The Goodness in Crab Mentality
In the Philippines to climb the corporate ladder it is almost unavoidable to face the menace of Crab Mentality. Like a silent assassin ready to discredit your capacity as a person without you knowing.
Crab Mentality considered as a Filipino Trait (or threat) is almost synonymous with the word “sipsip” (sucking) as in bloodsucker or leech. Sip-sip or the much brutal form Higop is the method employed by a Crab Mentalist (The practitioner) usually working alone in almost any associations or corporations from North to South. No one is safe from the bottom and up to the top of any bureaucracy. They were sometimes labeled as Malabanan (A reknown Septic Tank siphoning company in Metro Manila) the sip-sips tactic is only a tiny portions of the symptoms called Crab Mentality.
I am not sure whether our Colonizers have labeled this attitude to Filipinos or we had made it on our own; was it something genetics? But we had been exposing ourselves to this kind of mentality early in our life, usually in the form of sibling rivalries.
The first book of the Bible also had an intriguing incident about trying to win the favor of God. In Genesis we read the story of Cain and Abel both making their offerings to God…it is not clear why God took favor in Abel’s gift but it often made me wonder, maybe Cain’s jealousy had its validity anyway…to him, Abel maybe is some kind of sip-sip too? Oh No! We are not going to divert about theology here…
Let us return and take a closer examination about the menace of Crab Mentality. The illustrations using crab as the poor example, supposes that when you place all the crabs in one basket, by instinct will individually scramble up, pulling and wrestling each other trying to escape and in the process toppling down the other to the bottom. It is noted therefore that if the crab would just cooperate using the Bayanihan Spirit (The opposite positive traits of Filipinos) they will all reach freedom.
It is at the same way, our people view some government officials, officemates, colleagues, and even neighbors. It is more subtle than “survival of the fittest” because a Filipino employee with this mentality is often disguised as a helpful and valuable source for the bosses and therefore destroying reputations and in the long run the whole system itself. This they believe will guarantee security of tenure.
A practitioner of Realizationism like me, who is always on the look out for the bright side of things; even from a treacherous attitude like crab, mentality…
As I digress and imagine those crabs trying to escape and reach the rim of the basket, I found out that there is something heroic too in the process. There are actually some crab making it to the top and therefore escape. I saw that those left have actually sacrifice themselves for others.