"You know, it's only when a tree is laden with fruit that stones are thrown at it,"  I was once told.

I have just had a conversation with a friend (friend 1)  and I was told that another  friend (friend number 3)  has told a yet another friend (friend number 2) who told friend number 1 that I allegedly told friend number 3  that I did not want to attend an annual community dinner ball because it was not 'classy'.

I frowned at the allegation of me making a statement that inferred arrogance.  I am not 'class'-conscious nor am I fond of the word.   That I said such statement was a total lie.  I was irked by the fabrication.  I was insulted by the inanity of a statement attributed to me. "Did friend number 2 really make that claim to you?"  I asked friend number 1.  She nodded.  I picked up my phone and announced that I'd better call friend number 3 and clarify that I  never made the alleged statement to her  and could she please correct that with friend number 2.   Friend number 1 got frantic.  "No, no, please!" she said.

I looked at her and weighed what to do.  I knew that she was not lying and  that she did not mean to provoke a reaction from me.  I knew,too that friend number 3 would not say what friend number 2 had claimed.  I knew that friend number 2 had had history of fabricating stories.  I was well aware, too, that friend 2 would get people listen to her tales by inviting them to her place for meals. Several times,  I was quoted at statements  I never said.  And on tracing the source of allegation, this always led to friend number 2. And always, such statements that I have been alleged as saying were always worded out to denigrate and provoke. They always had the obvious intent to smear me or pull me down.   I never figured out why she had an ax to grind with me apart from sourgrapes.  It could only have been sourgrapes.  And it would have been from a few years back when I supported another friend on her appointment for an official posting.  I had not known then that friend number 2 had been aspiring for that same position that this other friend had been awarded with. I guess friend number 2 did not like my support for this other friend. She did not like it that I had other friends  who I regard with the same  importance and respect that I give others.  I guess she did not like it that she's not treated as more important than others.

Oh well...

I weighed the matter at hand.  If I made the phone call and clarify the issue, friend1 will find herself on the spot. Friend 3 will have to confront friend 2.  Anything can emerge or can flare up from the confrontation.  Was I okay with that?  Again, I looked at friend 1.  I just had to trust her to believe me.  Trust, afterall, is the bedrock of friendship.  Without which,  a relationship wouldn't be worth calling friendship.

I decided to not pursue it.  Yes, there are worthier things to be concerned about...

I've heard of its other  names.  Tall poppy syndrome.  Crab mentality.  A search on google said, each of these phrases have for their synonym the word ' begrudgery'.  It's a mixture of  resentment and self pity  married to the evil eye.  You can sense it as a not so subtle sneer or as an expressed  sharp snap of disinterest from someone with an  ego-centric  heart.  You may find it recklessly expressed in an agitated tone of disbelief, or a statement in the guise of  sympathetic concern to state an uncalled for or unnecessary information that degrades, humiliates or makes less of the person.  Begrudgery, is nasty.  It is a hurtful weapon used by  one whose heart  is cut out of self-dislike and propped by shame at  inherent inferiority complex.

I came across interesting article in relation to what I've just been saying.  Check it out:


Culture? One definition from Google Search is:  "...the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society."
It's a simple definition that skims the surface. But perhaps it's enough to go by in understanding that by their culture, indigenous or ethnic minority groups embrace a sense of naivete and simplicity imbued with purity.

And it's a shame that in today's world, many indigenous people  are down-trodden. They are often regarded as belonging to the lower rungs of the social  ladder or are expected to be in the fringes of humanity and are often projected in derogatory images  along the peripheries of the urban community.  They are underestimnated as a social entity so much so that their trusting nature towards fellow human beings  are used and abused by the wily and the predatory. 

Despite the progress in education and culture of the millenium in the modernized Filipino society, there is a marked gap  between the ethnic minorities and the urban dwellers.  Prejudice and social apartheid is also still  apparent, just as somehow, the sophistication of a big section of the world's humanity remains superficial.  The fundamental and  primal emotional quotient  needs yet to  metamorphose and evolve.  A basic sense of conscience has to emerge.  Bar that and man is a savage in modern man's clothing.

Indigenous peoples and those from the remote areas used to be looked down upon in the Philippines. Many held pre-conceived wrong images and ideas about the tribal groups. They were unfairly pre-judged and categorized. They were accorded negative impressions. They were called ginger feet. Or ball-bet legs. Some regard them as less than human. Even amongst the schooled, they were judged as ‘inferior’ by their own ‘kalahi’.

This was based on no other reason than the fact that they come from the mountains or that they hail from remote and isolated areas. It was a general consensus among lowlanders and urbanites that the ethnic minority groups were of lesser status than the general population.

And it was born of ignorance, of course. (Today, looking back, it appeared that the attitudes of minimization and discrimination were a refocusing of the bigot’s inferiority complex away from himself into disliking others of his kind.) It was not until the advent of millennial globalization that this cultural discrimination changed a bit. Globalization became an equalizing factor amongst nationalities which were infected with cultural apartheid.

And then Filipinos going overseas who found themselves amongst other nationalities started impressing to others their own notion of what Filipino cultural identity is.

I bristle at what I see and hear most of the time. I bristle at the falsity of notions and pretentious actions. I shirk at their blatant bludging of the government system or the commonplace application of: ‘kung makaisa,’di mang-isa ka’. The attitude - “get away with murder if you can, because you’re a fool if you don’t” is shamelessly accepted as a ‘given’ amongst many Filipinos overseas. It translates to a very low social conscience.

Yet most people, are oblivious to the fact that to other cultural groups, it’s their individual character that trait defines the nationality of which they claim of belonging. They tend to be unaware that respect for their cultural identity is NEVER merited by a BMW or Mercedes Benz. Not  a posh and gaudily interiored house.   Not flashy jewelery,  trendy blings,nor designer clothes.   And  much less, factory-line  noselifts and surgical superficial enhancements.

But tell that to the urban bred.  Tell that to those with core- inferiority complex.

There won't be comprehension about it nor acceptance that the  Filipino core's essence cannot be found amongst the urban bred whose culture and breeding are remnants of a long discarded past.

The Filipino essence is not in the Mestiza Dress, Balintawak or the Barong Tagalog that have not stopped getting bastardized in the name of fashion style. The Filipino essence is not in the fanatic adoration of religious icons with western facial features nor is it in hypocritical generosity and kindness that are extended on a quid pro quo for the beneficiary’s lifetime of ‘gratitude of indebtedness’.

The true Filipino essence is not in the fatal obsession for material wealth that it warrants the trade-off of one’s humanity for it. The true Filipino essence is in the joy and content of being who we are – members of humanity born in the east, of a different culture no less noble than another.

The true Filipino essence is in being grateful for one’s personhood in the presence of anyone, whether they are from the east, west, north or south. The true essence of being a Filipino is in our comfortable acceptance of ourselves; in our gratitude for life expressed in the integrity of character we abide by; in the strength of our conscience for equality and justice and the courage with which we uphold and defend it.

The indigenous peoples live these tenets simply and live them by heart. And the urban bred who discard their genuine selves in favour for colonial ways bastardize themselves and