Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
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Tonight I went out with my new local intellectual nationalist friend here who likes to be called "Kapampangan" (the ethnicity of this region) and not "Filipino". He introduced me to members of the upper class Kapampangan elite that run the city, and own most of the commercial properties, which consisted of two family clans with well known surnames. Among them was the family that took me and Dianne to a beach resort once in their van and treated us graciously. Then we went to a party with some other friends of his that were a mix of upper and lower class people, which even there did not intermingle. So tonight I was introduced to a very different class and breed of people I wasn't used to and rarely encountered in Angeles.
Throughout the night my friend explained a lot of things to me about how the class system works in Angeles, dispelled a lot of myths that foreigners have about the people here, and taught me a lot of things from his perspective, that I never knew. I will share some of the things he told me here, but not everything of course, just the stuff that I think is safe to disclose.
- First of all, upper class Kapampangans tend to be nationalists. They do not like being called Filipino, though will tolerate it from foreigners who don't know any better. It's the lower class people here that enjoy being called Filipino and believe in Filipino pride. And incidentally, the upper class folks look down on the lower class folks and do not like to socialize with them or even be at the same social events. I could see that because some of the people I met were a bit snobby, standoffish and took a while before they would warm up to you. Contrary to the stereotype of people here being very inclusive, the upper class Kapampangans are not.
- What's ironic is that the upper class folks here tend to side with the cause of the communist party here, which isn't even legal here, but exists because many upper class elite support it and fund it. He said this was a paradox because usually only the lower class seek equality, not the upper class since it would be against their interests. I'm not sure why, but I would assume it is because the communist party is more nationalistic in a way that is more aligned with the nationalistic values of the elite and the identity they have.
- Apparently, the people of the Philippines are a not a unified voice and mind like is portrayed to foreigners. Only the lower class that are unable to think and are pure followers are of a unified voice and mind. The class divisions are deep and complex. Even among the ruling elite clan families, the members belong to different political parties and are behind different areas of government and corporations, so that whoever wins in any competition or election does not matter because the same clan families win either way.
- To upper class Kapampangans, class and status are not denoted by wealth or clothes or material things, as they are to the lower classes, but by family surname, lineage, education and behavior. Thus, a lower class person who attains money and nice clothes or cars is still seen as low class to them. And especially girls who dress in nice flashy colorful clothes are seen as lower class women trying to compensate for their low class level. In fact, upper class people here tend to dress casual, like me, because they already own everything and have nothing to prove by dressing too nicely. It's the lower class that's trying to prove themselves through clothes and image.
Thus, people like Dianne are not welcome in upper class Pampangan circles no matter how nicely they dress or how attractive they look, because lower class people give off a different vibe that they can spot right away, as well as different behavior and demeanor. And in addition, foreigners here who date lower class girls lose respect in their eyes as well. Thus being with Dianne stints me badly in the eyes of the upper class locals here.
- Contrary to the reputation that Filipinos like foreigners, Kapampangans tend not to like foreigners, especially Americans because of the chaos they caused this town with their takeover and airbase in Clark, and desecration to their home town with the Fields Ave bar area. They also do not like to date foreigners, because they consider it prostitution to date a foreigner. But if you are Japanese or Chinese though, you have a better chance than if you're white, especially if you can speak the Kapampangan language. Thus, it is very difficult for a foreigner here to date upper class women since they are heavily biased against it. A foreigner who wishes to date upper class women has a better chance down in Cebu, because Visayans are much more pro-American and see dating foreigners are a positive and cool thing rather than a negative stigma as the locals here do. (he said that might explain why Ladislav, my advisor whom he met as well usually goes to Cebu rather than Luzon)
What this means is that foreigners in Angeles City tend to be limited to only dating the bar girls (which are Visayan) and the low class girls. If they wish to date upper class girls they have a much better chance in the Visayan regions down south. Or they could also go for the corporate girls in the Makati area (the rich business area of Manila that's clean and modernized) because there, people are classified not by family surnames, but by what corporation one works for and there is no stigma against foreigners there.
