Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Opinionated Filipino

If only opinions can be converted into money, Filipinos would be one of the richest in the world.

Let’s admit it that Filipinos are one of the most opinionated people in the world today. On a positive note, it shows that somehow, we Filipinos are aware that there are things happening around us and we not just know about it but we have something to say about it.

It’s more visible now especially thru the social media and it happens to all ages. You’ll even see elementary students debating with adults on online forums regarding certain topics - I’m not saying that this is totally a good thing but it happens.

Oh yes, you are.  (Photo from communicatingacrossboundaries.files.wordpress.com)

But on the bad side of being the opinionated people that we are, there seemed to be some important things that we lack on this behavior. We tend to simply react on issues but only to the point of criticizing but unknowingly acting the opposite of what we are saying. This, I will discuss further to explain what I mean and you might be surprised that most of us are also guilty of doing it.

These things that I will expound below, if we match with our active throwing of commentaries, might help this trait of ours become more effective and beneficial in our nation building:

Perform your “Due Diligence” – the term due diligence is usually attributed to the business world being “an act of doing reasonable investigations and researches on ventures or investments before diving into it”. But currently, we see the term being used to describe the research or investigations that we do before doing any decisions in our daily lives. And also before taking sides on any topics or issues. The lack of it is what I see as the main culprit why being opinionated is viewed negatively nowadays. 

A lot of people are being quick on the trigger due to sensationalized news bombarded to us by the traditional media. Today, we see people getting fully swayed emotionally by just reading “news titles or headlines”. Then the “reporter” will add further influence by voicing out their “unsolicited advice and opinions” on the issue while the more important details of the news are being left out.  To avoid being victim to this scenario, my suggestions are; don't be too quick to judge nor to take sides. Then do your own research. Look at the pros and cons of both protagonists. Then test them against your own moral standards.  And look on the things with proper perspective by putting yourself in the shoe of the people who are mainly concerned with it. After doing all of these, you’ll see that your opinions will be improved, more sound and balanced than what they were before.

How about you?

Act on your “Circle of Influence” to affect your “Circle of Concern” –  As Stephen Covey mentioned on his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, people can’t usually help but become reactive on our “circle of concern” when it will be better for us if we act on what he calls as our “circle of influence”. There are some things that we can’t do anything directly with like minimizing corruption in the government, curbing terrorism, increasing gas prices and a lot of national issues that we can categorize as within our circle of concern. By knowing our concerns, we can start working on things that are within our circle of influence and eventually, affect our circle of concern. 

Here are some very good examples to explain this. Two current hot topics that are being debated not just among the business and government leaders but also within the common people in different online forums, first the country’s mining policy and the second one is the cutting of trees within the vicinity of SM Baguio. At first glance, choosing which side to be with is very easy. We all agree that we should take care of our environment, right? Rampant mining and cutting of trees are both bad for the environment so giving our support to those who are against these two is the good choice, isn’t it? 

I already saw a lot of groups and websites created for their fight against mining in the country. “Some” are calling out to the people to support their cause to stop miners from digging into our lands and getting these natural minerals such as iron, ore, copper, nickel, gold, bronze, silver, silicon, germanium and other types of metal, of which are being used in creating a lot of modern things we are using now. Especially the semiconductors which are the main component of every gadget and electronic appliance that we are using. Maybe you are now getting where this is going. Isn’t it ironic that we can see “some” people showing their support against “mining” by liking pages and groups, commenting against it on different online forums using their newest smart phones, tablets and notebooks?  

How about those who are supporting the fight against the cutting of trees around SM Baguio? We all know that once upon a time, Baguio City was once a green mountainous place and as a perfect example, the scenery on Mines View was a sight to behold. But how about now? If you can visit the place, you can see that majority of the mountains in Baguio City are now cluttered with houses. And you might wonder where “some” of those people who went to the rally against cutting of trees around SM live. And for those who are living far outside Baguio who are supporting their cause, maybe they can also try looking around Metro Manila and towns nearby where big malls are sprouting like mushrooms, same with hundreds of subdivisions and condo units, all of which were built at the expense of… guess what…cutting down hundreds and thousands of trees and without them acting against it. And it’s not surprising that “some” of those who attended the rallies are living on those condo units or subdivisions and at the same time frequent these big malls around Metro Manila.

These are just examples of what I mentioned earlier of some people saying one thing, but are unaware that they are doing the opposite. I’m not saying that their cause is wrong and that every one of them is not knowledgeable of their true cause and that’s why there’s emphasis on the word “some” on the paragraphs above. But going back to the topic, it’s obvious that some of them are just acting out on their circle of concern without taking action on their circle of influence. If only these people are truly aware of what the issues are, they will surely act better and ensure that what they are doing had real effects in their cause. 

Example for those who are against mining, I can suggest them to try lessening the technological garbage and the consumption of these metals by buying only what they truly need and not simply follow trends. It helps not only the environment but also themselves as they can save a lot of money by doing this. And next, for those who are fighting against the cutting down of trees around SM Baguio, well if you just haven’t done it yet then start planting trees at your backyards.

Avoid Getting Trapped with the Herd It usually happens that you read and hear people talk as if they are members of a cult and chanting the same words over and over again and echoes the same opinions and sentiments in debates, online forums, etc. It’s like somebody out there orchestrated their line of thought and put all their thinking inside a box. And when these people are challenged with a counter-thought and exposed to a different line of thinking, they will be the first one to tell the other side to be “open-minded” or to accept that “things change”.  I’m sure that this is quite a familiar scenario to most of us where “pied-pipers” in the form of “surveys” and “propaganda” attracts herds with “music” which are delightful to their ears.  

This is one of the most common things that affect the way of thinking of most Filipinos especially the youth. It's by thinking that they are empowered by being “one majority voice” speaking against “the powers that be”. Though I agree that this is indeed a very effective tool of democracy if used properly but as long as the people will not do their “due diligence” and just being “part of the herd” then this is a very dangerous thing for our people. By the way, you may also want to check my other post “The Bandwagon Generation” in relation to this kind of thinking.

How about you? What can you say about our very opinionated nation and the media? Do you see dangers of having it easy to voice out opinions thru social media? Share your ideas with us. :)


  1. Eh what if this page is exactly the wrong opinion that you are saying? How credible are you?

    1. Hi there. Honestly, I like your comment. That's exactly the idea of this post. We should not just accept everything we hear, see or read. We must think and ask questions. Thanks for dropping by :)



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