A HERITAGE OF SMALLNESS BY NICK JOAQUIN PDF

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. It's Free! The Philippine population increases much faster than our economy. Our country indeed has been as slow as snail when it comes to the aspect of development.

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There, our sense of smallness reared its ugly head again. This was written way back in by the novelist, poet, playwright, biographer and English essayist, the National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin. Because we act on such a pygmy scale. Abroad they would think you mad if you went in a store and tried to buy just one stick of cigarette. The difference is greater than between having and not having; the difference is in the way of thinking.

They are accustomed to thinking dynamically. We have the habit, whatever our individual resources, of thinking poor, of thinking petty. We, whether as a community or as a nation, cannot move forward because we think small of ourselves, and corollarily, do small. Why do we rely on foreign technology and insist on a sharing? Filipino engineers are the best in the world — individually. Filipino expatriates are one of the most highly sought managers in the world.

We perform best when we are alone and in a foreign land. However, things get rough when we are here in the Philippines. Filipinos are used to being treated like serfs in a feudal society governed by politicos. Those in power belittle the capabilities of their own countrymen and worship the foreign providers. But, no. The government prefers to award big-ticket projects to foreigners.

If there are Filipino firms which are interested, then they have to partner with foreign corporations. Take for instance the third telco project. Filipino information technology experts are deployed in the best IT firms around the globe. Yet, in the Philippines we allowed a Venezuelan firm to take over our elections. Why not use a Filipino-developed automated election system? Simply because the government thinks that Filipinos cannot do it.

How is that for thinking small of Filipinos? Remember the very recent proposal to split the province of Palawan into three smaller provinces?

The moment a town grows big it becomes two towns. The moment a province becomes populous it disintegrates into two or three smaller provinces. The excuse offered for divisions is always the alleged difficulty of administering so huge an entity. According to Joaquin, our cultural history, rather than a cumulative development, seems mostly a series of dead ends. One reason is a fear of moving on to a more complex phase; we always stopped short of technology. This stoppage at a certain level is the recurring fate of our crafts — and more likely our economy and development.

The arguments against technological progress, like the arguments against nationalism, are possible only to those who have already gone through that stage so successfully they can now afford to revile it. The rest of us can only crave to be big enough to be able to deplore bigness. Well said. When can we as a nation advance? Only when we start thinking big and shed our heritage of smallness. Only when we put this country under the charge of statesmen who can think big and stop belittling the capability of the Filipinos.

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A Heritage of Smallness by Nick Joaquin

He complains that his students, all of whom are young executives, do not know how to think and analyze, and are afraid of hard work. They request for easy exam questions and easy homeworks, and complain of headaches when given difficult tasks. These are the young people our national hero, Dr. Indeed, how can a people ever dream of achieving a tiger economy status when our hearts and minds are that of a pussycat?

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Thinking small of ourselves

There, our sense of smallness reared its ugly head again. This was written way back in by the novelist, poet, playwright, biographer and English essayist, the National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin. Because we act on such a pygmy scale. Abroad they would think you mad if you went in a store and tried to buy just one stick of cigarette. The difference is greater than between having and not having; the difference is in the way of thinking.

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PH’s state of ‘smallness’ and Nick Joaquin

Society for the Filipino is a small rowboat: the barangay. Geography for the Filipino is a small locality: the barrio. What most astonishes foreigners in the Philippines is that this is a country, perhaps the only one in the world, where people buy and sell one stick of cigarette, half a head of garlic, a dab of pomade, part of the contents of a can or bottle, one single egg, one single banana. To foreigners used to buying things by the carton or the dozen or pound and in the large economy sizes, the exquisite transactions of Philippine tingis cannot but seem Lilliputian. So much effort by so many for so little. Like all those children risking neck and limb in the traffic to sell one stick of cigarette at a time.

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