Some time ago, a friend of mine left the Philippines and went to the United States. In his German class, the students were international. The professor asked who the Asians were and one by one the Asian students introduced themselves. And so it went, the Chinese, the Koreans, the Vietnamese, the Singaporeans etc. all raised their hands. Finally the professor called upon my friend, and asked:
“Where are you from?” My friend answered, ” the Philippines.”
Oh, you Filipinos are not Asians! You are Pacific Islanders! Because ASIANS ARE SMART!
The above statement, filled with racism obviously merits strong disapproval. In fact, my friend was so angry after having been humiliated in front of the class. The logical thing to say, is that the Philippines IS part of the ASEAN group of nations. We can also say that Japan is an island in the Pacific Ocean but is not considered a Pacific Island. But we should ask: “Why would no one dare to call the Japanese people Pacific Islanders?”
In the United States, it is already being taught in schools that Filipinos are not Asians. That you are Pacific Islanders. While there may be a lot of reaction negative against such a claim, I am surprised to discover that many intelligent Filipinos abroad have accepted this without question.
Pacific Islands are places like Samoa, Hawaii, Tahiti, Guam, Cook Islands and the Mariana Islands. So what is their common denominator? Most of them do not possess their own national and political identities. They are islands under the jurisdiction and protection of more powerful nations such as the U.S, France and New Zealand. Most of these Pacific Islanders are still referred to as “Indigenous Natives.” They have very small populations and they have no global role or power position. While they have their own unique culture and characteristics, they do not hail from any great civilization in the past.
What is even sad, however, is that even Pacific Islanders do not like and do not accept Filipinos! One good example might be some Hawaiian tourists I recently met in China. When they learned that some of our group were Filipinos, they disgustingly uttered , “They eat Balot!” and avoided them like a plague.
So why pick on the Philippines?
Simple. Because Japan has produced cars and you have produced dried mangoes and pastillas. The Philippines has been left so far behind by the other Asian countries that foreigners shake their heads and ask, “What happened to your country?” Let’s not even begin to compare the Philippines with the four Tiger economies, because they’re just way, way, way too far ahead. What about Vietnam and Thailand? Let’s put it this way: For every one Filipino who has a Master’s Degree, Vietnam has 6, Thailand has 25 and Singapore has 200. But why bother to be educated when your national dream is to go abroad? You are scattered from Hong Kong to Kazakhstan. From Italy to North Korea. Thousands of your doctors have become nurses. Your teachers have become caregivers. Your women have become entertainers and prostitutes. Your young people only know one course and that is nursing. Why would foreigners respect ANYONE can’t even respect themselves? You are the country of Gucci Gangs. Your elite own Picasso’s and they simply have no heart to alleviate and educate the masses, as F. Sionil Jose and Brian Gorrell (the pitiful Australian guy who was robbed by DJ Montano) sadly pointed out.
I am reminded of Condoleezza Rice, the first black woman to become the United States Secretary of State. She was born in Alabama and suffered discrimination on account of her color. But she was taught from a young age by her father, that she had to be “twice as good”and prove that she was deserving of advancement. Condoleezza Rice explains, “I was going to be so well prepared, and I was going to do all of these things that were revered in white society SO WELL, that I would be armored somehow from racism. I would be able to confront white society on its own terms.” (Washington Post, Lessons of Might and Right, How Segregation and an Indomitable Family Shaped National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, By Dale Russakoff, September 9, 2001)
The only way to answer people, who insist that you are uncivilized tribes is not by shooting off your mouths. The only answer is to beat them by studying and working ten times harder than the rest. To beat them not just once or twice, but to do so consistently for the next 20, 30, 40 or 50 years. Unless you Filipinos are prepared to love your country, and sacrifice yourselves by going the extra-mile, you really deserve to be called stupid.