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Deciphering Filipino Smile
benteunerz36
post Aug 2 2010, 06:40 AM
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Deciphering the Filipino Smile

Filipinos are big on smiles. They smile when they praise, they smile when they criticize; they smile when they are embarrassed and have caused some minor offense; they smile when they need something from you; they smile when they are happy; and for any reason. A waiter who spills soup on your shirt apologizes with an embarrassed smile; a jeepney driver cutting in front of your moving vehicle smiles in lieu of asking your leave- or is it in triumph at putting one over you? It doesn’t matter, the best response in Manila’s hopeless traffic tangle, in the broiling noonday heat, is to smile back.

An awkward situation invites a smile because the air is charged with potential conflict and you are expected to smile in return to defuse the situation to clear the air. A smile is a convenient reply when a person does not want to say something unpleasant. Rather than get something critical in words you will get a silent smile. If you ask someone what he thinks about something you just did and he smiles but says nothing, he is not acting the imbecile, he is telling you silently and in the gentlest possible manner he does not think much of it. A smile is always a perfect euphemism.

A smile is the best way out of having to say something that could create controversy. Where the westerner would give a curt “no comment”, the Filipino confronting the media will not budge from his smile. Clearly, there is much to be read into a Filipino smile. With it, subtle mechanisms of social interaction are triggered. There is a smile for every situation; you simply have to learn the meaning by observing the cause and effect of smiles. For example, if you accidentally fall over in public, people will not be solicitously concerned for your safety. Instead they will probably smile, while waiting to see you stand up and recover yourself. Verbal concern would only turn public attention to your predicament and causes you loss of face. By deliberately overlooking your public embarrassment while showing sympathy with a smile, your discomfort is suppose to be relieved. One’s dignity, or in Filipino-English, ‘poise’, is always more important than physical calamity.

There are various kinds of smiles and half-smiles, accompanied by eye contact, to cover all occasions. There is no Filipino dictionary of smiles- it takes exposure to comprehend what they are all about.


lol, I smiled while reading this essay. xD
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fifacup
post Aug 2 2010, 07:20 AM
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in australia, people don't like it if u smile at them when they're confronting u. they think ur either not taking them seriously or ur just being a jerk. that's why most newbie filipinos here learn very quickly when and when not to smile. if u smile at strangers in public places, or riding trains or buses, they'd most likely just stare at u like there's something wrong with u or ignore u. that's why some aussies i know like going to phils coz they find the people there to be very warm and friendly. i also know this filo guy who worked here for awhile but went back to phils after a few months coz he felt that everyone was so cold and unfriendly to him. i felt sorry for him coz he had no friends and family here. it can be very lonely here to newbie filos who are used to the noise and bustle of the philippines.
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benteunerz36
post Aug 3 2010, 01:59 AM
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wow... I thought Australia is home of "fighting crocodiles"... something that wild. :P

yeah, I smile a lot, except for taking a pic of myself. A French girl who was once one of my batchmate, thought that Filipinos seems to smile a LOT, and kinda finds herself creepy... in a way. xD Well, I think it's rather "colder" in UK than in Australia... Not to mention Canada. America seems to have some happy smiley people.

Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines must be the land of smiles!
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katana300
post Aug 3 2010, 02:51 AM
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Hmm, I've been noticing that Xigon's threads often get imitated on AF. Like the smiling thread and the adorable children. icon_smile.gif

http://www.asiafinest.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=237669
http://www.asiafinest.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=237596<-this one was closed because of the troll.
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benteunerz36
post Aug 3 2010, 04:33 AM
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oh lawlz, it does look like it. I just happen to to stumble this and thought of posting it. ASEAN seems to be popular of smiles. Not to mention Thailand, gaining the title of "Land of Smiles". I was afraid that I'll be accuse of plagiarism of threads by thai people but lol xP

I don't know the Smiling thread. Although about the adorable children... I don't think it's about the smiling people xD I think it's about how cute and adorable the kids are despite living in a high poverty rate. Philippines are known to be happy people.
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filipinoy
post Aug 3 2010, 05:08 AM
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there is also no exact translation of the word hello into filipino, i guess its a smile
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benteunerz36
post Aug 3 2010, 06:28 AM
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QUOTE (filipinoy @ Aug 3 2010, 06:08 PM) *
there is also no exact translation of the word hello into filipino, i guess its a smile


for students like me, it would be... "anu homework naten ngayon?" "what's our homework today?" xDD

