designer clothes, but this does not mean that they have money in their bank accounts. Its called living paycheck to paycheck. Its all about image, how they look to other people. most americans live paycheck to paycheck. Most Americans do not have modest savings. In America its the have and have nots. The have’s are doing very well, but the have nots in America are suffering. I realize that the extreme of have and have nots is not like in the philippines, but one must take into account the cost of living in the states. Rent, mortgage, car payments, loans, clothes, etc are much more expensive in the states. So the have nots in America suffer because of this. Yes, in America opportunity does exist, but sometimes you have to know the right people, have the right skill etc. Racism in the states is also rife, but seems to be getting better. And yes classim does exist. But overall the system in America works very well. Checks and balances exist here, unlike in the Philippines, where the poor have absolutely no chance in the philippines. I have read that life in the philippine, when you are a have not is horrible. I also read that classism in the philippines is much worse in the Philippines than america. But overall being poor in America is much better than being poor in the philippines. The poor in the philippines are spit upon and abused by the rich filipino’s. i have heard horror stories of how even the own filipino fellow countrymen treat each other. Unbelievable.
    I will take America over the Philippines any day even though many flaws exist in the states.

  5. Ray says

    I understand your telling people not to believe everything they hear…and I totally agree with you. I have a hard time understanding your point on Anti-Filipinos. You post this at the begining to make a point…“Alam mo, walang ganyan sa States!” (You know, there’s nothing like that in the States!)…but by no way is that anti Filipino. Really none of your error as you put them are Anti-Filipino! In order for “You know, there’s nothing like that in the States!” to be anti anything they would have to add who they were being anti anything…like if they would have said “Look at that Filipino pissing on the building, there’s nothing like that in the States!” then that would have been Anti-Filipino…but again maybe not…cause for one they would have had to known it was a Filipino…if they didn’t go and tap them on the shoulder and ask his nationality then they were just ignorant and should have added race to it. If I go in a grocery store here and say you would never see milk being sold on shelves away from refrigeration in the states…is that Anti-Filipino…NO…it just what I have witnessed in the states. In the states most milk is sold in refrigerated section of the grocery store…milk in the states don’t last months, most only last weeks. In your Error no. 1: Americans are so industrious that they don’t even have time for themselves. All they do everyday is work, work, and work. How is that Anti anything…to me it would be of a statement that Americans are worse off cause they don’t have time for anything except work. Wouldn’t that be a complement to any country that has more time for family and friends…countries that don’t put so much time on the job. Error no. 7: Americans cannot kill their fellow human beings. If there are murders in America, it is not they who commit them. Again nothing anti there…in order for your fact to be real…you would have had to show how many of those murders were actually done by Americans…not all murders in any country are committed by the so Nationality of that country.

    I could go on and on…but this is my point…if you are trying to make Filipino’s understand that America is not the greatest country…or not even the greatest…but maybe that they shouldn’t think its so great on the other side. You should have points of how each so called error differs between the Philippines and the US. Show the Murder rate here in the Philippines…to the Murder rate in the United States. Show the crime rate in both and so on and so on. Then at the end you could make a statement that Filipino’s shouldn’t listen to Anti-Filipino’s in everything that is told without looking at facts…but if a Filipino can look at those same state you put in your blog here and see that compared to the Philippines its still looks better in the States…you lose and the so called Anti-Filipino’s win!!! Another thing…you could look at all the myths Filipino’s believe about America and Americans…another way to make your point. One myth…not all American that come and live in the Philippines are rich!!! Or that they are all rich period. Myth two…Americans don’t all have Aids! Myth three…that Americans will put an Filipino in jail for cooking fish that stinks! Myth three American men don’t all have big Dicks! Myth four Americans don’t all marry Filipinas or Pinay just to be their maid or sex slave!…I’m sure there probably has been a case that an American married for that purpose…but the Majority marry cause they have found love and they agree with all the customs and beliefs of the Filipino People! Myth five Americans don’t all beat there spouses…I say that cause beating can happen to a husband or wife…spousal abuse happens world wide! Myth six Americans don’t care about their family and move out and forget there family. Myth seven Americans don’t celebrate birthdays and don’t care. These are all things I have heard about Americans here in the Philippines and they are all Myths and all wrong!!!

