White man’s colonial mentality in the Philippines


We white people have a horrible history. Those of us who descended from Europeans have forefathers who colonized other countries, and most countries in Asia were colonized by Europeans over the last few hundred years. The Philippines had the Spanish followed by the Americans. We and our parents and grandparents generally grew up believing that this was somehow OK. We “civilized” them, and they were all so eternally grateful for this.


White men often have an inherent colonial mentality



When I was involved with *cough* a previous Filipina girl, I can remember telling my then-90-year-old grandmother about her. And she seriously responded with “Does she do little dances for you?” “Pardon??”, I responded. She proceeded to tell me about when she and her husband took a boat cruise to Fiji once, and how they would visit different islands and how the “natives” there were so pleased to see them they would do “little dances” for them. She assumed much the same from another “native”. A generally kind person, but she grew up with a sense of white-man-superiority. We were the wise ones, and they were the savages in grass skirts who needed our wisdom. Wasn’t much I could do to explain the real facts to a 90 year old, but it was creepy.

Inherent racism and superiority mentality

And you only need to scratch the surface of many a white person and you realise that much of this is still there. No slavery or “beat the servant” mentality, but a more subtle patronizing way, and a sense of being entitled to “show them the right way”. Any difference or deviation must mean they are doing it the wrong way, and it’s perfectly OK to correct them and to yell at them if necessary.

There is a video getting around at the moment of a Filipino dentist getting shouted and sworn at by an English or Scottish fellow. His staff had politely asked him to park somewhere else, because his patients needed access to his clinic. This fellow thought it was OK to give the dentist a blast. Of course he did! He was white after all! Would he have done the same thing back home? Not a chance!

Things are different here. Different priorities. Being on-time, or being highly efficient? Not as important as it tends to be back in Australia, but who is to say it should be? Look around you. Are the Filipino locals as angry as you? Probably not.

A short story…..

Had to attend court the other day. No, not being locked-up. An adoption matter actually, and I needed to be questioned on an affidavit. I arrive at the court. Our attorney tells the judge that I have a bad back (which I do), and asks if I can be questioned in the car. The judge is OK about it. So prosecutor, stenographer and attorney head out to our car in the car park.

Now, honestly, if that was a court in Sydney or Melbourne, how equally accommodating would the sour-faced woman behind the counter be to such a request? Yes, if you were an important witness and you were in a hospital bed, sure. But wouldn’t have had a hope had that just been a matter of discomfort. Here? People are kind! On-time? Always super-efficient? No. Kind? Always!

The point being that yes, things are different to “back home”. But that doesn’t make everybody wrong or slack or lazy or stupid. If you want a carbon-copy of Australia, you are in the wrong place. Stay where you are and stick with what you’re comfortable with. If you want to visit here and certainly if you wish to live in the Philippines, strongly suggest you open your eyes and open your minds, and like me you may find benefits that outweigh any losses of the things back-home that you liked. I find the kindness of Filipino people outweighs any losses.

And going around shouting at Filipino people? This is the sort of thing that could well get you deported and banned from re-entry. Persona non grata is the legal term. Because Filipino people don’t scream abuse at each other over parking spaces. Again, different priorities. Spelling names correctly or ensuring a speedy delivery service, not necessarily. But controlling tempers and foul mouths so as not to upset or scare somebody, most definitely.

If you want to visit the Philippines or if you plan to live in the Philippines, it’s up to you to change and it’s up to you to adjust. The country won’t change for you, nor should you expect it to. Do you recognize any “we know best” thinking in yourself? Best to sort that out before you come here, or you’ll end up sour and bitter all the time.





Jeff is registered migration agent who has been helping couples with visas to Australia ... Jeff is the owner / operator of Down Under Visa. If you would like to SUBSCRIBE, please click HERE.

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