Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
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15 Common patterns of Filipinas â€“ Why no individuality?
If you are involved with a Filipina or are considering being involved with one, you may find the following list of traits that describe most of them to be of interest.
Most Filipinas, as you might know or have experienced, have very little individuality and do not think or form opinions of their own with an independent mind. Like most Asians, they simply â€œfollow the pack.â€ They have so many common traits that are indicative of that, sometimes making it seem as though they are carbon copies of each other. Here are some typical patterns and tendencies Iâ€™ve identified in most of them that Iâ€™ve met:
1. They love chocolate ineffably, and Toblerone is one of their favorite brands if not the favorite one, thus itâ€™s their top request.
2. They love the Jollibee fast food chain. Being a Filipino chain, it has become a cultural national icon. Though the portions are small and overpriced, they find the food there to taste good, especially the chicken and spaghetti. By Filipino standards, it might taste good, but by cosmopolitan standards, no way, it is very subpar and almost below mediocre. (even McDonaldâ€™s is better tasting by cosmopolitan standards) Thus, the middle class Filipinas in Manila or Makati who have experienced cosmopolitan class food in their city tend not to be crazy about Jollibee, while the poor Filipinas from the province are fanatical about it, especially since itâ€™s a Filipino brand, viewing it as a luxury treat that â€˜everyoneâ€™ in their world likes. Some like it not for the taste, but because everyone else likes it. In general, Filipino food is considered among the most bland and unappetizing in Asia. Most of the dishes I eat or see here tell me one thing â€“ that the cooks, both local and even foreign, are not aiming to make the food â€œgoodâ€, only PASSABLE. And â€œpassableâ€ by cosmopolitan standards means â€œbad foodâ€. Itâ€™s as if the cooks are just trying to quickly get the dish out of the way, and have no skill or pride in their cooking nor do they see it as an art form. Most dishes here remind me of the food prepared by people who donâ€™t usually cook but are forced to one day cause their mom or wife is out of town, and so they sloppily hack a few ingredients together to get it out of the way, with no knowledge of different spices or sauces. Food like that should never be served in a restaurant, but here itâ€™s all too common, unfortunately. The only exceptions seem to be the eateries in upscale areas like Makati. (Sorry if Iâ€™ve offended anyone, but I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where top notch international cuisine is everywhere, so my standards are pretty high, and if youâ€™re used to what Iâ€™m used to, Iâ€™m sure youâ€™d feel the same.)
3. They put baby powder on their face to keep their skin fresh, and of course to try to look â€œwhiterâ€ since their culture considers lighter skin to be more attractive and the ideal, reflected in their pop media. And if they can afford it, they use whitening soap and cream as well (which is kind of expensive).
4. They prefer a brand of Shampoo called â€œSunsilkâ€ and a conditioner called â€œCreamsilkâ€, claiming those are the only ones good for their hair. The middle class ones buy the whole bottle, while the poor ones buy it in little packet sachets that they tear off.
5. They all have Yahoo accounts and use Yahoo instant messenger to chat, rather than any other email services. So far, I havenâ€™t found any exceptions to this (though Iâ€™m sure they exist). This just goes to show that very few of them, if any, revel in being different or unique like me.
6. They love old sentimental love songs, even from the 70â€™s and 80â€™s, as well as contemporary R&B hits. Thus, in karaoke or videoke machines, they will sing American oldies and classics as if they were still cool, that only old people in the States still enjoy. (which is cool with me cause I love old long songs and still have a sentimental soft spot for them)
7. When their boyfriends or dates ask them what they want to do, they usually respond with â€œItâ€™s up to youâ€, leaving the guy to try to guess their true preferences. Only by knowing one for a long time are you able to discern her true preferences. They tell him that heâ€™s â€œgwapoâ€ (handsome) even if heâ€™s old, fat and bald. (But we also have to take into account that being â€œgwapoâ€ to a Filipina isnâ€™t just about looks, but also about a manâ€™s character, personality, and manners) And if heâ€™s taking care of their financial needs, theyâ€™ll let him get away with almost anything, including polygamy, being an a**hole, prick, liar, even being an all around bad person. It seems as if â€œfinancial salvationâ€ for them leads to blind allegiance.
