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Behind the Filipino silly smile is a sad sad nation

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Behind the Filipino silly smile is a sad sad nation

Postby Mr S » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:49 pm

http://getrealphilippines.com/blog/2012 ... ad-nation/

The Philippines used to be or perhaps is still known as the place “where Asia wears a smileâ€￾. It is true. Filipinos are prerpetually smiling. The most powerful Filipino himself, President Benigno “Noynoyâ€￾ Aquino III, is famous for sporting a grin on his mug even as he assured the public that his administration was on top of the diplomatic row with China that was unfolding in the aftermath of a hostage crisis that resulted in the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists in August of 2010. And as expected of a people whose character their leaders closely reflect, many Filipinos too jumped onto the bandwagon hitched by the President and flashed their best Kodak smile to mark the occasion.

So without a doubt, Filipinos love to smile. But what does the Filipino smile actually mean?

Apparently, not what it appears to mean. According to a United Nations “World Happiness Reportâ€￾, the Philippines cannot be considered to be among the world’s happiest countries. The report, which was based on a ranking of 156 countries, put the Philippines at the 103rd spot ranking below basketcases like Namibia, Iraq, and Nigeria.

Interestingly Scandinavian countries disproportionately topped the Happy list and, in Asia, famously stoic countries like Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea made decent showings. It is interesting because Filipinos have always seen themselves as a charmed and “blessedâ€￾ race leading a peachy existence in a rich land while deriding these affluent steely societies as ill-humoured suicidals. Their latest stab at convincing the rest of the world that there actually is some substance behind their silly grins is encapsulated in their most recent tourist pitch: It’s more fun in the Philippines.

But beyond the glib glee it gives to the “social mediaâ€￾ mavens who tweet it and hashtag it at every opportunity, “more funâ€￾ actually describes what, in reality, is the underbelly of the Filipino psyche…

Because of our obsession with being perceived as a “happy-go-luckyâ€￾ people, we unfortunately also come across as a people who do not take things too seriously even in times of crisis; which is why our social ills stay unresolved. In fact, Filipinos in general don’t even realize that our national psyche needs to be rehabilitated. Most Filipinos are of the belief that our corrupt public officials are solely to blame for the sad state of our nation. This is funny because the Filipino people are free to choose their public servants. And yet they prefer to choose someone incompetent — which is why they get the government they deserve.

Perhaps the whole idea behind the moronic tourism tagline and the celebrated non-rudeness that is seen to be some sort of badge of honour comes from some sort of ill-conceived notion that because Filipinos are supposedly famous for their hospitality and are renowned for their deference to anything and anyone foreign, we can be counted on to be experts in anything and everything “funâ€￾. But the Filipino smile possibly belies a less glamorous reality about the society that sports it…

Filipinos smile because they don’t want the world to know that they’re suffering. If the world does know, Filipinos will only get more questions as to why, and the truth will eventually come out that most of the time, their suffering is the consequence of their own stupidity. Filipinos go out of their way to help foreigners because most of the time, they’re looking to get a sort of monetary reward or some sort of “favorâ€￾ for their “troublesâ€￾.

How locals treat foreign visitors is not a definitive basis of how rude they are as a people. Watch how they treat each other, and their environment, and you get a much better idea.

Happiness is overrated. Indeed, it was not “happinessâ€￾ that built the strong societies that Filipinos depend on for their capital and employment. Building stuff — stuff of substance — is not achieved by creating happy vibes. Stuff worth having is built through deliberate, focused, and sustained hard work underpinned by robust thinking. Until Filipinos learn that simple principle, we will remain the sad sad people that can only pretend at being happy.
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.
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Postby ladislav » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:34 pm

I have heard the same thing from Filipinos- "we smile to cover up the pain". Also, it is no hospitality if you expect the guest to pay for it. Hey, at least Filipinos do criticize themselves and set up such sites which is laudable.

