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Asking Questions or Not Asking Them at All

There is a reluctance on the part of a Filipino to ask questions in situations where a Westerner ordinarily will. Officers who have managed Pilipino seamen often wonder why they usually get-a respectful silence when they expect hem to react to certain isssues they bring up in meetings.

One possible explanation for this is the Filipino attitude towards his officers and superiors. Since they are considered the epitome of wisdom or more knowledgeble, it is unthinkable for most seamen to question them. Secondly, Filipinos refuse to ask questions because they feel it is "shameful," nakakabiya, to do so. There is a popular belief that only the stupid and the ignorant and the provinctano (meaning "from the back­woods") ask questions. A Filipino seaman would rather pretend to under­stand the instructions given him and risk making a mistake than ask questions.

A suggestion when giving orders to a Filipino is to ask him to repeat the order back to clarify that it has been understood. Be willing to repeat your instructions. Be patient. Always ask for questions but don't ask leading questions such as "Did you understand the instruction?" Ask the Filipino to summarize what he understood. Speak clearly, using simple language and specific and accurate terms.

To encourage the Filipino to ask questions expecially if he has not understood the instruction is to make it easy for him to ask for a favor by asking him what he can do for him. And when he hesitates, he insists that he asks him the question with admonition not to be shy.

On the other hand, an officer asking a Filipino personal questions such as "How are your wife and children?" conveys a message of goodwill. This is considered by a Filipino as a sign of concern. It is all part of pakikisama or "getting along well."

When correcting a Filipino, don't go straight to the point Talk about something pleasant first. In delivering your correction be as diplomatic as posssible. Most Filipinos cannot take a direct, black and white decla­ration of his mistake. Do not use harsh tone of voice. Do not curse. Do not correct him in public. After a correction has been made, follow-up with an inquiry about some personal concern such as his family, his health, etc.

If an unpleasant encounter cannot be helped - say, if an officer has to call down a Filipino - one of the indications that an attempt is being made to lessen the hurt or minimize the unpleasantness is in this showing of concern for the Filipino's private life. Thus, after an officer has told his Filipino seaman to work harder because ship efficiency suffers because of him, he abruptly switches to an "And how are your wife and children?" routine. This relieves the Filipino seaman and makes him feel that he still belongs, that he is still accepted. Otherwise, he resents the criticism and does not accept it The Filipino criticized concludes that the officer is unmindful of other people's feelings and is difficult to get along with.


       The Filipino Sociostat

Sociostat is a popular conversational technique which regulates social behavior. One way it operates is to cut down to size any individual who publicly takes credit for an act or claims any kind of superiority over his in-group.

Westerners consider traits like assertiveness, pride, aggresssiveness, frankness and familiarity as assets to a person. For Filipinos, however, virtues of politeness, humility, modesty and passiveness are more greatly admired in a person. One is expected to be modest in speech and not boastful. Officers must leam how to use the sociostat with Filipinos to maintain smooth interpersonal relationships. This is known as the levell­ing technique which runs: "If a Filipino exalts you, you should humble yourself; if he humbles himself, he expects you to exalt him."


Filipino Humor

Laughter spices the life of the Filipino. Without it, life for him becomes a mere routine and brings about sheer boredom. Laughter or giggling is commonly used to relieve tension in embarrassing or emotion-charge situations. Westerners find this mannerism disturbing. It seems inappropriate for a Filipino seaman to laughingly announce that he has an accident, yet it does happen. Such behavior does not mean that accident is being treated lightly, and in fact, it means quite the opposite. Laughing or giggling is acceptable behavior for a Filipino in tension-filled situations. Besides laughing when they are happy, Filipinos also laugh when they feel shy or are embarrassed.

Laughter, to the Filipino, can be kind of psychological therapy in time of difficulties, problems and untoward incidents. Filipinos are said to be one rare breed of people who can laugh even at themselves. Laughing at himself is one of the more important coping mechanisms of , the Filipino. Sometimes playful, sometimes cynical, he manages to laugh even at times when the Westerner would consider laughter inappropriate.


The Filipino English

The average Filipino speaks English well, sometimes even sounding like an American. At times, however, Filipinos speak English with distinct regional accents - Tagalog, Ilocano, Pampango, Visayan " depending on what part of the country he comes from.

Within the English languages are numerous accents and there will be a certain amount of time require for familiarization of the way English is pronounced by Senior officers.