8. They falsely assume that all Americans and Westerners are happier than all Filipinos because they make more money and have more money. This is false of course, as studies show that people in many third world countries tend to be happier than those of 1st world countries, including the USA. And thatâ€™s because happiness isnâ€™t about â€œhow muchâ€ you have, but how well you appreciate what you do have. Itâ€™s an attitude, so to speak. In addition, they believe in their cultural propaganda that America is a â€œhappy paradiseâ€ without questioning it or critically analyzing it. To them, â€œwhat they are told must be true.â€ And they are not usually told all the negative downsides of life in America, such as the stress, workaholic lifestyle, massive debt, lonely isolation, cold distant anti-sociality of neighbors, etc. which even if you tell them, they will have trouble relating to it.
They canâ€™t fathom that other countries are nowhere near as sociable, open, inclusive, or nonjudgmental as in the Philippines. And they canâ€™t imagine that people in Western or Oriental Asian countries can be cold and distant to strangers and never making eye contact. Even if you explain it to them in detail, they canâ€™t relate. Since theyâ€™ve never experienced lack of a social life, they canâ€™t imagine it. Instead, the lack they can relate to is not having enough money.
9. All Filipinas will respond that they are not beautiful if you tell them they are beautiful (â€œmagandaâ€), even if they look like super hot models that every guy stares at and at tries to pick up on. Iâ€™ll bet even Angel Locsin, the highest grossing star in the Philippines, would say that she is not beautiful if you told her she was. lol
10. They assume that every foreign man they meet already has â€œmany girlfriendsâ€, telling them so in a playful manner, and that men are â€œplayboysâ€ by nature. Fortunately though, they say this in a lighthearted manner and tend to be quite forgiving of being cheated on, gladly giving him more â€œchancesâ€. Though a decent foreign man has many Filipinas available and willing to be with them, ironically each one wants to be â€œthe only oneâ€ and claims that they hate men who are â€œplayboysâ€ (aka â€œbutterfliesâ€, â€œbaberosâ€). Hence the dilemma â€“ there are so many available to you, but you are SUPPOSED to only have one. Itâ€™s kind of like being in Disneyworld and being told that you can choose ONLY ONE ride and that you have to â€œstickâ€ with it. The temptations are overwhelming, but at least itâ€™s better than having no willing suitors at all.
11. All Filipinas claim that they are not rich, even the ones that can afford to buy luxury items. Iâ€™ve met ones that can afford to eat in nice restaurants, buy things at the mall, have a laptop, and have a car, yet say that they are poor and not rich. They do this because modesty is inherent in their culture, and of course, because itâ€™s human nature to think that no matter how much money you have, itâ€™s never enough. The proof of course, is in their lifestyle habits and actions, not in their words. (â€œactions speak louder than wordsâ€ as we all know) Obviously if they have a house, car and computer, then they must be at least middle class, or their family is. And if they are always asking to borrow money or for others to pass them â€œcell phone loadsâ€ (transfer prepaid credits from one phone to another), then they must be damn near broke. By simply telling a Filipina who possesses luxury items that â€œthose things are NOT free, someone had to pay a lot for themâ€ you will stun them, for they canâ€™t get around that truth.
