Wednesday, November 12, 2008


'The Philippines is a nation of starstruck

by Dero Pedero Of Philippine Star

Last July 23, I wrote about Nasty (short for Anastacio), a
balikbayan from Los Angeles , who, while vacationing in
Manila , had nothing to say but negative comments about the
Philippines and the Filipinos. The article elicited a
of comments from our readers. Though some agreed with his
curt observations, most were enraged at the repulsive way
acted and whined.

For me, he was the classic epitome of the 'crow perched
on a carabao,' thinking and acting nauseatingly
just because he has become an American citizen, inequitably
comparing everything here to how they are in the first
world. I was particularly irked by his repulsive 'know
it all' attitude and peeved no end by his irritating
Waray-American twang.

Those who have not read that article may access and click archives, then select July 23 and
click Life_style_. The article is en_title_d 'Little
Brown Americans.'

As a backgrounder, here is an excerpt:
The next day, I took them on a little city tour and
accompanied them to do extra shopping at the duty-free
They were to leave two days later for their respective
provinces (Randy is from Pampanga, Nasty, from Samar ).

'God, ang dilem-dilem naman ditow (it is so dark
here)!' screamed Nasty in his characteristic Taglish
slang, 'At ang inet-inet pa (and so warm)! * * *

All throughout the day, Nasty complained about everything.
He griped that all Filipinos he encountered were dense and
inefficient (I hope that didn't include me!); that the
traffic was horrendous and drivers 'drove like they
late for their funerals'; that the pollution from the
smoke-belching vehicles was irritating his dainty,
surgically-pinched nose. He was disgusted that water
didn't work; horrified that there was no toilet paper
public toilets ('God, how do you people do it?' he
bewailed); petrified by street children begging while
soaking wet in the rain ('Where are the parents of
kids?' he nagged).

He moaned about the proliferation of slums, people crossing
the superhighways ('There should be underground or
overhead walkways for pedestrians! ' he demanded), the
potholes on the streets, the disgusting garbage and filth
all over the city, and the annoying f loods! And all these
he observed in just one day!

Weeks after the publication of the article, I took
Nasty's silence to mean that of contempt and anger. I
must admit that I didn't care because I was really
turned off by his arrogance. The good news is, Nasty has
finally decided to break his silence and give us his side,
loaded with a big piece of his mind. The bad news is, he
hits more sensitive chords and it stings.

Nasty's E-Mail :
Dear Dero,
My Zen master says, 'Never fight fire with fire.'
So, I sat in a lotusposition, imbibed the ethereal
of cool mountain water and stoically resisted the
of answering back to defend myself in rebuttal of your
article. I kept quiet while you and your readers had a
charlatan holiday, dissecting and fanning sarcasm on my
every comment about your country and your people.

I am not mad at you for writing that piece. I was never
upset at any point, even after your readers from all over
the world e-mailed in their two-cents' worth. In fact,
found it rather amusing and carnival-like. I even felt
that people still came to the defense of your Philippines !

If you noticed, I now refer to the Philippines and
Filipinos as your country and your people. Every time I
back there for vacation, my Filipino-ness always took the
better of me (blame those damn green mangoes smothered with
bagoong!) and made me forget that I am, in all reality,
you aptly called a 'Little Bro wn American.' I have
come to terms with my own identity- I am, after all, an
American citizen carrying an American passport!

What precipitated my quick decision to sever my ties with
your country (aside from your ***** of an article) were the
Abu Sayyaf abductions (que barbaridad!) , the Payatas-like
downslide of the peso (eat your hearts out, I earn sweet
American dollars!), the 'devoid of conscience'
and corruption in your government (this has gone on for the
longest time-how shameful!), and lately, the stupid
'Juetengate' and juicy but enraging
'Boracay' mansion gossips. With all these, who
be proud to be a Filipino? Besides, to tell you frankly,
those Erap jokes are no longer funny- they are passe and
leave a bad taste in the mouth and heart.

No Apology
If I sounded brash and insensitive with the way I threw my
comments, well, I cannot do any-thing about that because
that is the way I am, and I offer no apology. Here, in
America , you have to tell it like it is or you'll
be taken seriously. I have learned to drop my 'Pinoy
sugarcoating' because out here, you get nothing done if
you are meek and sweet and pa-api. Hindi puwede mag-Anita
Linda dito!