Don't be too particular about the pronounces "he" or "she" or diction in general. Some dialect's alphabet does not have an "F", and so Filipinos tend to pronounce it as "P". Filipino seamen sometimes misuse their she's and he's because in Filipirio language there is no such distinc­tion in gender.

Filipino English is slightly different from American English or British English. It is based upon the American dialect, but with strong influences of the indigenous languages. Grammar and pronunciation are noticeably affected. Additionally, some words have restricted, specific meanings. Following are a few commonly-used words and their meanings:

"Blowout" - a treat or celebration

"Brownout - an electrical power failure

"Colgate" - toothpaste

"Comfort Room" - restroom

"Dear" - expensive ,

"Dirty Kitchen" - second kitchen, usually the maid's kitchen

"Frigidaire - refrigerator "Xerox" - copier machine, photocopying

"Kodak" - film

"Polaroid" - instant photography

"IBM" - computers

"San Miguel" - beer

"to pass" - to pick up, to stop for, to go by, to pass by

"to get down" - to get out "to go down" - to get off

"to sleep late" - to stay up late

"dressed for his funeral" - dressed to kill

"to have oiled his officer" - to have buttered his officer up.

"his watch is dead" - his watch has stopped

"open the light" - put on the light

"homely" - to be very much dedicated to one's family.


Friendly Phrases

Learning and using a few Filipino words while with Filipino seamen is a very powerful way of saying "I like you." Common greetings such as "Kumusta kayo?" (How are you?); Magandang umaga" (Good morning); "Magandang gabi" (Good Evening); "Mabuhay" (long Live); etc. will help develop a very deep kind of rapport with them. The following are some friendly and survival phrases which is good for officers dealing with Filipinos to learn:

Magandang umaga po Good Morning ma-gahn-DAHNG oo-MA-ga PO
magandang hapon po magandang gabi po kamusta po kayo? Good afternoon Good evening How are you? ma-gahn DAHNG-HA poan PO ma-gahn-AHNG ga-BEE PO ka-moo-sta PO ka-YO
ano po ang pangalan ninyo? What is your name? AH-NO PO AHNG pa-NGA-
PuedeBaPo fr\ DAIM\ Please lahnNEEN-yo? Poo-weh-de BAH-po
O Paki)     (or PAH-KEY)
salamat po Hindi ko po sinasadya Thank you Excuse me saLA-mahtpo Heen-De KO PO See-nah-
paalam Goodby pa-AH-lahm
opo, oho,oo Yes 0-po
hindipo No heen-DEE po
Puede ba po kayong magsalita ngmaiahan Please speak slowly Poo-weh-de BAH-po KAH- yung maag-sah-tec-ta nahng ma-ra-han
na iintindihan ba Do you understand na ee-een-teen-dee-HAN
poniyo?     baNEEN-yo
hindi ko po na I do not understand heen-DEE ko po na ee-een
iintindihan     teen-dee HAHN
Paid guhit rao ako ng Please Draw me a map PAH-KEY GOO-heetmo ah-KO
mapa     nahng MA-pa
Ginoo Sir/Mr ggeen-o-0
        (or Mister)
Ginang Madam/Mrs. GEEN-ahng
        (or Mrs)
binibini Miss bee-nee-BEE-nee
        (or Miss)
Kailan When KA-M-LAN
ngayon Today nga-YOAN
bukas Tomorrow BOO-kahss
direcho Straight ahead dee-re<ho'
sakanan to the right sa-ka-NAHN
sakalnva to the left saka-lee-WA
nasaanang? Where is? na-sa-AHN
kasityas a toilet ah ng ka-SEEL-yahs
restaurant a restaurant ah ng rest-ow-RAHN
Doctor the doctor sadoak-TOR
pulis the policeman sapoo-lccss
sinehan a dnema SEE-nee-HUN
magkano po ang halaga How much does it cost? mahg-KAH-no PO ahng ha-lah-GA
ang mahal naman po gusto ko pong it is to expensive I would like ahng-MA-HAHL nah-mahn po GOO-stokoPONG
kmnain eat koo-MA-een
kwarto room KWART-o
angotel hotel ah ng o-TEL
magbayad pay mahg-BA-yahd
ako ay Amerikano/Ingles I am an American/ ah-KO A-ee ah may-ree
    Englishman KA-no/Ing-les
Anong oras na ho? What time is it? ah-noang 0-ras nah-ho?
patawadpo Foregiveme PAH-TAH-wahd po
pakisuyo Favor pa-KEE-soo-yo


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