12. When they are at work in a service industry, they become like automatons, doing only what they are told and thinking only what they are taught to think, to the point of even losing their own common sense. They quote â€œpoliciesâ€ as though they were Gospel law, and are unable or too afraid to form any â€œopinionsâ€ about their companyâ€™s policies, even the most stupid and dishonest ones. And they always utter the phrase â€œthatâ€™s the policyâ€ with a lemming-like look on their faces. Even if their bosses or managers are cheating crooks, they will have no opinion about it, being mindless subservient machines for them instead, thus even right and wrong goes out the window while they are â€œworkingâ€. And thatâ€™s because to a Filipino mind, anyone who PAYS them regularly is like a God who can never be criticized, even if heâ€™s an a**hole, dickhead, evil, psycho, insane, or in the wrong. In short, becoming their financial source creates a â€œblind allegianceâ€ in them, erasing all the flaws and blemishes of their benefactor. (Iâ€™ve experienced this firsthand) When I tell them to pass a message on to their managers that their policies are both â€œstupid and dishonestâ€, they may nod passively, but of course, they will never pass that on. I canâ€™t tell you how many Filipina waitresses Iâ€™ve met who think that itâ€™s impossible to alter a dish on the menu to fit special dietary needs, such as for vegetarians, saying that it canâ€™t be done without even bothering to check first. Every time I tell them to go to the back and inquire with the chef, they return every time acknowledging that I was right. For instance, if an item on the menu is usually cooked with oyster sauce, they say that itâ€™s â€œimpossibleâ€ for it to be cooked with any other sauce, until I tell them to go ask the chef about it. You would think that even with no training, such is common sense, but not here. And thatâ€™s because the Filipina mind at work only does what it is told, and thinks what it is told, never deviating outside the lines. And seems too lazy to think. It was explained to me by other expats that this is due their fear of losing their job due to the irreplaceable nature of jobs here.
13. Most Filipinas claim that they are ethnically â€œpure Filipinoâ€ which is an oxymoron because Filipinos by default are a mixture of different ethnicities, mostly Spanish, Malay, Chinese and bits of Negrito (Aborigine). Only the aborigines in the mountains can claim to be â€œpureâ€ something. I think this is more a statement of pride than of accuracy. The exceptions tend to be those who have a parent or grandparent of a different ethnicity, such as Chinese-Filipinos. Otherwise, they are all â€œpure Filipinosâ€.
14. When you ask them a question beginning with the word â€œWhyâ€, half the time they donâ€™t answer it. Itâ€™s as if the word â€œWhyâ€ stops the Filipino brain, unless the answer is too obvious. I think itâ€™s because the Western mind tries to understand things by looking for logical reasons and explanations that make sense, whereas the Filipino mind does not. It simply accepts things as they are, and does not try to change them or even to understand them. Also, they are not analytical by nature. Rather than analyzing or dissecting things with a Western scientific mind, they prefer peace, harmony and laxness. The good thing about that is that it makes them non-strict, not overly strict, and nonjudgmental. Itâ€™s almost a Buddhist Zen-like attitude, rather than a Catholic/Christian one that is supposed to be integral to their culture. (Conversely, Buddhism is supposed to be integral in Taiwanese culture, yet the Taiwanese people act far more like Christians with their strict judgmental black and white views and behavior. How odd.).
15. Over 99 percent of Filipinas claim to be Catholic. Yet they know nothing about theology, canâ€™t quote any Bible verses, and are not even familiar with the basic history of Christianity, either the secular version or the one taught in Christiandom. They canâ€™t even explain the basic doctrines of Sin and Salvation as taught by the Church. All they know is that they are Catholic because their family and country is, that they were baptized as one at birth, and that they go to Church sometimes to partake of the Eucharist sacrament and eat the white wafer. They also donâ€™t know any basic tenets of other religions. And in fact, when they ask me my religion and I tell them â€œNew Ageâ€ they never know what that is.
With so many commonalities, on the surface it may seem that Filipinas are like carbon copies of each other. However, as you grow with one in a deep loving relationship, the individual differences and nuances will reveal themselves to you. And in the process, their tender loving care will make you feel far more appreciated as a man, more than you ever could in the West. And thatâ€™s why so many of us expats are here.
You know, Iâ€™ve never understood why Asians in general donâ€™t think for themselves and just â€œfollow the packâ€ like lemmings. Iâ€™ve always been the stark exception. Even in America, which teaches individuality, Iâ€™ve always been different from the crowd.
But I guess we should understand that unlike in the West, Filipinas are not encouraged by their culture to develop their individuality. On the contrary, they are taught that there they are interconnected and entwined with each other in a shared bonding (aka â€œkapwaâ€), and to value it. Thus, it makes sense then that they would delight in following the pack and copying the trends of their peers, rather than try to be unique or different.
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"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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