© Painting of Juan Tamad by Tam Austria
Filipinos are too familiar with the story of Juan Tamad, a fully-abled man capable of doing any kind of labor yet always chooses the easiest, laziest, and obviously the craziest path. Is Juan Tamad an accurate image of the Filipino people? Does he represent the past, present, and future generations? Or his story simply a representation of our line of thinking regarding work.
No, hindi tamad si Juan! (Filipinos aren’t Lazy)
Filipinos would do everything just to get out of poverty!
Joyce Silvestre strongly stated! Filipinos do not easily give up and will always try to find any means just to survive. When the pandemic hits last year, the majority of us resorted to online selling: Homemade goodies, pre-loved items, subscriptions, pasa-buys, and a ton more. Can we also forget the guys who were equipped only with bicycles or roller-blades yet still managed to deliver on-demand on a daily basis? And of course, those who persevere to sell on the streets under the scorching heat of the sun.
Filipinos work everyday in exchange for a measly salary
According to a recent study, Manila is one of the most expensive cities to live in and also the one with the lowest average salary. Those living and working in the capital have known this for the longest time and yet many (those who don’t have any options) choose to stay. One (1) to Two (2) hours of commuting per way is just a part of our daily struggles. Let’s also not forget the people responsible for our favorite staple food: the farmers! They plant and till the lands in exchange for an income that is just barely enough to survive their families.
Why not just leave the Philippines then? Well, another fact that doesn’t need any more elaboration is the fact that the Philippines is one of the top “exporter” of labor to the world. Any country in the six (6) continents is sure to have a number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).
We’re only demotivated by the lack of opportunities!
“Give me ten thousand Filipino soldiers and I will conquer the world.” – Gen. Douglas MacArthur who is also famous for his “I shall return” promise to the Philippines.
Filipinos are more than happy to devote their time, energy, talent, and personal resources to worthwhile causes. However, similar opportunities are so few in the country that we’re stuck to doing jobs that don’t motivate us or pushes us to think outside the box. Hence, as of today, there are more than Ten (10) million Filipinos who already called foreign countries their home since this is where they found the greener pastures.
But not EveryJuan! (But not all Filipinos)
Why work if you can get something for free?
Pandemic or not, whether it be food, money, assistance, some Filipinos think this way! Haven’t we heard or even know stories of families who depended too much on their relative/s working abroad? Well-off uncles or aunts shouldering the school expenses of their nephews and nieces even though the parents can still work. Helping one another, your neighbor, or your relatives is an essential Christian virtue, but this mustn’t promote overdependence.
Sin of Omission
This is applicable in many aspects but I will just mention a few. Caring for the environment, learning a new skill, waste segregation, disobedience to city ordinances and laws, you get the picture! These are the things that we know we can do something but chooses not to because it’s either a hassle or plain laziness.
Many of us are guilty of this and only a few can deny. We even have a Filipino word for it, mañana habit! Some daily wage earners, and I’m saying this out of personal experience even have the practice of doing less in a day instead of finishing a task the fastest way they can. Why? It’s because so they can do it tomorrow!
We can discuss and think of the many reasons why some and only some Filipinos are indolent (some say because the youth are no longer being trained by their parents or guardians inside their homes to do basic chores, or it’s one of those old habits that is hard to kill or because the common Filipino mindset is YOLO) but one thing is for sure, there are Filipinos who continue to prove that we are not a lazy people and we can excel if will be given the chance and opportunity.
To know more about the Philippines and the Filipinos, read more stories here!