A Heritage of Smallness by Nick Joaquin
Society for the Filipino is a small rowboat: the barangay. Geography for the Filipino is a small locality: the barrio. History for the Filipino is a small vague saying:matanda pa kay mahoma; noong peacetime. Enterprise for the Filipino is a small stall: the sari-sari. Industry and production for the Filipino are the small immediate searchings of each day: isang kahig, isang tuka. And commerce for the Filipino is the smallest degree of retail: the tingi.
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. Or those grown-up men hunting the sidewalks all day to sell a puppy or a lantern or a pair of socks. The amount of effort they spend seems out of all proportion to the returns. Such folk are, obviously, not enough. Laboriousness just can never be the equal of labor as skill, labor as audacity, labor as enterprise.
The Filipino who travels abroad gets to thinking that his is the hardest working country in the world. By six or seven in the morning we are already up on our way to work, shops and markets are open; the wheels of industry are already agrind. Abroad, especially in the West, if you go out at seven in the morning you’re in a dead-town. Everybody’s still in bed; everything’s still closed up. Activity doesn’t begin till nine or ten— and ceases promptly at five p.m. By six, the business sections are dead towns again. The entire cities go to sleep on weekends. They have a shorter working day, a shorter working week. Yet they pile up more mileage than we who work all day and all week.
Is the disparity to our disparagement?
We work more but make less. Why? 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. They don’t operate on the scale. 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.
Is that the explanation for our continuing failure to rise—that we buy small and sell small, that we think small and do small?
Are we not confusing timidity for humility and making a virtue of what may be the worst of our vices? Is not our timorous clinging to smallness the bondage we must break if we are ever to inherit the earth and be free, independent, progressive? The small must ever be prey to the big. Aldous Huxley said that some people are born victims, or “murderers.” He came to the Philippines and thought us the “least original” of people. Is there not a relation between his two terms? Originality requires daring: the daring to destroy the obsolete, to annihilate the petty. It’s cold comfort to think we haven’t developed that kind of “murderer mentality.”
But till we do we had best stop talking about “our heritage of greatness” for the national heritage is— let’s face it— a heritage of smallness.
However far we go back in our history it’s the small we find—the nipa hut, the barangay, the petty kingship, the slight tillage, the tingi trade. All our artifacts are
Privilege Speech is the new “Pulpit Bullying”. Damn, those are where our taxes go.
The proposed MRT 3 - LRT 1 North Avenue Common Station
This is the expected alignment of the North Avenue station for LRT 1 (Yellow), MRT3 (Blue) and the proposed MRT 7. The green one is the proposed walkalator connecting the North Avenue Station to MRT 7.
The original plan should have been at the front of SM North but the curvature of the railroad makes it not so good for the platform, and that’s why the part at Trinoma is more better.
Well, I think once the common station is already fully operational, expect that some of the North Avenue MRT 3 riders might be diverted to LRT 1. Since a big chuck of the riders of MRT 3 depart at either Makati or Pasay, they can go depart at the Gil Puyat (Buendia) and EDSA Taft Station with a longer trip. This is aside from the seamless transfer of train passenger from MRT 3, MRT 7 and LRT 1 at this station.
But of course, we have to wait for this… impatiently.
Q:What are the measurements of the Rizal Shrine? I need this for my Heritage fair.
My God, are we gonna be like, our parents? Not me. Ever.
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
Q:try it. youll love it there. your ideas will be more interesting in a forum. and of course manila is your forte
I don’t know, I’m generally content with my little world here. Thanks for your suggestion, and might think about it in the future.