Saturday, June 6, 2009



is the cultural stress on either guilt or shame. Westerners have a "guilt culture" that stresses moral standards and the cultivation of moral sensitivity. Filipinos, on the other hand, belong to a "shame culture" in which the concern is to prevent others from knowing of one's sin. Due to a fragile sense of worth, we Filipinos avoid being exposed, lest we be mapahiya (shamed or put to shame). When faced with the choice of being put to shame and committing sin, the typical Filipino chooses the "lesser evil" of committing sin.

In our values Education class, our teacher asked to interview our neighbors about their views on sin. The following day we excitedly shared what are they discoveries. My classmate "Pedro, what have you learned?" My teacher said. "Well," said Pedro, "I interviewed my Cebuan, Illongo, and ilocano neighbors and guess what i found out? The Cebuan and Illongo word for sin is sala and its ilocano equivalent is basol. These two words imply that sin is voluntary, a shortcoming, or a flaw," reported Pedro.

"That is right," agreed Juan. "Sapagkat tayo ay tao lamang (because we are only human) is our natural excuse, isn't it?" Annie (my bestfriend) complemented the idea when he added a Cebuandage, "Masayop man gani ang kabaw nga upat og tiil; ang tawo pa bay dili, (if a carabao with its four feet takes a wrong step, what more for man.)" Everybody laughed.

Miss Poblete, our kind mentor, interrupted, "This means that since nobody is perfect, we should not be hard on those who fall into sin! Faults and imperfections are natural."

Me, volunteered to share what i found out. "Our behavior as Filipinos," i said seriously, "is controlled more by the group around us than by inner conviction." I elaborated. "An example of this is a jobless husband who spends time with his peers in a drinking session. The wife calls her husband to help her in the household chores, but his barkada calls him under the saya (under her skirt). His ego is touched and he beats his wife to show his friends that he is boss at home," I lamented. "But these points do not mean we have no sense of guilt," Madam Poblete injected.

"There is an abundance of popular sayings that indicate this. Can you cite one or two?" she asked in our class. My classmate Ronald stood up and said: "Ang taong sad-an maluspad (a guilty man turns pale)." My classmate Mylene recited a famous Ilocano saying, "Ti adda babakna, adda aluadanna. (whoever has sin has something to be aware of.)"

"Actually, the so-called weak sense of guilt may be checked by the Filipino concept or gaba (Cebuan and Illongo), sumpa (tagalog), and lunod (ilocano), which means divine answer to the issue of morality," commented by our teacher.

Then the bell rang..It was a profitable day for us in our class. We learned the Filipino's views onsin and transgression.

1 comment:

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