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Why are we Poor? (Why are we Happy?)

Prosperity · 14 · 2209

Prosperity

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on: Jan 16, 2014, 11:25 AM
Featured Article (This article is also published in PhilStar.com.)

An enormous 55% of Filipinos consider themselves poor! That is according to the SWS survey conducted in the last quarter of 2013. However, based on the 2012 poverty statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board, which examined various monetary and non-monetary measures of poverty in the country, only 19.7% were poor. Before we conclude that there was a dramatic increase in poverty, we should highlight the main difference in the surveys. The former (55%) was a self-assessment while the latter (19.7%) was based on monetary and non-monetary measures.
 I am not going to delve on the accuracy of the measures of poverty but I wish to discuss a very fundamental truth about poverty. Poverty is a mindset. It is not so much about not having food, clothing and shelter but a debilitating hopelessness to improve one’s financial condition. And I find it alarming that more than half of our countrymen are in this situation because I know how powerful the mind is: Whether you think you can or you cannot, you are right!
 A lot of people have given their opinions on what our government is doing wrong left and right so I will just focus on my observations about our culture that propagates this poverty mindset. It is noteworthy that even if some of these attributes are positive at the outset, they could also bring about propagation of poverty.
 
1. Generally speaking, Filipinos are meek and humble. It’s always good to be humble but the problem is when we overdo the meekness. The typical Pinoy will not assert his convictions and goals. Among the things I always hear are “Hindi ko naman pinapangarap na maging mayaman…”  (“I do not dream of being rich…” or “Hindi ako yayaman kasi…”  (“I will never be rich because…”) Boom! In trying to be humble he already sentenced his financial journey a failure. Come on, are there people who honestly don’t want to be rich? This could also be a way of shielding oneself from failing. If you announce that you want to be rich and not make it, the embarrassment might be too much to bear. But always remember the counsel of wise men: The real danger is not in setting your goal too high and not attaining it, but in setting it too low and attaining it!

2. A lot of Filipinos have not come to terms with their real relationship with money. They are still affected by some negative thoughts about money, which they heard growing up like money is the root of all evil and the distorted notion of romanticizing poverty. Jesus said love the poor but not poverty, because poverty can be ugly. It attacks the hungry and desperate and oftentimes forces them to do evil.
 
3. Filipinos love the drama of miracles. I’m a Catholic but I have a problem with fanatic devotions that bring unnecessary harm. Last January 9 was the Feast of the Black Nazarene and as usual a mammoth crowd of devotees flocked to Quiapo to have a glimpse and touch the image in the hope of a miracle happening to one's life. More than 1,600 casualties occurred but somehow I don’t see anyone being held responsible for this. Compare that to a rally that would result in that number of casualties. It’s as if no one dares to question this practice that brings about harm year in and year out. Why do the devotees have to do that on that particular day even if it’s risky? They have 364 more days to do that in a more solemn manner because the image is just in Quiapo church. Ah, because it’s only on that day that the miracle will happen! The truth is miracles happen everyday. And the good and reliable ones are those that are disguised in everyday opportunities to improve our lives. It’s in getting up early in the morning and doing your work with joy, in helping and loving others in the most ordinary way. It’s no different from buying lotto tickets and joining noontime shows to win cash prizes, when one can work to earn a living everyday and religiously save and invest his earnings for a bright future.
 
4. Family love and support. I am a grateful recipient of family love and support and this is one of the reasons why I will always choose to live here. However, this Filipino family love and devotion has also brought about overdependence of some members on the earning ones. The OFW plight is not only working away from home and loved ones but the burden of being the family (and sometimes barangay) alkansya or ATM! They feel obliged to provide for their other family members indefinitely to show family love and support, making it hard for them to prepare for their own retirement. If kept unchecked, this becomes a vicious cycle of poverty in the family.
 
5. The Haciendero/Kasama Relationship. We have not outgrown feudalism. Even those who have not experienced being a tenant or haciendero somehow observe this relationship. This is very predominant in the way mayors and other elected officials treat their constituents. I guess this is the reason why the poor don’t really care about the corruption and abuse of power of their leaders. As long as they get their free hospitalization, abuloy sa patay and free birthday cake (supplied by the bakeshop of the mayor’s relative), it’s okay. In your own household, your domestic helpers are always asking for vale (salary in advance) because they fail to save from their earnings. Before you know it, debts have piled up and the helper feels hopeless about ever attaining financial freedom. And this is the same with credit card and other forms of debts. I am proud to say that my Ates at home have saved up for their Emergency Funds and continue to invest for their retirement. This did not come easy. A lot of explanations, assurances, mindset shifts had to be made. Recently, they encountered some emergencies and they were quite proud to have weathered those not by asking for a loan but by using their emergency funds. They felt empowered.
 
