Thursday, February 21, 2013

THE CHINESE IN PHILIPPINE SOCIETY, THEN AND NOW - Expanded with 6+ hours of video: "Boxer Rebellion," and the award-winning PBS "Century of Revolution" in China

"...there are the enslaved human beings who must accomplish their own liberation. To develop their own liberation. To develop their consciousness and conscience, to make them aware of what is going on, to prepare the precarious ground for the future alternatives...This is our task.... and that means all those who are still free and able to think by themselves and against indoctrination, communist as well as anticommunist." - Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979)


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UPDATE: 7/25/2018

The former "Red/Communist" China, now in practice a "State Capitalism" - ruled by a supposedly Communist Politburo/Party while allowing state-controlled Capitalism-  has rocketed to economic power equal to the USA and projected to surpass the latter by 2025 or so; it is also working hard to gain military power to equal heights, given its strong nationalism and its own imperial heritage.

Thus, our homeland Philippines being strategically located and being a "weak State," foreign powers like our former colonist the USA got us by the balls for over a century to the present. And China has covertly and overtly taken over us apparently with the help of native Filipino compradors and resident Chinese/Tsinoys economically and now territorially.

If the Chinese can buy American, Canadian, and other foreign businesses and thus, influence; we should not be surprised how easily they do so in our homeland where our native Filipino characteristic of dominant self-interest prevails: self-interest for our group, i.e. family, friends and political buddies. The primary root of our absent Nationalism and private and public corruption. 

-- Bert M. Drona


UPDATE: 5/11/2013

The now rich Taiwanese/Chinese are vociferously claiming they were fishing outside of Philippine waters. Any informed and thinking native Filipino know that other Asians (Japanese, Chinese, etc) do fish in our Philippine waters because we are so weak a country (not really a nation yet!!) with practically no navy to effectively ward off intruders.

So far, we would rather maintain our 10 million+ compatriots to be the exported modern slaves under terrible conditions. We can not copy America etc. and be multicultural with the unlimited entry of foreigners in our homeland --who have become and are our lords in our own homeland (we are already multicultural with our native ethnic minorities, let us embrace them first than foreigners!).

We native Filipinos better recover our pride. For who else, who cares about us native Filipinos in our homeland? If we do not assert ourselves at home, we really deserve the insults, disrespect, all the deep shit we get and suffer at the hands of arrogant and opportunistic foreigners in our homeland. 

Remember Bonifacio, Mabini, Sakay!!

- Bert


Hi All,

The status of the Chinese presence in our homeland was analytically and with great balance narrated by "Yeyeng" P. Soliongco in several short columns in the years 1955-1965 as transcribed below. 

Although quite dated, Soliongco's essays still resonate. I believe and think that there is still so much truth in them.

Growing up in our homeland, we heard and learned about the Chinese immigration quota scandal, of Chinese being smuggled into or overstaying in our homeland, with payments to certain congressmen, senators, other government bureaucrats, etc. Even a racket on suspected Chinese communists to prevent deportation.

In retrospect, this Chinese diaspora which historically has been going on for generations is understandable partly because of the economic and human hardships in their home region where they mostly came from, i.e. Southeastern China, where land is not very suitable for food production; and more recently in the 20th century due to the early economic failures of Chinese communism, such as the disastrous Great Leap Forward 1958-1961 (its second 5-year Economic Plan).

The geographic proximity, the attractiveness of our (relative) freedom, the natural richness of our homeland, and the historical trading presence of the Chinese in several of our islands made our homeland attractive as a Chinese emigre's destination, then and now.

Nowadays, the illegal or overstaying Chinese can easily become naturalized Filipinos, thanks to the later stages of the Marcos Dictatorship and subsequent regimes, all of which found self-interests (economic and political profit) in allowing the Chinese to do so. 

However, a Chinese does not cease to be a Chinese by the fact that he took Filipino citizenship, mostly -if not all- for opportunistic reasons-  livelihood and/or business success. Historically, he too may have converted to Catholicism or Protestantism for similar reasons.

Quietly the Chinese, who are historically practical survivalists, had gained humongous economic dominance and consequently political influence in our homeland, directly and indirectly, thanks to our many native, corrupt officials and these Chinese corruptors. 

Because of these political connections, the wealthy Chinese have become wealthier and thus effectively joined -as the new oligarchs- the club of the ruling old aristocracy or oligarchic elite. Several of the Marcos cronies and many thieving-politicians have also joined, given that Philippine society does not raise hell about dubious sources of unexplained wealth.

