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Ladislav, rudeness in PI a matter of culture, not class?

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Ladislav, rudeness in PI a matter of culture, not class?

Postby Winston » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:33 pm

Ladislav,

I have a question about something that I just realized.

You know how you and Mike told me many times in the past that my complaints about the shameless leeching behavior I encounter here in the Philippines are due to differences in class rather than culture, and that the characteristics and behaviors that annoyed me were from "lower classes" or "peasant classes"?

Well while reflecting on some of my experiences, I realized that a more valid hypothesis is that it is due mostly to culture, not class, based on some valid reasons. Consider the following examples:

- Low class people around the globe do not engage in the same behavior that the lower classes do here. For example, in Taiwan, the lower classes behave respectfully and do not shamefully ask for gifts, cash or try to take advantage of others, generally speaking. Since Taiwan is uniform and rigid, the lower classes usually have the same morals, conscience and behaviors as the middle and upper classes. They simply have less money and luxuries, and have to work harder.

The homeless in Taiwan do not walk up to people and hold out their hand demanding a donation, like they do here. Nor do they come up and touch you or block your walking path, as beggars in the Philippines often do. They simply sit on the street with a bowl in front of them and wait. In America, the homeless or desperate also do not usually approach people demanding donations, nor do they touch them or stand in their way. Instead they sit near roads holding up signs asking for donations from passing motorists. So you see, homeless beggars do not act the same in every country.

Likewise, poor girls in Europe or America do not directly ask for money or gifts either (generally speaking). But they do in Russia though. So the poor or lower classes are not the same everywhere, nor do they behave the same in all countries. Doesn't that obviously indicate a cultural factor, which in this case is one of unrestraint, lack of respect and boundaries?

- At prestigious hospitals such as AUF, while flirting with receptionists, I noticed that after telling them that they are "maganda", that they respond with, "Oh really? Bring me something at Jollibee then." (Usually, girls who work in hospitals are from middle classes and above) Even though they say this in a joking manner, it reflects an inherent belief in their mentality of "loving to receive free things from others and not being ashamed to ask for them", does it not? After all, in the countries I mentioned above, including the US, girls do not joke like that. Nor do they insinuate that a guy who finds them attractive ought to bring them a free meal (by take out, not on a date). This behavior insinuates that they are indirectly trying to take advantage of a situation, shamelessly. It's like they want something for nothing, offering nothing in return, not even a date.

Some females in the Philippines try to justify their "eagerness to receive" with this statement: "Everyone likes gifts!" But this is definitely not true. In England, Germany or the US, if you give a girl a gift and she is not your girlfriend or interested in you, she will feel insulted and refuse it, saying "I can't accept this."

And of course, we all know that when you go traveling somewhere, Filipinas often like to say "Don't forget my pasabulong" regardless of their class.

- When my dad offered to treat some of our upper class Filipino friends to dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant, they responded with, "Can we bring more people?" Where we come from, no one would EVER even think of asking such a thing of someone offering to treat them. First, WHY would you want to invite people who were not invited, and put undue pressure on your inviter and friend? For what logical purpose? And WHY would you want to multiply the expenses of a friend offering to treat you? It's like you are punishing them for their generosity! Why would you want to do that?! It's RUDE beyond words, as well as very bad manners. And it makes no sense from any angle either.

I was shocked that upper class locals would ask something in such bad manner. My parents, being too polite, did not say no, but deep down felt that that was very rude and in bad taste.

However, these friends were kind and good people who were involved in charity work. They are well intentioned and could not have meant any ill will. So there must have been something in the culture that led them to think that it was "normal" to ask such a thing. Isn't that the logical conclusion here?

Prior to this, when I asked some innocent friends, who seemed like good people, to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday at a nice Chinese restaurant, I was also shocked when they asked if they could bring more people. Like I am supposed to be glad to treat total strangers to a fancy restaurant, as if everything were free in this world!? Riggghhhhtttt. Again, it was rude and senseless, and I was puzzled by it. I said yes at the time, to not be rude, but I regretted it later, feeling used. Yet they acted like this was a totally normal question.

