Once was a time that we only encountered the word in the office of guidance counselors. And please don’t mistake the term for PacoArespacochaga’s middling band from the 90s: That’s Introvoys.
Nowadays, you see the word ‘introvert’ everywhere. It’s on Facebook feeds, on best-seller shelves, on t-shirts even.
And why shouldn’t it be? It’s about darn time. Introverts always had the short end of the stick: We’ve been underrepresented and often misunderstood by an always-loud, extrovert-dominated, Tim Yap-organized world.
Thanks to social media and Susan Cain’s game-changing book Quiet, introverts are now thumping their chests and speaking their minds.
Being a proud and bonafide introvert myself, here’s my laundry list of qualms about being the quiet type in this loud, loud country we call the Philippines.
Nothing spells mandatory partying than Christmas in the Philippines. And if there are two words that could drive an introvert to doggy-paddle back to his mother’s placenta, it’s ‘mandatory partying’.
What’s hell on Earth for the quiet Filipino? It’s Christmas season—when office and family parties dissolve into two weeks of excessive living shy of Lindsay Lohan’s debut, when disgustingly commercial Christmas songs invade everyone’s eardrums.
What’s worse is extroverts will make like the Ghost of Christmas Future and chide you if you just want alone time in your room with a good book. ‘Napaka-anti-social mo, gago!’
Not only are introverts misunderstood in the Philippines, there’s also a lack of representation in the media. Most female artistas and endorsers we know are the chimis-mongering, party-loving fashionista types.
Why can’t we have a quiet, book-loving, intelligent female artista carry the introvert flag? Oh right, for Filipinos, women with eyeglasses are ugly.
Of course, there are the classics: pahabaan (where players strip their articles of clothing to form the longest line) or the moronic Trip to Jerusalem.
We don’t get it. Did we become closer to each other after playing pukpok palayok? The introvert can only shrug at these time-wasters and wish he were home at bed in his pajamas writing the first chapter of his novel.
After a grueling three-hour meeting with a client, you just want some quiet time in the taxi going home. But of course, that’s next to impossible, given that taxi drivers have either FM stations that play over-remade OPM songs or those infernal AM stations pounding in the background all the time.
Yes, those dread channels of noise pollution, where balagtasan-inspired anchormen scream in glass-smashing baritones, where circus sound effects are played every five seconds, and where the melismatic singing of promdi rock can give you brain damage.
Most retail stores and restaurants have that insufferable Rihanna song about diamonds playing at unholy decibels. Even coffee houses are noisy, awash in kolehiyala accents and impostor bossa nova.
Where does the introvert go to listen to his thoughts? There are no parks or libraries around—since government budget allocated for them has been siphoned out to Jeane Napoles’ spring break expenses. (Ed’s note: You could visit these cafes, though.)
Of course, there was a time, when everybody read Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. A job in sales made a ton of cash. Being a people-person equated to better job opportunities.
That was in the 1950s,when Magsaysay was president. Welcome to the 21st century, dinosaurian moms and dads. Google the names Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg. They’re all introverts and…billionaires.
Wake up! Introverts are not serial killers who make ransom letters in their rooms. They are humble, inward-looking people who need their quiet time to recharge.
Blame it on our former colonizer’s Spanish-by-way-of-Mexico influence. Ours is a noisy culture, brimming with muzak and fiestas-a-go-go. We bathe in noise, swim in noise, we worship noise.
We are afraid of silence. The minute a residential street falls quiet, someone will wheel out a refrigerator-sized amplifier and play ‘80s power ballads so loud, it will rouse your dead grandparents from their coffins.
Where can an introvert go to have quiet, reflective time? At the cemetery perhaps? No, that one too has ‘80s power ballads blasting, especially on All Souls’ Day.
If the word pakikisama had a face, introverts would’ve punched it. Cancel that. Introverts would’ve thrown muriatic acid on it and then punch it.
Pakikisama, an idea unique to our backwater culture, means spending time with people you’d rather not spend time with—boring people, arrogant people, people with halitosis—in the spirit of mock congeniality. It is the bane of all Filipino introverts.
Introverts look for genuine interactions with people who are agreeable. They despise small talk, what more a whole steaming pile of pakikisama.