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Maritime Forum

TOPIC: 10 Ways of Better Understanding a Filipino Crew

10 Ways of Better Understanding a Filipino Crew 12 Jan 2015 10:26 #4384

  • Sengupta
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Filipino Seafarers are the first in the nationalities of Seafarers, by demography in the International Merchant Ships’ Fleet. Most of us has worked or would work with the Filipinos, somewhere in some ships. Though every country has its own culture and traits to manage human resource, but for the Officers it is quite informative to know about the Filipinos, their Culture and their traits, to manage with these hard-working breed of Seafarers, since there is often a good possibility to come across with the Filipino Crew and Officers in some ship, which may be assigned to us.
Extending positive understanding towards people is a central part of the professional role of every Master and officer. Whether you are in charge of the engineering crew or of the deck crew, getting to know and understand the people you're dealing with is a necessity for success!

Masters and officers cannot operate in a vacuum. You have to know how to convince and inspire, cooperate and communicate with your people to be successful. Aboard a multinational crewed vessels ship you have to get people to trust and understand each other in spite of considerable barriers, erected by differences in language, values, ethics, attitudes, traditions, customs, and ways of thinking.

In order to identify the difference of a Western and a Filipino Seafarer these 10 points should be remembered:

1. The Filipino, compared with Westerners, prefers a "structured" way of life rather than one in which he can be assertive of his own individuality.
2. Filipinos compared with Westerners are more sensitive and easily humiliated. One must never ridicule a Filipino seaman. He considers with a great deal of resentment, a ridicule coming from a foreigner or stranger, though not so much from a fellow Filipino or town mate.
3. He is sensitive to hard words and aggressive behaviour. One must avoid showing signs of conflict when relating to a Filipino seaman.
4. As much as possible never show a sour look, nor utter harsh words to him.
5. For the Filipino, smooth interpersonal relationship (SIR) is the rule for any relationship. A smile, a friendly lift of the eyebrow, a pat on the back, a squeeze of the arm, a word of praise or a friendly concern can easily win the friendship of a Filipino.
6. The Filipino tends to be a poor loser. He is unable to take defeat gracefully. If he wins, he is exceedingly jubilant; if he loses, he is exceedingly bitter. In athletics, he is deeply sports minded but tends to be unsportsmanlike. To him, to be defeated is to be humiliated. Thus, the Filipino, when he loses is apt to put up an excuse or alibi.
7. Westerners tend to regulate their contact with people of other culture by failing to observe the gap; the Filipino tends to regulate his contact with people of other cultures by a dear recognition that differences exist and a shallow and incurious notion of what these consist of.
8. The Filipino limits his contact with people of other culture in their midst partly by shifting to the Tagalog dialect, and by a variety of other defensive measures whereby he tries, understandably, to evade the experience of difference.
9. A Filipino may interpret the frankness of the Westerner as rudeness, and in the way Westerners view the Filipino's reticence at saying a direct "No" as indecisiveness. To the Filipino, "I'll try" could either mean "No" or that he'll really try.
10. Westerners conceive of time in linear-spatial terms: the past, present and future. The Filipino has two concepts of time: first is the linear where time is a succession of moments with a fixed starting point and a fixed ending point; the second is the cyclical concept of time where time is a succession of moments without a fixed starting point nor a fixed ending point Thus the "manana habit." The Filipino considers time flexible and unlimited. What cannot be done today can always be accomplished tomorrow. Among friends, meetings are not held promptly.
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