The oligarchic elite/class has wealth (economic power) and we know economic power begets political power or connections to politicians, which in turn produce the non-level playing fields in the oligarchs' favor, that is, for more economic gain/power at the expense of his competitors and in the long-run, of the native majority. 

This "rent-seeking" behavior by oligarchs creates most of the perennial, larger corruption cases in the homeland and which in turn is emulated via the petty corruption and other crimes down the totem pole.

For all these times, as these same Chinese paid "tong" to get legal residency or avoid deportation and do business, the Chinese in our homeland never wanted true or full assimilation with the native Malay Filipinos

To the Chinese, we native Filipinos are barbarians; out to take advantage of him and their friendship with us is a matter of convenience. Thus to the Chinese, we native Filipinos were/are not to be trusted. However, they sometimes did and do assimilate via marriages with the established, aristocratic Spanish to produce the Chinese-Spanish hybrid (mestizo) elite. 

Recently, I have heard comments that the younger generations of Chinese in the Philippines have assimilated. I knew this comment was not the case. 

I wonder if Chinese businesses in our homeland still characteristically displayed large, framed photographs of and identified with the Kuomintang and its leader, the late Chinese dictator Chiang Kai Shek of Taiwan aka the Republic of China ROC now under 2nd term President Ma Ying-jeou. 

Or have they now replaced the Kuomintang with the mainland People's Republic of China PRC's Hu Jintao or the latter's successor. Given that their ancestral homeland of mainland China turned to be more capitalist than communist and have greatly progressed, economically and socially; and that it has replaced Japan as second only to the United States and maybe #1 in the next decade or so. 

All these overseas Chinese, the old and new, who were essentially forced by circumstances to emigrate, can be proud again of their almost forgotten, ancient China history and imperial greatness and heritage which ultimately would tend to strongly lead them back to identifying with it. 

I wonder therefore if the Chinese in our homeland or so-called Chinoys (Tsinoys) really have assimilated or sincerely want to be identified as Filipinos.  I do not know how deep and far this supposed assimilation by the new generations of Chinese goes.  

Thus I wonder if the new generations of Chinese in our homeland would still want to fully assimilate and have Filipino nationalism in their hearts, minds, and spirit given this new, powerful status of China in the world order.

Recently, I happened to listen and watch some young Chinoys speak in a Philippine business Q&A forum, I got the immediate impression that they are not Filipino nationalists, i.e. not the pro-Filipino majority, but pure and simple economic globalists and opportunists; they play right into or with the hands of foreign businessmen and transnational corporations. 

These so-called Chinoys demonstrate their essentially anti-Filipino stances by clamoring to CoRRECT our 1987 Philippine Constitution with the covert intent to further gut its few remaining nationalist constitutional provisions on such articles like deleting the protection of our national patrimony, charging that Filipino nationalism is plain shortsightedness, telling us to completely open up our lands and other (remaining non-renewable) natural resources to foreigners, discouraging respect for our national sovereignty, etc.

They proclaim the same tired arguments and neo-colonial slogans mouthed by Americans, Australians, other foreigners, and resident aliens with vested economic interests and collaborated by their native, Filipino apologists of Americanized minds, such ascalling for absolute free trade, attacking protectionism, removing all tariffs, 100% profit repatriation, etc. 

Mind you, these guys in advanced countries want us to exercise 100% free trade while they do not, even as of this writing.

In short, the CHA-CHA movement or the more euphemistic so-called and self-described CoRRECT movement may be knowingly or unknowingly (?) advertising an "open door policy" for our homeland, as was forced on the weak Chinese government by foreigners at the beginning of the 20th century. 

Under the proposed CoRRECT formulations, all foreigners can come and trade with us in our homeland and make huge profits at our expense for repatriation to their own homelands (as American companies did since our American colonization and continued post-colonialism via the Bell Trade Act of 1946 Such a state-of-affairs occurred in then weak China.

Only subservient rulers would kowtow to such and sadly and maddeningly our rulers and their cohorts before and after our so-called formal independence gladly did and do so.

- Bert

[ NOTES: Our homeland is now significantly populated, a growing market with a weak government, if not yet a "failed state;" thus an easily manipulated state/society and therefore an easy, profitable market for advanced countries. BTW, we are #56 under the Warning Category of the Failed States Index (FSI) for the Year 2012.

We hear and read ad nauseam about the socioeconomic and political regression of our homeland versus our Asian neighbors; and for the most part, it is our fault; we native Malay Filipinos, who comprise the majority, for enabling by default our so-called leaders, to make this disaster to happen. 