  6. Jul says

    I was born and raised in the United States, and I have never met any Filipinos who believed in any of your “erroneous perceptions” of Americans. I believe that every one of those perceptions are absurd, and any individual who actually believes that Americans are in fact so high and mighty are extremely ignorant and have a shamefully elitist mentality–they should be slapped. Any educated person knows that Americans are HUMAN. They lie, cheat, steal, etc. I have not met one of these “anti-Filipinos” as of yet. I have just met many Fil-Ams who lost much of their parents’ culture, and are sadly almost fully Americanized. But I’ve never met anyone so shameful as to kiss the ground that Americans walk on.

    I am merely a college student who is doing a research paper on Ferdinand Marcos’ authoritarian regime. I am angry at him, as my homeland could have become an industrialized country by now if not for his actions and policies. 30-40% of the population would not reside under the poverty line, if he hadn’t embezzled billions of dollars.
    I found your other article, “Why Is the Philippines A Poor Country?” as I was doing research for my paper. I agree with all your points, but I would like to add that I feel many Filipinos lost so much hope in their country and positive thinking would help greatly; Of course, everyone’s negativity is due to good reason, but even Fil-Ams are increasingly becoming more and more indifferent about their homeland. I feel that more should be done, people should feel more nationalistic, have more of a desire to instigate a social revolution of sorts to improve their motherland. My parents and relatives have no hope for the Philippines anymore, sadly enough.

    For example, look at South Korea. At around the same time the Philippines was perceived as a model of democratic development and one of the wealthiest countries in Asia, South Korea was one of the poorest countries. You should read the thoughts of a South Korean studying in the Philippines, regarding nationalism. South Koreans are known for being extremely nationalistic, which I believe is a good trait for a people to have:
    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=245040

    In addition, this is an excerpt from another article I read:
    http://reason.com/archives/2006/03/01/why-poor-countries-are-poor
    “Economists used to think wealth came from a combination of man-made resources (roads, factories, telephone systems), human resources (hard work and education), and technological resources (technical know-how, or simply high-tech machinery). Obviously, poor countries grew into rich countries by investing money in physical resources and by improving human and technological resources with education and technology transfer programs.”

    What we need is a leader who deserves to be President, who is knowledgeable and experienced. Aquino does not have many key achievements in politics, but Gordon and Teodoro do. The problem is, will they become corrupt? Sorry for getting off tangent.

    Well, these were just my two cents.

  7. Jon E. Royeca says

    Jul, thank you for reading and for the comment.
    You were born and raised in the U.S., and so you really don’t have a full awareness of how things and ideas are run here in the Philippines.
    Anti-Filipinos are people who believe that Filipinos are erratic and the only ones who commit mistakes, crimes, and other flaws, and so Filipinos are the world’s laughingstock, the jokes of foreigners, and must always die of embarrassment every time some of us commit mistakes.
    Anti-Filipinos have wrong thinking of Americans. They believe that Americans are near perfect, like what is stated in this article, and they use those wrong beliefs of Americans in deriding the Filipinos.
    If you want to know who those anti-Filipinos are, read our daily major newspapers or listen to radio and TV commentators. They’re everywhere.
    As to what that Korean or any other persons claim that it’s lack of nationalism that keeps Filipinos from being progressive, then they better read Philippine history books to know how we Filipinos have always fought for our freedom and for our one and only native land: from Lapu-lapu to Raja Sulaiman to Sultan Kudarat to Dagohoy to Sumuroy; to Rizal, Bonifacio, and Aguinaldo; to the World War II generations; and recently to the 1986 People Power Revolution.
    They should also observe how Filipino farmers, professionals, workers, employees, and service personnel work hard to earn and have decent and fruitful lives.
    The problem with some peoples is that, since they have already become prosperous, then they feel that they already have the right to lecture other citizens with regard to nationalism.
    In the past, the U.S., because it was so prosperous, used to lecture through the World Bank and IMF other countries about sound economic policies. With the economic recession that it now faces, other countries would really listen carefully before following any U.S. lectures.

