If the Philippines came under Chinese occupation

Supposing if the Philippines ever came under prolonged Chinese occupation, it would change Philippine culture because of the duration and length of it. Two signs of this are the popularisation of both the Mandarin Chinese language and the use of Chinese characters, these are used in some Philippine schools but under Chinese occupation this would be more commonly found in the future if done for close to 50 to 60 years. Another possible consequence would be religious syncretism, that’s combining or merging two religious beliefs.

In the Philippines, as it’s a Catholic country while Taoism is already being practised here (there’s even a Daoist temple in my neighbourhood), if Chinese occupation were to happen this decade up to the future then expect Taoist beliefs and teachings be submerged under Catholicism or more likely vice versa. Expect even the five elements and Bagua to be taught en masse in the Philippines whilst done simultaneously with Catholic teachings as well. Even Charismatic Catholics will do the same, going so far to incorporate Daoist exorcism rituals to exorcise people.

While Chinese cuisine is fairly common in the Philippines, prolonged Chinese occupation would result in a greater adoption of Chinese customs, practices and beliefs. Perhaps to a greater extent than today, which is what happens if the Philippines would come under Chinese rule up to the 2060s and 2070s.

Whose clothing is it?

When it comes to cultural appropriation, there’s often the element of taking something away from that culture without respecting the people behind the garments and products they create and are inspired by. Dior recently came under fire from appropriating a garment from the Chinese called the horse face skirt, since this is the type of skirt used for horse riding and has recently been in use by the Han Chinese again. It gets worse when Dior claims this is a Korean and French inspired but the skirt they’re churning out is near-identical to an existing Chinese garment.

As I said before, when it comes to cultural appropriation the inspiration and usage of said inspiration both tend to be shallow borrowings. It comes from a superficial understanding of what these cultures and customs mean and are like, as opposed to cultural appreciation which involves an honest love of and respect for those cultures and cultural assimilation. While cultural assimilation is bad as that involves giving into the dominant culture, the borrowings are more authentic than cultural appropriation but that involves taking it from the coloniser.

Now supposing if a certain popstar hung out a lot in Iran and Jordan, in fact for a few years, and begins bringing home items from those countries her borrowings would be more authentic and less cynical than cultural appropriation. Especially if her interests and experiences in those countries are prolonged and stronger than whatever company gets accused of cultural appropriation of. Now that’s going to be a sincerity missing in cultural appropriation, I brought this up before but it’s important.

Cultural appropriation doesn’t involve respect, especially respect for the people they keep on borrowing from. A corporation will take inspiration from say India but disrespect the people and forbid them from indulging in their cultures whilst using white models to don saris without acknowledging or using Indians. In the case of Dior, there seems to be no Chinese person designing clothes for the collection which would justify the use of such a skirt. Now that is what cultural appropriation looks like.

This is what makes cultural appropriation problematic, its borrowings are insincere and there’s a lot of disrespect towards the people they appropriate from. This is why it should stop.

Stealing from the Middle East

There’s this article on ArabAmerica about hip hop’s habit of appropriating Arabic cultures and by extension the Muslim faith, whether if it’s the co-opting of garments like abaya or blasphemising the Quran surely those musicians may have their hearts in the right place but show no respect to the people they’ve appropriated from. Not just because they keep on thinking Arabic cultures and Islam are cool without a deeper understanding of those beliefs, but also because they never or barely ever interact with or stay in an Arab or Muslim majority community and locale.

If you’re going to adopt parts of Chinese culture, you shouldn’t just immerse yourself in its philosophy and beliefs but also in texts (and websites) in the Chinese language, learn the Chinese language, hang out in a Chinese community or locale (even China) for a long time until you get the hang of it and that’s what I think cultural appreciation is all about. Cultural appropriation doesn’t do that, well not to the extent and as a result such an interest in that country or culture feels fake and inauthentic. It’s like how some white people appropriate indigenous customs and costumes but barely ever hang out with indigenous people, let alone for a long time.

Supposing if a certain pop star starts hanging out a lot in Jordan and Iran for a long time that her adoption of their customs and beliefs seep in and feels more natural this way, if because she actually exposed herself to their cultures and that’s how cultural appreciation works. It would feel far more natural and organic than say some hip hoppers’ superficial borrowings of any Arabic culture, if because she actually immersed herself in those communities and cultures for a long time.

Immersion, especially prolonged immersion, is what separates cultural appreciation from cultural appropriation and while this isn’t always the case it’s what makes the borrowings of foreign cultures feel more authentic and natural this way. Comes to think of, because of the entire African continent’s greater proximity to Western Asia the Arabic and Middle Eastern influences feel more natural this way. Whether through trade or colonisation, while not all African countries are influenced by the Middle East, it’s evident in several countries.

