One of life’s interesting little side issues is how we all handle negativity, and to a greater or lesser extent we all suffer from this at some point. Someone says something to us that resonates in a way that we do not grasp the message and instead we focus or look at the messenger.
We become defensive, sometimes arrogantly so, to the point where it can become confrontational and often devolves into a slinging match of personal attack.
So based on what we have heard without exploring it, we react, not by questioning the why, what or where of the words, we immediately belittle, become personal about the messenger or devolve to any form of attack that will demean the messenger rather than try and understand why the messenger has chosen to say what they said. It simple terms it could be perhaps best defined as the fact that when we are listening, we tend to listen to reply, not listen to understand. Even so called intellectuals devolve into this at times allowing their own biased or singular thinking to so blind themselves they fail to recognize the big picture.
When I first came from a first world environment into a third world one I was at first shocked by the seeming total lack of ability to think I appeared to be encountering, to me what appeared to be blatant stupidity was everywhere around me.
Then I came to see that this is connected to the way people are now being educated, and although not unique to the Philippines as I at first thought, it is progressively being done everywhere, however in the Philippines what really rings alarm bells for me is that this “dumbing down” approach is well advanced.
One of the very clear differences I see in the people of the Philippines that I have seldom seen elsewhere is the fact they do not take kindly to being offered advice or ideas on how life could be better here. By far and away the majority of Filipinos will immediately see what has been said as criticism, even when privately they will admit the situation is a chaotic shambles, for anyone non Filipino to offer any kind of advice is seen as being insulting rude or none of their business. Worse the idea seems to be so ingrained that they do it with anyone who says something negative about them, so when a person attacks a politician for having made some statement the first response is almost always personal. This even happens between regions, so if someone from one of the provinces says something about the failures of the country, they get attacked by people from other regions, the tribalism and localism is destroying the unity of the nation.
People choose based on who the person is, not on the quality of his words or intelligence or wisdom.
The concept of rebutting the words with a reasoned thought out argument is beyond most. Couple that to the concept that many seriously believe that Filipinos are so different that anything that works elsewhere will not work here because “we are Filipino and we are special” and because it works everywhere else in the world is the reason it will not work here because Filipinos are so much better, or so much different than anyone else.
I do not know how to describe how frustrated that leaves most foreigners who have a love for the Philippines.
What Filipinos do not seem to grasp, the rest of the world needs you to be successful and self-sufficient, from an economic stand point do you think the residents of foreign lands really want your OFW coming and taking away their work at salaries they will not accept or the BPO industry here taking food out of their mouths because you will do it for less than what they will do it.
Every time a new BPO opens here somewhere around the world others just like you lose their job because you have undercut them and what angers them is it is because your own government have given you no choice but to accept whatever is on offer because there is no option. If this country actually developed its infrastructure and built a few factories to take advantage of the opportunities that abound here you would have work here and it would be at higher salaries and you would not have to leave, that would in turn bring OFW home and force the business world in our home nations to front up and pay more to attract you back or they would become viable as work places for us at home. This country has millions of hectares of land available for agriculture that is not used, you go to New Zealand to milk cows as OFW or Australia to pick apples, when a lot of the land here could be used to produce the same crops, so instead of leaving your family and going overseas to pick apples or milk cows or whatever, you could be at home doing it making almost the same money as you do in the other countries and still be with your loved ones.
So when you hear or see a foreigner making a comment about the issues here, stop and think, that comment is not targeting you personally, they make it because it has an impact on them as directly as you having to leave as an OFW does.
Learn to think before you say something, analyse what has been said, consider the message and not the messenger, read and listen to understand, ask why does this person say this or that. What catalyst has triggered the messenger to speak out?
Question the reasoning, explore and examine, is there an opportunity or have you missed something or have they missed something, every time someone speaks up, even when it appears to be negatively disposed there will be a reason, before you attack the messenger, you may actually find that you have more in common than you realise, and rather than decry the message by attacking the messenger, you could find an ally to help improve your personal circumstances.
When one wins, we all win.