  8. Jon E. Royeca says

    Ray, thank you also for reading this article and for your comment.
    To know more what I am really trying to say in this series, it is advisable that you go to the very first part. There, I have explained who the anti-Filipinos are, and what they do against the Filipinos.
    Let me reiterate again that this article and this entire series are not meant to make the Philippines a country better than the U.S. or any other country on earth, or to embarrass the U.S.
    The aim of this article and this series is to counter the lies that anti-Filipinos have been throwing at us.

  9. Ray says

    I think maybe you let your emotion get to you on what people comment to you. I never said I haven’t read all your blogs, I just choose to respond to this one…I didn’t say I didn’t know who the anti-filipinos are! What I said is there is nothing anti-filipino in your so called errors. I didn’t say you were putting down Americans or anything about you trying to make the Philippines look better then the U.S. What you write is not embarrassing to Americans cause you can find crime in every country in this world…you can find good people and bad people from every nationality in the world. So what is embarrassing to anyone? My point was for you to maybe look at ways to strengthen your points on what anti Filipinos are really saying that is anti Filipino in order for Filipinos to understand. Its just good criticism…you could learn from others trying to help you…don’t be against those trying to help you. I might even been better to not say anti Filipino and say Pro American…and give wrong perceptions of Americans. In order for a comment to be anti Filipino…one would have to make a negative comment to Filipinos! Anti meaning is against or opposed…so when you say anti Filipino…you are referring to anyone against or opposed to Filipinos. But, If I’m a Filipino and I say to your face America is the greatest place in the world…does not mean I am against the Philippines or our people in anyway…Your reply to me could be why do I feel that way as a Filipino…and my answer could be “cause they have the best Barbecue Ribs in the world!!! So just cause someone thinks America is great…does not mean they are Anti-Filipino!!! No one should say anything that is a wrong statement…I agree with you!!! No one can say any country walks on water…cause no one does! But, just cause anyone goes around saying another country is great…does not automatically mean they are against the Philippines! Example: I could love every aspect of America and think it could be the closest country to be able to walk on water…I could see no bad in the U.S. or American people. That does not make me anti anyone else…I could love this country in every aspect the good and the bad…to me it doesn’t have to be the greatest country for me to love it…its my blood…its my sole…its my land! Really think about it…I’m only saying think of ways that you can actually show that it clearly is anti Filipino…that all I’m trying to do…you should take it as someone not against you but helping you…If you take it as against you then maybe you need to look deep within yourself and see if you actually believe everyone is anti you and anti Filipino? It doesn’t matter what your past blogs are about if anyone starts reading from any point they should still see that you make your point clearly.