This is the strongest in not only any African country with a substantial Muslim presence, but also any sub-Saharan African country close to the Middle East and North Africa. So the adoption and borrowing of Arabic and Levantine clothing and gastronomy also feels more natural this way, which says a lot about the Arabic borrowings in western hip hop feel phony. It gets phonier when you know what those cultures and communities are actually like, that those borrowings feel inauthentic and shallow.

Their hearts may be in the right place, but the way it’s done shows a superficial idea of what they’re done when they’re done by those brought up in the cultures musicians appropriate from. In the case with African Americans, some of them turn to Islam and by extension Arabic and African cultures (when it comes to names) as a way to dewesternise themselves. There are some African Americans who do have a sincere interest in those cultures so much, some even move to places like Ghana for instance.

But at other times, it’s a misguided attempt to dewesternise themselves especially if these borrowings are for show and without the deep immersion that cultural appreciation (and cultural assimilation has). Part of the problem’s that most African Americans are Westernised to a greater extent than their African counterparts are, not helped by that they stayed in America and continue to be in proximity to white Americans for so long that their attempts at dewesternising themselves would fail.

Maybe not all, but it is telling if a pop star ever immerses herself in Iran for a long time that she gets Iranian customs and beliefs and what they mean better than somebody who barely ever goes to that country for long. That’s how cultural appreciation and cultural assimilation, whilst different as the latter involves assimilating into a coloniser’s culture, differs from cultural appropriation which involves superficial borrowings of a certain culture.

Freedom from Spain

Spain is the country that colonised the Philippines for several centuries, to be honest I kind of resent the Spanish influence we have. I mean, I actually think the Philippines is better off with India and China in some regards. India, in particular, was also colonised by a Western country (that is Britain) and I think we might have more in common with India in some regards than with South Korea. Both of us are Anglophone, colonised by Western countries, we have dowry whenever our daughters marry and that the Philippines was influenced by India before (in religion, language and food).

But we owe something to Spain as well: in food, religion, surname (though some Filipinos have native surnames) and language when it comes to loanwords and that Spanish was spoken for a longer, earlier period of time here. Jose Rizal wrote two well-known stories in Spanish, these would eventually be translated in Tagalog and English. Some recent (well, from the 1990s) comics use the word Hijo (the Spanish word for son, ours is anak and it also applies to daughter). That’s one of our debts to Spain, though I admit the Philippines would be closer to China and India.

China and India, I feel, are the major countries and civilisations that influenced the Eastern half of Asia a lot. Whether if it’s the rise and spread of Confucian values and traditions to other countries or their Hindu counterparts in Southeast Asia, there’s a lot we can get from either one or both of them. We Filipinos got some of our traditions from both countries, though stronger for those who’re descended either the Chinese or Indians. We have siopao, tofu and lumpia (Chinese); we have curry, which is Indian. One of my cousins does Indian food a lot so there’s that.

Well, South Korea is a nonwestern country and it does influence the Philippines a lot when it comes to food, language (people learn Korean here), television and fashion. But I honestly wish the Chinese and Indian influences here in the Philippines would be much stronger, as I think there’s a lot to be learnt from these two.

Wuxing in China

Wuxing is pretty much the philosophical theory of the five elements in Chinese culture and related cultures in East Asia to an extent, that’s where it influences everything from taste to sound and colour. Wuxing is considered to be a theory about ever-changing energies of five sorts, per this website. Consider this: wood feeds fire, fire feeds earth, metal carries water and water feeds wood. This is the generating cycle, there are other cycles about these elements working together. This is the other cycle: wood destroys earth, earth absorbs or destroys water, water destroys fire, fire destroys metal and metal destroys wood.

Wuxing has influenced the way the Chinese and their ilk view colours, they too correspond to the five elements. Water corresponds to the colour black, as deep as waters can get underground. Red corresponds to fire, yellow corresponds to earth in terms of sand. Metal’s associated with the colour white in that both of them are reflective and some metals are really whitish, wood goes well with the colour green or rather qing as blue and green weren’t yet distinguished in an early phase of Chinese culture.

Then we get to the five flavours where wood’s associated with sourness, fire with bitterness, earth with sweetness, metal with savouriness and water with saltiness. In terms of mood, wood is associated with anger (prickly), fire with hatred, earth with joy, water with passion and metal with grief (you get hurt when cut). In terms of mental quality, wood’s associated with idealism, fire with passion, earth with honesty, metal with rationality and water with erudition. When it comes to the seasons, wood is associated with spring, earth with the change of seasons, water with winter (cold), fire with summer and metal with autumn (rust).

