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The Filipino Sense Of Humor Essay

1175 words - 5 pages

The Filipino Sense of Humor


Erap: Hello, I will like to inquire how long is the flight to San Francisco?

Operator: Just a minute sir…

Erap: Thank you! (klik)

joke is to tell a story or short series of words spoken or
communicated with the intent of being laughed at or found humorous by
the listener or reader. Here is an example:

Everyday in the Philippines (or anywhere in the world where Filipinos
dwell), one can hear different types of jokes. The most fascinating
part of this event is that the types of jokes that get the most
laughter (laughter being the intended human reaction) are political
jokes and jokes about their nation in general.

As a fact, the most recurrent subject of jokes in the Philippines is
none other than the ousted President Estrada himself. Often, one would
hear such jokes from Filipinos coming from the middle class and the
upper class. What usually happens is that a certain group of Filipinos
talk about anything under the sun then one of them thinks of breaking
the boring topic by telling a tale about a man with Elvis-inspired
sideburns Then, the group laughs cheerfully, unmindful of the serious
message the event implies.

In the simple interaction of telling an Erap joke, one must realize
the fundamental grounds why Filipinos seem to be so resilient and
comfortable even when the jokes are on them and even when the topic is
not a laughing matter anymore but a grave impertinence to their

Nonetheless, others should not condemn Filipinos for acting in such an
agreeable manner even if they are supposed to be offended. There of
course, remain a lot of factors for the development of such

The first and most obvious factor is the lack of nationalism of
Filipinos. They are impervious to ridicules addressed to their nation
(or to one of their fellowmen) because historically, their minds were
fashioned to think and act like outsiders. After the Spanish
Occupation, America used the educational system as a means of
pacifying a people who were defending their newly-won freedom from an
invader who had posed as an ally (Constantino, 1982). The education
received by Filipinos deteriorated their sense of nationalism. For
instance is the information they acquire from history books. It is
quite observable that Americans appeared as their saviors from Spanish
colonizers. Little were heard of their crimes and their mischievous
conquests. The Filipinos hailed them and many influential Filipino
families yielded to their power.

In addition, one can also observe this lack of nationalism in the
everyday experience of encountering a Filipino who cannot afford to
speak in one language. This is because the people in the Philippines
are composed of many ethnic groups that utilize different dialects.

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