The Ants, The Grasshoppers And The Filipinos


Do you remember the story of the Ant and the Grasshoppher?  In Tagalog, it was called, "Ang Langgam At Ang Tipaklong".  Depending on which country you are in - it was either a rainy season (since there is no winter in the Philippines or any tropical country) or the winter in non-tropical areas.  The story has the grasshopper who makes fun of the ants for working from spring to fall - gathering food while all he did was just enjoy himself.  Finally when winter came, the grasshopper had no food to eat.  If you remember the Disney version, the Silly Symphony had included the statement that the grasshopper said, "Nature owes us a labor." but in the end he says, "We awe nature a labor."

The Philippines is a very culturally divided country.  Filipino culture might be very hard to define considering that some areas of the Philippines are filled with lazy people while other areas are filled with hardworking people.  Remembering my Filipino history classes, it was frequently emphasized about it that in some areas of the Philippines, the problem of the "bahala na" attitude or is very common while other Filipinos are hardworking.  In the Philippines we have those who choose the way of the ant and the others who choose the way of the grasshopper.

I am glad there are Filipinos who choose the way of the ants.  Although not all of them are rich but certainly, they never reach to the point of poverty.  I have observed there are some OFWs who have a plan aside from others who slowly work their way up.   You have the business ants and the working ants.  They always have the statement, "It's time to save money for a rainy day.  You may have OFWs who don't intend to remain as OFWs but they slowly save money and get mad if their families squander the money.  They intend to be ready for the future because anything could happen.  For them, saving money for a rainy day is very important.  It just reminded me of how some people may look average like driving an old car, using a lower model smartphone but they have a fat bank account while having a thin wallet.

A lot of Filipinos tend to choose the path of the grasshopper.  Such people have that misguided notion of happiness where the word serious is deleted from their vocabulary.  It can be evidenced that whenever they are required to make sacrifices they refuse to do it because they just want to have fun.  They don't do their work properly then they complain why their payroll is so low.  Then whatever money they have instead of saving it for later, they would immediately go on a shopping spree.  This kind of mentality is also a reason why so many OFW families remain poor because no matter how much money you have right now if you have no savings, it will do no good.  You can go ahead and have all the cool stuff today but what if your bank account is as good as broke as a joke?  You have a thick wallet to brag about but your bank account is so thin - that is, very low savings.

When you think of the Filipino who chooses to be an ant and the Filipino who chooses to be a grasshopper, they also have a different view of what it means to be rich.  For the Filipino ant, it's not the stuff you own that makes you rich but rather how much money you have that makes you rich.  For the Filipino grasshopper, it's the stuff you own and not the amount of money you have that makes you rich.  It just reminds me of how people tend to say I'm poor because of my less classy lifestyle considering that while I have the money to buy One Direction's VIP but I'd rather go to the Henshin Con or two, spend the money on something I can bring home.  They think that those who have an extravagant lifestyle are the rich ones never mind that maybe, just maybe the nice stuff were bought in an instant and that the person has no savings or the nice stuff were bought under heavy debt or an OFW relative was leeched in the process.

The ants of the Philippines on the other hand must also realize this - they should NEVER lend to grasshoppers.  Why is that?  When I read this modern version of the story from Financial Times you can see why the Chinese (in the story) starved to death by loaning debt to the American grasshoppers.  What the Filipino ants should do is they should just accumulate their wealth and help fellow Filipino ants.  Either the Filipino grasshoppers stop being grasshoppers and start becoming ants or they should face the consequences of their actions.

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