When it comes to the organs, wood is associated with liver, gall bladder and eyes. For fire it’s heart, small intestine and tongue. For water it’s urinary bladder, kidney and ears (as sound flows through them). For earth, it’s spleen, stomach and mouth (as it absorbs food and makes sound). For metal, it’s lung, large intestine and nose (as metal’s used to detect something or that you smell something with metal). Some of these associations may’ve changed over time, but it’s a big part of how the Chinese and some of their contemporaries see the world as.

Attitudes to dogs

Attitudes to dogs varies between cultures and eras but even within those two they still vary among individuals where in Germany, while there are dog owners there are also dog poisoners and hunters who shoot dogs whenever they stray. Likewise in Taiwan, there are women who feed and care for stray dogs a lot and get flack for it. There are people in Turkey (a Muslim country) who feed and care for stray dogs and dogs in general, there’s a sect in Islam known as Sufism which honours and reveres dogs a lot.

Likewise, some Christian churches and texts associate both cats and dogs with witchcraft while others welcome them for aiding the blind and pest control (same goes for Christian monasteries where dogs are kept for guarding and that some monks and nuns breed certain dogs). So it really does vary between cultures, eras and people, even if they’re subjected to change to a degree. This is true for Han Chinese culture where dogs were historically used as food and still is so to some extent, but less and less Han Chinese people eat dogs and more see them as family members.

This is true for any non-Western culture to any extent when it comes to changing attitudes to animals, well almost any animal so it’s not just dogs that get this treatment. In the case with European nations, the change in attitude to dogs is evident in the changing attitudes towards pet ownership in general. For a time, both cats and dogs were associated with witchcraft (either one of them more strongly in some countries like England and Scotland) and both of them were kept for practical purposes and only a handful owning dogs for leisure and hunting especially if they’re aristocratic.

The growth in dog breeds happened more recently, especially when it not only grew in the 18th to 19th century but also spread from nobility to the lower classes though even today some people own mongrel landrace dogs even in countries like Austria, France, Switzerland and Poland. However it’s not all positive, especially when it comes to dog poisoners and dog shooters being a thing in several if not all European countries such as Germany and Italy that websites like Giftkoeder Radar exist to warn people of poison baits aimed at their dogs or any dog.

So it proves my point that not all Westerners like dogs and likewise not all non-Westerners abuse dogs since some of them actually care for dogs very much. Especially with the Taiwanese dog mothers who are even the subject of two studies or more, since some of them aren’t in English. So attitudes to dogs aren’t universal depending on community, culture, nation and individual. This is especially true even if it takes place within the same locale and community. I do recall one Cameroonian study or two where some people use dogs for hunting, some for guarding and some don’t even like dogs at all.

It could be personal preference or influenced by beliefs regarding dogs and witchcraft which’s also the case with some studies and news reports but that proves the point that even within the same culture and country not everybody has the same attitude to dogs (or cats for another matter). If Westerners’ attitudes to dogs aren’t universally positive as it has been before, that still proves my point that not everybody has the same attitude to dogs (or cats for another matter).

To consider a religious example, while Islam regards dogs as dirty and there’s a slightly lower number of Muslims owning dogs as opposed to cats Islam does cut dogs slack if they’re used for hunting, shepherding and guarding and some Muslims, especially Sufis, revere and love dogs a lot. Likewise, within Christianity you have people who regard dogs as dirty, some with witchcraft associations and yet there are dogs who’re used by monks and nuns for guarding and pest control. Some even breed dogs.

So attitudes to dogs aren’t universally negative or positive, which can also be applied to cats. It could be cultural attitudes, but it could also be personal preference. If attitudes to dogs (and cats) aren’t universal within the same culture, then that means people are people so there’ll inevitably be characters whose attitudes diverge from most people (thus mainstream society/culture). It could be negative, it could also be positive. Whatever that is, not everybody feels the same way around either cats or dogs or both.

The use of dogs in hunting

There are many uses for dogs, whether if it’s therapy, herding, guarding, hunting or pest control though the use for dogs varies between individuals, communities and nations. From what I know about Islam, it’s not that there aren’t any Muslim dog owners and any Muslim sympathetic to dogs (it does exist among the Sufis) and Islam does permit dog ownership within reason, especially things like hunting and guarding.

Conversely speaking, dogs are seen as dirty within Eastern Orthodox churches and aren’t permitted inside unless within reason again and they’re more commonly kept in monasteries for guarding and pest control. In the case with foragers, dogs are also used for hunting but the way they’re trained can differ from the expected model. In some communities the dog’s either drugged, starved or socialised to other dogs in order to hunt but they also scavenge from time to time, even eating human faeces.

