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In defense of crab mentality

By Ka Larry Pelayo

Among Filipinos, the term “crab mentality” means a negative trait, a disgrace to the person accused of having the same.  It is the defense invoked by people  charged with something negative or illegal; or exposing a crime performed by  certain individuals living on glass pedestals or self-made brittle monuments of fame.

When a public figure was accused of something, he said he’s a victim of crab mentality; criticized a known smuggler or pusher, he’s a victim of crab mentality; when a popular civic leader is accused of a crime hidden from the public eye, he claims he is a victim of “crab mentality,” etc.

When government officials are exposed of their crimes and people don’t stop reading the exposes, the accusers are said to be suffering from crab mentality.

A former Filipino-American elected official in a nearby city in Los Angeles once said I was the perfect example of a journalist suffering and afflicted with crab mentality; that I am a disgrace to the Fourth Estate which I represent as a member.

He was also a member of the press that time. When he was elected to a government position, he forgets that whenever journalists write something it becomes a statement to the whole world, and whatever sees print becomes a written evidence against us.

Looking back after many years ago, this man was stripped of his power and position, he was imprisoned and until now is hardly seen in public. This writer whom he branded openly as a crab is still writing, free and was never imprisoned.  The late Senior Assemblywoman Sally Acosta (may she rest in peace) voluntarily depended me and sent her disagreement to this Fil-am elected official.

Just when did this phrase come into existence?

Whoever coined these words created a gross injustice to the crabs that we eat.

Just why should we blame crabs for our unwanted traits?  Crabs can’t complain but they need justice too.  They should not be the scapegoats (or scapecrabs) or sacrificial crabs by criminals in our midst.

For those who hate reading my previous columns, allow me to repeat what I wrote before, because whether you like it or not, you are reading this article now.

For those who pretend to be super clean or always right, all you need is to obtain a copy of a laboratory experiment conducted by a group of Filipino scientists back home in the early 60s.  While doing some lab tests, they noticed crabs used for other tests were moving around the lab away from their cage or “timba” where they were held.  They tried to find out how the crabs were able to free themselves from their “kulungans” so they decided to bring the crabs back in the “timba” and watched how the escape was done.

True to what was written, the crabs were seen pulling each other causing most of them to fall. Those with bigger legs and claws were able to stay on top of the others until they formed a pyramid of crabs.  The stronger was elevated to the top and assigned to pull the rest one by one.

A perusal of the recorded tape (then called beta tape) actually showed the tricks done by the crabs.  Their Great Escape from the “timba” was a cooperative effort by the strongest and the smallest crabs participating in the escape.

Whoever then coined the phrase “crab mentality” to give it a negative meaning is misinformed.  He can be likened to an individual who went to a movie without finishing it until the end.  He did not watch the united escape by the crabs.

Or shall we say then the community is suffering from double standard or double-speak syndrome between the rich and the poor, or between criminals and the law abiding.

Remember back home, if you are poor and you have “galis”, they call it “kurikong’ while the rich call theirs “skin rashes”; if you are poor and you eat a lot, you are “matakaw” while the rich are “magana.”  Lately with the arrival of imported ladies fashion bags, those who can’t afford the name brands are “nakamura”, and the rich ones are “naka-gucci.”

Only in the United States did we hear the overused phrase “crab mentality” among Filipinos. Do we have many criminals here or fund-raising thieves who used these terms as their defense when they failed to escape the public eye? Or is it because of the many negative traits or ugali displayed by those commonly seen on social gatherings?.  Is it normal or simply the attitude of people whose little  success pushed them to the verge of being euphoric and drunk by what they didn’t experienced back home?


PinoyWatchDog is victim of double standard

Recently our readers were shocked when they read our front page and cover stories about a common practice in the community, that of fund-raising and bestowing of unbelievable titles.

Some individuals are suckers for titles that are hard to earn if they don’t part with hundreds or thousands of dollars, combined with selling of advertisements and dinner tickets.  These leave the community now confused in search for the reasons why more deserving individuals are left behind.  A civic leader in a neighboring city said he feels awkward to be surrounded by people who are hard to believe were selected as outstanding, with trophies taller than fire hydrants in spite of their questionable backgrounds.

Some groups reacted as if they were the ones addressed to or referred by our staff. This led us to believe and asked ourselves “Pare-pareho na ba ang mga ito?  Wala na bang exception or exemption?”

We noticed too that there are some groups claiming to have the support, or contract with the ABS-CBN Foundation.  On the outside this gives an impression that the group is officially sanctioned to do the fund-raising.  In exchange for what or how much or to what extent?

The article did not mean to pinpoint a single entity.   It is directed to those who are already in existing, and a reminder for those who will be coming.  Just do it right.

We regret that those who are obviously doing it right and in accordance with the laws were also partly hit.

But we are happy that as of press time, some community leaders sent or e-mailed already their concurrences with our front page story.  One even mentioned “Kahit sa lamayan ng patay,pinagu-usapan ang inyong diyaryo.”  Hayun na.

Posted by on July 5, 2012. Filed under Larry Pelayo,No Holds Barred,OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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