Having said all this, an average Filipino, while not being as happy as he wants people to believe is not unhappy either. Unlike in Thailand, where there is seething hatred and anger underneath, there is no such anger in a Filipino. Yes, he is covering up the pain but also, he does not feel so much pain either. His philosophy is to live day to day, notice and enjoy small things and appreciate them and minimize unpleasantness. Then, he will devote a great deal of time to parties, friendship, drinking, eating, chatting with friends, and making babies in spite of all the problems.

Also such societies as Denmark, Sweden, Finland have small populations and different history and culture.

Anyway, I am still trying to figure a Filipino out and the longer I know them, the less I understand them.
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Postby lavezzi » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:00 pm

the author is completely clueless to what happiness truly is.

those surveys on countries' happiness are essentially ego examinations. they always coincide with how wealthy the countries surveyed are. our egos are our memories of our conceptual past and our projections of our conceptual futures, neither of which exist. ego happiness is defined similarly among all cultures. the less you work unsatisfactory jobs and the more luxuries you have the happier you are in regards to your ego. but happiness does not come from ego. the more individualized you are due to your cultural upbringing the more ego you have and ego is by nature a burden. if you have a big ego, of course it is better to be a millionaire than a bum, but neither of these things will bring true happiness. filipinos are carefree, because their egos do not drag along their thoughts as much as westerners and other peoples do
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Postby davewe » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:24 pm

ladislav wrote:I have heard the same thing from Filipinos- "we smile to cover up the pain".

Having said all this, an average Filipino, while not being as happy as he wants people to believe is not unhappy either. Unlike in Thailand, where there is seething hatred and anger underneath, there is no such anger in a Filipino. Yes, he is covering up the pain but also, he does not feel so much pain either. His philosophy is to live day to day, notice and enjoy small things and appreciate them and minimize unpleasantness. Then, he will devote a great deal of time to parties, friendship, drinking, eating, chatting with friends, and making babies in spite of all the problems.


I agree but this is certainly not just a Filipino thing. I've observed lots of smiles and "external" happiness in many 3rd world countries. Trying to determine why someone acts happy and whether they are truly happy, or for that matter what the hell happiness truly is, is a tough endeavor.

I notice though that as I have grown older my tolerance of, and even fondness for self-delusion has grown. When I was young I lived in NYC. I loved the angry, angst-filled New Yorkers and valued their blunt honesty. No longer. Now I go there and can't wait to leave - for exactly those same qualities.

Now when I go to the Philippines or other 3rd world countries I enjoy and value the smiles and pleasantries that I rarely receive at home.

I work in an engineering environment in which most people make damn good money - and complain constantly (yes, sometimes I do too). I certainly would rather go to the Philippines, watch smiling people (even if they are sad inside) trying their best, than listen to their American counterparts complain about a problem with their new Android phone!
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Postby gsjackson » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:33 pm

I guess it was William James, the father of psychology in the U.S., who first articulated the idea that if you act like you have a virtue, you're quite likely to actually acquire it. You know, as the song put it about another desirable state of mind: "Make believe you're brave and the trick will take you far; you may be as brave as you make believe you are." Try it sometime.
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Postby lavezzi » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:52 pm

davewe wrote:Trying to determine why someone acts happy and whether they are truly happy, or for that matter what the hell happiness truly is, is a tough endeavor.


true happiness is when nothing in particular is happening, yet youre not anticipating anything in particular to happen because you understand nothing in particual ever happens.
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Postby ladislav » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:59 pm

I do not think a Filipino is really sad inside. After two decades there I finally figured something out- while on surface a Filipino is a Catholic Christian who speaks English and who wears a T-shirt with letters USA on it, that is a disguise. A Filipino is really a Hindu Malay. Same as the people in Bali.

Islam and Christianity are recent phenomena and they are basically grafted upon a very ancient Hindu core which is there but it is implied; not openly shown. The Philippines used to be a group of Hindu- Buddhist kingdoms. And as in Indonesia, while they are nominally Muslim, the behaviors, the actions, the thought and life philosophy is Hindu. You need to go to India, then Bali then Indonesia etc to understand and feel the soul of the Malay race and Hindus period.

