THE small mindedness of Filipinos includes settling for less and having no plans for the future. It is quite evident during pay day. We often splurge all of our cash during the first few days on a certain thing that we do not actually need. When future needs come prodding us, we no longer have any spare cash. We also tend to settle for less like buying sachets in shampoos, condiments, etc.

“Society for the Filipino is a small rowboat: the barangay. Geography for the Filipino is a small locality: the barrio. History for the Filipino is a small vague saying: matanda pa kay mahoma; noong peacetime,” Nick Joaquin said in one of his essays entitled A Heritage of Smallness.

This undoubtedly reflects on the peculiar ways Filipino people live through day by day.

“Enterprise for the Filipino is a small stall: the sari-sari. Industry and production for the Filipino are the small immediate searchings of each day: isangkahig, isangtuka. And commerce for the Filipino is the smallest degree of retail: the tingi,” he added.

In the Philippines where everything must come small, this tingi culture definitely is one tactic to survive each day.

People only buy what they need versus buying more than they need. This is because Filipino families often only pay for what they can afford on a daily basis. Though buying a whole bottle of shampoo saves you in the long run, many prefer buying sachets.

Sari-sari stores thrived in this micro-mindedness of the Filipinos. Stores like these are often pretty prevalent on every street. Even families who run out of anything inside their household run on the nearest sari-sari store.

“What most astonish foreigners in the Philippines is that this is a country, perhaps the only one in the world, where people buy and sell one stick of cigarette, half a head of garlic, a dab of pomade, part of the contents of a can or bottle, one single egg, one single banana,” Nick Joaquin said in his essay pertaining to the unconventionality of microbusinesses and its relativity to the small mindedness of the Filipinos.

“To foreigners used to buying things by the carton or the dozen or pound and in the large economy sizes, the exquisite transactions of Philippine tingis cannot but seem Lilliputian,” he added.

Is that the explanation for our continuing failure to rise–that we buy small and sell small, that we think small and do small?

It may seem all too normal at this point now. But one day we’re going to wake up and find ourselves stuck in a rut. Unlike our neighboring countries who dared to dream big, and made big businesses. Filipinos have to break through this small mindedness, rise, grow and dare to be great for our country’s sake. (Kyle Kristoffer Baldos)