Jump to content

" ... he's a foreigner." "Oh? Then he's not crazy."


hchoate

Recommended Posts

Sorry for the long post but this is freakin' excellent, as usual for Fernandez:

The Philippines has a dysfunctional government and to some extent, a dysfunctional culture. The culture's getting better though the government may never. It's now the fastest growing economy in Asia, amazingly enough. Much of this is due to the vast overseas worker experience, which has provided both an income and education to millions; an experience which has created a new normative standard unrelated to the traditional ruling classes. Gradually this will transform them, as they live up to it, but they can't be rushed.

The apotheosis of the middle class normative is the United States, or rather the image of the United States less than its reality. It is the original source. And among the poor something American is called "orig" after original. Despite efforts by the Left to cast America as the "colonial oppressor", it has become in despite the sort of Olympus to which young people aspire. This is due in part to selective exposure.

What most Filipinos see of America is from the movies, TV or the US military in action, which only confirms the Hollywood stereotpes. It's artificial, caused by selective exposure. The Leyteno will never see the dark side; but what the young child in Leyte will remember, possibly to the end of his days, is the memory of the George Washington, vast, gray and benign, sitting off the shores of his crummy island. And in the twilight of his years, when all his teeth have fallen out, he'll remember That Day in the same way the old men remembered That Day in 1944.

It's just as illusory as bahala na, this avatar of America. But this illusion is accidentally normative. One middle class engineer interviewed in a newspaper proudly ascribed the survival of his house from the waves to the fact that he built it above the "NOAA" surge standard plus two feet. While following the typhoon, I noticed that many middle class Filipinos referred to the "Navy's website" -- and I don't mean the Philippine Navy -- for information.

To an engineer in Leyte the NOAA is everything his government is not.

I have elsewhere described how this has created a somewhat artificial contrast between the "Manila Filipino" and the "Amerikano" (a generic word to describe all white people, including Brits, Israelis and Europeans). It less true in cosmopolitan Manila than Dogpatch, but Leyte is certainly Dogpatch.

One strange result is that you are more trusted as an Amerikano than if you are not. The Amerikano image is forged from a biased sample. http://philnews.ph/2013/11/20/us-marines-experienced-filipino-hospitality-in-typhoon-hit-manicani-island/

People who can mistaken for either should be careful about crossing. If you choose the Amerikano persona, keep in character. Switch in public and you'll confuse the audience.

During my last visit to the Philippines some years ago, I stayed with some friends in a minor gated community and daily used to walk about 2 miles to the gate to buy bread or some minor item when need arose. As I passed the security guard gatehouse I heard the guards whispering:

"Look at that man. He's crazy, walking four miles a day in the heat of the sun!"

The other guard replied, "Oh no. I overheard him talking to Mr. ... the other day and he's a foreigner."

"Oh? Then he's not crazy."

I was typed and became invisible again. I had become the normal foreigner, not the screwball local. For I would surely have given the two guards a turn if I started talking in Tagalog to them, as they would have to resurrect the idea that I was crazy, whereas they had already settled that I was normal, benign alien.

Because only foreigners walk long distances in the Philippines, a little detail it helps to know. Locals of any professional stature would use a car or ride transportation if only to avoid scandal.

Filipino culture is damaged; a people without a country; a nation which lacks a government it trusts. But it is one that is healing itself. You can't rush it. It is sensitive about this.

I could never offer the slightest behavior advice as a "foreigner" -- the allowed parts must come from stereotype in the TV universe. But I could offer it as a local. And hence were I to engage someone in political discussion, I would first carefully conceal every vestige of outlanderness and make certain to put on my best Tondo manner, complete with the slouch and "psst!" and make wry observations about the corruption of politicians.

All the world's a stage. And nowhere more a stage than in that strange and paradoxical place.

http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2013/11/20/two-storms-two-manias/

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

this now helps explains why they hire assassins to kill others

 

Indeed. The apotheosis of the Filipino normative.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Davaoeno

 

 

The Philippines has a dysfunctional government and to some extent, a dysfunctional culture. The culture's getting better though the government may never. It's now the fastest growing economy in Asia, amazingly enough. Much of this is due to the vast overseas worker experience, which has provided both an income and education to millions; an experience which has created a new normative standard unrelated to the traditional ruling classes. Gradually this will transform them, as they live up to it, but they can't be rushed. The apotheosis of the middle class normative is the United States, or rather the image of the United States less than its reality. It is the original source. And among the poor something American is called "orig" after original. Despite efforts by the Left to cast America as the "colonial oppressor", it has become in despite the sort of Olympus to which young people aspire. This is due in part to selective exposure. What most Filipinos see of America is from the movies, TV or the US military in action, which only confirms the Hollywood stereotpes. It's artificial, caused by selective exposure. The Leyteno will never see the dark side; but what the young child in Leyte will remember, possibly to the end of his days, is the memory of the George Washington, vast, gray and benign, sitting off the shores of his crummy island. And in the twilight of his years, when all his teeth have fallen out, he'll remember That Day in the same way the old men remembered That Day in 1944. It's just as illusory as bahala na, this avatar of America. But this illusion is accidentally normative.

 

i dont know who this guy's audience is intended to be but i find it almost impossible to read what he writes.  His goal seems to be to write as many intellectually  sounding catch phrases as he possibly can in order to come across as being very smart- and thus make his readers believe that  his post must be very smart also . 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
Alfred E. Neuman

I don't find it pretentious. It's simply an observation of the Pinoy majority.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The apotheosis of the middle class normative is the United States, or rather the image of the United States less than its reality.

 

Really? That's not pretentious?

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Really? That's not pretentious?

 

Not at all. Pretentious is just another way of saying you're using words I don't normally use myself.

 

I know I'm called pretentious and actually enjoy stretching my vocabulary beyond good - plus good  -  double plus good.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

 i find it almost impossible to read what he writes.  

 

Would you like us to start a forum of reading lessons?

 

(PS, you asked for that one!)

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

i dont know who this guy's audience is intended to be but i find it almost impossible to read what he writes.  His goal seems to be to write as many intellectually  sounding catch phrases as he possibly can in order to come across as being very smart- and thus make his readers believe that  his post must be very smart also . 

I believe the author is Richard Fernandez, who is  an Australian of Filipino ethnicity. He writes a column for pajamas media that focuses on foreign policy and military strategy. I find his columns interesting but that's probably because I agree with most of what he says. :angel: Thanks for reading.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

He writes a column for pajamas media that focuses on foreign policy and military strategy

 

His observations and insights are informative. His style of writing......isn't.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Guidelines. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..