- I also notice that people often cut in line, rudely and without any consideration. And when I'm talking to a sales person in SM, another customer will rudely cut in and ask for help, giving no consideration that we were in the middle of a conversation. During those times, I feel like making a scene and telling the interrupting customer, "Excuse me Miss, thank you for interrupting!"

This does not happen in every culture, so it must be a cultural thing, again.

- My new friend Jed, whom Mike introduced to me, told me that even rich families in the Philippines expect their sons and daughters to support the family, and shame them if they don't. For example, his ex-wife belonged to the family that owned SM Malls, yet her family constantly expected her to support them, even though they had no need for her support, obviously. He said that it was due to the "culture". Even his own parents, who are very well off and living in America, expect him to support them, he told me.

So don't all the above examples, especially the last one from Jed, logically indicate that my complaints are due to cultural differences, and not class?

Your comments?

Winston
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Postby AsianBill » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:43 pm

I don't think they're trying to be rude. I think they just don't understand what it's like to be better off. Remember, the Philippines is a poor country. Dinner at a nice restaurant is probably something most Filipinos can't afford, let alone offer to friends. It's also probably rare for such a generous offer to fall right into their laps, so why not make the most of it? What's one or two extra people on board? It's like you're a famous celebrity who invites an ordinary Joe to a party. The ordinary Joe will ask to bring one or two other friends or family along for the privilege of meeting you. He doesn't consider it a burden to you to meet total strangers, even though it probably is. And similarly, these people don't consider it a burden to you to pay for a few extra people.
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Postby globetrotter » Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:58 am

Remember, the Philippines is a poor country.


China has a per cap PPP GPD of 6,000, the RP 3,300. In China when I invite people to dinner NO ONE asks if they can invite more people. This is cultural, in that the Filipinos think of themselves as poor (when they are not) and want to ride a good thing for maximum benefit. The Chinese do not think of themselves as poor, and will take each other out to dinner. I see it all the time. They eat out constantly as a means of drinking, smoking and socializing.

Poor is Laos, Cambodia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Modlova (!), India !!, Pakistan are all much poorer by per cap PPP GDP han the RP.

People in the RP THINK they are poor. Huge difference.
I also notice that people often cut in line, rudely and without any consideration. And when I'm talking to a sales person in SM, another customer will rudely cut in and ask for help, giving no consideration that we were in the middle of a conversation.


Remember that to them this is NOT rude. In China rude would be blowing your nose at the table, giving 4 gifts of white, or being anything but obsequiesce to a superior. In China people bum rush counters for service all the time. Everyone for themselves.

It is good to remember this, for it causes stampedes and panics and one needs to be careful where one stands. I have had old ladies in China cut me off and I just sharply tell them no with words, hand signals and body language. No one will think poorly of you if you cut them off. The younger set will be amused as someone older cuts in line. But if you are on a bus and you are Chinese and young and an older person gets on it is proper form to give up your seat to an elder. But not to a woman. As a foreigner you are exempt from this requirement.
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Postby AsianBill » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:43 am

People in the RP THINK they are poor. Huge difference.


It may be that they just think they're poor. I was going more by visual impressions, which IMO can convey a sense of poverty far more vividly than economic indicators can. I've lived in Manila and other foreign cities, and I pretty much know poor when I see it. The poverty and low level of development is very apparent once you step outside the airport into the city, especially when you're coming from the US, W.Europe, or even NE Asia. Maybe not like Haiti or sub Sahara Africa, but still quite poor nevertheless.


At prestigious hospitals such as AUF, while flirting with receptionists, I noticed that after telling them that they are "maganda", that they respond with, "Oh really? Bring me something at Jollibee then." (Usually, girls who work in hospitals are from middle classes and above) Even though they say this in a joking manner, it reflects an inherent belief in their mentality of "loving to receive free things from others and not being ashamed to ask for them", does it not? After all, in the countries I mentioned above, including the US, girls do not joke like that. Nor do they insinuate that a guy who finds them attractive ought to bring them a free meal (by take out, not on a date). This behavior insinuates that they are indirectly trying to take advantage of a situation, shamelessly. It's like they want something for nothing, offering nothing in return, not even a date.




