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THE FILIPINO COLONIAL MENTALITY BY JESSE LASADO

The culture of contemporary individuals is a cliché ; the attachment to social media, the rise
of informal conversations, the preference of anything “epic” or “awesome”, but more importantly
that unjustifiable surge for independence from societal norms-traditional ones, specifically.

This movement among individuals not only affects the United States but also countries that
inhabits individuals that are desperate to release themselves from the bondage of traditionalism.
Philippines, in fact, is becoming a breeding ground for foreign loving dignitaries, a breeding
ground that is unsurprising for the very fact that Filipino lacks the sense of identity; while heavily
accustomed to their supposed “pride”, it is country in fact ashamed of its flaws and inability to
cope with other developed countries.

The emergence of pop culture does not diffuse this epidemic. It is pop culture that
introduced morality: songs laden with profanity, the lifestyle of partying, the introduction of
fornication, and the worst of all; disregarding family and cultural values in favor of a false
doctrine-a façade that leads to one’s demise.

It is no surprise that a country like Philippines can experience such a phase with said issue,
since it is a country rife with poverty and squalor. And it is also no surprise that the only escape
out of the ordinary is to be extraordinary. Filipino are among a group of people that are adaptable
(natural disasters, recessions, corrupt government), and by having this innate ability, the act of
shedding cultural ties is as easy changing one’s clothes.

If one is trying to assess that Filipino is indeed experiencing a degrading cultural identity
and mentality, one should look no further to the Filipino media culture. The Filipino media culture
is marred with western clichés: attempts to impersonate famous western celebrities, emergence
of contemporary western elements in motion pictures and music, and the unappealing new
language called Tag-lish. It is this desperate urge of Filipinos to rid themselves of their cultural
identity, that the word Filipino might indeed become synonymous with imitation and unoriginal.

Being a Filipino and also getting a chance to grow up in the Philippines, I have experienced
the Filipino lifestyle, education and the strict moral values. Though I am now living outside of the
Philippines, it seems that the perks of being a Filipino means that one’s kinsmen would always be
at someplace one thinks unsuited.

While it is true that Filipinos do get around in any part of the world, they do it with an
utmost goal in their mind; to bring a chance of prosperity within their family’s grasp, a chance for
a better life. The sad part, however, is that once Filipino leaves their homeland, they become
attached to their adopted country. Filipinos then become a “fauxreigner”.

Colonial mentality is a mental processes largely attributed to colonized people or people


with colonial history. While the Philippines is an independent country, it has a rich history of
colonialism, from the Spanish to the Americans. While the effects of Spanish colonialism are
etched in the Filipino language, religion and cultural values, the American culture influence on the
Filipinos should also be considered.

The American culture epitomizes independence and individualism. This evolution in


society is gaining a hold in many individual’s mind around the world. The American pop culture
presents a lifestyle of hedonism; excess and pleasure. It was mentioned that Filipinos have the
ability to adapt to any given situations and seeing the American culture as superior, Filipinos
become mesmerized with it. As time progresses, the colonial mentality among them starts to
emerge; they would idolize American celebrities, listen to American music, eat American foods,
and would even do whatever it takes to become American-even if it means losing one’s identity.
The American fascination is also starting to creep its way into the Filipino language. And it
is no surprise for Philippines is one of the countries in the world that contains many English
speakers. While having proficiency in English is an advantage in the global market, the hypocrisy
that even in non-business setting, Filipinos desperately opt for the English language. This
obsession gave rise to a new language, known in the urban circles as the Tag-lish (short for
Tagalog/English).

This new language is an example of a disgusting attempt to rid them of an inferior identity;
by assimilating various English words of their liking into Tagalog phrases, in which according to
their understanding, makes a speaker seem foreigner or educated. While it is great to consider
that English has a strong place in the Filipino education curriculum, let us not forget that speaking
proficient English doesn’t always mean higher intelligence.

Traditions are the essences of a cultural identity. It is the foundation that binds together
individuals into a uniform conglomerate. Therefore, when values and principles are erased in a
culture, the result is cultural extinction. Filipino’s cultural values are categorically divided
between tradition and morality. As a mention before, the degrading process of the Tagalog
language is happening at an alarming rate. Apart from the language, the traditional values with
regards to morality are also vital; it gives a culture a sense of belonging and pride. This including
the language, breeds a culture.

What I am referring to is anything that was part of a culture’s past. They can be arts, music,
moral values, religious, and even food. With the Filipino identity slowly degrading, it is becoming
evident in the way Filipinos treat the things that are considered Filipino-with contempt.
Preferences of food can range from American and Italian. The Filipino folk music is rather an
uncommon, but rather becoming an ear-sore, in which contemporary Filipinos may consider
outdated and outlandish. The clothing Filipinos use during formal gatherings is becoming nothing
but western. Gone are the days when weddings were an event featuring traditional Filipino
clothing ( barong, saya, etc.)

Our skin that is brown and silky, are willingly traded for white and creamy. Our pride that
gave birth to our independence, our identity is becoming an unjustifiable western swagger. We
speak and act as a foreigner. This unjust fascination is a sickening one. Filipinos are trying ways to
erase their original melanin content into a false layer of white skin for the sole purpose of
endorsing themselves to an identity they consider a fascination. What more can they get out of it?
It is rather a situation that is inescapable. And, it is not only through the alteration of our melanin
content, but also through speech and actions. Whatever happens to Filipinos standards and
respects? What happened to titles we give to our relatives, our parents, our kinsmen? Ourselves?

Are we so blinded by the false doctrine of the western (American) culture, that we are
willingly trading our self to the solely for a chance to become one with the superior? Are we so
blinded that in public we dare act with a western swagger? Do we dare remove the moral values
that pervaded our past and shaped our society? Do we dare remove our sense of pride, of dignity
for a shot of prosperity?

We may not possess the physical structure or superior genetics to rival others, but Filipinos are
superior in different sense. And there is one thing, the very thing that is our ability to survive-our
resilience. It is our resilience, our belief for a better life that guided the survival of our nation for years.
Though I am an American citizen by birth and both my parents are naturalized, my pride of the Filipino
heritage is sound. My first language was Tagalog and I speak with an accent. Now, if I am what I claim to be,
then it is perplexing to know why those living in the Philippines or foreign countries can ever choose to
negate their cultural identity. While this process of assessing the factors that may be a complex one, it
always a consideration upon the individual. In a simple sense, we as an individual have the ability to choose
the righteous path or a path of self-degradation. It is within the individual the choice to be somebody or
nobody. It is always within the individual to disregard societal norms and if those norms are what binds
him then it is only logically positive to resist. It is always within the individual the desire and what’s more
the ability for self improvement.