Since we signed on the WTO Agreements (punishments) in 1995, thanks to the Ramos regime and his technocrats, this disaster turned into a daily and worsening impoverishment for our native Filipino majority. 

By this WTO agreements, our homeland has implemented an "open-door" policy, thus killing our agricultural and industrial sectors, further increasing our already high local unemployment and underemployment, drastically lowering family incomes and sending many of our school as primary exports; as laborer and workers to barely better, if not demeaning, dehumanizing and worsening employment conditions abroad.

Our fault because we are not a united majority, not a nation, due mainly to our lack of understanding and appreciation of the imperative need for Filipino nationalism (Filipinism)
Our fault made possible -- all thanks to the attention of our old and new oligarchic ruling class/elite and their foreign partners -- to maintain the status quo: by keeping the native Filipino majority an ignorant mass while they laugh their way to their banks.

Until hopefully, we native Filipinos get to know and understand what's going on and thus unite to act to do a much better job than just staging a mere Boxer Rebellion easily put down by foreign trading partners. (The "Open Door Policy" in China was destroyed by the victorious Mao Tse Tung's 1949 Communist Revolution.)

And that is why all our current foreign traders: Americans and Australians (and others would like to) have established and/or may want to have similar military agreements as the RP-US VFA Agreement, under the guise of the "war on terrorism" in our midst. 

All these military entanglements to prevent such a native rebellion or more so, a nationalist revolution -the more threatening, imperative venue for attaining fundamental socio-economic and political changes, against the combined old and new oligarchic ruling elite. 

As we can not expect or rely on the predominantly oligarchic, dynastic politicians and other government officials who wield power in our supposedly democratic country to act/implement the needed fundamental changes as doing so would cut into their selfish economic interests. 

The native Malay Filipino majority is trapped in a cage that needs to be broken. By us, by ourselves, if we want, if we have the will and courage to struggle and thus deserve to be really free, to obtain social justice and the common good. ]


The Chinese in Philippine Society (1955 to 1965)
Written by Indalecio P. Soliongco, Editorial Writer/columnist, Manila Chronicle 

The common fear among fair-minded Filipinos and respectable Chinese is that the return of the Nacionalista Party to power will establish once more and perhaps solidify the inhuman theory that Chinese who have become Filipinos through the process of naturalization are second-class citizens.

This fear is bolstered by the fact that there are men who are close to President-elect Marcos whose racist instincts are aroused by the dominant position of the Chinese in the local business and manufacturing world.

These men are reported to be refurbishing their essentially hollow arguments to make the relegation of naturalized Filipinos into the status of the second -- or even third-class citizens as the implacable policy of the incoming administration.

Their chances of making so vile a scheme come true certainly not slim, for the flurry of activities started by president-elect Marcos against smuggling will certainly affect not a few decent members of the Chinese community. This is inevitable because whether fortuitously or by design the Chinese have been linked to the public mind to the art and science of smuggling.

It is, therefore, possible that at the end of the anti-smuggling campaign, assuming that such a campaign is successful, people with Chinese names and Chinese looks will be among those to be scheduled for imprisonment or deportation.

And yet, it would be grossly unfair to enlarge the doctrine of second-class citizenship into a binding policy by reason of the role played by a score or so of Chinese in smuggling of the overt or technical variety.

The simple truth about the Chinese is that a great many of them are engaged in legitimate and profitable enterprises --enterprises which redound to the benefit of the Philippine society as a whole. It is these Chinese be they naturalized citizens or not, who have cast their lot with the Filipinos and who are willingly submitting themselves to the tedious process of assimilation.

Those, as much as the Filipinos, are the victims of the grasping Chinese who are the props of smuggling and it is these peaceful and law-abiding Chinese who must now organize to save themselves from being lumped with the smugglers and racketeers among their fellows.

But, of course, they would be committing a mistake if they thought that the disrepute which awaits them is exclusively due to the activities of Chinese smugglers.

For another truth about the Chinese in the Philippines is that they have become an unpopular minority, the fault does not lie entirely in the baseless prejudices of the Filipinos but in the rank opportunism and hypocrisy of a good many so-called leaders of the Chinese community.


Citizens for Convenience

These leaders are most of them naturalized citizens but to them, their Filipino citizenship is not a badge of honor but an instrument of trade and privilege. They are still the moving spirit in the Chinese chamber of commerce and they are the men who, despite their contributions to civic projects, are responsible for the prevalence of the anti-Filipino attitude in the Chinese community. They are completely devoid of sympathy for the Filipino people in general, and if at times they are friendly to some of them, it is purely for reasons of economic convenience.

