Crab Mentality among Filipinos
One of my Facebook friend said that crab mentality among Filipinos is already a disease. The way she said it, it seems crab mentality can no longer be cured and is highly contagious. It is quite true because based on my observation, we can notice crab mentality everywhere.
One time I made a comment in Youtube about one issue that lead some Filipino netizens to react. I was expecting they will provide further valuable insights about what I said. I have no problem with others disagreeing with my thoughts, given that everyone is entitled with their own thoughts. Suprisingly, one of those who commented, criticized my use of the English language, instead of the tackling about the issue. To be honest, my ego was touched and laid more points about the issue to help divert the flow of the discussion away from my language "deficiencies" ( Let me defend a little on this. :-) I may not be perfect in English grammar but I can say, I am above average compared to others. Hehe. Did it sound like crab mentality? Hehe.) The discussion lasted for days and I was getting irritated by it. I was about to take the situation personally to stop that person, but I just kept my calmness. For me, the clear intention was to put people down while oneself superior.
I observed some Filipinos do not like people who are too good to be true. Before appreciating someone, one notices the negative traits of that person. For example, when I was teaching for four years, people somehow noticed how I taught but some people dismissed my capacity, since I came from a small city and was relatively young. To be fair, sometimes I get annoyed by these egoistic people and when they start uttering some words, one could easily differentiate what is non-sense from which is not. Forgive me if I sound self-righteous but I am not. I just do not waste my time on people who engage themselves on trash.
There are many other situations I know a lot of Filipinos can share. Crab mentality seems to be part of the lives of Filipinos. EGO. That is reason why crab mentality exists. This is when our ego can not accept our deficiencies and insecurities that one try to find ways to cope with the feeling of anxiety as a result of it. This anxiety is turned outward by showing negativity to others. However, the question is not really about why crab mentality exist, instead why it is common among Filipinos. Is it because we Filipinos have a lot of insecurities? Quite interesting.
Imagine yourself living among 100 million Filipinos. Does this fact make you feel secure? Everywhere you go there is a constant struggle to acquire the limited resources the country has. Take as an example in job application. Just for one available paid job position, hundreds or thousands line up to get it. In different situation, being in a large crowd put an immense pressure to perform better. This creates competition among people and in turn develops the need to push oneself against others. I believe there is nothing wrong with competition as it breeds excellence and high quality. However, on the other side of the coin, excellence is only developed among few people realistically speaking, and the rest realizes the need to prove themselves further. This is the beginning of the creation of egoistic needs.
Now, dealing with crab mentality maybe very difficult as this requires one to face also its own insecurities. Being aware of our weaknesses is a way to deal with crab mentality. Perhaps in an analogy, if an epidemic has no cure, the only way to deal with it is prevention. Prevention in the context of crab mentality relates with being honest to oneself. If you can not do it, find time to be better, without engaging on negativity. Hardwork is needed to achieve this. Unfortunately, not all Filipinos are willing to show courage to be better, especially in difficult situations. For example, Filipinos working abroad find it difficult to deal with other Filipinos. Other Filipinos may gossip around several things related and unrelated to work. Worse, if the intention is for their superiors to notice it. In this situation, one should show courage doing better in work. Focus on the meat of the issue. The personal attacks will be shadowed by the your effort of making a difference in your work and yourself. Personally, I have met a lot of Filipinos who would rather waste time in gossips, rather than making an effort to improve themselves. To be honest, I pity them as their lives are stuck in the mud.
There is one aspect of crab mentality that deserves to be understood. There is a very thin line between crab mentality and being righteous. Being righteous means believing, living and deciding on things based on what is right. Being right in this case I define as good for the most number of people. If a Filipino does a crime, should another Filipino tell the police about it, given you know the crime was committed due to fact that that person needs to provide food for its family? Absolutely yes! Most of the difficult cases involves money as it is considered as the most scarce resource Filipinos need to survive. In this instance, telling the truth to stop one person from doing wrongful acts is not crab mentality. This is considered a performance of an ethical duty of stewardship. Never allow others to continue on doing wrongful acts as no one never knows what other things might result, if these actions were merely tolerated. Never be afraid in doing so, regardless of how people might react. I understand that many may not share my thoughts on this. However, I learned from the upbringing of my parents that what is right is never compromised and it should be upheld, especially when more people may benefit from the truth.
Lastly, I really do not agree crab mentality exist naturally among Filipinos. It has been a result of inevitable factors that contributed Filipino people to act that way. What we Filipinos can do now is to focus on knowing our weaknesses, acknowledging and improving them through hardwork and being cautitious of our thoughts, words and actions towards other people. If we have thought of one negative trait of others, try to find two other positive traits that person has. If the positive traits overshadow the negative trait, keep ourselves from highlighting negativity. However, even if we have found many positive traits and we have determine that the negative trait may cause extreme damage to others and the person, we should exercise prudence in stopping the person in engaging these acts, whatever actions it take to rectify it.