Trying to teach something to people in the Philippines

It has to be one of the biggest frustrations I have and also one that probably causes the most businesses to give up. There is a serious problem of trying to get people to follow even the most basic of guidelines or rules and its not just a foreigner issue as I know many Filipino’s with different businesses having the same problems over and over again purely because people refuse to learn or simply will always do it their own way as soon as your back is turned.

Examples of that are the things I have had to deal with in construction and recently an electrical circuit. The electrician instantly assumed the ceiling fan was the culprit on the circuit purely because I had installed it. But then again I have worked as an electrician for years and worked to EU standards what would I know? Simply the fact I don’t want to or like wrapping live joints in insulation tape that seems to be the norm here? As I actually shipped blocks from the UK purely for joints to make sure they had good connections as well as not going to have issues of heat or the tape coming loose over a period of time. Generally I also don’t connect cables half way up anywhere as it should run from source to terminal not something resembling a giant spider of junctions. But anyway the point was the source of the problem ended up in a handrail on the stairs which I wasn’t even aware lighting had been installed there and on top of that not keen on live wires being inside a metal staircase with no earthing or grounding as its called locally. Typical example and many a time I have redone things to show people why things are done a certain way as they must assume foreigners are idiots incapable of anything to then be made to look the fool when you show them if they had listened it all makes sense to why things are done the way you wanted it. But don’t think it will change most of them as simply they will go back to old habits on the next job instead of learning from what you showed and taught them.

Now on the other hand its not all Filipinos and an internet boom on blogging and other internet related workers shows that. But why? to be honest I think its the insular nature of the country and the fact that locals who are skilled in most hands on roles leave the country for a better life and pay and we get left behind with a lot of people that are unqualified and of a lower skill set as well as mental attitude. The internet blogging side and outsource workers are different because they rely on the income as well as the fact many are paid on performance if it doesn’t meet the criteria they don’t get paid. Which is why I do enjoy the company of the internet workers and bloggers as they have learned to adapt to work ethics that are missing in most things in the Philippines. I can’t blame the local people as they are being brought up as it being acceptable behaviour. I have sat in government offices and watched people roll in at 11am who are the managers while the workers have been in since at least 9am if not earlier. Same as “ghost workers” are in many departments and everyone is aware of it but nothing gets done to remove the corruption in essence you have a country that believes in reward for doing nothing. They see corruption can’t be stopped as its engrained in society yet people are still proud to be Filipino but I do ask why these days? for the same reason people say proud to be British.. because things are a distant connection of what once made these nations proud. The Philippines was the perfect enterprise before leading the way in many ways such as its rice production and methods. Today its importing most of its rice while the farms sit empty. The UK has many similar problems and its a shift in society that is to blame for most of it. Things got too comfortable with the Benefit system in the UK and the OFWs sending money back in the Philippines the mentality of people has changed from being a worker to the “next big thing” instead of a realization to get something in this world you should earn it not expect it on a plate. Unless attitudes change nothing will improve in fact more likely to get worse.

But back on the subject of teaching people new things, the problem I have had is I don’t think there has been anyone learn anything from me. Had an electrician start work then quickly disappear because I explained about earthing at which point he felt uncomfortable that I knew about electrics as well as explaining the tolerances of cables and the fact a lot of the time he is fitting the wrong cables in homes purely based on “but that’s what they could afford”. Which in the UK you would walk away from the job as when the house burns down guess who’s going to be prosecuted not the person giving you the cable but the installer who should know better. Yes I know people will go “but this is the Philippines” and I will reply simply that if you want things to improve and change you need to start with yourself. I would love to know if anyone out there has managed to change someone’s way of life by educating them in new methods. Only person I can honestly say has developed more skills over my time in the Philippines is my wife April as she has an obsession with cooking so buying a bread maker as well as encouraging my wife to bake she’s developed into making her own bread as well as many other things to do with baking a skill that wasn’t part of her cooking forte before.

But in all honesty though I do wish people would learn and listen as I have work for people if they could! My scooter electrics for example has developed an electrical fault where you need to get the engine running then remove a fuse and reinstate the fuse for the electrics to come on. I know if I take it to someone here first thing they are going to say is it needs rewiring. When I know its just the ignition switch because it happened in an accident a few weeks ago when someone left the gate hanging and I got caught up in it as I drove through ripping the key out the ignition. Problem is doesn’t matter how many times I would explain its the ignition I can guarantee I come back to find half the bike stripped down rather than just tinkering with the ignition switch. In essence another job for Matt!

Would love to hear what others think the problems are and how they think they can be changed as its got to be the one most important thing the Philippines as a whole needs to change to get the country moving.