If you take a look at any Filipino child’s report card, chances are if they have many subjects under 75% grade, they are in their parents’ bad graces. Very bad graces. Why?
Because in the Philippines the passing grade is 75%.
Here in Australia it is at 50%, which in a way makes more sense, being half and half. But since I’ve been to school in both Philippines and Australia, I noticed the difference. Why were the Australian standards lower, and the Filipino standards so much higher?
Then it all flashed back to me. It was a simple question, really. Simpler than any math equation. Good grades, preferably As, lead to places in ‘good’ universities in the Philippines. Everyone wants to be in the universities that are considered generally the best and most academic. UP (The University of The Philippines). La Salle. Ateneo. UST (University of Santo Tomas). The big leagues that offer the best courses on two of the most favored fields.
Because it so happens that the ‘ideal’ careers every Filipino parent seems to want for their child fits in about three categories. Two fields.
Doctor. Dentist. Lawyer. The top money-makers.
The stranger thing is, even Filipino parents overseas still keep this same attitude (yay).
In a very impoverished, developing country, it is a fact of life that many Filipino parents want their children to work in fields that make lots of money. Simply because most other types of jobs that don’t fit into this category would hardly bring a comfortable wage. Aside from being a successful business owner of course, but that seems a little risky for most unless you’re inheriting the business itself.
Then the thought occurred to me. This means that many young Filipinos are merely choosing Law, Medicine and Dentistry out of necessity and not always out of true interest. By true interest, I mean it is something they naturally like or gravitate towards, regardless of money. Something they may simply study or engage in in their free time because they enjoy it- not because their mother or father encouraged them to.
True interests could be alternative callings such as music, art, design, food and even literature are being ignored. Of course, there are many successful Filipinos who engaged in this, but it is a small number compared to the unsuccessful. Or those that didn’t even try, because they felt it would not bring them what they need financially.
Just imagine, if they did have the choice available, how many more artists, musicians, chefs and writers would be thriving today in the Philippines? How many more creative and alternative careers would be available in the job market?
In Western countries like Australia, student loans and a bigger creative community makes it easier for individuals with alternative interests to pursue their dream employment. There is a bigger arts (sining) scene in general, especially here in Victoria. It lets Australian culture and creativity really blossom.
Hopefully one day, I would see a more diverse job market in the Philippines, because many creative, entrepreneurial voices are unheard.
Filipinos, if you can spare even just a little funding and time, get a book (or an ebook), a ticket to a show or even a piece of local art. Dine at an independent Filipino restaurant. Support Filipino creativity.
Filipinos are a very creative people, I mean, our national hero is a freakin’ revolutionary writer! One of our first prominent painters, Juan Luna, won awards against international, well-known artists!
Support Filipino sining and food, even if it seems a little daunting at first. Who knows? We may even see an even more colourful, creative Filipino society years down the road.
What are your thoughts on the Filipino job market? Do you indulge in Filipino sining?