Consumerism in the third world

Sadly, the Philippines has a rather skeletal education system. I have seen too many examples of advertising and television having a more significant impact on society values than anything learned at school.

The hunger for the 1st world pleasures and the modern conviniences is alive and well. I ask about the best restuaraunts in town. I’m proudly told that a McDonalds and KFC has recently opened.

My own sister in law is desperately poor. They regularly have water and electricity cut off and have to make do without. They threw out the rice cooker because it was costing too much electricity. But still, social pressure and aspiration leads her to adopt infant formula (Almost a whole weeks wage!) For her 3 month old bub.

The people here have gadget lust just as badly as we do in Australia.
They paint logos of the latest movies, on their beat up cars.

Sometimes I feel that they emulate the end result in the blind hope that success of the rich will rub off on them. A friend of ours told my wife that she wishes her kids could afford to go to the mall about two times a week, just like the privelliged kids. I can’t convey to her that maintaining a space for homework in her house is more important. And that perhaps it will lead to success that she desires for her children. She just doesn’t see the connection. She will however, transfer them to a school that is considerered more affluent. But she is confused when they don’t get higher marks than at the bog standard school.

As they say: You can lead a horse to water. We have, so many times, with so many people. But they never drink. You can’t change a culture.

I’ve read so much, had so many ideas and now I have have seen them all fail first-hand. Does anyone know any examples of where a culture has become more self aware?


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