Mr. Yu Khe Tai, for instance, is supposed to be a Filipino citizen, but it is obvious that his knowledge of and interest in, the country of his adoption is fully confined to its commercial possibilities.

But worse than Mr. Yu Khe Tai is Mr. Antonio Roxas Chua, the man whose hand holds the power to manipulate the prices of prime commodities. a Chinese by birth and a Filipino for convenience, Mr. Chua is known to be one of the main sources of the fluctuation of the price of sugar and rice, fluctuations which adversely affect the well-being of the Filipinos and help raise the volume of transactions of the tycoon to P112 million per year.

These giant merchants who profit from the subsidiary economic positions of the Filipinos in their own country and the smugglers and distributors of contraband goods are the real Chinese problem, and as such their apparently legal activities merit the scrutiny of the government. (12-8-1965)


Not only the Culprits

Yesterday, there assembled before the office of the Department of Education a group of eager and passionate students, and, bearing provocative placards, demanded that Secretary Jose Romero do something and immediately about the nationalization of Chinese schools.

Before the City of Manila began the excavations in Quiapo for our version of the subway, Plaza Miranda was the scene of mighty rallies the purpose of which was to incite the population against the hold of the Chinese on the Philippine economy. In particular, the speakers at the rallies wanted the government to lose no time in nationalizing all those trades and businesses in the hands of the Chinese.

Some time ago, demonstrations were held in the suburbs against a Chinese national who is now standing trial for having allegedly perpetrated a statutory offense. As usual, the theme of the demonstration was punishment and deportation of the accused.

The very first paragraph of the Nationalization of the Retail Trade Act makes a point of the fact that its provisions are not intended for Americans and that they are enforceable only on Chinese and other aliens.

To summarize this enumeration of curious Filipino acts against the Chinese, we would say that the Filipinos, those in the government, and those who are private citizens, are all slaves of the notion that the pursuit of nationalism can be brought to the fullest fruition only by going against the Chinese.

There is, of course,  no question that the Chinese as a group are in control over vast portions of the nation's economy. Their hands are in every aspect of that economy and in more ways than one they have driven the Filipinos to marginal enterprises. In any nationalization (the more apt word is Filipinization) program, the Chinese are a natural target.

But it is not the Chinese alone who are responsible for the fact that our economy is almost hopelessly colonial. They are the beneficiaries of the colonial setup, not the creators of it.

What is wrong, therefore, with the youthful manifestations of nationalism is that they are discriminatory. This is not suggesting that the Chinese should not be forced to yield their position in our economic life. They should. But they should not be singled out as the only culprit. Let us not allow our colonial complex to lead us into thinking that the nationalization of Chinese schools and the dispossession of the Chinese alone by themselves will bring about a nationalistic order. (10-26-60)


The Chinese in Politics

The first of the traditional warnings to the Chinese community to guard against participating directly or indirectly in politics was made by Mayor Antonio Villegas last Wednesday. The occasion was a luncheon meeting between His honor and representatives of the vast Chinese population in the city and officials of the powerful Federation of Chinese Chamber of Commerce. And the specific theme of the Mayor's message is that contributions in cash or in-kind to political groups from Chinese elements are strictly forbidden.

The mayor's warning, to be sure, is justified, for it is impossible to deny the fact that since 1946, Chinese businessmen and traders have been substantial contributors to the campaign funds of contending political parties. Indeed, it has almost become axiomatic that in every political campaign, from convention to the polls, Chinese money plays a role that is not exactly too obscure.

it would seem by this that the local Chinese as a group has no respect either for the Election Code or for their hosts and they are always on the alert for even the slightest chance to capture and exercise political power. There are Chinese individuals of this aim and persuasion. But the more acceptable truth is that as a whole, the Chinese are concerned with politics only in so far as the politics and behavior of ruling politicians affect their economic interests.

Hence, with their traditional pragmatism, the Chinese try to see to it that whichever faction wins they are protected. Their contributions, therefore, are more insurance premiums than anything, and to enlarge the measure of their protection, they donate to both sides in the political war. The amounts vary, but they vary in accordance with the probability of victory.

The question now is whether the Chinese foreigners in this country and prohibited by statute from having any hand in local politics should be blamed for their conduct during election years.

It is suggested that they should be blamed only for being accessory after the fact, and that fact is that there is a fatal lack of a definite Chinese policy, that the Chinese, like the Filipino themselves, are often the victims of political reprisals and of the capricious system of enforcing laws and of defining courses of conduct. All this in turn is caused by the greater fact that the Chinese are a wealthy minority.

