Friday, August 1, 2014

Api (Oppressed) Syndrome

   An American commented that Filipinos are too emotionally sensitive.  My late brother Manny called the attitude ‘Api’ Syndrome.  Api is a Tagalog word that means oppressed, browbeaten, exploited or persecuted.  More than the actual word definition, there is a connotation that the offense was done on purpose for either fun or gain.  If it was done for fun that would be tantamount to bullying.  There is no Tagalog word for bullying.  Api would be the closest thing.  If it was done for gain, either financial or ego trip, then it would be classified as exploitative or manipulative. 

   How does one get Api Syndrome?  Three hundred oppressive years under Spain, four brutal years under the Japanese in WWII, innumerable repressive years under American rule and despotic decades of corrupt Filipino governance should do it.  

   The Filipinos won the revolution against Spain but like a money making loan that has defaulted could be sold to another collector, on the eve of Philippine victory, Spain sold the Philippines to the Americans in the Treaty of Paris of 1898.  Then the Japanese came in WWII.  The rest is more commonly known history.  

   “I well know, O Jehovah, that man’s way does not belong to him.  It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Where else than the Philippines are those words more valid?  The succession of rulers in the Philippines left the people destitute despite the God given natural resources rich in gold, oil, ocean access and annual rain for food production.  All of which were exploited by foreign corporations and crooked politicians in shady deals.  For example “the mutual rights to fish in each other’s ocean territory” sounds upright but the Philippine fishermen did not have the same capability to go so far while the other country sent the big ships to deplete the Philippine seas.  And the list goes on.

   The Filipinos learned to survive in spite of the tragedy of their existence and developed the now world famous tenacity in times of calamity.  They have maintained their unparalleled hospitality and generosity towards all nations including those that did them wrong.  It’s no wonder the Filipinos are emotionally sensitive. 

   “During a great test under affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty made the riches of their generosity abound.” (2 Corinthians 8:2)  

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