TECHNOLOGY advances do impact on culture. In yesteryears when there was less mobility across borders, the young generation would stay put with their ancestral ties to carry on family business. This is why many of the young Chinese/Filipino Chinese are made to work at an early age in their respective family businesses so that one day, they can take over their seniors who by that time will have to enjoy their pipes as they watch in silent satisfaction how their entrepreneurial legacies are efficiently taken over by the succeeding generation. Nowadays, many among a country’s young would rather see the world than stay put with their roots. Mobility of the young is also true to Japan where before, generations of a family stayed in the same company. Similarly, many of the young Germans go elsewhere, leaving almost no one to take up healthcare professions. This phenomenon has opened up working and migration opportunities for citizens of countries such as the Philippines through the Philippine-German bilateral on the triple–win project which if the POEA could be helped to facilitate, may sooner solve and to a good extent, our oversupply of nurses.
So how do these observations connect to our topic on values? That values do change over time. If we update ourselves of what values are the “in thing” now among us and among our adolescents, we can be more culturally sensitive and where advice is needed, we may be able to give a sound one. One can browse <academic.edu> to read the findings and insights gained; for example, from a research by Clemente, Belleza, on “Revisiting Enriquez’ kapwa theory as applied to college students.”
“Understanding the Filipino Mind” by Fr. Vitaliano Gorospe, SJ, suggests a philosophical basis of Filipino values and what is distinctive about our values system. This is one of several journal articles on the Filipino published in the Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change, Series III, Asia, Volume 7 and which could be accessed at <http://www.crvp.org/book/ series03/iii-7/chapter_vi.htm> ”
We can further broaden our understanding by an equally interesting research by Peng, Nisbett and Wong entitled “Validity Problems Comparing Values across Cultures and Possible Solutions” from this hyperlink: http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/92164/ ValidityProblems ComparingValues.pdf?sequence=1
Peng, Nisbett and Wong comment that cross-cultural value comparison has been for a long time the main tool for understanding similarities and differences among people with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The data collection method that this team used is to ask citizens of a nation or members of a culture to rate the importance of a standard set of values as “guiding principles in their lives.” This part of the study treats us to a feast of definitions of values which makes us realize that the different views on what values are may contribute to the validity problems of comparing values across cultures. For as the team notes, “definitions may have two opposite implications in terms of value-behavior consistency.”
The team believes that one type of definition could imply that value should not necessarily be consistent with the behaviors, such as that by Kluckhohn (1951) which describes a value as a “conception of the desirable” (p.395) or that of Williams’ (1968) which says that a value is a set of “criteria or standards of preference” (p.283). To Rokeach (1973), a value statement equates as “an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct or end-state is personally referable to its opposite” (p.5).
Definitions having different slants give the research team a basis for their opinion that “if a value is something that one desires or prefers, then it could be something that one does not have yet. By the same token, if a value is only a standard or a criterion, then it could mean that one has not successfully accomplished it.”
The works of other Filipinologists, Fr. Leonardo Mercado, SVD, Dr. F. Landa Jocano, Fr. Frank Lynch, S.J., Dr. Manuel Dy, Dr. Emerita Quito, and an array of others are equally interesting reading.
This far, what have we suggested to help better prepare us for the first two education priorities of Asean 2015? If we do our homework, our attempts toward preparing to relate competently with our Asean partners will at the same time contribute to our scholarship as academics, liberalizing our outlook, making us more truthful of our identity as Filipinos and more aware of culture differences issues we have to transcend.
We could also take advantage of the opportunities for mobility across borders that are more readily available in our century. Airlines often offer promotional airfares. Professional organizations nowadays include a tour outside the country as part of their annual conferences. Also, there are schools that include a tour to nearby countries (usually Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong) of their students on the intermediate and high school levels. These occasions are also opportunities to gain personal experience of differing Asean culture.
Students could learn ahead of the tour, topics about life in these countries to be visited, agree to have joint cultural programs with students of schools to be visited, partner for a common e-newsletter to write on global dimension topics and benchmark on educational practices by both teachers and their students. About the latter, our students wrote on global dimension topics in a common e-newsletter with Islington High at Green Bend, UK.
To sum up, creativity in planning activities though serious in purpose yet fun-filled make learning about our Asean neighbors pleasurable for our students on whom the 21st century shall leave its distinctive marks.
* * *
Teresita Tanhueco-Tumapon, Ph.D., is one of the Philippines most accomplished educators and experts on institutional management in colleges and universities. Her studies have included not only education and pedagogy but also literature. She has studied not only in the topmost universities in the Philippines but also in Germany, Britain and Japan.