That is why the participation of the Chinese in politics is the consequence of the failure and corruption of the government. The thing to do, then, is to avoid failure and erase corruption. here is a task for Mayor Villegas and for all those who want to keep Philippine politics exclusively in the hands of the Filipinos.

If they succeed in it, Chinese meddling would indefinitely be less than it is now. As a matter of fact, nothing would make the Chinese happier, if only because survival for them would be less expensive --and less dangerous. (5-24-1963)


Without the Chinese where will the politicians get their funds and in the amount that they need them? There are Filipinos, of course, who chip in during election time, but their capacity for giving cannot be compared to that of the Chinese. The politicians, therefore, simply cannot afford to allow the Chinese to be punished for their generosity.

Indeed, the politicians are not dependent on the Chinese during elections only; they are dependent on them at all times. Do they need to give a banquet in honor of this or that dignitary? Then there is always a Chinese businessman who will finance the affair. Do the politicians need money for the support of the querida? There is always a compadre who will give the allowance.

But, of course, the Chinese are no fools. They know precisely how much they are worth to the politicians and they are fully exploiting their advantage. Thus you see them represented in government agencies by congressmen and senators. You see your favorite solon eagerly working to secure more privileges for his Chinese patron and otherwise rendering himself worthy of his hire. You see him ordered about and asked to do things which he would not think of doing for his most powerful constituent. In brief, you see him held tightly in the palm of his Chinese master.

The whole thing is admittedly immoral. But why heap the blame on the Chinese? The politician --the recipient of Chinese favors and money-- must bear his share of the blame. No Chinese would dare open his pocketbook if the politician has the courage to say no. But the sad fact is, his love of money has robbed the Filipino politician of all courage. (10-28-1955)


Filipino Prejudice

There is a measure of truth in the popular assertion that the public is with the government in the campaign it is waging against wealthy Chinese who have come by their millions through bribery and corruption and who have become Filipino citizens through connivance with thieving officials. 

The easy explanation for this phenomenon is that the mass always takes delight in the spectacle of aliens being subjected to the indignity of deportation. The more sophisticated explanation is that the government's action has struck a responsive chord in the supposed prejudice of the Filipino against the Chinese.

it cannot be denied, of course, that the average Filipino harbors no little amount of prejudice against the Chinese  For reasons which are not substantiated by facts, the average Filipino believes that the Chinese, who has behind him a continuous culture and civilization of five thousand years, is an inferior being who deserves being treated as such.

The reality, however, is something else. For there is no such thing as natural prejudice on the part of the Filipinos against the Chinese. In the beginning, and this was as early as the thirteenth century, their relationship was the normal one between host and visitor. But in the course of time, after the Chinese merchants and workers had decided to settle down in the Philippines, Filipino-Chinese relations were altered, first at the instigation of the Spaniards and second, by the inevitable economic rivalry which set in.

Today, that rivalry is more profound than ever. The Chinese no longer under the rigid restrictions imposed upon them by the sectarian Spaniards, have risen to a position of economic dominance that cannot be ignored. Indeed, the situation has become such that the more affluent members of the Chinese community  --and here we have in mind those who have been transformed into citizens-- cannot, by any stretching of the rules, be considered an integral part of Philippine society. It is, therefore, understandable that the so-called natural prejudice of the Filipino against the Chinese has become more intense if only for the reason that it has ceased to be vague.

The atmosphere has not been improved any by the behavior of some Chinese. These people, particularly those of them who have become wealthy with dramatic suddenness, have developed the habit of making their economic weight felt in the social and bureaucratic spheres. They have become the consistent votaries of conspicuous consumption. Thus, it is no wonder that they are now the object of popular displeasure.

The pertinent question has been asked why Filipinos resent the vulgar display of wealth by some Chinese and approve a similar display by other foreigners. The simple answer, we imagine, is that the Filipinos are still suffering from the pressure of colonial mentality, something which makes it easy for them to apply the double standard. If this is so, why blame the Chinese again, the simple answer is that the Chinese can do nothing to alter a fact that exists --the fact of colonial mentality.

The prudent thing, therefore for the Chinese to do is abide by the limitations of Filipino prejudice. This is a difficult order, for how can one who has become wealthy deny oneself the fruits of one's labor? But we can hardly think of any other way for the Chinese in the Philippines to stay except by this self-abnegation. Indeed, even their leaders had cautioned them to be less ostentatious so as not to provoke the ire of the poor people who in their desperation are convinced that if they cannot be rich the rest must be poor.        (9-7-1962)


Barriers to Assimilation

Almost all of those who have studied the Chinese problem have suggested at one time or another that the only solution to it which is consistent with Christian justice is assimilation. Let the Filipinos assimilate the Chinese in their midst, they say, and the Chinese problem is forever liquidated.

