The Crab Mentality of the Filipino people

Imagine a pot of live crabs being cooked in boiling water. Fighting for survival, all of them would surely try to escape. One crab could no doubt climb its way out of the pot. But this is not easy, because the other crabs beneath him would not let him escape. They will pull him down, thinking “If I can’t escape here, then you cannot too.” A few minutes later, all of them will be dead.
Such is the curse of the crab mentality.
Interestingly and unfortunately, such mentality was also shown by several Philippine politicians and prominent figures in the issue of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s recent trip to the US.
It’s as if these people wanted GMA to be bitch slapped by US President Barack Obama.
I am no GMA fan either but I won’t go as far as hoping the leader of our country will be humiliated in front of the whole world.
Biazon: Not “invited” but “summoned”
Prior to the meeting, Sen. Rodolfo Biazon said he thought Obama had not so much as “invited” Ms Arroyo as “summoned” her to explain certain issues like political killings and human rights violations in the Philippines.
Biazon even went to great lengths by predicting what the Obama-Arroyo meeting would discuss: “It’s unfriendly for a government, especially if it’s an ally, to call the chief executive of a republic and ask the chief executive to explain and be accountable on the issue of corruption, human rights violations, disappearances and political killings.”
Based on reports after the actual meeting, however, these issues were barely discussed.
Deles: US has low regard for Arroyo
Former Arroyo Cabinet member Teresita Deles also seemed to frolic in the idea that the meeting will not be good for GMA. The short notice for the visit, according to her, only shows that the US government has low regard for Arroyo.
Echoing Biazon’s statement, Deles thinks GMA is being “summoned” by the White House, that “there’s a message that the White House wants to give her, and the message would likely be negative rather than positive.”
Casino: Philippines “glorified errand boy” of the US
The US tasking the Philippines as ASEAN’s coordinating country after the meeting is, for party-list lawmaker Teddy Casiño, proof that the Philippines is a “glorified errand boy” of the US.
Similar statements came from other politicians, particularly opposition members, which seem to show they indulge in the thought that the Obama-GMA meeting was surely a big fail.
And we still wonder why the Philippines remains poor.
Curse of Crab Mentality
For every thing the administration does, expect the opposition to put a negative spin on it. Every time a leader goes out to do something, those not in the team will fervently hope it won’t be a success. How can we succeed if we always hope nothing good will come out from what our leaders are doing?
Does this mentality exist simply because they don’t like Arroyo? I don’t think so.
The culture of crab mentality seems to be deeply entrenched already in most Filipinos such that this vicious cycle will continue even if Manny Villar or Mar Roxas or Jamby Madrigal becomes president in 2010.
Think about it. If Manny Villar wins, do you think the Jamby Madrigal camp would simply shut up and pray Villar becomes a successful president? Should Noynoy Aquino win, do you think the pro-Manny Villar group would work together with Noynoy in helping him make the Philippines great again?
Which is more likely? The loser Jamby Madrigal praising Manny Villar for his vision of the Philippines or Jamby finding new dirt to throw in Villar’s face?
The crab mentality in the losers of the election will not let the winners succeed. The crab mentality in them will try to pull those in power down.
Who suffers in the end? The Filipino people, no doubt, who are slowly being cooked to death in our own pot of boiling water.
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13 thoughts on “The Crab Mentality of the Filipino people”

  1. Does the other crab really pull down the one on top?
    the crab helps one another they make a pyramid to support the one on top.I guess we really have to shift our epitome. If you focus on the negative side it will turn out to be negative. But if your always proactive it helps a lot.
    just my two fils.

  2. i beg to disagree, it’s not a crab mentality.
    because the main reason pinoy think negative of gloria is everytime she moves her finger, bad things happen, and she does it quite often that even if she does good this time, people will not believe her anymore. a classic tale of a boy who cry wolf.