And as a Hindu, passivity, acceptance, meditative tranquility, detachment and emotional equilibrium no matter what goes on outside are qualities that had been taught for millenia and attained through Hindu prayer and meditation. A Filipino church while on surface looking like a church feels like an ashram inside.

So, as in India, chaos may go on outside and an Indian will also smile but inside, there is not sadness, but just stoic equilibrium and spiritual "even-mindedness" detached from the sufferings of the world outside. That is Hinduism.

So, before you smugly start thinking that you understand Filipinos, think again.
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Postby Teamsatan » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:04 pm

This is the problem with the internet..anyone can put together an awfully written piece of garbage.
Then someone in the world tries to validate it

Filipino's dont overtly smile more than anywhere else.
Especially the men...they mostly are mean angry types.

For smiles go to Fiji or most islands in the south pacific.
Try New Guinea or Thailand the land of smiles.

I feel sad for the filipinos...there are so many problems.

Only a miracle from ( insert your god, prophet, or deity here )
Can help the place....
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Postby lavezzi » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:50 pm

ladislav wrote:I do not think a Filipino is really sad inside. After two decades there I finally figured something out- while on surface a Filipino is a Catholic Christian who speaks English and who wears a T-shirt with letters USA on it, that is a disguise. A Filipino is really a Hindu Malay. Same as the people in Bali.

Islam and Christianity are recent phenomena and they are basically grafted upon a very ancient Hindu core which is there but it is implied; not openly shown. The Philippines used to be a group of Hindu- Buddhist kingdoms. And as in Indonesia, while they are nominally Muslim, the behaviors, the actions, the thought and life philosophy is Hindu. You need to go to India, then Bali then Indonesia etc to understand and feel the soul of the Malay race and Hindus period.

And as a Hindu, passivity, acceptance, meditative tranquility, detachment and emotional equilibrium no matter what goes on outside are qualities that had been taught for millenia and attained through Hindu prayer and meditation. A Filipino church while on surface looking like a church feels like an ashram inside.

So, as in India, chaos may go on outside and an Indian will also smile but inside, there is not sadness, but just stoic equilibrium and spiritual "even-mindedness" detached from the sufferings of the world outside. That is Hinduism.

So, before you smugly start thinking that you understand Filipinos, think again.


"spiritual" is a very misleading word and often entails the opposite of what it really means. "natural" is a much better definition. "simple" is also fitting. as long as a dog gets its food it is supremely happy, it needs nothing else. this is how we humans are too, but this can be unnaturally obscured by cultural programming which is presented as having inherent value but is really rubbish and does nothing but over complicate your mind. no advanced hindu concepts or prayers/meditations are nessisary for spiritual/emotional tranquility, even the utmost ignoramuses in many empovrished countries around the globe already have it at high enough levels to be continuously happy simply by virtue of not being the victims of vast enough mental obscurities during their upbringing like we have in the west. westerners are should-be mental patients. if you think filipinos are the self diluded ones and we are the rational ones, think again.
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Postby Ginger » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:04 pm

:)
Last edited by Ginger on Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Ginger » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:16 pm

:)
Last edited by Ginger on Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby lavezzi » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:32 pm

i wish to clarify as i was jumped on for making a similar point here in the past, i am not saying being an ignoramus is any kind of answer. i am saying awareness is the answer. it is better to be stupid and have it abstruct your ability to learn total non-awareness than it is to be clever and have it abstruct your awareness totally. at least the stupid persons stupidity makes them happy while the clever persons cleverness does not, neither acomplish anything. it is only with a combination of cleverness and awareness that there can be wisdom which brings about change. there lies the answer to all problems.
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Re: Behind the Filipino silly smile is a sad sad nation

Postby OutWest » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:13 pm

Mr S wrote:http://getrealphilippines.com/blog/2012/04/behind-the-silly-smile-is-a-sad-sad-nation/

The Philippines used to be or perhaps is still known as the place “where Asia wears a smileâ€￾. It is true. Filipinos are prerpetually smiling. The most powerful Filipino himself, President Benigno “Noynoyâ€￾ Aquino III, is famous for sporting a grin on his mug even as he assured the public that his administration was on top of the diplomatic row with China that was unfolding in the aftermath of a hostage crisis that resulted in the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists in August of 2010. And as expected of a people whose character their leaders closely reflect, many Filipinos too jumped onto the bandwagon hitched by the President and flashed their best Kodak smile to mark the occasion.