  10. Ray says

    Another thing…I have traveled the world…and I believe the perception of the Filipino people themselves is really high. Some of the things I have heard about Filipinos…they are hardworking, resilient, close-knit to families, faithful to Catholic tradition, kindest people, friendly, warm hearted, soul that can change everything around them, also great singers. Not sure if you are aware of this but a few years ago the Philippines had the most approved visas to enter the U.S. They also had the most applications requesting entry. Not to long ago Filipinos also came with a sterotype, housewife, maid, waitress and hairdressers…but that has changed with all the Nurses and Teachers working in the U.S…I would say almost anywhere you look in the U.S. workforce you will see Filipino people. Had a friend recently stay in a hospital…his doctor, three nurses, physical therapist were all Filipino. This is a Major U.S. hospital…so perceptions are all very good for the people. Its the country in whole that still has a long way to go…but lets face the facts…the land we live in is a poor poor country…Japanese news always show the squatter areas on their news. America doesn’t always show a lot that goes on over here…most Americans never even think of the Philippines cause its not even in their news except with a Typhoon is going to hit or a ship goes down. But when someone does bring up the Philippines mostly what is said is that its a poor country. So there isn’t this big problem with the Philippines being below anyone. But think about this also…how many times have you seen an American flag being burned in this country…no matter how anyone feels about another country…no one has a right to burn a flag that represents another country. Just cause an American commits a crime here in the Philippines does not mean all Americans are bad and it gives anyone the right to burn their flag. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world…I know for a fact some of them are Filipino! Back in the early 90′s a bunch of Asian boys that worked at a restaurant I went to often, two of those were Filipino…went into a store and shot a bunch of people…I had talked with all of them at one time or another…they were all friendly…seemed like good kids. After it was over I ran across one of their friends that wasn’t involved and asked what the hell were they thinking…he said it wasn’t about anything…they weren’t made at anyone there…it was only cause they were bored and thought they could go in rob the place and get out. I was worried how the Asian community would be looked at after that…it was no different…no flags burning…no protest. There is big protest saying Filipinos should leave the country every time a Filipino commits a crime. All the talk about America is trying to rule the world and still has the Philippine presidents in their back pocket and still forces their rule and beliefs is nonsense!!!!!!! We need to stop the blame game all the time and stop trying to hate…it doesn’t do any good for this country. Its time to stand up and say enough is enough…corruption at every level and I mean every level not only in government needs to stop. Filipino people deserve better…we deserve education, better jobs, better salaries, better opportunities, equal employment, no age discrimination…stop all these requirements needed for jobs…stop all these short term contracts in jobs. Stop building high rise condos for foreigners…don’t let them say they are for returning Filipinos anymore…its not true!!! We are selling are country to foreigners. Stop letting these rich companies to get richer and richer when the rest get poorer and poorer. Stop Meralco charging honest hard working people for charges of the dishonest people…that’s the same as putting people in jail for murder when its clearly someone else…maybe an exaggeration but still clearly wrong. Stop companies from hiring people based on looks…a beautiful girl doesn’t sell me pants any better then a less attractive girl could. Want adds that say only attractive should apply…should be fined. You don’t want anti Filipinos to voice the wrong things then why not stand up for all discrimination.

  11. Jul says

    Hello, thank you for your reply.

    Those “anti-Filipinos” whom you speak of are just so ignorant, I just couldn’t even fathom anyone existing with that mentality. I would believe that yes, there are some people that are so embarrassed about the current state of the Philippines that they sing praises of Americans and even go to such lengths as to lie about their ethnicity, but to perceive Americans as complete angels, and inhuman? I find that amusing. I would think that they’re just in denial, praising Americans just to allow themselves to feel above other Filipinos that they criticize so much. It angers me as well to see some Filipinos just turn their back on their own people.

    But then again, are we talking about OFWs or Filipinos living in the Philippines? Because you’re correct, I wouldn’t have a full understanding of the culture in the Philippines, but what I can tell you about Phil-Am culture is that many of us have several critiques regarding America and American culture. But like I said in my previous comment, there are also many Phil-Ams who lost much of their Filipino culture and therefore have no interest in their parents’ homeland.

    Yes, I’ve read about the history of the Philippines, and the large displays of nationalism from the people. But from my perspective, I was referring to Phil-Ams–I don’t see much of that same nationalism from people my age, and from some of the adults. My father was just talking to me about how his Filipino co-workers would state that they were Hawaiian, but once Manny Pacquiao and Arnel Pineda came around, they suddenly proclaimed that they were proud to be a Filipino. Pathetic. And in my high school, I always saw kids wearing the Filipino flag on their backpacks, when they didn’t even know anything about the culture, neither speak nor understand any Filipino dialect, and couldn’t even eat many Filipino foods, except for the tanyag na pagkain, like pancit and lumpia. I’m probably generalizing here, but I’m just basing this all off of my own experiences.

    Please don’t misunderstand me, I greatly respect the professionals working abroad and those struggling to make a living for their families in the Philippines, even in the face of corrupt leaders. These people do have a sense of nationalism and are helping our country prosper. However, there are also many who don’t. Those living in complete poverty sa ‘Pinas, do you think these hundreds of millions of people have a sense of pride in their nation when their own government has neglected them so much? Also, how about those Phil-Ams who don’t even wish to visit the Philippines because they tell me they don’t want to go to a 3rd world country?

    I wouldn’t call myself nationalistic, but I care a lot about the Philippines because I love the country my parents were born and raised.

