Most emotional people
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-12-06
According to a recently released Gallup Poll, Filipinos are the MOST EMOTIONAL while Singaporeans are the MOST EMOTIONLESS.

Per the Gallup Poll, the 10 most emotionless countries are:

• Singapore: 36 (percent)

• Georgia: 37

• Lithuania: 37

• Russia: 38

• Madagascar: 38

• Ukraine: 38

• Belarus: 38

• Kazakhstan: 38

• Nepal: 38

• Kyrgyzstan: 38

The 15 most emotional countries are:

• Philippines: 60 (percent)

• El Salvador: 57

• Bahrain: 56

• Oman: 55

• Colombia: 55

• Chile: 54

• Costa Rica: 54

• Canada: 54

• Guatemala: 54

• Bolivia: 54

• Ecuador: 54

• Dominican Republic: 54

• Peru: 54

• Nicaragua: 54

• United States: 54 

It’s easy to believe the Gallup Poll results. Singaporeans are indeed the most emotionless people one could meet in Asia. Maybe that’s also the reason why they have this problem of a declining population. In any case, nobody can fault Singaporeans for being most emotionless. They have progress to show for all the emotions that they’ve repressed.

It’s also easy to believe the Gallup Poll results when it says that we, Filipinos, are the most emotional in the world. Filipino reactions and choices clearly demonstrate just how emotional we are. We’re so easily drawn to the emotional aspect of a human condition that we altogether forget the task of preventing its repeat by exercising properly our right to effect good governance.

In the work place, for example, Filipinos who fail to make the grade tend to blame their failure to other factors other than the fact that they didn’t exert enough effort to make the grade. They’d say that their supervisor is biased and that they were not graded properly. This attitude produces animosities in the work place and prevents the employee from progressing. If you had more than enough of them in your organization, they could produce a poisoned psyche that will be fatal for business.

If one were to analyze Filipino voting patterns, the emotional factor is very evident. If reason had guided Filipinos when they voted, then a lot of public officials would not have been elected at all. How does one account for the votes cast for candidates like Lito Lapid, Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Tito Sotto and other showbiz celebrities who capitalized on their popularity to win public office? If these personalities cannot offer competence, then how come Filipinos voted for them? The conclusion is that Filipinos voted with their hearts, not with their minds.

Many folks would say: “What did we do to deserve these showbiz public officials?” Several of them are unfaithful husbands, a good basis for not voting for the adulterer. How can Filipinos associate the images that these showbiz stars project with their ability to perform public service? That would be the height of all the valid reasons that gave way to emotions.

My good friend, the late film director Marilou Diaz-Abaya shared with me a very valid observation when she was helping us during the 1986 Presidential Snap Election Campaign. Analyzing the Filipino voter, Marilou said that we’re the opposite of the British voter. The British voter would first have to be convinced about the merits of a proposition. Once convinced, the Brit would then allow emotion to come in — to propel action for the desired reform.

Filipinos had all of 11 years to be convinced that martial law under Ferdinand Marcos was leading our country on the road to perdition. It took the assassination of Ninoy Aquino on August 21, 1983 to shock us and make us realize that we’ll forever be under the Marcos yoke unless we act and remove him. The impact of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino was of such magnitude that it led to the making of the current president — his son Benigno S. Aquino III.

The problem of an emotional people is that emotions are short-term engines for action. Once the emotion had died down, we then also lose our resolve to effect improved protection and better governance. The assassination of Ninoy Aquino transcended the normal time span of a national emotion because it was integrated with a noble challenge — for citizens to fight for freedom and democracy.

The feeling of such a great loss when Ninoy was assassinated was supplanted by patriotism. The shock effect of the Ninoy assassination segued to the widespread feeling of patriotism — the collective resolve of Filipinos that it will require that all of us must take great risks if our country is to be freed from the shackles of Marcos martial law. Filipino hearts in 1983 first wept over the loss of a great son and then rechanneled that emotion to patriotism, the willingness to undergo great inconvenience in order to attain an important national objective.

Why did the Filipino nation have to lose a great son in order to awaken all of us of the reality of martial law? Imagine how much Ninoy Aquino could have contributed had he been alive to administer the government after martial law.

Indeed, we’re an emotional people and we’re not alone in that category. There’s nothing wrong with emotions as long as these result in intelligent resolves to remedy undesired situations. Filipinos must learn to live with and use their emotions for their personal and national good.

* * *

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

[Click here for the Archive]

Home | As I Wreck This Chair | High Ground | Career Brief and Roots | Advocacies | Landmarks Copyright 2006 The Chair Wrecker by William M. Esposo