When I commented about your pollution, street children
mendicants, slums,potholes, toilets that don't work,
garbage, floods, and most of all, the Pinoys' chronic
lack of discipline, I was merely putting into words what I
saw. I can't blame your being blind about your
country's situation. My Zen=2 0master says, 'One
cannot easily see the dirt in one's eye.'

I am sure though that you are aware of those sordid
details, but have grown accustomed to them (like most
Manile?s have). All the complaints I aired may have hurt
your pride but what I wanted you to realize is this: The
things I pointed out are all symptoms of a failing, falling

Suffering A National Karma?
Could yours be a country cursed with a huge national karmic
debt? It could be payback time, you know. Look back into
your history, look deep inside your hearts-what could you
have done as a nation to deserve this fiasco you are in

What you are faced with didn't just happen overnight-it
developed and grew into a monster in the course of time.
Deeply imbedded in the psyche of the Filipino is the
amalgamation of the characters and events that have
your lives - Dona Victorina, Dona Concepcion, poor Sisa as
well the other hilarious and tragic characters of Dr. Jose

Stonehill... the notorious gangsters immortalized by your
Filipino movies like Asiong Salonga (hmmm!), et al...the
killers in your (I thought they'd never end!) massacre
movies...those cheap, appalling _title_s of your
movies...those staged 'religious miracles' that
naive masses men with pushy queridas
(mistresses) ...your crooked politicians, undependable
police officers and greedy customs collectors.. .your
bribe-hungry court judges...Imeldific, gloriously smiling
and crying at the same time, bejeweled. (How very Fellini!)

What you are is the sum total of your history, your
heritage and culture,your education, the crap that your
press sensationalizes, the bad icons that your movies
glorify, the artificial values your advertising extols, the
bad examples your leaders and role models project. What you
feed your country's mind is what it becomes. You have
become the ugly monster that you've created. You are
crying all the tears your sickeningly sentimental movies
wailed out for years and years!

Your Biggest Fault
If there is one thing that comes to mind, I think your
biggest fault would be your individual greed. 'Ako
muna!' seems to be the national mantra. The trouble is,
very few people think for the common good in a deplorable
'to each his own kurakot' festival. Coupled by your
crab mentality of pushing down others, this can be fatal.
You think barangay, not national. Hello, everybody else
around the world is thinking global! Europe is unshackling
her national boundaries while you are building fences
your nipa huts.

Do yourselves a favor and look at your nation as a ship.
All of you are in it and it is sinking! Realize your
oneness-what hurts your brother hurts you, too. Think about
the future of your children and the succeeding generations,
and do something about it quick before your poor little
banca plunges forever into the irretrievable depths of

Star-Struck Nation
You are a nation of star-struck ignoramuses. You are easily
awed by your mo vie stars who are usually nothing but
uneducated, aquiline- nosed and light-skinned ********
picked up from some gutter somewhere. I have seen what
artistas illusionadas can get away with. They just flash
their capped-tooth smiles and policemen let them get away
with traffic violations; they bat their false eyelashes and
customs officers impose no duty on their suspicious
balikbayan boxes.

Worst of all, with the Filipino movie industry taking a
nosedive, hordes of actors and show personalities went into
politics. It is, as they say, the next best
'racket'-there is more money to be made in the
politicking business than in show business! (And what is
this I hear that in the coming elections, more are jumping
into the arena? Mag-hara-kiri na kayo!) How can you expect
these comedians and actors, who only know how to take
directions from their directors, to direct your nation? For
them,politics will just be an 'act'. No big
here, for they are mere actors with no original _script_s
speak, no original visions to share. So what can you expect
but a government thatis a comedy of errors. Serves you and
your star- struck nation right!

My Zen master says, 'Give unto Caesar what is due to
Caesar, but keep Charlie Chaplin on the silver screen to
make us laugh.' To survive, you must teach your
citizenry to say no to three things - no to drugs, no to
stealing and graft and corruption, and no to artistas in
politics. I hope you've learned your lesson by now.
(Yours is the onl y country where Mexican soap stars are
received like royalty in the presidential palace. How
shoddy! God forbid-Fernando Carrillo might end up being
next president. At least he has great abs and doesn't
wobble like a penguin when he walks!)

For those artistas who honestly believe that they can make
a positive difference in the Filipino masses' life,
must first study law, business and public administration,
and immerse themselves in the life and passion of Mother
Teresa. Politics is not an art for dilettante artistas to
dabble in. It is called 'Political Science,'

Educate Your Masses
Educate the masses - especially your electorate. What you
need is an intelligent vote aside from, of course,
intelligent candidates. The University of San Carlos in
City , founded in 1595, and the University of Santo Tomas
Manila , established in 1611, are the oldest universities
Asia , and are even older than Harvard. But the standard of
Pinoy education has deteriorated so much that the
Philippines ranks among the poorest in the educational
hierarchy of Asia . Education, education, education –
that' s what you need in this age of information,
information, information.

