A recent Roper Report said that the Filipinos are the unhappy people in Asia. This is rather far from the truth, to say the least. Those who know the Philippines and the other countries in Asia better will find it hard to accept the Roper conclusion. The Filipinos may have certain ambivalent if not altogether negative traits, but these do not support the Roper conclusion—although this may appear true at first glance on account of the many unhappy socio-ethical elements in the political and economic circumstances taking place in the country.
Many Filipinos are poor. More and more Filipino children no longer go to school. Less and less people look with respect and admiration at their government. The country has sunk deeper in foreign debts. More and more people are not optimistic of their future as a nation. But the unhappy people in Asia, they are not.
Otherwise, how does one explain that the Philippines has the longest Christmas celebration in the world? Why is it that town fiestas are infallibly held even more than once a year in certain places? And since when have Filipinos stopped singing and laughing? And why do Filipino children continue playing, running, shouting, smiling?
Yes, the present Administration has made it more and more difficult for the citizens to earn an honest living and have a comfortable life. It is true that a good number of Filipinos would rather work if not migrate to other countries on account of their discontent with the present and emerging future of their nation. It is also true that more and more Filipinos are expressing their marked discontent with and disrespect for the national leadership.
Yet, millions of text jokes are sent all over the country, generating multi-million laughter, wedding celebrations, birthday parties, anniversary commemorations—no matter how humble—continue to be held practically everyday, the whole year round.
The Filipinos are still hospitable, and ready still to share the little they have with others. New happy songs continue to be composed and happily sung as well. Street dancing has become more. There are more local attempts at making it in the Guinness World Records just for the fun of it.
Being a happy people—this could be one of the best Filipino traits. No Roper Report could take this away.
29 March 2006