Category: third world

Wisdom from the grassroots

By Cielito F. Habito

As we commemorate Christ’s suffering this Holy Week, I am led to revisit anecdotes I have written in past articles on the wisdom one can find by talking to those who suffer the most from our society’s inequities. Through the years, I have found some of the richest insights in conversations with common folk expressing their aspirations in ways that made me see their plight more clearly, and rethink old preconceived notions and ideas shaped by ivory-tower analysis.

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on self-help and the Pinay

or let’s begin 2012 by talking about oppression, shall we?


My issue with self-help books is that they are mostly American. And anyone who lives off of the Philippines’ contradictions and silences, crises and sadnesses would know that not much of American self-help applies to the every Pinay.

The 11 stupid things women do by Veronica Pulumbarit, based on the book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives among other sources, reeks of a universalizing and stereotyping of the woman that just fails to consider how differently women – and men – live in third world Philippines. Of course Dr. Schlessinger and every other self-help guru or magazine would have its own market in this impoverished nation, but that’s really the phenomenon of a first-world-pocket in the age of transnationalization, where social class differences are becoming more and more stark, and Pinays of a certain class can actually live believing in the ideologies of the first world.

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