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Sitting here inside information central, and with the television news always on behind me, it’s not hard to stay informed – in just about anything. As I scan the web with Google and Bing, from facebook to news sites, one thing seems to permeate the headlines with more consistency everyday. Well…okay, two. The economy and the continued decline of America (freedoms, morals, ethics, bigotry, racism, mass murders, flash thieving, standards of living…pick any category). The demise of America is not a topic of discussion that is endeared these days, and it’s downright depressing to many that know it’s all too true. It’s becoming a hot button topic for many a debate at just about every level of society. Just ask anyone and nearly all will agree that America is in decline…but they will also be the first to state that it’s not their fault! It’s becoming almost customary to point the finger at just about anybody these days. Don’t believe it?….just Google “American Demise“and you should expect to see about 22,400,000 search results. Nope…that’s not a typo…it’s 22 million! When a single topic provides that much conversation and exchange, it’s not just silly banter. It should be considered serious.
Today I came across a video where a group of people were arrested while visiting the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. The reason: a visitor wearing headphones was moving to his grove – and while he was getting into the music, he was approached and harassed by the Park Police. When his group as a whole was given a warning not to “dance or demonstrate”, they all began dancing and the result was several arrests and the monument being locked down. People with video recorders were asked to leave. I don’t know if these people were antagonists and I’m no expert on the freedoms of expression (dancing in public), but this seemed over the top by the Park Police. They could have simply escorted them out. Watch the Video.
Yesterday, another video went viral about this young 18 year old girl who, at her bond hearing for possession of drugs, disrespected the Judge and the court and subsequently had her bond increased, and then was further cited for criminal contempt (for flipping the judge off) and given 30 days in jail. The attitude and strange personal behaviors being displayed here – are a more serious issue than that in the first example where it was just a bad decision made by authorities (IMO) – are becoming more commonplace and problematic today. Never in my life would I ever show this kind of disrespect to the court, or a judge, especially if I was guilty! Call it dumb, ignorant or stupid – they all fit. Watch the Video.
The point I’m attempting to make here in summary is that more and more people are making really dumb decisions as they go about their daily lives. And society just rolls with the punches with seemingly no repercussions. There doesn’t seem to be anybody willing to be held accountable for anything – on the personal level or government level. While these declines in behavior in general seem ever more prevalent in the western and European societies, they don’t seem to dominate the news cycles in the Philippines. I’m not saying that these problems don’t exist in the Philippines, but whenever I visit the Philippines, I don’t see this level of in-your-face disrespect given to elders, strangers, authorities, institutions, etc. It’s the bad attitudes and personal disrespects that bother me the most. While I know that everything from immorality to violent crime exists everywhere, these incidences per capita in the Philippines are very low. When one arrives in the Philippines for the first time, cultural differences are very noticeable, and know this – it’s genuine. In a society where 95% of the people are Catholic, the culture is a reflection of it’s complex history, with a blend of the Malayo-Polynesian and Hispanic cultures, and influence from the Chinese.
The following concepts are very important in Filipino culture (Kulturang Pilipino):
- Trust in God
- Being respectful, especially to older people
- Perseverance, forbearance
- Debt of gratitude
- Showing compassion and sympathy
- Helping neighbors
- Community Spirit
- Getting along
- Word of honor
It’s funny but when most westerners and Europeans look at these elements, they seem to all agree that they hold some significance to them, either individually or as a whole. We will each think to ourselves, “…yes, that’s how it was when I was growing up…or, that’s how I was raised…or, that’s what I believe in!” Well? The big question is who is to blame for the evaporation and disappearance of all these values we hold so true?
When I am there, I appreciate the respect and admiration shown to me by my wife’s family, whether it be immediate family, or even the distant relatives. The respect and admiration I see shared at all levels of the family hierarchy and in society provides me with a good feeling, to include a certain warmth and acceptance. The feelings and the respect given me are mutual and the respect I have for Philippine society and culture are genuine. Choosing to move to and live in the Philippines is more than just some wild decision based upon the cost of living and nice beaches. For many of those that come to the Philippines to live, it’s the return to all the basic principles that is the real motive. It’s also about having and sharing in this deep respect for culture. Honesty, integrity, and respect are all results of adhering to time honored cultural values and practices, and mean so much more to those enjoying their Golden Years. There is so much more to understand about Philippine culture so I encourage anyone that is interested in visiting or living in the Philippines, or meeting and marrying a Filipina, to do the research and do the homework. It can be complicated – yet so simple. But you must be sure that what you seek is a simple life and the peace of mind of living in a culturally minded world.
When I was little, I stayed glued to movies with Audie Murphey, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, and Gene Autry, and watched all the old western shows like Gunsmoke, Have Gun, will Travel, Maverick, Big Valley, Wild Bill Hickok, and who could forget The Lone Ranger! I always wished I could turn back the clock and thought it would be so cool to return to the days of the wild, wild, west. Bank robbers, train robbers, and good guys in the white hats. All the cattle and horse roundups you could swing a lasso at. The campfires and chuckwagons, all the fancy shootin’ and gun slinging, the circling of the wagons and all the adventures of cowboys fighting Indians. All that buckaroo stuff! Well, I’m learning that one must be careful what they wish for. As life goes on in N. America and the western world, the cultures are changing…quickly. This time though, as I think about turning back the clock, it will be in my favor. I’ve grown up to realize that I no longer hold the desire to go back to the wild,wild, west. What I really want is peace, love, and serenity…oh yeah, and I’ll take my simple freedoms back.