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Why Filipinos are happy

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From: Philippines
4/1/2008 21:55 EST

In other countries "fitting in" is simply not an issue, and certainly not a neurosis, because the natural inherent sense of interconnectedness in foreign cultures makes everyone "fit in" by default, since there is no cultural/psychological separation in the first place. Since in most other nations there is not such a strong sense of individualism, they do not view themselves as separate from others. Thus, people have more in common with each other and get along much better than those in individualistic countries do. There isnt this Western individualistic ego that battles other egos like in America. Instead, there is a rich sense of belonging, inclusiveness, communal bond, and deep-hearted camaraderie, even in countries that are economically poor. Not surprisingly, many Americans have told me after experiencing this interconnectedness between people and family in other countries, that This is how it should be!

One of the best examples of this is in the Philippines. One of my consultants described how he feels when he goes to the Philippines like this:

One thing you will notice in the Philippines is that you can be yourself and still be treated well and most

people will just accept you as you are and treat you as a human being.

That is called Freedom. The freedom to be yourself.

I am not afraid to go to Casinos there, bars and restaurants and that I will feel out of place or see

cocky people around swaggering or puffing up their chests. All social interactions are smooth and

friendly and you are part of everything. I just walk in and the feeling is nice. You are included in their

groups. They are so different from the Anglos or the CJKs (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans).

And regarding the healthy advanced integrated social life in the Philippines, he also observed:

"The Philippine society puts primary emphasis on family, human relations and the development thereof- which includes sex, friendship, love, etc. Socially, it seems to be one of the most advanced societies on earth. Of course, these developments are not mentioned in the western press which only measures progress in political, technological and financial areas. If it started measuring societies by the healthfulness of social life, the place you are at would win hands down. Cheerz."

In fact, the article at this link below explains why Filipinos in general, though poor, have a pure radiant happiness about them and in their smiles (which I can personally attest to, having been in the Philippines) attributing it to their fundamental view that they are NOT separate from others:

UP Professor Felipe de Leon, after a decade of researching, has concluded that Filipino culture is the most inclusive and open of all those he has studied. It is the opposite of the individualistic culture of the West, with its emphasis on privacy and personal fulfillment. It is also the opposite of certain collectivistic cultures, as one finds them in Confucian societies, that value hierarchy and face.'

"BY CONTRAST", Filipino culture is based on the notion of kapwa, a Tagalog word that roughly translates into "shared being." In essence, it means that most Filipinos, deep down, do not believe that their own existence is separable from that of the people around them. Everything, from pain to a snack or a joke, is there to be shared. "The strongest social urge of the Filipino is to connect, to become one with people", says De Leon. As a result, he believes, there is much less loneliness among them.

One of my readers who has lived in the Philippines also noted:

I've lived in the Philippines for a year. Some of the best people in the world. Poor in material life but SUPER RICH in the heart. Thats where it counts after all.

From my experience in foreign environments, you can sense this interconnectedness I speak of, even without seeing any evidence, from the vibe in the air around you, generated by the collective mentality/attitude of the population.


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From: United States
4/2/2008 13:11 EST

Interesting points, but not necessarily; like anything and most everything there are rules of thumbs and generalizations that can be drawn; yet exceptions and standard errors exists.

- a strong cohesive society can also have its draw-back - the so-in-your-face-imposing type of culture as well as peer pressure; though it can be a comfort and joy, it can also be a hindrance in creative expression that seem to be fostered in individualistic form of environments...

- extreme peer pressure can lead to hypocrisy, where individuals will tend to mask certain predispositions for the sake of conformity.

though filipina by origin, and I grew up in Manila in the early formative years, my father was a foreign diplomat for a European country, hence I grew up in an ex-pat Manila setting; My adult career in the US while often in Europe (Italy) - I see the pros and cons of both invidualized and cohesive family-style types of societies (which seems to me like an extended tribal form of grouping) ....

individualized societies can be annoying too ... don't get me wrong ...

but just wanted to comment, that .. sense experience needs to be taken with a grain of salt ...

there are pros and cons .. there's not one best way or mode ... (well I guess it's not best if it's fascist, totalitarian or any form of extremism) ....

i see life as a dialectic ... i simply flow.

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