‘Pakiusap,’ ‘palusot’ and ‘pasaway’

The first few paragraphs of my essay that was published in Inquirer.

Filipinos have an infuriating habit of (1) breaking the rules (“bawal pumarada o umihi rito,” “pumila po tayo,” or “submit requirements by 5 p.m.”) and (2) justifying their actions before or after the fact. And they do so in at least three ways: pakiusap, palusot and pasaway. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Filipinos plead in pakiusap mode. After violating a rule, they humbly ask for clemency (“Sorry, boss, hindi ko naman po sinasadya at ngayon lang naman po”). Pakiusap also involves breaking protocol altogether and appeals to connections (“Kakilala ko ’yung boss; baka puwedeng pakiusapan na lang”).

The palusot resorts to excuses. But she is also a clever hunter of gaps and creative exploiter of loopholes (“Kung makakalusot, bakit hindi?”). Pasaway describes someone who stubbornly does not follow the rules. Put up a barrier, and the pasaway finds a way over, through or around it.

Pakiusap, palusot and pasaway are typically lamented as an indication of Filipinos’ lack of discipline. Perhaps. But what if these three modes also betray a deep distrust of rules, a symptom of an indifference to and a lack of confidence in some forms of authority?



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