Come to think of it, my friends or acquaintances... I greet them with mostly a smile instead of hi and hello. Anyway, that's one of my fave traits of Filipinos besides spitting... orz"
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filipinoy
post Aug 3 2010, 06:51 AM
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^do u like the trait of pointing with your lips?

from my experience often or not if a female stranger smiles at u she maybe interested, if a male stranger smiles at u he maybe interested also, & he may also be gay haha jk

This post has been edited by filipinoy: Aug 3 2010, 06:52 AM
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benteunerz36
post Aug 3 2010, 09:14 AM
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QUOTE (filipinoy @ Aug 3 2010, 07:51 PM) *
^do u like the trait of pointing with your lips?

from my experience often or not if a female stranger smiles at u she maybe interested, if a male stranger smiles at u he maybe interested also, & he may also be gay haha jk


pointing with lips are just some funny random traits xD I find it funny (and exotic =w=) rather than annoying. Well if it is stranger and has nothing related to you. unless some embarrassing stuff, like you stumbled somewhere or suddenly wrote on the board and spelled a simple word wrong, or maybe someone helped you, suddenly heard the "jejemon" song, or seen a funny, "malakas na trip na barkadas" or gays talking with each other in a really funny way... you'll definitely smile xD.

I smiled a lot.... lawlz. I chuckled (softly) when someone made a loud sneeze out of quiet mid air. Along with my friends too, they laugh. That's how Filipinos so cheery. ^__^
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katana300
post Aug 3 2010, 12:30 PM
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QUOTE (benteunerz36 @ Aug 3 2010, 05:33 AM) *
oh lawlz, it does look like it. I just happen to to stumble this and thought of posting it. ASEAN seems to be popular of smiles. Not to mention Thailand, gaining the title of "Land of Smiles". I was afraid that I'll be accuse of plagiarism of threads by thai people but lol xP

I don't know the Smiling thread. Although about the adorable children... I don't think it's about the smiling people xD I think it's about how cute and adorable the kids are despite living in a high poverty rate. Philippines are known to be happy people.


No problem. I'm just saying. Your style looks similar to Xigon's style, not just the content but also the italic quote. While traditional dress may be a universal thread in all cultural chat section on AF, only in Viet Chat can you find many topics about smiling people and adorable babies. It looks as if you got your inspiration from Xigon. beerchug.gif

This post has been edited by katana300: Aug 3 2010, 12:40 PM
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daxas24
post Aug 3 2010, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE (fifacup @ Aug 2 2010, 07:20 AM) *
in australia, people don't like it if u smile at them when they're confronting u. they think ur either not taking them seriously or ur just being a jerk. that's why most newbie filipinos here learn very quickly when and when not to smile. if u smile at strangers in public places, or riding trains or buses, they'd most likely just stare at u like there's something wrong with u or ignore u. that's why some aussies i know like going to phils coz they find the people there to be very warm and friendly. i also know this filo guy who worked here for awhile but went back to phils after a few months coz he felt that everyone was so cold and unfriendly to him. i felt sorry for him coz he had no friends and family here. it can be very lonely here to newbie filos who are used to the noise and bustle of the philippines.

Really, I'm from Australia too. Never had that problem
I mean what's wrong with a smile?
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pinkcreamreturns
post Aug 3 2010, 03:08 PM
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QUOTE (daxas24 @ Aug 3 2010, 02:39 PM) *
Really, I'm from Australia too. Never had that problem
I mean what's wrong with a smile?

try smiling at some random on the train icon_wink.gif
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fifacup
post Aug 3 2010, 09:23 PM
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QUOTE (daxas24 @ Aug 3 2010, 02:39 PM) *
Really, I'm from Australia too. Never had that problem
I mean what's wrong with a smile?

nothing wrong with a smile but people here tend to think ur creepy if you smile at them for no reason, and if ur a stranger to them. but i've also noticed that people who have babies or kids with them tend to get more smiles. maybe coz kids are cute hehe. other than that, most people don't smile at random strangers at all, unless they wanna flirt or something.
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XigonCongchua
post Aug 3 2010, 09:26 PM
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QUOTE (fifacup @ Aug 3 2010, 07:23 PM) *
nothing wrong with a smile but people here tend to think ur creepy if you smile at them for no reason, and if ur a stranger to them. but i've also noticed that people who have babies or kids with them tend to get more smiles. maybe coz kids are cute hehe. other than that, most people don't smile at random strangers at all, unless they wanna flirt or something.