If all your social, religious and political sectors
don't sit down now and decide to take the Right Way ,
the Philippines and your children's children will be
grand losers in the worldwide rush to the future. Education
is one sure way to salvation. Teach what is right, good,
beautiful and beneficial. Downplay all negativity if you
cannot eliminate it altogether.

The Ideal President
I've got news for you. (As if you didn't already
know.) No matter whom you put up there as your leader or
president, it will be the same banana. Even a holy man can
turn into another J.E. (Judas Escariot) for a few pieces of
silver. Kumpares, alalays, relatives and cronies will
encrust like flies and maggots on his cordon sanitaire. And
it will be the same despicable 'Sa amin na
hullabaloo all over again.

Take an advice from Aling Epang: 'Pumili ng matanda,
mayaman, mabait, at madaling mamatay.' Get a president
who is old - so that he is full of wisdom, rich - so he
won't need to steal more money, goodhearted - so he
render heartfelt service to his people, and is in the
of his life - so that he will think of nothing but gaining
good points to present when he meets his Creator. And may I
add: At iisa lang ang pamilya! This is, of course, asking
for the moon. Just pray fervently for an intelligent leader
with a pure heart who genuinely loves the common tao!

Magpakatotoo Kayo! Wake up and look at the real you. Enough
with looking at your reflection in glorious,
self-embellishing mirrors. The tropical sun can play
you know. Do not wait for darkness to fall before you take
that much-needed long, hard look at your real situation.

Magpakatotoo kayo, ano? This isn't a wake-up call - it
is the final alarm!

Save the ship while yo u still can. Don't wait till
your people have no more dreams left to hang on to, no more
hope to sustain their broken spirits. I came home, spent my
penny-pinched savings so that even in the minutest way I
could help your bruised economy. Your politicians sit on
their fat, farting butts and get balatos (kuno!) in the
millions. Receivers are as guilty as the givers. Now, tell
me, who is really nasty?

I Have Made My Decision; So Should You.
My Zen master says, 'Life is all about decisions, not
choices.' I have made a decision which I know will be
very hard for me to keep- You will never hear from me again
(not in this vein) and I will not even think of visiting or
buwisiting your Manila ever. This is my way of letting you
know that I have given up on you. Bahala na kayo! Only you
can help yourselves because at the stage you are in, nobody
would want to help you. My Zen master says, 'You have
fall to learn to rise again.'

How much lower do you want to go?
Anyway, regarding the Philippines as a tourist destination,
you have a lot of cleaning up and face-lifting to do before
foreigners would dare go to your islands again. The Abu
Sayyaf episode has done your tourism industry more damage
than you could ever imagine, and it will take a long time
before the world forgets. (By the way, your tourism
are lusterless and have no global impact. If you want real
business, spruce up your infrastructure and do aggressive
marketing on the World Wide Web!)

Of course, I would gladly reverse my decision if someone
offered me exclusive lordship over lotto, bingo, jueteng,
pintakasi and the jai alai.Think about it: this will be to
your advantage because I never give tong or blood
to anyone! (If only your president used the millions he
received from those gambling lords to build homes for the
masses, you wouldn't have any more squatters. Huling
hirit: defrost those Marcos billions, pay off some debt,
place the rest in high-yield investments, feed your hungry,
and spread bounty and joy to every Filipino! Are you stupid
or what? - That's your money sucked from the blood of
your people!)

My Zen master says, 'Vox populi is not always the
voice of God.'
Come over to L.A and I'll show you a great time!

Our friend Randy says hello! We will be going
to Vancouver to feast our eyes on the colors of autumn.
you could join us.

The new Miss America , Angela Perez
Baraquio, is of Filipino ancestry. Dero, her parents hail
from Pangasinan just like you! But keep in mind that she is
an American (in case some wise fools over there claim her
be Filipino like they always do whenever someone becomes
successful). Wait for the girl to say it don't put
words in her mouth!
Mabuhay kayo ( SANA )!
(Don't you just love my Waray-Kano accent?) He-he-he!

I have made my decision, now make yours. I would hate for
the day to come when I'd have to say, 'I told you
so!' Good luck! (You need it.)

An ex-Filipino
J. Anastasio

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