So without a doubt, Filipinos love to smile. But what does the Filipino smile actually mean?

Apparently, not what it appears to mean. According to a United Nations “World Happiness Reportâ€￾, the Philippines cannot be considered to be among the world’s happiest countries. The report, which was based on a ranking of 156 countries, put the Philippines at the 103rd spot ranking below basketcases like Namibia, Iraq, and Nigeria.

Interestingly Scandinavian countries disproportionately topped the Happy list and, in Asia, famously stoic countries like Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea made decent showings. It is interesting because Filipinos have always seen themselves as a charmed and “blessedâ€￾ race leading a peachy existence in a rich land while deriding these affluent steely societies as ill-humoured suicidals. Their latest stab at convincing the rest of the world that there actually is some substance behind their silly grins is encapsulated in their most recent tourist pitch: It’s more fun in the Philippines.

But beyond the glib glee it gives to the “social mediaâ€￾ mavens who tweet it and hashtag it at every opportunity, “more funâ€￾ actually describes what, in reality, is the underbelly of the Filipino psyche…

Because of our obsession with being perceived as a “happy-go-luckyâ€￾ people, we unfortunately also come across as a people who do not take things too seriously even in times of crisis; which is why our social ills stay unresolved. In fact, Filipinos in general don’t even realize that our national psyche needs to be rehabilitated. Most Filipinos are of the belief that our corrupt public officials are solely to blame for the sad state of our nation. This is funny because the Filipino people are free to choose their public servants. And yet they prefer to choose someone incompetent — which is why they get the government they deserve.

Perhaps the whole idea behind the moronic tourism tagline and the celebrated non-rudeness that is seen to be some sort of badge of honour comes from some sort of ill-conceived notion that because Filipinos are supposedly famous for their hospitality and are renowned for their deference to anything and anyone foreign, we can be counted on to be experts in anything and everything “funâ€￾. But the Filipino smile possibly belies a less glamorous reality about the society that sports it…

Filipinos smile because they don’t want the world to know that they’re suffering. If the world does know, Filipinos will only get more questions as to why, and the truth will eventually come out that most of the time, their suffering is the consequence of their own stupidity. Filipinos go out of their way to help foreigners because most of the time, they’re looking to get a sort of monetary reward or some sort of “favorâ€￾ for their “troublesâ€￾.

How locals treat foreign visitors is not a definitive basis of how rude they are as a people. Watch how they treat each other, and their environment, and you get a much better idea.

Happiness is overrated. Indeed, it was not “happinessâ€￾ that built the strong societies that Filipinos depend on for their capital and employment. Building stuff — stuff of substance — is not achieved by creating happy vibes. Stuff worth having is built through deliberate, focused, and sustained hard work underpinned by robust thinking. Until Filipinos learn that simple principle, we will remain the sad sad people that can only pretend at being happy.



Happy or sad, that is clearly open to debate, though I would say that I do know many Filipinos I would call happy warm people.
That said, without a doubt, the Philippines is a country badly in need of adult supervision...LOL. Generally, there are pockets of logic floating in a sea of idiocy here.

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Postby Jester » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:08 am

gsjackson wrote:I guess it was William James, the father of psychology in the U.S., who first articulated the idea that if you act like you have a virtue, you're quite likely to actually acquire it. You know, as the song put it about another desirable state of mind: "Make believe you're brave and the trick will take you far; you may be as brave as you make believe you are." Try it sometime.


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Postby Jester » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:12 am

lavezzi wrote:if you think filipinos are the self diluded ones and we are the rational ones, think again.


Indeed.
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