  3. I have heard about this “crab mentality” and that it is peculiar to the Philippines, and frankly I think that it is all a bunch of bunk. It is a myth. Envy is uniquely Filipino? The desire to see others “brought down to size” uniquely Filipino? Hardly. There’s a German for this: schadenfreude. There was a hit Broadway song about this human trait. Why do people insist upon taking common human failings and labeling them “Filpino” or saying “only in the Philippines”?
    Frankly, I think it is part of an attempt for the powerful to stay in power. They are tying to shut us up. They are trying to stop people from complaining and pointing out their corruption and poor policies. If they are trying to convince us that complaining somehow hurts the nation and is something that shouldn’t be done.
    But complaining is exactly what should be done. We need more complaining, not less. We need more people pointing out corruption and failings, not less. We need more transparency, not less. We need more rigorous debate, not less. How are people going to become better at what they do unless they know what they are doing wrong? And the only way for people to know what they are doing wrong is for others to complain.

  4. As long as there’s vested interest, there will always be crab mentality. It will come in any shape, any form. I do beg to disagree to the person who disagreed. The point of the piece is how some people out of some vested interest, will find fault in anything and everything. We constantly complain about our leaders not doing their respective jobs. As a president, as a head of state, it is her duty to meet with another head of state. If we flap our gums and barely scratch the surface, we have no right to complain. I’m neither a supporter nor a detractor of PGMA. But I do believe that myopic, pedestrian views will not bring us anything. Sometimes I’m compelled to ask myself whether everything she truly does is wrong, or perhaps, we just have the habit of finding fault in people once we begin to believe the worst of them; barely scratching the surface. There is a way to artfully voice out dissatisfaction and detraction. It is not through disrespect. Do we honestly believe everything bad will end with PGMA’s exit? It’s like saying that all it takes to revive a garden is to uproot one rotten plant, and let the rest of the rotten plant take care of themselves. We have to come to terms with the fact that there’s something in our mentality that we have to change – nowadays, even when we want progress, we don’t act like we’re ready for it.

  5. crab mentality? how could it be when such statements come from people who are powerless. it would be crab mentality when the most powerful crab will be the one to pull down those who are powerless and weak. small crabs could never climb out of the bucket because the bigger and stronger ones will step on them even before they try to set their foot in. and lastly, such statements hurled against pgma are the results of her own misdeeds. filipinos are respectful when they are also being respected.

  6. The point here is simple. What do we do if we don’t like those in power? We overthrow them? We rally against them every time? The success of People Power I has seemingly given us the notion that we can simply go out to the streets every time we don’t like what’s going on in the government.
    If that’s the case, then there’s no way the Philippines can get out of this hell we’ve made for ourselves. This cycle will continue even if you have Noynoy Aquino or Manny Villar or Jamby Madrigal as president. What we ought to do is raise the issue if we find something wrong, but use legal means to solve it. At the same time we need to support the government in its worthwhile endeavors.
    Again, I’m neither pro-admin nor pro-opposition but I’m getting the feeling that the opposition always wants the administration to fail. That’s because they think by bringing down the admin, that’s the only way they can rise in power next time. Then when the opposition becomes the administration, the latter becomes the opposition who will also shoot down whatever the admin does.
    And we expect the country to change and develop this way? Think again.

  7. “Crab Mentality” is a behavior with how the crab or the “talangka” in their desire to climb out of the hole, they try to pull those on top in order to get ahead of the rest.
    This is the negative observation but on the positive side, try to observe those crab, you’ll notice that eventually almost all of them will be able to climb out of the hole.
    Let’s look back at our history. See the true meaning of “crab mentality” and how it helps the “Ilustrados” gain societal prominence.

  8. Perfectly stated!!! It’s about time someone actually drew attention to this, and pointed out the obvious… I guess other blogs who make such false comments, with ill-informed and basic one-liner comments are, in-effect, summing up their blog readership and the calibre of people they may attract…

  9. Thank you for some other fantastic article. Where else may just anyone have that form of information of these a great method of writing? I’ve an exhibit subsequent week, and We are on the seek out such info.


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