Filipinos Are Fair Game For Stereotyping

Just felt compelled to post a couple of videos about the Filipino stereotype after looking at the immediately preceding post, a slideshow/lecture presented at the 1st MLE Conference-Workshop on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education in Cagayan de Oro City (Feb. 18-20, 2010) by Dr. Francisco A. Datar from the U.P. Department of Anthropology (you know, that ology engaged in the comparative study of human societies and cultures and their development).

Of course, my beef with most of those who indulge in this game is when, as Dr. Datar intends to do, they try to identify the cultural outlines of varying Filipino ethnic groups and attempt to integrate all the cultural markers in order “to come up with a possible Philippine identity.”  I remember that sometime in the not so distant past, someone named Manuel Luis Quezon did something akin to that: he vowed to unite these people, practically  twisting the arms of no less than a group of constitutional conventioneers to decree the development of a unifying national language based on Tagalog and was credited with the famous rallying line, “I would rather have a country run like hell by Filipinos than a country run like heaven by the Americans, because however bad a Filipino government might be, it can always be improved.”  Too bad he didn’t live long enough to see to it that the latter part of the famous quote is realized.  Because the country has been run like hell ever since.  And it’s gotten even worse.

We’ve been on a language roller coaster from several regional/ethnic languages to one unifying Filipino.  And now, courtesy of Deped No. 74 s. 2009, back legally to our multilingualism which is as it should be…

And one can’t ever say anyone from any Filipino ethnic group, say Tagalog, or Cebuano, or Ilocano, etc., can stand up and represent the “Philippine identity” which the “nationalists” have in mind.  Every ethnic group is so different from one another.  About the only thing common about these people is that they come from some 7,000 islands which the Spaniards tried to unify under one geo-political name:  Philippines.  Ah, those Spaniards, they were just being dubiously pragmatic to not require these various ethnic peoples to learn to speak Spanish as a “unifying” national language during those more than 300 years that they ruled the place; they could have done so because they were capable of doing even more draconian and oppressive deeds.  But it would have just ruined the delectable smorgasbord.  It could have made it easier for the indios to understand and subvert the colonizers’ dark secrets.  Case in point:  Jose Rizal learned to speak Spanish so well and just couldn’t help himself from writing those revolution-mongering Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, hell yes, in Spanish!

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