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crab-300x209Some known Filipino leaders in Vienna contend that crab mentality is one of the major obstacles preventing the community from gaining unity.

Crab mentality, or the proverbial “talangka” mentality, refers to infighting among Filipinos. Often cited as a negative Filipino trait, crab mentality was derived from the instinct of crabs to pull each other down with their claws.

Crab mentality continues to plague our community. I firmly believe, however, that younger generations of Filipino-Austrians are growing out of this bad habit and that the future of Filipinos will be much brighter.

While also acknowledging that crab mentality is still prevalent, I firmly believe that this attitude can be healed. Little by little, step by step, the flying geese mentality is gaining strength. The geese fly in a V-shape formation allowing the momentum of the flight to assist those with weaker wings to move forward with the others. The geese take care of each other and assign members to take care of those who have to break off from the group because of illness or whatever kind of infirmity.

Proud to be a Filipino

I know I’m going to be shot here but, I have to say, the Filipino community is more Filipino than Filipinos in the Philippines. Filipinos (or Filipinos in the diaspora as a whole) are the conservers of Filipino values, culture, religion and history. There is a resurgence of interest in Filipino roots. Many second, third, fourth generation Filipino-Austrians are hungry for their history; know how to dance the tinikling and pandanggo sa ilaw; practice arnis de mano (and propagate this practice too); know how to cook adobo, pancit and lumpia — it’s incredible. Just go to any Filipino party here in the diaspora, or any Filipino household — invariably, there is Filipino karaoke (or minus one tapes if laser disc is not available), Filipino movie tapes, bagoong kept in the refrigerator, some Filipino cheap souvenir (like Igorot in the barrel, large wooden spoon and fork wall hanging, or a wood carving of the tinikling). Among the young, ‘Flip’ is no longer derogatory, but a proud identity.

So, get the crab out — and celebrate our Filipino identity.

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