To prove the efficacy of their proposed solution the advocates of assimilation point to the fact that the majority of the heroes of the Revolution and of the Propaganda Movement, most of those who worked for independence from the United States, and many of the men who are now dedicated to the nationalist cause are of Chinese extraction. These, they say, are the result of the unflagging effort of the Filipinos of former times to assimilate the Chinese.

There is no denying that there are in the country thousands upon thousands of men and women whose loyalty and patriotism cannot be suspected but whose ancestry is Chinese. Now, if the forefathers of present-day Filipinos, it has often been asked, had succeeded in assimilating the Chinese in producing a race that has lost all notion of what it is to think and feel like Chinese, why can't their descendants follow their example?

To ask this question is to show an abysmal ignorance of certain facts of history

The long process of assimilation which took place during the Spanish times and which produced the vast majority of the Filipinos of today was not the result of conscious effort of assimilation on the part of their forefathers. The Chinese allowed themselves to be assimilated. And they did so because of what they were and because of circumstances beyond their control.

The Chinese, whatever is said about them, are realists of the first order. They have a supreme capacity to adapt themselves to all sorts of conditions and to prosper in spite of the most unseemly odds. During the Spanish era, they were the victims of discrimination and prejudice, of pogroms even. The Spaniards suspected them because they were infidels, and the natives, playing sedulous apes to their masters, looked down upon them. Such infamous names as the Parian and the Alcaiceria attest to Spanish-Filipino inhumanity to the Chinese.

Under these circumstances, the majority of Chinese had no choice but to aspire to be Christians and raise Filipino families.  These were the only means open to them to save themselves from harassment. Their off-springs were naturally brought up as Filipinos since, by the very nature of education during the Spanish regime, there were no schools other than those controlled by the Church and oriented to the faith. In the course of time, the products of Filipino-Chinese unions, insulated from the tradition and culture of the land of their paternal forefathers, became completely assimilated and on countless occasions proved themselves as loyal and as patriotic as the products of the marriages between native Filipinos.

Today, the historical factors we have mentioned are no longer present. It is not possible to revive them. The present-day Chinese in the Philippines have attained a social and economic status that secures them against more overt forms of discrimination. Certainly, with their legal rights guaranteed under the Constitution, the modern version of the Parian is unthinkable. Moreover, even if some of them are of the political persuasion of Taipei, they are all of them conscious that behind them is a nation that has achieved eminence of world power, feared and often respected by other nations, and no longer fit for spoliation. Finally, they have all of them rediscovered their great culture and traditions. 

This is something which the Chinese of the Spanish era never enjoyed. And this, combined with the fact of the current social and economic status of our Chinese visitors, is not likely to make them accept the idea of being assimilated in the mass by the Filipinos. (12-23-1959)


Chinese Prejudice

Among the many reasons put forth by the students of the Chinese problem for the cleavage between the Chinese and Filipinos is the reluctance of the latter to accept the former socially. It is argued that the Filipinos of whatever class are only too willing to deal with Chinese officially or in the interests of business but are quick to draw the line when it comes to social contacts. 

Robert Elegant, in his book on the problem of the overseas Chinese, makes much of this and defends the Chinese against what he assumes to be Filipino prejudice. A young lady of our acquaintance, who is Filipino-Chinese parentage and who has found a place in the Filipino community, also complains of the refusal of the Filipinos to accept the Chinese socially.

If these claims are true, they provide enough reason for the failure of the process of assimilation to work here. For if the Filipinos are indeed prejudiced against the Chinese, if they cannot accept them as their social equals, there is no earthly reason why the latter should crawl to become an accredited member of Filipino society.

A closer study of the situation, however, will show that whatever prejudice the Filipinos might have against the Chinese is more or less peripheral in nature. It stems mainly from the inability of Filipinos to understand Chinese ways, from their suspicion of Chinese motives. But prejudice in the sense of race they do not have.

As a matter of fact, it is the Chinese who harbor deep-seated prejudices against the Filipinos. Those prejudices, to be sure, do not manifest themselves in trivial ways. But they crop up in all their ugliness when something basic like marital relations between Chinese and Filipinos is concerned.

The Chinese are often willing to marry Filipino women. There are many Filipino-Chinese unions and it is not likely that there will be an end to them. But intermarriage, to be a factor in the process of assimilation, must work both ways. It does not work so at the moment and it had never worked so before.