    Have you lived abroad before? From the perspective of my parents and my other relatives who immigrated to the US, England, and Canada, they believe that having a more global perspective on the economy is integral to helping the Philippines prosper. It would be a good idea to get the perspectives of people living abroad, as countries’ economies are so interconnected and dependent on each other, on a global scale.

    This is why so many American students study abroad–To gain a more global perspective. I’m not lecturing anyone about nationalism, I’m sorry if I was misleading. I was merely trying to say that many Filipinos have lost hope already. This is one of the problems.

    And you were talking about how the U.S. used to lecture other countries about sound economic policies? The U.S. is still a prosperous nation, despite its economic downfalls during recent years. However, poorer countries with less capital per person will grow faster because each investment in capital will produce a higher return than rich countries with ample capital. I’m not saying that you should listen to everything an industrialized country says, but I think you should just take into account their perspective on issues as well; perhaps it’ll help our country in some way.

  12. Jon E. Royeca says

    Jul, thanks again for reading and for the reply.

    If there are Fil-Ams who are no longer interested in their heritage, or who turn their back on their own people, they may be products of the anti-Filipino remarks, like what I have discussed in part 2 of this series.

    Or they really have not a single iota of interest in their roots. We cannot blame them, for we cannot make all people ride on the same boat.

    Me? I have always been interested in my nation’s history, but I never expect everyone to be like what I have been.

    Anti-Filipinos could be anybody, be they Filipinos from abroad or those who have never been outside the Philippines. They are people who have been brought up in the negative thinking about themselves, and so they would only belch what has been fed to them.

    I am grateful for your interest in the country where your parents have originated. I hope more people would be like you.

    I have never been outside my country, but with the current means of communication nowadays, it is very easy to gain access to global perspectives.

    One does not need to always get out of his country and be learned in other lands. For me, getting educated abroad and returning to the native land to apply what has been learned is like planting a seed in one flowerpot, letting it grow there for a while, and when it is quite grown, it is removed from the pot and transferred to another pot, with different soil contents. (But not always.)

    As to the United States, I am really hoping that it will never fail as the world’s greatest economic and military power.

    If it fails and becomes just another struggling nation, what do we think will happen?

    In 476 A.D., the Roman Empire fell because of the barbaric attacks by Germanic tribes. The world lost a superpower, and what happened next?

    Dark Ages.

    As to that Korean student’s essay, I have made some reactions to it:

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/note.php?note_id=117933141576533

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/note.php?note_id=117697691600078

  13. geo says

    I havent read all other articles you have wrote but your perceptions on anti filipinos are actually true. When you live in a village or a in a secluded community in the Philippines you can see and experience how native filipinos admire and value foreigners in their society, as if they’re gods and goddesses that would be given the best offer they could give. It actually shows hospitality of the filipino and nothing wrong with that. But sometimes giving too much value could create inferiority to us filipinos that we are only second to them in our native land. American people are great. Filipinos are also great. what we are lacking is the determination to uplift the morale of the filipinos around the world. Eradicating “änti-filipino attitude” would be i guess one step.

  14. Jon E. Royeca says

    Hello, geo. Thank you for reading and for the comment.

    There are many reasons why anti-Filipino remarks exist. It all goes back to the Spanish and American colonial days, and since those remarks have existed for about four centuries now, it may take more than a lifetime for Filipinos of today to get out of them.

    The following parts of this series are the reasons behind the anti-Filipino habits:

    http://emanila.com/philippines/2010/01/19/anti-filipino-remarks/

    http://emanila.com/philippines/2010/01/19/anti-filipino-remarks-colonial-legacies/

