Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Simple, Shrewd, or Just Confused?

I hear it and read it all the time:

I am a simple person. (OK, but cant you say anything else about yourself?)

I'd like a simple photo shoot. (I don't know what that means, and when I ask, the clarification is usually something like a regular shoot or a normal shoot. I'm still lost. I offer clients 3 different photo packages. Each has a name, and simple isn't one of them.)

I am simple person. Yet I believe I am fairly simple one way or another, said someone calling themselves abu online. (How eloquent.)

A few weeks ago, Fr. Jerry Orbos wrote for the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

As a young priest in La Paz, Abra, I remember telling an old man that I just came from Vigan for the launching of the Ilocano Bible. He thought for a while, then said: “Oh, it’s nice that God can finally understand and speak Ilocano!” That incident made me realize the importance of making God’s message simple and clear, especially for the simple people.


What's with all the simpleness?

The Ilocano who thought it was about time God could speak his language was not so simple as the priest may have thought.

Consider: Who brought God as Christians interpret such a concept to the Philippines?

Spaniards.

What language did they speak?

Spanish (and guns and other assorted weaponry).

So what language did God speak?

Latin (and the guns of the Spanish soldiers standing beside the Catholic missionaries).

Eventually, God learned English through the colonization of the Philippines by the US and Vatican II.

The Ilocano probably knew God was at least trilingual. The Ilocano also had a shrewd sense of humor.

The priest?

None. It could be said he is the simple one here, or is it his mission to pray/prey on those he perceives to be simpletons?

In reality, there really isn't much about Filipinos that is simple at all.

Even if one were to claim their simplicity is inherit in a sheltered, conservative societal way; that logic only compounds the complexities of the Filipinos.

Decades and centuries of Catholic sheltering, conservative thought, and provincial isolation runs up against the 21st century and results in some of the most complicated individuals I've ever met. People who are trying to deal with this simple upbringing as they try to live a life in reality. It's a messy affair for many. If psychiatrists could be afforded here, there would be tens of thousands of job positions available, practices to start, and counseling clinics to offer services; and that's just in metro Manila. With a population closing in on one hundred million, we're talking about a lot of people in need of help.

One online community I consulted in the US before coming here had tens of thousands of members from the Philippines. You could do searches based on gender and sexual orientation. I noticed something unusual as I searched different combinations: there are more bisexual than gay people in the Philippines! The Philippines is the only country on earth with such a statistic.

Once I arrived and found out what was going on, I began to realize it is just a lie. Well, not a lie, really. Just a delusion. There's no way seven of ten non-straight people are bisexual. They might have to buy sex, but that's another problem all together.

Society over the years has so thoroughly confused people here that men with boyfriends still really think they are straight (totally delusional!) or bisexual, even though they have lived in such relationships and never had any attraction to women or tried relationships or intimacies with women. It so confuses Filipinos, some endlessly ask what the meaning of bisexual is, because they see sites online which always involve men and women who like both sexes, which goes against the meaning here.

Why don't they just google it to find the real meaning?

That would be too simple.

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