For Filipino-Chinese marriages have almost always been between Chinese males and Filipino females, very rarely between Filipino males and Chinese females.  No Chinese parent would willingly consent to the marriage of his daughter to a Filipino of whatever distinction. 

One reason for this is that such a marriage will cause the Chinese parent to lose face among his fellows. Another is that a Chinese girl who marries a Filipino represents a loss to the Chinese community for she will naturally be absorbed into the family of her husband.

But a Chinese who marries a Filipino woman remains Chinese and is free--nay, compelled, either by his own persuasion or by the conventions of the Chinese community --to preserve his old loyalties. It is he who absorbs his mate. Moreover, his Filipino mate has the status of a concubine, for more often than not, he has already a Chinese wife and a family somewhere in the Chinese homeland.

These facts are so obvious that they have been dismissed as one of the idiosyncrasies of Filipino-Chinese relations. But they are tremendously important when they are set against the question of why the assimilation of the Chinese by the Filipinos on a scale large enough to advance the solution of the Chinese problem is no longer possible.  (12-24-1959)


Chinese Schools

A joint congressional committee composed of the Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities and the Committee on Education has prepared a report recommending an immediate re-examination of the diplomatic agreement between the Philippines and Taipei regarding the operation of Chinese schools here. 

The members of the committee have found that these schools, aside from teaching the Chinese language and history to their students, also instill in them political loyalty to Nationalist China.
To the congressmen, this is a violation of the nation's educational policies and should be stopped at once. 

Perhaps so but it is perfectly reasonable to argue that as long as Chinese schools are allowed to flourish in this country, there is no way of preventing them from teaching students loyalty to their homeland.

For if it is not wrong for the American school to teach its students the virtue of loyalty to American institutions, why should it be wrong for Chinese schools to teach their students the virtue of loyalty to the Chinese institutions?

But the position of the members of-the joint congressional committee is that the Chinese schools in our midst are attended by Chinese students who have become naturalized Filipino citizens and that these schools are financed by naturalized Filipinos.

What should be done in this case, we believe, is not to compel the Chinese schools to change their orientation but to prohibit Chinese who have become citizens of the land from having to do anything with them.

The sons and daughters of naturalized Filipinos should be made to attend Filipino schools where presumably,  they will learn to adopt the Filipino way of life and acquire loyalty to Filipino institutions.

The question now is whether the Philippine government is in a position to accommodate students of Chines parentage and whether Filipino students are tolerant enough o accept them as equals.

It is obvious that the problem is inherently difficult. It is a problem that cannot be solved by simple legislative fiat or by the exertion of powerful political pressures. Above all, it is obvious that the Philippine government and the Filipino community must be prepared to shoulder the consequences of a policy that is clearly intended to correct an anomalous but unavoidable situation.      (5-27-1960)


There is little doubt, we believe, that in many instances a Chinese parent who has been naturalized would be more than willing to make his offspring as Filipino as possible. For one thing, the task of educating his son or daughter would be less onerous. For another, he realizes that considering he has no choice but to cast his lot with the Filipinos, it would be better for him to raise his children as genuine Filipinos.

But there is the little matter of educating standard. For whatever one may say about Chinese schools, one cannot deny that in the main they have qualities that the average Filipino school does not have. This has been borne time and again in the annual examinations for high schools. In one case, for instance, the students in a Chinese school scored some of the highest marks in each subject as civics and government and Philippine history.

There is also the matter of accommodation. If Chinese schools are to be converted, it is more than likely that the Chinese parents who enjoy Filipino citizenship would send their children to public schools. are these same schools prepared to receive them?

By all means, the plan to stop the Chinese schools from playing their divisive role should be pushed through. But provisions must be made for those who, deprived of these schools, have also the right to be educated.    (3-9-1962)


There is no arguing against the validity of the proposition that the alien who boasts of being a Filipino must be one in name as well as in fact. And there is no question that this can only be brought about if such an alien has become an integral part of the Filipino community.

It must be conceded that strict naturalization laws which place more value on the moral rather than the financial qualifications of the applicant for citizenship will favor the alien who wants to be a Filipino by conviction and not the alien who wants to acquire citizenship for convenience. In a way, then, the rigidity of the naturalization laws will be a factor in the process of assimilation.