You can't really tell how a girl's going to react, but it's a bit too direct IMO to tell a girl right off the bat that she's beautiful. Even though you might be telling the truth, it sounds like you're kissing up to her in order to get something from her.

I've gone out with a few filipinas myself, and yes it is much easier to get them to date you. But quite frankly, a girl doesn't owe a guy a date or anything else in return just because he flatters her. Even with "easier" girls you still need to create attraction, and that requires more subtlety and indirect signals, as well as patience.
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Postby momopi » Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:44 pm

globetrotter wrote:Remember that to them this is NOT rude. In China rude would be blowing your nose at the table, giving 4 gifts of white, or being anything but obsequiesce to a superior. In China people bum rush counters for service all the time. Everyone for themselves.


First time I landed in Beijing, the airline had left my luggage back in LAX and told the passengers to line up at a counter to fill out some paperwork, so the airline would deliver their luggage to the hotel later. I think about 50 people bum rushed the counter as the white American tourists stood back with their eyes wide open like this: O_O!

Lessons learned: bring less luggage, and put the necessities in carry-on, just in case.
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Postby ladislav » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:59 am

A very good observation. I guess my answer would be this- the RP is still a peasant society in all respects. They have not been urbanized in their minds. So, even if they live in Manila and are now business owners, the rice paddy mind cannot be easily taken out of them, they still act like peasants- having many kids; when invited to a party, they bring other friends- a typical peasant thing- in other words, even if they urbanized themselves on surface, they still preserve rural traditions. They are not bourgeois yet. So, you are dealing with a peasant class that has only recently started being city dwellers. Tropical, communal peasants wearing city clothes with minds still in the rice fields. Even if they are rich, upper class, they are a peasant upper class- in their minds, at least, see?

I remember in Ukraine in a village if someone is having a party you do not even ask them permission to bring someone. You just do. Why? Peasants live off the fat of the land and land provides abundance. It always will. No need to plan- land will always be there ( in their minds, that is). Families are big to help till land and all people pool in their resources and are expected to take care of each other. When a person is too old and weak to walk behind the plough, he expects his kids to take care of him. It had been that way for millenia.

In other countries they do not behave like that? I beg to differ. Small town Russians leech off of you just the same way. And they act like that even if they live in Moscow. Same bs. Now, Germans, Japanese, even if farmers, have adapated the urbane ways of acting and thinking. They are now city folks even if they have farms. In America farmers do not act that way because there never was communal village farming in the US. It was mainly individual.

The Russians were serfs. The Filipinos were peons of the Spaniards. Same f------ sh-t! Does not foster the spirit of self reliance, self respect, hard work = results and individual achievement. None of those concepts. Just live for today and leech as much as you can. There is little incentive to advance since there are no opportunities.

Now, is yours a class or a cultural problem: I say, still a class one. An industrial society person vs. a diffident rustic. You grew up with the bourgeousie and you are dealing with people who are still standing one foot in the peasantry. It is not just a matter of upper/middle/lower class but rather of an urban class person talking to a downtrodden farmer. Irreconciliable differences.

Peasants also have classes, they have rich, poor, middle class peasants. Still rural agriculturalists in their thinking.

A burgeuois vs. a peasant- a pre-modern conflict. Same as what you would have had in Europe in the 19th century.
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Postby Winston » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:38 am

AsianBill wrote:I don't think they're trying to be rude. I think they just don't understand what it's like to be better off. Remember, the Philippines is a poor country. Dinner at a nice restaurant is probably something most Filipinos can't afford, let alone offer to friends. It's also probably rare for such a generous offer to fall right into their laps, so why not make the most of it? What's one or two extra people on board? It's like you're a famous celebrity who invites an ordinary Joe to a party. The ordinary Joe will ask to bring one or two other friends or family along for the privilege of meeting you. He doesn't consider it a burden to you to meet total strangers, even though it probably is. And similarly, these people don't consider it a burden to you to pay for a few extra people.