6. Family size. They say having a big family is a source of more love and support. However, if you look closely this does not come automatically with size but has to come hand in hand with the parents’ capabilities to raise their children well. The poor have bigger families in general and their number of children is oftentimes unaffordable to them. This is sad because Filipino parents are probably among the most devoted, but what happens when they beget children they can’t afford to raise? They make them their “investment” in the sense that they expect their young children to work for them, dropping out of school just to help put food on the table. This is unfair. I long for the day when Filipino parents (especially mothers) will take control of the number of children they plan to have.
 
7. Education. We need to improve the quality of our public education and make sure that the drop out rate, at least up to high school, approaches zero. Why? Because if one is illiterate the chances of being poor is 99.99%! What more, as long as our population is predominantly undereducated, votes will continue to be for sale. Electing corrupt vote buyers to office perpetuate national poverty.
 
8. Dignity. When I interviewed Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga I remember that my biggest take away on the success of GK was restoring the dignity of the poor. It is when you have a decent place to live in, that you will remember how valuable you are as a person, capable of earning a decent living, drastically reducing the crime rate in the community. This should be a big motivator to eradicate squatting in our country. We have to get rid of that “puede na/patche-patche mentality.” When we were in Hong Kong recently, my sons were saddened to see domestic helpers sitting on old, some even tattered, cardboards on their day-off near the IFC Mall. Some can argue for them that it’s because they would rather remit the cash to their families back home than buy decent picnic mats for their weekly use. We should remember that there is great value in taking care of your appearance. If you dress up and act like a mendicant, others will definitely treat you like one.
 
9. The crab mentality. Inability to be happy for the success of others says a lot about you. Again, this is a mindset matter. If your mindset is that the world is not abundant then someone’s gain is your loss. But the reality is the world is abundant. Someone’s success story can actually be your inspiration and aid in your own success!
 You may have other factors you want to add to my list. As I wrote down these nine items, I wondered, “How can a country, whose people consider themselves poor, be ranked among the happiest in the world?” Maybe we ought to be angry about our situation to compel ourselves into action.  And once our plan is set, let’s get back our happy disposition in carrying out our steps to a brighter future. Happiness is also a mindset. If we all understand that poverty is a mindset and do something about it, then that 55% will eventually be reversed!


regor

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Reply #1 on: Jan 16, 2014, 12:59 PM
Mindset and a choice on what you would became to be, but in general situation if things happen like every people have their good mindset towards brighter future then, time to comes wala nang gustong maging worker wala ng gustong mag pulis at sundalo na kung saan they risk their own lives not only money for the benefits of other para lang sa kakarampot na sahod o di kaya maging empleyado ng kahit anong companya lahat gusto nalang mag business or maging investor then ano kaya ang mangyayari? kaya hindi talaga mangyayari ito kahit saan tau titingin andyan pa din ang mga taong alipin un nga lang may ibat-ibang uri ng alipin, may pinakaalipin, may semi alipin at may sosyal na alipin pero bottom line alipin pa din hanggang nakikipagpalitan ka between ur time and money.

So in summary,

" WALANG MAGING SUCCESSFUL KUNG WALANG NAGSASAKRIPISYO PARA SA TAGUMPAY NG IBA" dahil succesful people use other people as a bridge to their success.

Kaya nga it's a matter of choice. kaya hindi din natin masisisi ang iba. :fight1:

« Last Edit: Jan 16, 2014, 01:06 PM by regor »


mxherr5

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Reply #2 on: Jan 16, 2014, 01:22 PM
Mindset and a choice on what you would became to be, but in general situation if things happen like every people have their good mindset towards brighter future then, time to comes wala nang gustong maging worker wala ng gustong mag pulis at sundalo na kung saan they risk their own lives not only money for the benefits of other para lang sa kakarampot na sahod o di kaya maging empleyado ng kahit anong companya lahat gusto nalang mag business or maging investor then ano kaya ang mangyayari? kaya hindi talaga mangyayari ito kahit saan tau titingin andyan pa din ang mga taong alipin un nga lang may ibat-ibang uri ng alipin, may pinakaalipin, may semi alipin at may sosyal na alipin pero bottom line alipin pa din hanggang nakikipagpalitan ka between ur time and money.

So in summary,

" WALANG MAGING SUCCESSFUL KUNG WALANG NAGSASAKRIPISYO PARA SA TAGUMPAY NG IBA" dahil succesful people use other people as a bridge to their success.

Kaya nga it's a matter of choice. kaya hindi din natin masisisi ang iba. :fight1:


Wow that's one f**cked up point of view you got there.

So you're saying to be successful one has to be an entreprenuer
(i.e. not an employee/slave)?