But we must contend here that this is not the only factor. The more important factor is the willingness of the Filipino community to create the proper atmosphere for assimilation. It has been argued time and again, for instance, that the sons and daughters of naturalized Filipinos should not attend Chinese schools. But are the Philippine public schools ready and willing to accept these children? It is said that the naturalized Filipino businessmen should cease being members of Chinese trade organizations. But are Filipino trade organizations prepared to open their doors to the naturalized citizens?

The whole point we are driving at is that the task of naturalization can be accomplished only when both the naturalized Filipino and the native-born agree to cooperate.  

Sourcebook: SOLIONGCO TODAY, A Contemporary from the Past. Edited by Prof. Renato Constantino, 1981, pages 143-153

NOTE: As alluded to in the Preface of the sourcebook:  Mr. Indalecio (Yeyeng) P. Soliongco was editorial writer/columnist of the Manila Chronicle from the late 1940s to 1971. He wrote over 8000 columns in his "Seriously Speaking" column. He discussed various subjects but concentrating on day-to-day sociopolitical developments; exposing the hypocrisy, lack of intellectual and moral integrity of many public figures.

Click to read/see also -->  The Chinese in the Philippines: Power and Prejudice



   "It may be tiring and seemingly hopeless, but we need to keep alive, to continue the discussion of fundamental issues that cause our predicament, especially to those who can not escape/emigrate, the uneducated, the impoverished. And hopefully, we can reach and help them gain an appreciation and understanding of "what's going on." 

Because without the impoverished majority knowing, they can not unite and act for radical changes that are long overdue. We may not see the realization now or during our lifetime. But we have to try and do so, for the next generations. For another, there's no place like home, our country of birth. That's how I feel and think."

-   -- Bert M. Drona


ADDENDUM: Below an excellent and balanced presentation of China's most recent century of fundamental and radical socio-economic and political changes. A PBS Classic Series.

EPISODE 1 (1911-1949)

EPISODE 2 (1949-1976)

EPISODE 3 (1976-2011)

A CENTURY OF REVOLUTION is a six-hour tour de force journey through the country's most tumultuous period. This award-winning documentary series presents an astonishingly candid view of a once-secret nation with rare archival footage, insightful historical commentary, and stunning eyewitness accounts from citizens who struggled through China's most decisive century.
CHINA IN REVOLUTION (1911-1949) charts the country's most violent era where decades of civil war and foreign invasions led to the bloody battle for power between Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek.
THE MAO YEARS (1949-1976) examines the turbulent era of Mao's attempts to forge a "new China" from the war-ravaged and poverty-stricken nation. Mao's death begins BORN UNDER THE RED FLAG (1976-2011), which follows the country's new leadership of Deng Xiaoping and its unlikely transformation into an extraordinary hybrid of communist-centralized politics with an ever-expanding free market economy. Monumental in scope, CHINA: A CENTURY OF REVOLUTION is critical viewing for anyone interested in this increasingly powerful and globally influential country.

"Those who profess to favor freedom
and yet deprecate agitation
are men who want crops without
plowing up the ground;
they want rain without thunder and
They want the ocean without the
awful roar of its waters.
This struggle may be a moral one
or it may be a physical one
or it maybe both moral and physical
but it must be a struggle.
Power concedes nothing without a
It never did, and never will." – Frederick Douglass, American Abolitionist, Lecturer, Author and Slave, 1817-1895)

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" Fear history, for it respects no secrets" - Gregoria de Jesus (widow of Andres Bonifacio)


Bert M. Drona said...


The now rich Taiwanese/Chinese are vociferously claiming they were fishing outside of Philippine waters. Any informed and thinking native Filipino know that other Asians (Japanese, Chinese,etc) do fish in our Philippine waters because we are so weak a country (not really a nation yet) with practically no navy to effectively ward off intruders.

So far, we would rather maintain our 10 million+ compatriots to be the exported modern slaves under terrible conditions. We can not copy America etc. and be multicultural with unlimited entry of foreigners in our homeland --who have become and are our lords in our own homeland (we are already multicultural with our native ethnic minorities, let us embrace them first than foreigners!).

We native Filipinos better recover our pride. For who else, who cares about us native Filipinos in our homeland? If we do not assert ourselves at home, we really deserve the insults, disrespect, all the deep shit we get and suffer at the hands of arrogant and opportunistic foreigners in our homeland. Remember Bonifacio, Mabini, Sakay!!

Anton said...

I just read your post and while I do agree that the first and second generation Chinoys are a bit wishy washy when it comes to the motherland, most of the later generations have considered the Philippines as home and is loyal to the Philippines. There is no pictures of the KMT nor the CCP an in fact, we abhor the idea of living in CHina despite the fact that CHina is the second biggest economy in the world.