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July 29, 2007


Jon Limjap

Hah, I guess I can't claim credit for that, my people-memory is very very bad.


Good memory is only possible if one pays attention so i guess our tendency to stare helps in this area.


Would we be able to link our detail oriented memories as cause for our short term memories when it comes to more important issues? In other words, allowing one family to regain relative glory and power once again after kicking them out in a public fashion? Are we like austistic kids who can memorize the phonebook at a glance but can't deal with social interaction properly?


I think that's a good point, Mila. At the risk of sounding overly critical (of us Pinoys) I think we do tend to remember a lot of irrelevant details (selective memory) and leave out many much more important ones. So I guess that speaks more about our priorities and what we find relevant?


Jon — it’s true, there are always exceptions, but I am sure your memory is good in other ways.

Cvj — ha, ha, yes — perhaps Pinoys stare at foreigners to see whether they are wearing an ID card to memorize?

Mila and frayed — I might have guessed that Pinoys would beat themselves up even when I wrote something flattering!

There is something in what you say — there is a lack of a collective historical memory for sure. That’s not necessarily bad — for example, despite the atrocities of the Japanese during the second world war, there is little animosity toward modern Japanese (as there is in China, for example). Some people might say that is a bad thing, but I see little to be gained in attacking inhabitants of modern Japan for the sins of their parents.

I think it is fair to say, as you do, that the Filipino concern is with his or her immediate environment -- but can we be sure that this is "less important"?

Nunu's mum

Well, that's one positive pinoy trait that I seem to have missed out on...

I'm shocking when it comes to remembering people's names. I HATE, repeat HATE having to introduce people at gatherings cos I always, inadvertently get it wrong!

~sigh~ you post a 'flattering' aspect of pinoys and I can't even feel smug about it!

Does remembering ex-lovers' foibles in minute detail count?


haha. people-oriented. is that why I am in advertising? had to comment about having to remember the names and birthdays of 35 first cousins - or ratherm, 70 if you count both sides: mum+dad.


I supplement your 'quasi-feudal' explanation: undeveloped systems in almost every area of public life (government, employment, etc.) make it necessary for us to remember individuals because we need personal ties to prosper. Confronted with impenetrable bureaucracy, the best way to get something done is to know someone--or everyone. In the West (except maybe Italy, haha), public transactions are so established as to be impersonal. This is not entirely positive, as Weberian friends keep pointing out to me. Maybe not, though I see some value in efficiency sometimes.

On a positive note, I agree that we as a people are interested in people. Prime example among relatives: my mom, who knows everyone in our neighborhood, including how much everyone earns. It takes her about one hour to negotiate the 150-meter street because she calls on every other house. Then she matches everyone up: A needs a plumber, B's cousin is a plumber. C wants a wife, D's aunt is a young widow. Then she'll tell D how much C earns. It's not gossiping, it's networking.


We've had a maid for eight months and I still don't know her name.

I think it's uy. "Uy, pakiplancha naman ang polo ko".


Some selective memory are programmed. The chinese hatred for japanese for instance is a by-product of chinese curriculum where they teach to every students every year of grade school and high school that japs fucked them up.

I'm sure if DECS mandated that in philippine schools we would start hating japanese too.

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