Tayo’y mga Pinoy, tayo’y hindi Kano; wag kang mahihiya kung ang ilong mo ay pango. – Francis M.
We are Filipinos, we are not American; do not be shy because you have a flat nose. (literal translation)
This post has been on my mind for quite some time now, however, I could not think of some way to give justice to this ongoing problem. Finally, after speaking to a cousin of mine back in the Philippines, I just had to write about this and express my opinion, which I have been keeping with me for a very long time.
Southeast Asia consists of many islands, archipelagos, and small countries that always try to keep their country “world-class”. Having lived there for half of my life, I understand the reasons why; the constant power that Western civilization emits upon the world causes an abundance of pressure on these countries. As always, we all desire to be our very best; after all, the most fit within our society has a higher chance of surviving (according to Charles Darwin).
As I was saying, the pressure of being perfect and “world-class” has been blown out of proportion within the Philippines. I understand that throughout history, Filipinos have always been downgraded and demeaned due to our supposedly flat-nosed, farmer-infested, short and stout hoo-ha of a country.
What generalizations to have about our own people.
The unfortunate ideology has been imprinted upon Filipinos for so long that we ourselves believe it. This unhealthy thinking has been causing a downward spiral in the Philippines for many years now, and I believe this is exactly why the majority of society admires celebrities over authoritative figures, such as Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. To make matters worse, because of the failing education and economic system, there are more bystanders on the streets that watch t.v. shows that infiltrate their minds with people who seem to look perfect. These celebrities, little do they know, are often airbrushed and go through many procedures to add nose bridges, whiten their skin (which is, by the way, a feature that is ubiquitously praised within Asian countries), and hell, even wear six-inch heels everyday just to max out at a perfect height of 5’6”. And of course, if you’re poor and you have nothing else going for you, what else is there to do?
Try to be perfect yourself.
But wait.. what happens to the college graduates that kicked butt in their schools, got 4.3 GPAs, participated in volunteering events, and played sports but did not graduate from Ivy League-like schools such as Ateneo de Manila, CEU, or La Salle? Well, they get sent back to their mom’s house and stay unemployed for about three years due to the fact that the major companies in the Philippines only hire specific uni graduates.
Oh, and if the racism against schools was not enough, within these uni graduates, there are even more requirements. Most of them are basic: one must be fluent in both English and Tagalog, one must wear stockings to work, one must be 5’3” and over, one must be presentable at all times, etc..
Wait.. 5’3” and over? Yes. Some (or most) of the companies in the Philippines solely base their interviews with one’s height. Ridiculous? I think so too. A simple and short interview depends upon one’s genetic development? Seriously.
Now, I understand that companies do not want their businesses to follow suit to the Philippines’ yo-yo economic status, and this starts with suitable employees. Being eye-candy does not hurt either. But we should ask ourselves, greed and power aside, what happens to the people that we reject? They go back to being unemployed, or they find jobs in other countries (which is unfortunately concurrent throughout the entire country). What if these drastic unemployment rates worsen in the following years, the education system is shot, and there are no more suitable candidates? What happens then?
I guess what I have been trying to say throughout this article is that we should not base one’s capabilities and intelligence with one’s height. There are plenty of other ways to better our companies and share our ideas with the world. We must not be in a rush to be a top contender in the world because in this process, we trample down our own people. In this process, we show the world how we treat our country. We must change our own ideologies in order to thrive again.
We must start to set aside our prejudices in order to better our economic status. We should put away our predispositions in a box and show the world, and ourselves, the reason we are proud to be Pinoy.