“Crab Mentality”

I’d like to react to an article alleging that the “Crab Mentality” of Filipinos is preventing them from uniting and failing to have elected representatives in Guam.

As I usually mentioned in my earlier articles, this alleged “crab mentality” is not considerably a factor in non-election of Fil-Ams in spite of the fact they represent 25% of the island’s population.

There are other reasons:
• Most qualified and well-meaning first-generation Fil-Ams are turned off by politics. They are more interested now in the field of economics and other business endeavors.
• There were first-generation Fil-Ams who became senators like Dr. Espaldon, etc, who represented their idealism and respectability. Fil-Ams usually won’t vote for those who are unqualified or just being “used.”
• Divisions of Fil-Ams are usually more pronounced during election time. Like any group, they split between and within party-lines. Just because the candidate is a Fil-Am, they are not obligated to vote for him or her. Fil-Am voters are choosy, too.
• More significantly, the recent approval of the Philippine new dual citizenship law further discourages Fil-Ams to hold elective positions because it will disqualify them for retaining their original citizenship. Usually, therefore, only subsequent descendants born here will run like the Lamorenas, Paltings, etc.

Some 50 years ago, there was only one organization—Filipino Community of Guam. As the Fil-Am population grows, smaller organizations continue to “mushroom” which by coincidence mirror the political/geographical subdivisions of their mother country.

To date, there are some 60 groups most of which are under the mother umbrella of the FCG. Imagine if there is just one big organization: whenever there will be meetings, coordination and control of thousands members will be hard to attain; and meetings will be long and unwieldy.

These smaller organizations, therefore, serve as control units and bonds to the mother organization. Only their officers are sent as representatives to regular FCG meetings. If more are founded, it’s but natural and this is a healthy sign because if enlivens their “barkadahan” spirit (brotherhood/sisterhood). Moreover, it’s just like “child-bearing” which is a natural consequence of growth. It shouldn’t be misconstrued as disunited or redundant.

A negativist looks at a half-filled glass of water as half-empty; let’s see it as half-full.

One manifestation of their unity is during calamities when the FCG supported by these organizations, does fund-raising. Rather than the rule, petty quarrels are the exemptions.

If it exists, the “crab mentality” isn’t only true to the Filipinos but to most races in the world. It arises from humanity’s basic emotions of jealousy or envy. When Martha Stewart of Living Omnimedia Inc. was indicted by the FBI, it elicited a surprising response from her younger brother, Frank Kostyra: “If she goes to jail, it’ll be good to humble her.” Other races have their flaws, too.

Biologically, crabs are one of earth’s most cooperative creatures. They claw only when attacked, can’t move forward or upward but only sideways. When put in a pot, they can’t push up anyone which explains why they can’t get out. So, comparing both (men and crabs) is illogical and insulting, not to men, but perhaps, to the crabs.

As a reality check, visit the Philippines and feel the friendship and concern of the Filipinos among themselves. They’re the same in Guam. Personally, I enjoy their company; they don’t pull me down nor I do the same.

Concluding, there’s no perfect race.

Analogically, here’s a story of a man searching through the years for a perfect woman he’ll marry. At long last, he found her.

His father asked: “Now that you’ve met her, why are you sadder than before?”

“Dad”, his son replied, “she rejected me—she’s looking for the perfect man.”

(Lifted from the author’s book, “Fighting for a Cause and More.” (This article was first published in 2003.)