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Jun 02nd
Home Columns A Voice From America Comparing the Japanese, Filipino and American Peoples (While Doing ‘Nothing’ in Japan and in RP)
Comparing the Japanese, Filipino and American Peoples (While Doing ‘Nothing’ in Japan and in RP) PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Voice From America
Tuesday, 18 December 2007 16:00

Have you ever profited for doing “nothing”? My recent three-week vacation to Japan and the Philippines has proven that it is indeed possible to do so. Although I have not done any business activity or my gardening or my reading hobbies, I felt that I profited much from this annual break from my work and daily routine. I coasted leisurely along the day’s activities and wrote some thoughts in my daily journal.


(Editor’s Note: We are proud to announce that Ernie Delfin will revive this column that used to see print in the Philippine Star, under the leadership of then Max V. Soliven. Mr. Soliven always wanted Mr. Delfin to write his column for his newspaper. After Mr. Soliven died in Japan, the new Philippine Star bosses discontinued Mr. Delfin’s column. Well, this web site is proud to invite Mr. Delfin to transfer his column to our publication. Mr. Delfin, a CPA and mortgage banker, is the immediate past president of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County. He is also the highest-ranked Filipino-American officer of the Rotary Clubs in Orange County, He works also for many other causes and concerns. The Philippine Star did not also put Mr. Delfin’s columns in its online archive. Our site will republish all of Mr. Delfin’s columns, as updated.)


In Japan, staying with our Rotarian hosts and talking daily with many of them for ten days has expanded my knowledge about another culture and lifestyle  that is quite different than my Filipino and American cultures. The Japanese culture is a silent but proud culture making the Japanese people more formal and disciplined people compared to the Americans and Filipinos. America is a more welcoming and more open nation as Japan is more restrictive while the Philippines seems not know which way to go. (However, since 9-11-01, the United States is really tightening her borders.) Many Filipinos, mainly contract workers especially in manufacturing, hotels or in the entertainment professions, called Japayukis, now reside in Japan as transients but the majority of them cannot become permanent residents or  citizens of Japan unless they marry a Japanese citizen, unlike we Filipino nationals in the United States.

It is also quite evident that in  many Japanese towns and cities they do not  “istambay,” the lazy habit of many Filipinos congregating in front of stores just talking, yakking and gossiping for lack of real work or better things to do. The Japanese are apparently more industrious people compared to the Filipinos as a nation. The former are like ants while the latter are like butterflies; the former love to work, the latter prefer to talk and have fun. This national phenomenon explains that despite the Herculean tasks that the Japanese people have to overcome to rehabilitate their nation after their massive defeat during World War II. Now, the Japanese people have dramatically recovered  while  the Filipinos are still discussing and searching how to solve their widespread  poverty that has been aggravated by the country’s teeming population of about 85-million people.

Filipinos are not as united a people like the Japanese or the Americans.

Since high school, I learned and still vividly remember that the two main factors that determine the progress of any nation are its people and the land.  Having been in America for over a quarter of a century now and having visited several countries the last twenty years, I can objectively now see the profound  differences why the Philippines did not progress as it should have like Japan and America.  Although the PhilippinesPhilippines were really a nation. possesses a lot of natural resources and fertile land, our people are indolent people, as observed by Jose P. Rizal over hundred years ago. Coupled with that national trait, our people are not disciplined to work collectively for nation building. As many provinces or islands are semi-independent from each other, our people also exhibit selfish regional tendencies. We are not as united people like the Japanese or the Americans. Some writers even questioned if the

The making of a great nation has not been the top mission or vision of many of our past Filipino leaders. It started when the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth, Manuel L. Quezon, said: “I prefer a government run like hell by Filipinos to a government run like heaven by Americans.”  Although many Presidents after MLQ  tried to make the “Philippines Great Again” they failed because of lack of vision and as energies were spent or invested towards the perpetuation of their political dynasties and/or increasing their  family wealth.  Most wealthy families in the Philippines, unlike in America, often go into politics to protect their economic or business interests. Political campaigns and vote buying are capital expenditures that can yield hefty dividends once the candidate is elected into office.  Politicians although they might be not be as rich before the election soon  become filthy  rich once they are in  office.  To add insult to injury, they are even idolized by the masa as “magaling” and smart politician.  There seems no more moral outrage as in past when old fashioned “palabra de honor” and “delicadeza” (propriety) were a way of life!

The Philippine political system is embarrassingly flawed and it is a vicious circle since we were given independence by the Americans prematurely.  (Whether we are really “independent” is another column!)  In America or in Japan, politicians are not normally expected to get wealthy.  Many multimillionaires in the private sector almost always make less money when they enter the government service, which is the exact opposite of many people in Philippine public offices.

Leaders are supposed to be like eagles and they don’t go where the turkeys are.

