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National modesty, loyalty and shame

/ 05:20 AM January 12, 2019

Filipinos rank highly in the world, using 10 sources of national pride (“Filipino feelings of pride,” 12/29/18).  From the same database, namely the 2013/14 National Identity module on 33 countries of the International Social Survey Program (www.issp.org), today’s piece shows that we Filipinos also do comparatively well in terms of several other interesting attitudes toward our country.

36 percent of Filipinos strongly agree with the statement that “The world would be a better place if [our country’s people] acknowledged the shortcomings of [our country].” This survey item indicates the value Filipinos place on modesty. Their 36 percent is No. 1 of all the 33 countries in the ISSP National Identity survey.

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Next are India 34, Taiwan 33, Spain 31 and South Korea 31. With percentages in the 20s, ranked by size, are Mexico, Estonia, South Africa, Georgia, France, Japan, Croatia, Israel/Arabs, Turkey, and Czech Republic.  All others are below 20.

For every test statement in the survey, respondents could strongly agree, simply agree, neither agree nor disagree, simply disagree, or strongly disagree. For the statement above, simple agreement was 40 percent, making total agreement 76 percent. Those neutral were 14 percent.   Total disagreement, simple plus strong, was 10 percent.

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Responses are never unanimous, of course. To differentiate the Philippines from other countries, it suffices to compare the strong agreement to each statement.

23 percent of Filipinos strongly agree that “The world would be a better place if people from other countries were more like [us Filipinos].” This makes the Philippines No. 3 in ISSP, after India 42 and Turkey 26. This attitude of worthiness is stronger in the Philippines than in South Africa 20, Japan 18, Georgia 18, Denmark 12, Russia 11, and Mexico 10. All other countries are below 10.

54 percent of Filipinos strongly agree that “I would rather be a citizen of [my country] than of any other country in the world.” On this indicator of national loyalty, we are No. 4 in ISSP, after India 65, Georgia 60, and the United States 60, and before Denmark 53, Israel/Jews 51, and South Africa 50. Everywhere else, strong agreement is below 50 percent, i.e. a minority.

Filipinos that simply agree are 35 percent, making total agreement 89 percent. Neutrals are 8 percent. Total simple-plus-strong disagreement is only 2 percent—the lowest in ISSP, including India (4), the US (4), and Georgia (8). There is no basis for the claim that many Filipinos want to change their citizenship.

29 percent of Filipinos strongly agree that “[The Philippines] is a better country than most other countries.”  On this indicator of national self-esteem, we are No. 7, after Japan 49, India 47, Turkey 34, South Africa 31, Georgia 31, and Israel/Arabs 30, and before the US 26, Denmark 25, Norway 21. All others are below 20.

Only 15 percent of Filipinos strongly agree that “There are things about [my country] that make me feel ashamed of [the country].” This puts us at rank No. 23, well below the median of felt-shame. The top 10 are Czech Republic 38, India 35, Croatia 30, Spain 29, Mexico 29, Estonia 29, Japan 28, South Africa 27, France 26, and Latvia 23. The least ashamed are Switzerland 7, Hungary 9, and Norway 9.

Only 14 percent of Filipinos strongly agree that “I am often less proud of [my country] than I would like to be.” This second indicator of national shame puts us at No. 17, the exact median. The four highest percentages are above 20: India 30, Portugal 30, Georgia 26, and Russia 21. We are among 14 countries with percentages from 10 to 19. Fifteen countries have percentages of 9 or less, the lowest, i.e. the least nonproud, being Switzerland 2.

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We Filipinos score well above average on positive attributes, and not worse than average on negative ones. The claims of a “damaged culture” should be dismissed; I think those making them probably have an inferiority complex.

Contact mahar.mangahas@sws.org.ph.

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