Well, I like to think of myself as a successful slave then.
I have a home with all the amenities and comforts of modern living,
I don't get hungry, etc.

And if I start to dislike how my "master" treats me then I can
always go look for a better master! haha because I'm a talented slave :p
« Last Edit: Jan 16, 2014, 01:24 PM by mxherr5 »


regor

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Reply #3 on: Jan 16, 2014, 01:30 PM
Wow that's one f**cked up point of view you got there.

So you're saying to be successful one has to be an entreprenuer
(i.e. not an employee/slave)?

Well, I like to think of myself as a successful slave then.
I have a home with all the amenities and comforts of modern living,
I don't get hungry, etc.

And if I start to dislike how my "master" treats me then I can
always go look for a better master! haha because I'm a talented slave :p

In your case absolutely yes because Yon ang pinili mong maging ikaw.. pero I'm sure gumagamit ka din ng resources and time ng ibang tao para ma maintain mo ung comfort sa buhay mo, like sa house mo baka marami kang katulong dyan.. Pa apply naman boss kahit hardeniro lang nyahahaha.. :D
« Last Edit: Jan 16, 2014, 01:32 PM by regor »


INDO

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Reply #4 on: Jan 16, 2014, 04:30 PM
sa sobrang humble kasi nating mga pilipino, kahit may pera sasabihing wala (takot ata mautangan hihihi).

nakwento ng asawa ko yung nakalaro nyang indonesian national, tinanong nya kasi ilang taon na sila nasa abroad, sabi around 10 years na daw, sabi ni misis, meaning you're already RICH, hindi daw nag alinlangan yung indonesian na sabihin sa kanya na, YES! we are RICH.. kung pinoy naman tatanungin mong with same situation doon sa indonesian ang sagot eh, HINDI NAMAN. kaya poor parin yung pinoy (baka mataas masyado yung standard natin  :watchuthink: )

likas na masayahin talaga tayong mga pinoy, sa probinsya nga minsan nasabi sa akin na kahit na kumakain daw sila ng saging basta loving! kaya ayun dami anak  :hihi:





freefront

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Reply #5 on: Jan 17, 2014, 12:51 AM
@Prosperity- Thank you for posting this article.

#8. Tony Meloto of GK has a son-in-law who is practicing what he calls a socially responsible way of doing business. It sounded like he's running a NOT non-profit organization to me   :) They bankroll trainings, buy raw materials above the prevailing market price so the farmers/producers can have higher profit to live by or to raise the salaries of their own helpers. It blends well with the communities that they put up. For how can you sustain dignity if you don't have a means for livelihood, 'no?



mxherr5

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Reply #6 on: Jan 17, 2014, 02:31 AM
@regor, wala pa sir.. kung magka baby na cguro. wala nang choice hehe


Usman

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Reply #7 on: Jan 17, 2014, 08:39 AM
Its truly all in our mind. Since we think we're poor and just don't do anything about it, or worse just laugh it off and say that because heaven willed it that we're poor, so majority of us are poor.


Prosperity

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Reply #8 on: Jan 17, 2014, 12:31 PM
If you want to have what you've never had, then you must do what you've never done. Coz if you only do what you've always been doing, you will only have what you've always been having... :watchuthink:


bajoyjoy

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Reply #9 on: Jan 17, 2014, 01:10 PM
Like!


regor

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Reply #10 on: Jan 17, 2014, 01:19 PM
If you want to have what you've never had, then you must do what you've never done. Coz if you only do what you've always been doing, you will only have what you've always been having... :watchuthink:

Doing the same things over and over again and expect different results is insanity? ganito ba ibig sabihin nito?


bauer

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Reply #11 on: Jan 17, 2014, 01:56 PM
^ The Japanese people are an expert in 'repeated' work and they are among the biggest economies in the world.

For them, it is not insanity but a stroke of genius!  Repeatedly doing the same things with micro improvements on the same things that they do will produce profound wealth.  This is how technology and innovation is being done.

Pansinin natin,

kung ang mag tataho ay nag improve, 30 years ago, pareho pa ba ng istilo hanggang ngayon?
Kung ang kutsinta at puto ay nag improve, 30 years ago, pareho pa ba ng paghanda hanggang nagyon?

Dito lang sa atin, 30 years ago ay tricycle ang mode of transportation, ngayon meron na tayong "tri-sikad" (bisikleta na may sidecar)

Backward innovation? 


Prosperity

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Reply #12 on: Jan 17, 2014, 03:42 PM
If you "want to have what you've never had", then you must do what you've never done.
This mean ie.... Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone then to accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.


richpulubi

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Reply #13 on: Feb 22, 2014, 10:28 AM
Kung sasabihin mo na medyo may kaya ka, baka katukan ka ng B.I.R.! 



 


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