You forget that upper class people sometimes behave this way too. And lower class people in America or Taiwan do not act like lower class people in the PI. I've already illustrated this with examples in the first post. Didn't you read them? Why didn't you take them into account?
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Postby Winston » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:50 am

AsianBill wrote:
People in the RP THINK they are poor. Huge difference.


It may be that they just think they're poor. I was going more by visual impressions, which IMO can convey a sense of poverty far more vividly than economic indicators can. I've lived in Manila and other foreign cities, and I pretty much know poor when I see it. The poverty and low level of development is very apparent once you step outside the airport into the city, especially when you're coming from the US, W.Europe, or even NE Asia. Maybe not like Haiti or sub Sahara Africa, but still quite poor nevertheless.


There are many people sleeping on the streets in the PI with dirty clothes. You can't get poorer than that.

Most of the girls who will date foreigners here are poor in that they always only have enough cash for cheap transportation. They dare not spend any more than that. With no cash for anything but to get home, how can that not be "poor"? Most of Dianne's family never have cash for movies, clothes or food. They get fed by their mothers or aunts. And of course, they are always happy to leech off others, with no shame.

The homeless in America do not walk up and touch people and demand donations. You can't act like that in US society. Filipino culture is different. One can be more direct about their wants without respecting any boundaries. If you tell a beggar to go away, they will not, but persist. They are like animals in that sense. I sometimes end up cussing at them, if I'm not in the mood to deal with it.

The PI is not a good place for people with short tempers at rudeness, which I have. Nor is it a good place for guys who hate being "Santas". In that sense, I am not compatible here.
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Postby Winston » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:03 am

ladislav wrote:A very good observation. I guess my answer would be this- the RP is still a peasant society in all respects. They have not been urbanized in their minds. So, even if they live in Manila and are now business owners, the rice paddy mind cannot be easily taken out of them, they still act like peasants- having many kids; when invited to a party, they bring other friends- a typical peasant thing- in other words, even if they urbanized themselves on surface, they still preserve rural traditions. They are not bourgeois yet. So, you are dealing with a peasant class that has only recently started being city dwellers. Tropical, communal peasants wearing city clothes with minds still in the rice fields. Even if they are rich, upper class, they are a peasant upper class- in their minds, at least, see?

I remember in Ukraine in a village if someone is having a party you do not even ask them permission to bring someone. You just do. Why? Peasants live off the fat of the land and land provides abundance. It always will. No need to plan- land will always be there ( in their minds, that is). Families are big to help till land and all people pool in their resources and are expected to take care of each other. When a person is too old and weak to walk behind the plough, he expects his kids to take care of him. It had been that way for millenia.

In other countries they do not behave like that? I beg to differ. Small town Russians leech off of you just the same way. And they act like that even if they live in Moscow. Same bs. Now, Germans, Japanese, even if farmers, have adapated the urbane ways of acting and thinking. They are now city folks even if they have farms. In America farmers do not act that way because there never was communal village farming in the US. It was mainly individual.

The Russians were serfs. The Filipinos were peons of the Spaniards. Same f------ sh-t! Does not foster the spirit of self reliance, self respect, hard work = results and individual achievement. None of those concepts. Just live for today and leech as much as you can. There is little incentive to advance since there are no opportunities.

Now, is yours a class or a cultural problem: I say, still a class one. An industrial society person vs. a diffident rustic. You grew up with the bourgeousie and you are dealing with people who are still standing one foot in the peasantry. It is not just a matter of upper/middle/lower class but rather of an urban class person talking to a downtrodden farmer. Irreconciliable differences.

Peasants also have classes, they have rich, poor, middle class peasants. Still rural agriculturalists in their thinking.

A burgeuois vs. a peasant- a pre-modern conflict. Same as what you would have had in Europe in the 19th century.


I said in the post that only in Russia have I seen similar behaviors. I didn't say PI was the only country that behaved like that. I said that NOT all countries' poor people behave like they do in the PI. I already gave examples. The homeless in America or Taiwan do not walk up and touch you, or block your way, or persist after being told to go away.

Girls in the US do not joke "Don't forget my present" when you go away. That common phrase is part of Filipino culture and revealing of the mentality of "I LOVE to receive", isn't it?

