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"Proud to be Filipino." "Proud to be Pinoy." "Proud to be Pinay." If I see one more of these slogans proclaiming Filipino pride, I'm going to need to go to the dentist following all of the teeth grinding it causes me to do.  This is an on-going campaign by both well-meaning individuals as well as others who are cashing in on the marketability of this seemingly harmless slogan.

Well it's not harmless, at least to someone with any self-respect and sense of personal pride.  One thing I'm very good at doing is being able to figuratively look through the eyes of other people.  I ask myself why are all of the Filipino-Chinese who live here not wearing shirts that say "Proud to be Chinese", "Proud to be Chinito/Chinita," etc?  The Chinese who live here are highly educated and many are successful.  What's there not to be proud of and keep it to yourself?  The Chinese know what it means to be humble.  How come Americans only wear shirts that speak of their pride after they're involved, as a nation, in controversial politics like wars?  During times of peace, Americans have very little for which to be ashamed.  Again like the Chinese, humility is a principle of the Golden Rule.

After taking these things into consideration and dwelling on it for the last few weeks, the conclusion is the same as my initial thought:  The people who support this "proud to be" campaign secretly consider us to be a nation of losers or one of low self-esteem, or at least they hold that belief to reflect themselves.  They expect us to disregard our self-respect and abandon our humility to wear their self-serving slogans.

I, for one, am proud to be Pinay in the same way that any good citizen should show patriotism.  But the difference in my stance is that I show it by my actions and not my words.  I won't wear the shirts, and I'll even tell others I see wearing them to throw them away.  By wearing them, you're telling intelligent individuals such as salesmen, bosses, or people that you might be trying to impress that you are indeed a pushover with low self-esteem.

Be proud by being your own person and be the best you can be.  Be proud by working with your fellow men and women in your office.  Be proud by getting along with your family and helping your neighbors.  Don't be part of our "damaged culture" who excuses bad behavior and corruption if you see it being carried out by your closest friends or relatives. When you do that, you are only bringing shame upon yourself and your shirt is a transparent bandage.

Once our nation has joined our surrounding nations and gained the status of Asian "tiger", it will be at that point that we can wear the slogan, yet humility will keep us from doing so. Our actions, fueled by pride, will have paved the way.

May 17th, 2005

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