  15. geo says

    People who are against their own country is not only happening in the Philippines. There are also citizens of other nations who abhor their own race, cannot stomach the acts and behavior of their fellow citizen and wanted to get out of their country for better future. Some other nationality would rather choose to become citizen of highly developed countries such as america than continously suffer abject poverty on their impoverished nation. JUST LIKE FILIPINOS, there are anti-filipinos who detest their fellow filipinos and there are filipinos who love being a filipino. There are some who love foreigner and there are some who are genuinely xenophobic.
    The article discussed the anti filipino habit which is really happening across the length and breadth of the country. This is absolutely true. But, I believe that pro-filipino outnumbers anti-filipino.
    I read an article wrote by an arab, which i forgot the name, entitled “world without filipinos”. He discussed the importance of filipinos around the world and how heroic they are. Their greatness, dedication and love for their family, work and for the world as a whole is immeasurable. His point of view about filipino really inspirable and laudable that regardless of having no filipino blood nor even relatives, he has great admiration to the filipino people.
    I think by writing even little appreciation to heroic act of filipino people can boost self esteem and confidence and persuade them not to turn their back as a filipino. Writing good things would also have great impact to anti filipinos that gradually they would change their perceptions and convictions later. We cannot blame antis for having this kind of attitude. Maybe they have certain situation why they have this kind of conception.
    I think instead of persuading them to love their own race, the best way is give them some good example of filipino who has an unwavering sacrifices for the country and contributed a lot to uplift the morale of filipino people just like what an arab writer does who value the importance of filipino around the world.

  16. Jon E. Royeca says

    Thanks again, geo, for the comment.

    Of course, people who hate their own race can be found all over the world, especially those peoples who have been conquered for centuries by foreign oppressors.

    Here in Southeast Asia, many Filipinos and Indonesians abhor and are ashamed of their own race because we have been made to believe by our foreign colonizers that we were a good-for-nothing people. Those prejudices had been institutionalized for centuries, and so it would take more than a lifetime to uproot them from our thoughts.

    ” … there are filipinos who love being a filipino.”

    Ah, I am one of them. Just like what the late and former Pres. Cory Aquino said, “I am glad that I was born a Filipino.”

    If I were to be born again, I would still prefer to be a Filipino, because I already know what it is being truly Filipino. I already know my nation’s history, culture, traits, shortcomings, hopes, and dreams.

    I don’t know what it means to be somebody else.

    I have also read that essay on the Filipinos’ contributions to the world, and I am very glad that there are foreigners who give credit to what we Filipinos strive for: to become better and productive citizens of the world. Unlike some anti-Filipinos who always praise what foreigners say against us Filipinos, and who notice nothing but our shortcomings.

  17. ry says

    if we look beyond many misconceptions, BOTTOM LINE I LOVE BEING FILIPINO! many countries look down on us, but i also look down on them. why you ask? it has nothing to do with about who is the greatest country of the world, who has the best roads, healthcare, education, military, who is the brightest the most innovative ( americans ) no statistic, no person, no article, can make me believe otherwise, i just feel happy as a filipino, and many filipino know how to be happy with the least material things. I am a US citizen, and I am ashamed to be one, i will actually move to the phil. why i am ashamed to be a us citizen well coz america is full of corruption in the govt. period. anyways my point is i am willing to bet anything that filipinos at the end of the day will end up a happy person than the american that is the bottom line, forget all the numbers, in the philippines, you are respected, smiled upon, there is camaraderie maybe thats part of being poor as a group, somehow filipinos know how to be happier compared to their superior americans.

  18. ry says

    also, for your information, there is a lot of rich resources in the phil! i lived in the US for 20 years, yet nothing to show for, why is that, i have education i have a desk with a view, well i have nothing to show for other than i can prove to you that i am chained bolted to the bone with credit card statements, 30 yr mortage, car loans, 53,000 students loan, THAT I CAN SHOW TO YOU! it seems a lot of people here in the us are trapped and imprisoned with the debt system we have here, i mean, from the moment you are in college, you are already advestised with credit card booths here. here you are not really free, coz if you try to not work one day, who is gonna pay your debts? BOTTOM LINE AMERICA IS OVERATED, unless you are a big stockholder for a corporation that buys politicians. you see in america, you may feel better than other countries, ( coz we are brainwashed that america is the greatest, there is no greatest, it is a relative statement, ) you feel better coz you are completely brainwashed that you have made it, you have made it coz you have the house, car, plasma tv, luoi vuitton, etc, but they are all on credit, coz you see here its trying to show off what you have ( but just because you have it, you did not really earn it, check your department store balance and its high interest rate! ) so as an american i must be better coz i have the material things. but you are really a victim of the grand scheme of ever increasing consumerism, if you lost your job, nobody will help you here, unlike in the phil your family will let you let in their house of free until you get back in your feet. THERE IS NO LOYALTY HERE PEOPLE!, america is great in terms of showing things, but the philippines is great in the things you cannot see, but feel loyalty, respect, care, attention, those things that do not show in the stat, and that is exacly im moving back to pinas,