- He also said that the families in debt here to the 5-6 loan sharks are not allowed to leave their house empty, and that if they try to escape, the loan sharks are so well connected that they can track them down, even if they run to Manila (which I found hard to believe, in a city of millions) and that they will kill them too. I remarked that this might be why Dianne's family stays home everyday and never goes out. They claim it's because the house might get robbed if they go out, but they could be indebted to such loan sharks too. Who knows.
- In the upper class here, there is not this "sharing everything" concept that the lower classes have. They pride themselves on being more independent. Even if a family member has financial problems, they don't usually help him out in that area. Like us, they do not like people who always ask for money and things.
- Lower class people here tend to be forever broke here, because whatever money they can get, they always spend all of it quickly on whatever suits their fancy. He's seen poor people here spend an entire 30,000p they obtained on a pair of special designer pants and shoes before, just like that. They are not sure if they will be alive tomorrow, so they live for the day and see the purpose of money as to be spent and not saved. So they are always back at zero, as if they were addicted to being poor. What I hate is when they expect foreigners to behave the same way with their "spend until you're back at zero again" behavior, which is self-contradicting because if a foreigner spent until he was broke, he would not be liked by low class people here for being broke after all, so why would they want him to spend until he's broke? It's a self-defeating contradiction, but of course, the lower classes here tend to be incapable of thought, as it's a non issue to them, so they don't realize their self-contradictions.
- Upper class people here prefer to get their clothes from Hong Kong, not from the mall. Upper class people only go to the mall for groceries. The people who get their clothes at the mall tend to be lower class people who have saved up for a long time to get one thing (though I still don't see how that keeps the malls in business, after all, how can people who make 150p or 200p per day afford 1000p jeans and 350p shirts (avg price of clothes in the mall) since they tend not to save up anyway, doesn't seem to add up, and even if they did save up, how can there be enough poor people to buy there once in a while to keep them running everyday?).
I know some of these things might sound a bit snobby, exclusive and overly nationalistic, but this is what I was told is the mentality of the elite around here.
Anyhow, it's good that I met such people who are part of the elite here, in case I ever become a victim of any police scams or setups that sometimes befall foreigners here. Having connections to the family clan that pretty much own the city is a virtual safeguard against such things, as long as I'm truly innocent of course.
The thing is though, I can't be on these people's good side if I go to Fields Ave and date bar girls, because they completely detest that area and anyone who goes there. But then again, if I totally blend in with them and become like then, I'll probably never get laid either. lol
Anyway, I think I've only touched on the surface of how things work here. So this is a summary of what I've learned so far.
I can't believe you remembered all that in just one sitting...without even taking notes...
you may want to get a copy of the book "The Pampangans: Colonial Society in a Philippine Province" (ISBN 971-10-0510-7) written by John Allan Larkin... like most outsiders, though he wasn't able to spot all the differences with other Philippine ethnic group, he too was able to make out a general assessment on Kapampangan upper class society based on historical data...
the true path is really no path
This will give people a general idea about the upper-class Kapampangans and their history.
W: Well, it's not that complex. It's just a set of general attitudes and beliefs that are easy to describe. I'm just summarizing what you said, not reinterpreting it through any filtered lenses of mine
What you gotta understand though, is that for most of us foreigners who came here to get laid or get the female companionship they've been deprived of in their own countries, coming to the PI is like escaping the desert to find water. So, if only the lower class or bar girls will date them, then they have no choice but to pick from that bunch. Besides, in the Western World, we are taught to abhor any type of caste system and see it as an oppressive system that belongs back in the Dark Ages.
As I said, I don't mind if someone is lower class as long as they treat me good, show respect, are kind, and I feel comfortable around them. If they are open minded and interested in learning, the better.
One of my close friends wrote this in response to the summary:
This doesn't seem to out of the ordinary what you are telling me. If you try to socialize w/ upper class people in the USA they will snob you too, because they have the money, the surname, and the long list of family connections. A Kennedy when they graduate a U. doesn't start at the bottom, they get a VP job. Upper class anywhere is about being snobby. If they opened it up to everyone, how could they be different. They don't go to Fields because they are too good for that low class behavior. I'd rather hang out w/ the low class people and have fun."