Speaking about “delicadeza,” the mayor of our neighboring city of Huntington Beach, California, Dave Garofalo, was forced to resign just for supposedly not abstaining from voting in a city contract granting some advertising money (not even $30,000) to his community newspaper paper and also supposedly receiving some preferential “treatment” without much waiting in the legal purchase of his home from a private developer!

The Bible says that people who have no vision shall perish. I believe that in  the  last thirty or fifty years, the Philippines never had  REAL visionary and selfless leaders in the caliber of Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Golda Emir, Gandhi,  Margaret Thatcher or  even John Fitzgerald Kennedy to lead our country to greater heights. These leaders were not only visionary, charismatic but also decisive in many of their bold decisions that were done without gauging whether their decisions would be popular or not. Weak leaders of many countries, past or present apparently make some of their decisions based on “social weather” surveys!

Leaders are supposed to be like eagles, they don’t go where the turkeys (robbers, hold uppers or rapists are captured or presented) are but they soar high and often think and suffer alone during their serious reflections. The greatest revolutionary leader of all time always went to the mountaintop to pray, but always went down to the people to teach them how to live with honesty, integrity, humility with peace and tranquility. His name was Jesus Christ. Of course, that is too much to ask from any of our earthly leaders.

The Bible says that people who have no vision shall perish.

Philippine  Presidents from Cory Aquino to Fidel Ramos to Joseph Estrada and now Gloria Macapagal Arroyo  have become Presidents by sheer “accidents of history.” They were never tested in a battle for leadership like Eisenhower nor experienced bitter taste of defeat and sacrifice like Lincoln . Compared to many great leaders of the world, many Philippine Presidents just turned on the cruise control and whiled away their term of office managing bureaucRATS  but not really leading the Filipino people to greater heights. Poor leaders, poor followers. We can never have a strong republic with weak leaders. We will always harvest what we sow. That’s the simple law of the farm.

                                                * * * *                           

The Overseas Filipinos—particularly those in North America and in the Middle East—are still riled up even when Congress passed the Absentee Voting Bill, just on time for the 2004 presidential election. Although this right of suffrage was  already allowed in the Philippine Constitution, Congress for over l5 years procrastinated in approving and providing the mechanism to allow millions of Filipinos working overseas to vote. Although, many of these congressmen and senators, including the President, have called these hard-working and lonely overseas workers “Modern-Day Heroes and Heroines” they are still taken for granted and treated like bulls__h! The politicians just want them to be the milking cows for a bankrupt government. These politicians’ values and priorities are asinine as they are full of  crap.

What can the Overseas Filipinos do to make sure that Philippine elections are  fair-and-honest exercises of suffrage? There are many that can still be done: The Overseas Filipinos must use their hard-earned money to influence their own relatives and family to vote in an honest way. They must plead (polite way of dictating) with their families that they must never allow their votes to be bought by politicians for a few dollars worth.

If necessary,  OFs  should  also  put some money where their mouths are  by  contributing some reasonable amounts of their money to finance and hire an effective lobbying  firm to let their valid concerns heard clear and loud. Anywhere in the  world, money talks and the more, the louder. Without money allotted to advertising and lobbying, the cries and laments of the OFs will never be heard more than a few yards away. Contribute money to hire people to shout for you while you are toiling in the hot sun! Your money can provide some meals and shirts for your “representatives” to deliver your message before these Tongressmen (sic) and Sinators (sic). If there is such a ‘rent-a-crowd’ as long as they remain peaceful, then possibly “rent” thousands of them along with your relatives and friends who depend on you although you are thousands of miles away from Congress. What is good for the goose should also be good for the gander.

Materialistic people are often influenced by threatening to discontinue money remittances into their coffers  or boycotting their business establishment. There is tremendous power in consumer power if it is harnessed and utilized very well. It can also hurt the pocketbooks, the worst punishment, for some of our callous leaders who are unwilling to listen to the OF cries for equity and fair play.

Another strategy that helped the Erap impeachment process was the E-lagda or E-Mandirigma strategy where  E-mails and  texting were used to communicate the people's frustration that enough was enough. It can be done again with more sophistication with some handsomely-paid experienced  coordinators  that can be hired with money contributed by Overseas Filipinos. Money can provide the missing link . . . All OFs must cough up at least $50.00 each, multiplied by several million Overseas Filipinos and that will be sufficient to influence and chart a new political landscape in the Philippines. (This columnist can start with $100.00 contribution, just e-mail me where I should send.)

Finally, let it NEVER be said that the Overseas Filipinos belonged to the NATO (No Action, Talk Only) CLUB!  It will be a shame if we Overseas Filipinos would lose by default.

Gising Bayan, Ipaglaban ang Karapatan para sa Ating Bayan!  Are you ready to do your share? # # #


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 16:11

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