Saturday, December 11, 2010

Too Many Filipino words for "Corruption"

Interesting blog post from my friend Tony.  Notice how many words Filipinos use to describe "bribe" or "corruption" in the Philippines? Suhol, lagay, padulas, tongpats, kotong, regalo, Christmas gift, pamasko, delihensya, pangyosi, love gift, pang-almusal, pang-tanghalian, pang-merienda, pang-hapunan, pang-birthday, pakimkim, kickback, porsyento, just to name a few.

The existence of these words reflect how rampant and creative corrupt officials have become in the Philippines. And whats the common response of Filipinos? "Ganyan talaga" or “wala tayong magagawa” which is a declaration of hopelessness and acceptance that corruption as a way of life and common practice in Philippines government.

However, I think these actions are not only reflect the poor state of public officials but it primarily reflect negative values in Philippine society that all are guilty of doing- selfishness. Because it is culture that shapes politics, and not the other way around.

So to solve this, the Philippines should do more than remove corrupt officials in public office. For a long-lasting solution, the country needs real transformation - transformation that's not top to bottom but from the ground level up. Change begins in the individual, then spreads upward to our families, schools, communities, businesses, and then government.

Tony concluded his blog post on a positive note, the good thing is that we Filipinos have our best-sounding words to describe how we should overcome these crooks – pakikipagkaisa (solidarity), pakikibaka (struggle), and pakikisangkot (involvement). And words to describe await individuals, families, communities, sectors and cities, provinces, regions and the country if we succeed – katarungan (justice), kasaganahan (prosperity) and kaayusan (order).

(Adapted from

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