In 2010, I was confronted with intense personal experiences that show deep, cultural challenges within the Filipino community that I did not expect. These cultural challenges include the intense competition among Filipinos and the pervasive ‘crab mentality’ (Nadal: Filipino Psychology, 2009). Crab mentality is the desire to outdo, outshine or surpass another (often of one’s same ethnic group) at the other’s expense.
“As a familiar story goes, one can leave a basket full of crabs and not worry that a single one of them can ever climb out of it and escape the cooking pan. The moment one succeeds in pulling itself up an inch, there will be a dozen claws that will make sure it doesn’t make it to the top.” (Mejorada: The Filipino Express, 1996)
Bayanihan Foundation’s Cultural Challenges
The foundation faces several cultural challenges in its long-term goal of ‘bayanihan’ and to unify Filipinos to combat poverty and decrease out-migration.
The cultural challenges include:
- Fragmentation and distrust
- Intense competition among each other
- ‘Crab mentality’
Traditional Values To Help Cope With The Cultural Challenges
The foundation anchors its work in these traditional values to promote NEXTGEN youth leadership development, organizing and advocacy:
- ‘Tiwala’ (trust)
- ‘Kabalikat’ (interdependence, sharing responsibilities)
- ‘Pagkakaisa’ (mutuality, helping each other)
- ‘Tradisyon’ (traditional values of helping ‘bayanihan’)
So for the rest of 2011, the foundation revises its work plans to include:
1) PROMOTE INTEGRATION and NEXTGEN youth leadership development
2) CONDUCT PUBLIC EDUCATION AND OUTREACH for the clean up of toxic wastes in former US military installations in Clark and Subic and the lack of recognition of over 50,000 Amerasians left behind in the Philippines
3) ADVOCATE for other social issues affecting Filipinos in the US and abroad through strategic partnerships and linkage agreements.
Please read the foundation’s revised case statement for more details.