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thought bubble

silentNov 9, 2010

The Silent Type

This one is like a fly on a wall that's been there too long, it's no longer a fly - it's become part of the wall. In sharp contrast to North American culture where being assertive is expected (and needed to survive the social pecking order), Philippine culture (or Asian culture for that matter) is not so. It's actually taboo to be highly opinionated or to be assertive.

Perhaps that is why people from big cities are widely regarded as braggarts in rural (or not so urban) parts of the country (although in fairness, there is a lot of truth to that). For all we care, these urban folks may only be calling a spade, a spade without prejudice. But the bottom line is, they speak up and can come across as loud and aggressive.

That was hammered down quite recently when I spoke with a matriarch who told me her henchman steals from her and deceives her, but couldn't let him go, because he's such a sweet guy. I asked, "sweet?". The reply? "Well, he doesn't say anything. He just sits there quietly". I also noticed that other people who know of this man say the same thing - that he's a good man because he's a quiet guy. "Ah...him? He's a good guy. He's always silent".

Thought Bubble: A really good guy who speaks his mind cannot default as a good guy in this culture. He can be described as fun, smart, witty, but not mabait (good). Whereas a rogue who steals and deceives can readily default as a good guy by virtue of not talking much and looking subservient.

Wanna make friends easily? When someone is talking, don't say anything and just listen, making eye contact, and occasionally nod your head with a subtle half-smile. Ok, I just expressed a strong opinion here (as I always do). No wonder I don't fit in many circles.

--- TheLoneRider

Silent 110910

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