What goes up, must come down! Crab mentality is a popular saying among Filipinos and it refers to behavior associated with envy and jealousy. “If I can’t have it, neither can you and I will pull you down!” I have heard many foreigners over the years complain about crab mentality while living in the islands or spending time visiting the islands. However, I have experienced far more crab mentality from expats over the past 13 years than I have from Filipinos over the past 27 years!
I spent 9 years teaching English in another Asian country before my family and I moved to the Philippines. Another foreign teacher attempted to push me down the stairs because I was chosen by the University Administration to be a judge in the Provincial English Speaking Competition over him. Due to my wife’s experience in the same Asian country, when dealing with many expats, she said many expats will be the same way in the Philippines. Crabs! She was right. There are many crabs among expats who are living in the Philippines. However, not all, of course.
Jealousy, envy and conspiracy are not part of my character. When my friends and family are successful, I am happy for them, and I do not covet what they have achieved. Ever since I was 19 years old, I worked to get what I wanted. If someone had something I liked, then I got it myself, without trying to destroy them or take away what they had earned through hard work and diligence. I also put my nose to the grindstone and achieved what I wanted. I had failures in my life but I wasn’t a failure because I kept at things until I was successful. I never quit!
A bucket of crabs and crab mentality are phrases attributed to the Filipina human rights activist, political prisoner during the Marcos era, author, feminist activist and journalist, Ninotchka Rosca. She witnessed crab mentality among some people in the Philippines, who had short-sighted thinking and “king of the hill” attitude that is not long term.
The Future is today
Shooting yourself in the foot and cutting your own throat are similar phrases with crab mentality. There is no long term vision with crab mentality!
A number of expats go into business with their wives in the Philippines and because they failed, they tell everyone else that they will also fail. I have heard foreigners say that it is impossible to succeed in business in the Philippines. This is far from the truth. I guess my wife’s three successful businesses are a mirage? The businesses have profited every year since 2009 and the Pesos are real. We can spend them.
Ever since I heard about The Power of Positive Thinking as a young man, I applied it to my life and I do not enjoy being around people who are always saying negative things about everything under the sun. I am a glass half full kinda guy, especially about the Philippines. The positives far outweigh the negatives and that is how it has been during my experiences since 1986 in the Philippines.
Even though I come in contact with many foreigners in the Philippines with crab mentality, they cannot pull me down, no matter how hard they try. I am locked in on my agenda in life. If I have to see something first before I believe it, it is not faith at all. We all put our faith in one thing or another. This is my rant for the week!