Seriously? When I see people look at me, I smile back all the time, and then they smile back. Nothing weird about it. Apparently in America it's ok. Or is it just me?
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fifacup
post Aug 3 2010, 10:05 PM
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QUOTE (XigonCongchua @ Aug 3 2010, 10:26 PM) *
Seriously? When I see people look at me, I smile back all the time, and then they smile back. Nothing weird about it. Apparently in America it's ok. Or is it just me?

i don't know what it's like there but it's happened to a few newbie filos i know here, who smiled at people when they were in the train or bus, trying to be friendly and all, but all they got were funny looks in return or acted as if they didn't exist.
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katana300
post Aug 4 2010, 01:25 AM
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QUOTE (fifacup @ Aug 3 2010, 11:05 PM) *
i don't know what it's like there but it's happened to a few newbie filos i know here, who smiled at people when they were in the train or bus, trying to be friendly and all, but all they got were funny looks in return or acted as if they didn't exist.

I smile to strangers all the time, even to some unfriendly looking country folks embarassedlaugh.gif and they would smile back . We have no problem here in the States. Maybe they're not very friendly where you live then.
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StormyWeather
post Aug 4 2010, 01:28 AM
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Fine, I'll look sad and depressed next time I see someone.
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charizardpal
post Aug 4 2010, 01:57 AM
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I didn't think there was anything special about the smiles in PI. If anything, I'd say the Japanese smile has more breadth of meaning, in line with what you're saying. If their smile was so meaningful I'd be a good deal more interested in the culture.
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benteunerz36
post Aug 4 2010, 07:54 AM
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QUOTE (StormyWeather @ Aug 4 2010, 02:28 PM) *
Fine, I'll look sad and depressed next time I see someone.


or you could just look nuetral as if there's nothing wrong or good happen.

anyway, I heard that USA aren't that bad. They seem to be cheery and all, it actually depends, unlike some other country. I went to Hongkong... I smiled and laughed a lot, I glanced at one of the foreigners, and ended making a nervous awkward smile. I think what fifacup is trying to say... Australian find people awkard when they smile for no apparent reasons. Not that they hate.

The topic here is how Filipinos smiled a lot. It's not about what it means, even though filipino smiles does have a meaningful morals or such, but really.

I just went to SM Sucat, Island Photo. I asked to print the photos for my homework. I smiled, and then she smiled, suddenly a guy beside him smiled then the customers smiled. Another "smiling moment" is when a little boy with a mother carrying her little sister, tries to get on the jeep independently but the steps are just too big for him. A highschool girl helped him, she smiled. I chuckled a bit, the girl beside me chuckled too. Eventually everyone smiled from that moment. Some people smile for those who talk loud, or talk like "conyo". Some people smile at some random foreigner. We smile when someone stole a camera shot, instead of getting irritated. We smile when a random people stumble partially, and guys will say "Oh! are you okay?"

that's what I'm talking about. And for me, I think Vietnamese smiles and Indonesian smiles have more breadth of meaning than that of the Japanese. My opinion of course.

Sorry for the long comment.. orz""

This post has been edited by benteunerz36: Aug 6 2010, 07:09 AM
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fifacup
post Aug 4 2010, 10:16 AM
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QUOTE (benteunerz36 @ Aug 4 2010, 08:54 AM) *
or you could just look nuetral as if there's nothing wrong or good.

anyway, I heard that USA aren't that bad. They seem to be cheery and all, it actually depends, unlike some other country. I went to Hongkong... I smiled and laughed a lot, I glanced at one of the foreigners, and ended making a nervous awkward smile. I think what fifacup is trying to say... Australian find people awkard when they smile for no apparent reasons. Not that they hate.

The topic here is how Filipinos smiled a lot. It's not about what it means, even though filipino smiles does have a meaningful morals or such, but really.

I just went to SM Sucat, Island Photo. I asked to print the photos for my homework. I smiled, and then she smiled, suddenly a guy beside him smiled then the customers smiled. Another "smiling moment" is when a little boy with a mother carrying her little sister, tries to get on the jeep independently but the steps are just too big for him. A highschool girl helped him, she smiled. I chuckled a bit, the girl beside me chuckled too. Eventually everyone smiled from that moment. Some people smile for those who talk loud, or talk like "conyo". Some people smile at some random foreigner. We smile when someone stole a camera shot, instead of getting irritated. We smile when a random people stumble partially, and guys will say "Oh! are you okay?"

that's what I'm talking about. And for me, I think Vietnamese smiles and Indonesian smiles have more breadth of meaning than that of the Japanese. My opinion of course.

Sorry for the long comment.. orz""

i heard thais are also well known for their smiles, since they tend to smile a lot.
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