Poor girls in Taiwan do not take gifts or cash shamelessly. They respect others and behave properly still. They do NOT have an extreme eagerness to receive and do not salivate when you say "I have a gift for you".

How do you factor that into your "class difference" hypothesis?
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Postby ladislav » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:52 pm

Taiwan and Us are not peasant soceities. Russia is still peasant.
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Postby globetrotter » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:05 am

The homeless in America do not walk up and touch people and demand donations.


They most certainly do! In large East Coast cities they are VERY aggressive, rude and "in your face". Maybe Chinese old women are more aggressive, opening your taxi door when they see you reach for your wallet to pay, but US homeless WILL walk up to you and demand money!
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Postby Repatriate » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:28 am

I have noticed one thing in common between Thai and Filipino people and that is they all definitely have a "hustler" mentality in that if you give an inch they will take a mile. Of course this all depends on your level of trust but they are just friendly acquaintances and such they think nothing of getting what they can. It's not actually rude behavior because i've seen them do this to each other all the time as well. Ladislav summed up the social root causes probably better than I ever could.

The best way to react to this is not to be bothered by it but just limit your exposure. Don't invite people out unless you know exactly who is going to come etc.. Also, if you act bothered by it all you lose face and I know with Thai people they tend to whisper that you're stingy behind your back. The way I do things is through proxy with Thai friends. I only send out invitations through Thai friends etc.. and I don't try to be the big foreign host because that will backfire on you big time.
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Postby ladislav » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:32 am

I asked Filipinos about this whole unceremonious unannounced visiting and eating/gate crashing and all that. They said that it is Ok and the only reason a person should call /text before coming is to make sure that there is enough food for him so that the host could prepare for him as well- there is no such thing as rejecting the guest. So, how is it compensated and not seen as taking advantage? Well, you are supposed to go to their house just as often and gate crash and eat their food. That is the spirit of village camaraderie- in fact, it is communistic. All people share. Ain't it just lovely?!
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Postby Mr S » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:38 pm

Go to San Francisco And try dealing with the homeless there, they are totally annoying and worse than Philippine beggars. New York beggars are annoying too. Any large American city has annoying beggars just as bad as any third world country.
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Postby Winston » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:13 am

ladislav wrote:I asked Filipinos about this whole unceremonious unannounced visiting and eating/gate crashing and all that. They said that it is Ok and the only reason a person should call /text before coming is to make sure that there is enough food for him so that the host could prepare for him as well- there is no such thing as rejecting the guest. So, how is it compensated and not seen as taking advantage? Well, you are supposed to go to their house just as often and gate crash and eat their food. That is the spirit of village camaraderie- in fact, it is communistic. All people share. Ain't it just lovely?!


Ladislav,
Ask your Filipino friends what the point of going to the grocery store is, if you can't even eat the food you buy?

Uninvited guests have to be kept to a minimum sometimes. Or else I should not feel obligated to serve them refreshments or share whatever I'm eating with them.

On several occassions, every time I buy a chocolate cake, expecting to eat it little by little for a whole week, suddenly the next day Dianne's family comes over and Dianne gives them each a slice and the whole cake is gone. I only ended up eating one slice of it, which was not my intention. It's like they either have a 6th sense about where the food is, or Dianne told them, or the universal Murphy's Law thing was at work again.

So what was the point of getting the cake then, if I can't even eat it all? I got it for me, yet due to "polite custom my ass" it had to be shared with uninvited guests. That's just not right.

Ask your Filipino friends about that one. Ask them if they feel that a person should have the right to eat what they buy without giving most of it away.

Sheesh.

The way I see it, if people are rude enough to come over uninvited too often, I should be allowed to be rude in not serving them any refreshments as well, especially if they aren't people I vibe with or have anything to talk about with.

Ladislav, from what I've seen of you, I do not think that you would be gracious or serve refreshments to uninvited guests either, if they came into your home, since you are only generous and giving to "cute girls" that you date or have a thing for, not to people in general or even to your friends.

So don't deny that you would do the same too. We both know that you would.
Last edited by Winston on Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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