A Heritage of Smallness

The Philippine population increases much faster than our economy. Our country indeed has been as slow as snail when it comes to the aspect of development. It takes a lot of years, even decades for us to be able to take a leap towards one step of modernization. Other countries like for example our neighbor, Singapore, which has been colonized by other more powerful country had been able to get up and make them selves more productive. But throughout the years, the Philippines had remained stagnant with their status in the world. Instead o becoming more globally competitive, we tend to just always sit down and relax and just accept the fact that our development is deteriorating.
In Nick Joaquin’s essay, “A Heritage of Smallness”, he emphasized how the Filipino people can be so much contented with all that is small, all that is little and all that is just enough. A child who was born from a poor family would most likely be poor for the rest of his life. It would be a common scenario that they, too, will adopt the way of living of their parents. Instead of finding a way for them to have money, they will be contented and just continue blaming whoever they want to blame.
“What most astonishes foreigners on the Philippines is that this is a country, perhaps the only one in the world, where people buy and sell one stick of cigarette, half a head of garlic, a dab of pomade, part of the contents of a can or bottle, one single egg, one single banana.” — This statement without a doubt confirms the Filipino mentality when it comes to finding a source of living. Yes, on the brighter side, it may show or represent how the Filipinos are willing to do anything and everything to have money. But what Nick Joaquin probably wants us, Filipinos to do is that we should think of a realistic and achievable way for us to have money. A way wherein we would be able to suffice our everyday needs and at the same time save money.

If for example, a cigarette vendor sells P1.25 per one stick of cigarette. If let’s say that he was able to sell 100 sticks for the day. His income for the day would only be P125.00. This is just enough for a man without a family to support. But what if this cigarette vendor has a wife and has 3 children? How will he be able to meet the needs of his family and at the same time save money? Impossible! This man would most likely still be a cigarette vendor after ten years.
We see, this kind of mentality of being too laidback is the reason why we are still suffering from slow economic growth for a long time. Even those in our government have been so lax thus, nothing is happening to our economy.
It was also mentioned in the essay that the Filipino’s day starts at six or seven in the morning and ends up sometimes late. Unlike other countries whose day would start at around nine or ten in the morning and ends at exactly 5 pm. But despite this difference, they still “pile up more mileage than we who work all day and all week”. This is one of the mind-bugling realities of the Filipino Life. What do we really do when we are at work? Are we really that productive? Or are we just pretending to work just because of the salary at stake?
Next is the Filipino’s NINGAS-KUGON mentality. We are “used only to the small effort, we are not, as a result, capable of sustained effort and lose momentum fast”. The Filipino people are very much eager to work just for the first couple of months, first couple of weeks or even for just the first couple of days. We lack the willingness to prolong our level of zealousness to work. The reason behind that is we are so impatient. We always want an easy way to everything. Which, I guess is such a lame reason for us to work.
We should always develop a vision of the future and continuously strive to attain it. Isn’t it that most employees transfer from one firm to the other? There most common reason would be that they are not happy with their work. But the question is, when are they going to be happy with their work? IF they are already old and the firms are the ones who throws them out for the business needs younger ones?
Our love for our culture and tradition hold us back hence, hindering us from further development. “One could go on and on with his litany” — This means that it is the people’s choice whether they want us to grow our not. We often make the past colonization of our country as an excuse that we were greatly influenced by foreign ideas that is why we have difficulty in moving on and reaching for modernization. But since we know this dilemma, why won’t we figure out a way to unlock the chains of colonization that has been hampering our maturity as a nation?
Filipinos talk too much that they forget that they have a lot of catching up to do. They are too busy boasting about things that would not contribute to any aspect of the society. If we talk less and work more, then I guess that will make a great difference.
What is happening in our country is that instead of making extra effort to be able to be globally competitive, we think less and less because we are stopped by the thought of not actually making it. We have plenty of natural resources. All we have to do is to think creatively for us to be able to develop something that would catch the attention of the world. We all know that there are lots of Filipino people who are skillful in so many fields. What we need to do is to not stop at one invention. We should be always challenged. Never stop creating new things. We should make the world know that we can be something and not just a mere source of their raw materials.
Lastly, the thing I’d like to point out is the fact that the Philippines, despite the relatively large and growing population, always “splits like amoeba”. Instead of working hand in hand for our country, we have this crab mentality wherein we always want to pull successful people down. This, I may say is such an obvious factor why we are getting smaller and smaller. For example, in politics, we usually split into groups and continuously find a way to let others down. We don’t get anything advantageous from that. We just scare away foreign investors who, in reality are the ones who can help us in our present economic endeavor.
To sum this all up, I’d like to reiterate two things. First is that we, the Filipinos should strive for the betterment of ourselves as well as of our country and be not just contented with what we have – We all should learn to aim high. And secondly, instead of always splitting into groups, we should learn to be cooperative and work hand in hand for the development of our country. Let us avoid making excuses that a big crowd is too much to handle. Let us be optimistic. Let us put in mind that a big crowd means there would be a lot of manpower that would build up and invigorate a once sleeping nation.

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