Living and observing my Filipina girlfriendâ€™s family has inspired me to write this new chapter in my ebook.
Family harmony vs. Fight for control
As many probably already know, in foreign countries, there is far greater respect for oneâ€™s parents and stronger/closer family ties than in the US.
The advantage of that is this: In America, if you lose everything - your job, savings, house, etc. - and hit rock bottom, no one will care about you or be there for you. You will be on your own and turn into a bum. In the US it's every man for himself. No one cares about the fallen. But if the same happens in other countries, people usually have a network of family and friends that will help them and care for them.
In the Philippines, I observed that generally within most families, children donâ€™t tend to argue, whine, complain or fight for control with their parents and siblings. There seems to be this natural symbiotic harmony and balance within the family that makes such ego/control battles unnecessary. Itâ€™s as if the family is one symbiotic unit that gets along without effort. I see this especially in my Filipina girlfriendâ€™s family (and in fact they are what inspired me to write this chapter). There isnâ€™t this â€œseparate individual identityâ€� that needs to assert its will and struggle for control.
But in the US of course, disagreements, arguing and fighting for control between family members are all too common. Children yell and whine to get their way. And parents inflict constant control, yelling daily orders such as, â€œI told you to put away your toys! Itâ€™s bedtime!â€� and â€œAlright Iâ€™m gonna count to three and if you donâ€™t go, thenâ€¦â€�. The parents often have to resort to disciplinary measures to counter disobedience such as threatening to take away privileges. Itâ€™s a constant struggle for control in the typical American family.
Even American movies depict this struggle within the families. Teens are shown arguing and asserting themselves in front of their parents with powerful dramatic vigilance, declaring their freedom and independence, sometimes by force, even using threats. In most countries, that is unheard of.
In fact, American movies and music reflect the addiction of American people to conflict and drama. This is very apparent in our films and songs. But in the Philippines, I was surprised to find something different. My Expat Advisor told me that songs in Tagalog have a light monotone melody (rather than a melodramatic one) that to us seems bland and boring. He explained that this was because there is no â€œangstâ€� in the Filipino soul.
Now Iâ€™m not saying that families never quarrel in foreign countries, just that the degree to which they do is FAR LESS than in America. Here in the Philippines, I donâ€™t even see the children in my girlfriendâ€™s family arguing over toys. They are always happy to share everything with each other, without conflict. Itâ€™s amazing. The parents also never have to tell the kids to go to bed. They just go to bed at the time they are supposed to, without any struggle or resistance, as though everything is in harmony.
This all ties in with the other chapter in this ebook on Interconnectedness vs. Separateness as this family harmony vs. disharmony exemplifies that concept and is an offshoot result of it.
Even in America, it is often said that during the last generation, people had more respect toward their parents than they do in the current generation. But I suspect that every generation throughout Americaâ€™s history has said that about the preceding generation. Thus, it is probably a social trend that began at the cradle of American colonialism. In the late 18th Century, French visitors to America often went away remarking that theyâ€™ve never seen people disrespect their parents as much as they did in America.
Whatâ€™s funny is that not only does America assume that itâ€™s the world and that other countries want to be like them, but in American movies featuring talking animals, such as Babe and Charlotteâ€™s Web, the animals are depicted having the voice and personality of bratty selfish snotty American kids who only care about themselves. Um, sorry Hollywood, but if animals could talk, I donâ€™t think they would act like bratty spoiled whiny American kids.
Kairosan, one of the YouTube reviewers of my site, wishes to share this observation he had of an American family in this ebook:
In my view, I would rather not raise my children in America. Not only would they become bratty and spoiled, but being Asian, theyâ€™d suffer the racism thing too, being treated as inferior culturally and socially. Thus, there would be a high chance of them developing the â€œinferiority complexâ€� that I did, described in the other chapter in this ebook "Blacks and Asians: Inferiority complex vs. Wholesome integration."â€œI hope you can quote this in your e-book perhaps because it's one of those qoutes that will grap your attention and this actually happened yesterday "It's funny because yesterday I was at a buffet and as I was eating with my sister and her family. While indulging in some chow, I was observing a white family(European descent) eating together but something was missing....The children seem to be tranced into watching what was on the tv that which was set on Nicktoons in this buffet,while the mother stared blankly into space with a hopeless expression on her face. As though there wasn't any life left in her soul. So I stared at the lady and she had this paranoid look for maybe 2 seconds.I observed for the longest time being there in the buffet. I also notice that no one was striking a conversation at that table, perhaps maybe their father who just came back for his second plate would at least say something.......but nope, nothing came out of their mouths. They just sat there staring at each other like they didn't have any brains, and like you mentioned in your book, no talking, no interactions, no intelligent conversations, just a BIG ice wall between the family, all indulging in their own gain of activities. The same went for most of the people at this resturant. Ask yourself, do you REALLY want to be APART of this soo called "American Dream?"â€�
So, in my observation, America not only is the worst social life, dating scene, and mental health, but now we can add the worst in family harmony to that list as well.
The only thing the US country seems to be good for is making money and working to death in stress and isolation. Ick. Not my cup of tea at all. As one of my readers, an overseas Asian American, observed: â€œAmerica is a country built for business, not for living life.â€�
But on the flip side, asserting oneâ€™s independence from their family early on allows the chance to accomplish certain things on an individual level that one might otherwise not have. However, the question is, is it worth it to have social disharmony and disunity that leads to increased loneliness, depression, anger/hostility, lower quality of mental and physical health, decreased lifespans, animosity between family members, etc. just to increase individual accomplishments? My Expat Advisor who mused over the same issue posed this key question, â€œDo people need to be individualistic assholes to create advanced 1st world countries and go to the moon? Or can people be nice and still have technological civilizations?â€