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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
By and large, percentagewise, though, the Filipinos are infinitely friendlier to foreigners than other countries in the region, and that is a given. Just try and be a foreigner ( particularly one of a clearly visible other race) in any of them and you will see. As far as upper class people, well, they got there through some karmic past causes,, and I am happy for them. I will probably never get a chance to be one of them in this lifetime, so, I will just create small groups of people around me that I can relate to, and that is good enough for me.
So-called upper classes also have disadvantages that they may suffer from. They are often less mobile, and their movements are observed more, and privacy is hard to come by. They have lots of jealous people around them that try and bring them down all the time. The poor always try to cheat them and rob them. They can also lose all they have if they are not careful. They cannot easily love or marry whom they want without family or public approval. Sure, it is better to be upper class than low class, but it is even better to be an anonymous person with means who can behave like any class (s)he wants depending on the circumstances, but who is mobile and can get out of dodge, and start some other place with no attachments.
That is a sort of freedom, in a way.
One good thing about the Philippines is that there is a large group of struggling educated people, people with degrees who are smart and articulate, but who are trying to make a living in a difficult economy. Nurses, teachers, clerks with BAs and all that. They remind me of myself in the old times, and I can relate to them. In the Philippines, everyone is trying to get an education, but not everyone can get a good job, ( sounds familar- USA?) so you have a class of educated 'poor'. These people cannot be called 'low class' by anyone since they are well mannered and knowledgeable. Just just don't have cash or family fortune from the past. Don't they deserve everyone's respect, though?
In Thailand, I had more of a problem. I simply could not date anyone with more than elemantary education because they did not want to be seen with a white man. In the Philippines, it is all infinitely more open to me.
Low classes in my view are those who behave in a vulgar way, do not try to improve themselves , and who are dishonest. Regardless of how much money they have or what good name they carry. Those who are honest and upright, who are aspiring towards improvement ,and care about others can not be called 'low classes'. Not in my book, not in any book of any religion of the world. And that is the taxonomy will should all aspire to follow, in my opinion.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
"- Apparently, the people of the Philippines are a not a unified voice and mind like is portrayed to foreigners. Only the lower class that are unable to think and are pure followers are of a unified voice and mind. The class divisions are deep and complex. Even among the ruling elite clan families, the members belong to different political parties and are behind different areas of government and corporations, so that whoever wins in any competition or election does not matter because the same clan families win either way. "
Its the same in the USA. G Bush & John Kerry are cousins. G.H.W. Bush was vice President to Regan, had his own presidency, then controlled his son G Bush's unbelievable 2 terms. Elections in the USA are just a masquerade for the public as Democrats and Rebublicans are controlled by the same insidious people. If you think this is a free country, you need your head read. Just read some of the recent laws allowing for detention/execution without charge, stripping Americans of citizenship, unwarranted phone tapping...kiss the bill of rights good-bye everyone.
"Woman is a violent and uncontrolled animal... If you allow them to achieve complete equality with men, do you think they will be easier to live with? Not at all. Once they have achieved equality, they will be your masters." Cato the Elder
Ladislav, would you say that Russian (including Ukrainian, etc.) women are more open to white foreigners? I don't have a taste for dark-skinned Orientals, but I do for the hot Slavic women of the former USSR.
Oh, yeah. But the best way to go about meeting them, imho, is not through online English language dating clubs (although it is also a way). I would learn the languages and then go there and do things on their terms. If you can, that is.
(I am now fairly fluent in Tagalog and the difference it makes is unbelievable. You become so much more attractive to the women when you speak their tongue.)
Please do not include Ukrainians with the Russians, just like you would not include the Irish with the English.
Ukrainians as a rule are a bit more stand-offish than the Russians, and the women are more controlling. Again, learning local language and culture and trying to make inroads into their society is very much appreciated there, too, but do not be surprised that they will start treating you like a local man.
A lot of Filipinas now treat me like a Filipino man and expect me to behave like one. It may not be a good thing sometimes. But that is another topic altogether.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
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