Damaged, but not hopeless.

“This is a country where the national ambition is to change your nationality,’ an American who volunteers at Smoky Mountain told me. The U.S. Navy accepts 400 Filipino recruits each year; last year 100,000 people applied. In 1982, in a survey, 207 grade-school students were asked what nationality they would prefer to be. Exactly ten replied “Filipino.’ “There is not necessarily a commitment by the upper class to making the Philippines successful as a nation,’ a foreign banker told me. “If things get dicey, they’re off, with their money.’ “You are dealing here with a damanged culture,’ four people told me, in more or less the same words, in different interviews.

A thought-provoking article “A Damaged Culture: A New Philippines?” written by James Fallows for The Atlantic. It was published in 1987 but the insights still ring true up to this day. It’ll make you reflect, especially if you’re a Filipino.

When I was in Japan, my host mother said that kids were brought to Mt. Fuji and told that it was one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. And Koreans, in Jessica Zafra’s words, “have appropriated pop and sold it back to the west”.

Meanwhile, ever since I can remember, I was told to study hard so I can get a decent job overseas under foreigners and earn a currency other than the Philippine Peso.



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