Filipina + Anger

ENTRY # 16 Had a great discussion with Bill Stratton tonight about departmental relationships, communication, confrontation. I really respect him, and it was interesting hearing his viewpoint. He kept calling me passive-aggressive (like it was some bad thing) and welcomed some way of dealing with this sort of behavior. I laughed. (Thats apparently what we passive-aggressive folks do). Its funny. I asked him what the opposite is, agressive-agressive? or is there no term because that is the cultural norm? I am learning how to navigate these waters, and discern real anger from what is confrontation…and the expectation is that confrontation is the beginning of discourse rather than the end of it. Interesting. That arguments are thrilling because that is when you get to really hear/see what people think. Interesting. Truly interesting. The external behaviors reflect values. The values are subtext, and unless the values are shared, and the means of displaying them are shared (and agreed upon) a whole wealth of miscommunication ensues. Its not like this happens all the time. But it does change my perception of departmental meetings. A place where people disagree all the time, use tones of voice that Id interpret as disrespectful, and all leave as friends in the end – or at least, not enemies. This also touches a little bit on gossip, and the notion that statements of a kind are the beginning of discourse rather than the end. Did a search on the following: Filipino + anger Got some interesting hits. The following excerpt is taken from (The whole page is fascinating…its about filipino courtship).

The Tagalog term tampo has no English equivalent. Magtampo is usually translated as to sulk, but it does not quite mean that.Ôø? Sulk seems to have a negative meaning which is not expressed in magtampo. Ôø? It is a way of withdrawing, of expressing hurt feelings in a culture where outright expression of anger is discouraged.Ôø? For example, if a child who feels hurt or neglected may show tampo by withdrawing from the group, refusing to eat, and resisting expressions of affection such as touching or kissing by the members of the family.Ôø? A woman may also show tampo if she feels jealous or neglected by her beloved.Ôø? Tampuhan is basically a lovers quarrel, often manifested in total silent treatment or not speaking to each other. The person who is nagtatampo expects to be aamuin or cajoled out of the feeling of being unhappy or left out.Ôø? Parents usually let a child give way to tampo before he/she is cajoled to stop feeling hurt.Ôø? Usually, tampo in Filipino culture is manifested in non-verbal ways, such as not talking to other people, keeping to ones self, being unusually quiet, not joining friends in group activities, not joining family outing, or simply locking ones self in his or her room.Ôø?

Note that one is cajoled to stop feeling hurt. Joking,… none of this empathetic stuff. No coddling. No yelling either. The weapon of choice is a grasp of the ridiculousness of things. Not a put down–not that kind of joke. Anyway, still delving into how alien I am – or not.


Brendyn,,, ,, 1055917801, 2004-05-16 20:41:17, If youre alien for having those characterstics, its about time some of the people on our planet discovered yours.

Cath,,, 1055938761, 2004-05-16 20:41:17, Tampo sounds like hurt….not physical pain hurt, but emotional hurt. Even those of us that are NOT filipino, sometimes stop and wonder how people manage to leave the faculty meetings as friends. I know sometimes when I say something and it is not received well (NOT that that happens often!) I feel hurt and miffed at the person who dissed me. And then I struggle to feel like I can be civil to them afterwards. Interesting…..

elouise oyzon,,, 1055941727, 2004-05-16 20:41:17, Bill was talking about how he is thrilled when people say what they feel. Then he feels there is an openness and understanding of whats involved. As an idea, I totally buy it. I can understand it, but in execution, the concept is skewed by a strong sense of “face” and appropriate behaviors that one does not to demote anyone else in public, which saying youre wrong could be doing–depending on how it is said.

fivecats,,, ,, 1055947787, 2004-05-16 20:41:17, Point the First: One of the schools I worked in had a principal who believed that her job was to help us to do our jobs better. As such, any decision that needed to be made that was going to affect the school as a whole was made in our weekly staff meeting. These meetings were long, contentious and devisive. They were also revealing, empowering and the best example of team building Ive ever experienced. (After the principal left, she was replaced by a real Loser of a guy who the staff succeeded in ousting. Ever heard of a staff so together that they could do that?) The point of all of this is that the openness of communication is essential to working with one another on that level. When a staff can trust one another enough to express themselves openly and without fear of reprisals, that staff can work to accomplish better things. (And you may be brave enough to tempt fate by raising the “G” word in your blog, but I wont in my comments here…) 🙂 Point the Second: This is one of the reasons I like your blog so much. You write about your own experiences, your cultural background, and You as Outsider Looking In and you write *well* about it. (please consider that as high praise) ..

Francois Lachance,,, ,, 1083636179, 2004-05-16 20:41:17, This may be absolutely sublimely ridiculous. The June 17, 2003 entry that explains that a grasp of ridiculousness coupled with an ability to express that grasp is per chance paired up with the March 21, 2004, entry “Damage Control” which rifts on how the knowlege of who reads what influences who writes what where. Its not sublime. It is ridiculous. It is not absolute. Its ridiculous. In any case, the illustration accompanying the March 21, 2004 entry looks like a thought bubble in the shape of a brain with a big X marks the spot contained within the bounds of the bubble … marking a spot rather than marking censorship? Maybe the X as mark of censorship requires the triple XXX and then that has become a marketing designation. And there is the circle with a bar that indicates a banned activity like no passing for motorized vehicles, signage adopted by many a protest to mark dissent. What is interesting is that the X is a + on its side. And the title here to theJune entry contains a plus sign “Filipino + Anger”. Note that the title places the Filipino first. Note also that the title over there places “Damage” before “Control”. So in one reading “Damage Control” is the usual noun phrase. In a perhaps ridiculous reading it is two verbs in a row, damage (as a means to) control. Dam age control … the child seems to have permission to be ridiculous. And being ridiculous with children is a powerful educational tool. Now I think Weez could be marketing Filipino Plus Anger (adjective, adverb, noun) : X-ing and uncrossing categories seems to be one technique to deal with tampo-style withdrawal. It seems that to control damage one can do a little damage to achieve a lot of control. Like prescribed burns to control forest fires. a confrontation is a different category than a provocation… A call to incorporate a modest amount of quiet time in a meeting, say thirty seconds of silent reflection after a presentation and between comments, can radically change the tone andproductivity of a groups discussions and deliberations. Works with kids. They are amazingly receptive to the suggestion of lets think about it for a second or two. So fine that tampo is close to the English tempo.

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