"Now that you mentioned it, I’m quite a superstar where I work as well. But the question is this: are we really representative of the *average* Pinoy schmoe? Do you think people like us got to where we were thinking and acting like a typical Pinoy?" - Benign0 at May 24th, 2007 10:05 amThis echoes what he said to me earlier over at Ellen Tordesillas' blog:
"But do you really think that people like you and I are truly representative of the Filipino people? Just because there are a handfull of brilliant individuals does not necessarily mean that the society to which said individuals belong to is collectively brilliant.A Filipino elitist believes that he or she is somehow better than the typical Pinoy. While this observation is unremarkable in itself (to the point of being trite), this mindset when combined with a flawed understanding of Philippine society leads to all sorts of attribution errors. While everyone recognizes that we have a highly unequal society, the typical elitist somehow accepts that we live in a meritocracy, with the prosperity they enjoy owing nothing to their lucky circumstance and everything to their own or their parent's (or ancestors) hardwork. Once again, Benign0 expresses this view when he told me that:
Walk the streets of Tokyo and you will see quite a number of homeless bums. But to draw the conclusion that the Japanese are a bunch of lazy winos just because of a few homeless individuals is a fallacy.
Don’t presume to know the Pinoy masses, simply because you yourself are Pinoy." -Benigno at February 5th, 2007 6:55 am
"Unfortunately I do not see you or myself as “lucky”. We are merely the culmination of the hardwork of our ancestors and, hopefully, continuing to build upon the capital of this hardwork by working hard and smart ourselves so that our own offspring will benefit and pass on this capital to the next. Let’s not be-little what our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents achieved by considering ourselves “lucky”. - Benign0 at February 5th, 2007 1:56 pm"The Filipino elitist's view of society can therefore be represented in the form of the diagram below, with the yellow icons representing the hardworking and smart members of our society: Given this scenario, the elitist comes to the self-serving conclusion that there is nothing unjust in having resources (as depicted by the 'moneybags' in the diagram) concentrated among the smaller proportion of capable Filipinos who belong to the members of the Upper and Middle classes since these have been obtained through merit. Furthermore, since these segments represent the so-called cream, it would be advantageous to concentrate political and economic decision-making to this group. However, I doubt that the above picture matches reality since we know that our society is a long way from being a meritocracy.
Since I believe that in the Philippines one's position in life is determined to a large extent by factors other than individual merit, a more realistic picture would be the one below where the smart and hardworking segment of the population (as represented by the yellow icons) proportionally distributed across all classes: One major consequence is that our full potential for development is not realized because the capable people who belong to the masa have fewer resources to work with (again as depicted by the 'moneybags'). An important policy imperative therefore is to make available to these individuals the resources that will allow them to maximize their capabiities and maximize their contribution to our country's progress.