  19. Todd says

    The difficulties hampering the economic and social improvement of the Philippines are partially rooted in various mind-sets arising from this perception. The escapism of millions of Filipinos trying to pursue higher financial rewards and better standards of living not only in the US but also in other 1st world countries have caused a massive decrease of competent professionals who are very much capable of yielding social and economic benefits for the Philippines. If the millions of Filipino professionals abroad had chosen to endure temporal sacrifices for the greater benefit of the country, perhaps the current efforts to alleviate the Philippines’ difficulties would be more effective. Filipinos tend to prioritize their personal welfare and the welfare of their families with little consideration towards the larger-scale and long-term effects of their decisions on the Philippines. A prime example would be a Filipino engineer deciding to work abroad due to scarce employment opportunities and/or insufficient compensation offers. If the aforementioned engineer had the patience and perseverance to stay in the Philippines and contribute his skills to developing infrastructure and various kinds of technology that would obviously benefit his immediate community and ultimately his country, his sacrifice of enduring short-term difficulties would pay off in the form of long-term benefit. Its quite hard to encourage Filipinos to do so, but I believe it is an effective way to slowly bring the Philippines out of its misery.

  20. Tom says

    I stumbled across your postings while doing a search on the phenomenon of so-called “Filipino Time”. The penchant for some, and I stress SOME Filipinos to be regularly late for seemingly everything often vexes me greatly as a business owner here in the Philippines who tries to employ Filipinos. For the record, I read your entire series of postings, but as an American who has chosen to live here in the Philippines, I quite frankly found the premise of this post ridiculous, if I understood it correctly. It seems that you would have the reader believe that it is a proper defense of the character flaws and misdeeds of SOME Filipinos to simply say…”See here, this sort of thing happens all the time in the U.S. as well”. Certainly crime and misconduct happen everywhere. I just finished 30 years of work as an American police official and I can attest to that. Fortunately those numbers are in decline and have been for many years now.

    On a social values note, you are also correct that divorce and abortion and other societal problems are on the rise in the U.S., and no one should consider America a shining example of how to live from that standpoint. The chief reason that I choose to live here is that I do not wish to expose my young Fil-Am son to that sort of social rot. On the other hand, we Americans did learn a long time ago not to throw our trash in the streets, so our sewers didn’t back up in heavy rain and wash people’s houses away. We learned quite a long time ago that it was unhealthy to urinate in the public street. Most of us also learned that if we live our lives trying to swindle or cheat others especially our own family members, there would ultimately be negative consequences, and on the original topic that led me to your page, we learned as teenagers that if we did not arrive for work on time, we soon lost our jobs. All of these lessons were learned at different times and took longer or shorter periods for us to learn as a society. We are certainly not perfect, but it is illogical to attempt to excuse or defend indefensible behavior on the part of SOME Filipinos by suggesting that “others do it too”.

    In my experience living here, Filipinos have been welcoming to me, and the vast majority have been kind and decent people, just as I feel the vast majority of Americans are as well. I do feel that the nation and society are hampered by pervasive and open corruption that is a great deal more blatant than in the U.S. and would be aggressively punished there, and that many of those I have met here, but certainly not most, are quite willing to take advantage of foreigners especially Americans with behavior that I learned as a child to be simply wrong. Perhaps you would do your fellow countrymen a greater service by being a voice for cultural improvement rather than an apologist for those who seem to be holding your country back with their negative behavior, no matter what its origins. Thanks.

  21. Jon E. RoyecaJon E. Royeca says

    Just because I said that there are thefts and corruption in other countries, then it’s all reasonable to rob one another.
    Just because I said that there are murder incidents in other countries, then it’s all right to kill one another.
    These articles have really been misread by many. Those people have missed the gist of what I am trying to say.

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