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World Association of International Studies

Post Living in a Garbage Dump; the "Stockholm-Manila Syndrome"
Created by John Eipper on 11/12/15 7:05 AM

Previous posts in this discussion:


Living in a Garbage Dump; the "Stockholm-Manila Syndrome" (Bienvenido Macario, USA, 11/12/15 7:05 am)

This is for the heads of state of 21 member-countries going to the APEC summit in the Philippines on November 18 and 19, 2015.

The Philippines is very rich in natural resources. In 1972 the population was around 38 million. We used to say: "Stick a broom anywhere in the ground and it will grow back and yield a-plenty." (Magtapon ka ng binhi kahit saan tutubo at mamumunga.)

Fast forward to...today. In the Philippines people are eating food they dig out of the garbage.

The poor in the Philippines have three choices: 1) Leave the country. 2) Work as a prostitute or lead a life of crime. 3) Eat garbage, literally.

These are the best approaches to philanthropy in the Philippines, in my opinion. Notice they are not Americans.

Uploaded on Sep 3, 2009

"When Briton Jane Walker first saw children rummaging through trash heaps while on a trip to the Philippines in 1996, she decided to do something about it. Employing about 100 people, Walker helps improve the lives of thousands of children and their families who otherwise would be forced to eke out a living picking through Manila's garbage dumps. Jennifer Glasse reports."

Garbage Dump Philanthropist Helps Thousands in Philippines Escape Poverty


How can the International community allow the 50 richest "Filipinos" to continue amassing so much wealth while majority of the natives of the Philippines are starving and reduced to eating garbage?

Another item, from 2012:

"Having to give birth to your children on a rubbish dump is squalor that shocks. The only anchor of hope on a burning Philippine refuse tip is the priest and SVD missionary Fr. Heinz Kulüke from Germany."

Living on a Philippine rubbish dump


Excerpt: "I buried 17 children myself in one week."--Fr. Heinz Kuluke of Steyler Mission

Most Filipinos fall into four types: 1) the brainwashed; 2) those with Stockholm syndrome; 3) the indifferent ones. 4) Combination of the three.

I'm sure by now many Filipinos have the "Stockholm-Manila Syndrome" that started in 1946. It is a syndrome in which the victims, in this case Filipinos, end up loving their abusers the oligarchs, their politicians, the politicians' relatives and friends, and the oligarchs' cronies. And they hate the Americans and European missionaries.

"Stockholm-Manila syndrome" is really the better designation for Filipinos instead of just "Stockholm syndrome," which psychologists are more familiar with. Filipinos love their abusers--this is the "Stockholm Syndrome"--and hate those who genuinely care and help them--this is the "Manila Syndrome."

JE comments:  The sad lot of the Philippines' garbage-dump residents reminds one of Mexico's "pepenadores," who have developed a complex culture among the rubbish.  Bienvenido:  what is the Tagalog term to refer to these people?

Is the "Manila Syndrome" limited to the Philippines?  Might we say there is a universal human trait to resent your benefactors--even when you are outwardly thankful?

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  • Living in a Garbage Dump; from Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA 11/13/15 9:05 AM)

    Ric Mauricio writes:

    As the following blog attests, the Philippines is not unique in having the poor living in garbage dumps. (See Bienvenido Macario, 12 November.)

    Check out India (the world's largest democracy and graphically depicted in the movie Slumdog Millionaire), Mozambique (very rich in natural resources), South Africa (diamonds, anyone?), and 77 other nations with garbage dump communities.

    As Jesus said, "you will always have the poor."


    JE comments:  Living in a dump is a grim existence and a powerful metaphor.  But in a heartless, strictly utilitarian sense, garbage cultures perform a valuable service: by removing anything of value from the dumps, they are extremely efficient recyclers.

    I can't believe I just said that.

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    • Living in a Garbage Dump (Tor Guimaraes, USA 11/14/15 6:19 AM)
      My wife gets quite upset with me when I bring out what has been going on in our world, where everything is about more profit for the wealthy, some of whom already have billions of dollars.

      Everyone talks about indecent levels of misery, growing poverty, the shrinking middle class, corporate welfare, increasing environment pollution, slave labor, wars for profit, etc. Can someone please come up with a list of things which are improving in our world, relative to the past? There must be some.

      While watching the Republican "debates," I feel the urge to take some hard drugs to make me believe all the wonderful promises the candidates are making: to make America great again, cutting income taxes on the wealthy will create jobs and improve the economy, etc. On the other hand, it seems as if Hillary will be crowned by the Democratic party even though I find the other two candidates to be far better choices, so far still untouched by intellectual prostitution and corruption.

      After John Eipper jokingly wrote, "But in a heartless, strictly utilitarian sense, garbage cultures perform a valuable service: by removing anything of value from the dumps, they are extremely efficient recyclers," I had a world-transforming idea: Anyone implicitly or explicitly prescribing bad living conditions or going to war for other people, must personally participate in the specific activity for at least six months or a year. The people responsible for environment pollution must breathe the air or swim in the polluted water for a short while. The world will become a much better place very quickly.

      JE comments: My utilitarian-libertarian appraisal of garbage-dump culture inspired some backlash. WAISer Francisco Wong-Díaz wrote that I could use a "total soul cleaning."  So I'll retract me earlier statement and apologize to those it offended.  There's no tasteful way to theorize living in a garbage dump through the dismal science of economics.

      But Tor, please:  stay off the hard drugs!

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      • Living in a Garbage Dump (David Duggan, USA 11/15/15 5:15 PM)
        As my comment on the "living in a garbage dump" thread, people are going to live somewhere, and in cultures where there is no safety net to allow them to live in Lake Forest or Grosse Pointe, having them live off the remains of civilization is probably better than creating Cabrini Green-style public housing projects.

        Before modern plumbing, there were "night soil" men who collected the products of ingestion and sold it to farmers. Are we the worse for their entrepreneurship? (John: you can post this as a response if you choose.)

        JE comments: I have posted it, at the risk of provoking the wrath of some WAISers. Cabrini-Green (Chicago) Pruitt-Igoe (St Louis), or what have you, quickly turned into dumps, but they were conceived as hygienic, dignified housing "solutions" (to use one of the buzzwords of our age--solution).  These massive public housing schemes were supposed to symbolize the triumph of modernity.  They proved to be one of its failures.

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