(Hence, that’s why I don’t think dog domestication’s ever that straightforward when taking facts like owned dogs scavenging for rubbish, hunting and roaming on their own into consideration.)

While dogs may be useful for some hunts, they’re not always useful for other hunts. This means that the earliest dogs weren’t always useful in other hunts as well, which demolishes whatever romanticisation of what dog domestication’s really like. Women also hunt with dogs, sometimes hunting in groups or with children sometimes on their own. There are cases where women hunt with their dogs using nets, though this may not be true for all female hunters so far.

There are also cases where certain dogs are used for hunting in ways one doesn’t expect to see or know. Shar Peis aren’t just used for fighting, in some cases they’re even used for hunting. While dogs do get used for hunting, hunting practices and traditions vary from community to community. While some hunters do feed their dogs a lot, some hunters don’t feed their dogs that much that their dogs end up scavenging in order to eat.

Sometimes hunting with dogs is permitted due to one’s or the community’s religious beliefs, as in the case with the Islamic world. While hunting with dogs is a popular activity, the way people hunt with their dogs vary.

Another look at wolf-human interactions

When it comes to wolves and humans, while there’s no doubt these interactions do exist yet attitudes to wolves vary from culture to culture and between individuals and sometimes these attitudes exist in perplexing ways (perplexing for some people). In the case with the Middle East, while Turks and Turkic people revered the wolf the same can’t be said of Iranians where they mistrust it. At some point, Iranians believed that wolves were the creation of Ahriman as the evil counterpart of dogs (which are good animals) hence why they’re similar. (This belief long predated scientific discovery that dogs are wolves.)

Wolves were despised for stealing livestock, while dogs are valued for guarding them. While this isn’t unique to Iranians since some people have similar feelings towards dogs and wolves, but it does give a good insight into what their cultural beliefs are like and why Middle Easterners aren’t all alike when it comes to attitudes to wolves. (For another matter Muslims since some Muslims are very sympathetic to dogs, especially with the Sufis.) While the Middle East’s also another place where dogs were first domesticated, yet attitudes to wolves aren’t universally favourable.

If the ancient Iranians are any indication, even if dogs come from wolves that doesn’t explain why Zoroastrian Iranians mistrust wolves who see them as evil copies of dogs. Either the dog’s imported from elsewhere or that like with the Chinese, Iranians mistrust wolves on some level despite being related to the dog. Consider the Chinese and Japanese, while the Japanese historically loved wolves and the word for wolf contains a word or character for deity, the same can’t be said of the Chinese where they have negative proverbs about wolves.

And that the Chinese word for pervert contains the character for wolf, while proverbs about dogs are more ambivalent (not always favourable but still tolerated). My understanding’s that with both Iranians and Chinese, dogs are tolerated at best for being useful but there’s not much practical use for wolves so they mistrust them a lot even if that’s not case for other animals. But it makes better sense in that animals are treated and regarded differently if there’s any practical use for them.

Cultural and individual attitudes to animals aren’t universal, the point of anthropology’s to study a culture from its own perspective and nearly free from a projected bias. While you might say that wolves are selected to be wild due to persecution, it’s really not that simple in real life where as what some people say or rather imply the bolder wolves get persecuted for going near livestock and human habitation. Dogs also get persecuted, not just for attacking animals but also for their link to witchcraft at some point for some cultures and in some countries.

Retrieverman’s reasoning doesn’t explain why semi-feral dogs exist and why some people allow their dogs to roam freely and why some dogs hunt on their own despite being trained and owned, which means dog domestication isn’t that straightforward as it should be. Wolf-human interactions are complex, but not always for reasons you think it is.

The other sacred animals

I do have some issues with Retrieverman’s statements in that if all humans venerated wolves, this doesn’t explain why some cultures have their own sacred or venerated animal. The Finns at some point venerated the brown bear, so much so that one of their goddesses was very much like one in manner and could turn into a bear herself. So this attests to the bear’s veneration in Finnish paganism at some point, and still is so to some extent in Finnish folklore. Likewise the tiger’s venerated in Chinese culture as king of the beasts, explained by the character for tiger containing something similar to the character for king or something like that.

If wolves were venerated while being domesticated, wouldn’t some of the same things be said of cats in ancient Egypt and cattle in ancient India and among the Maasai in Kenya? That’s something he never or barely ever bothered learning about, perhaps due to his extreme bias towards wolves that he forgets the forest for just one tree. I might be wrong about that but since dogs and wolves are things he’s biased towards, he does risk being ignorant of any other animal deemed sacred in other cultures. Bears and tigers aren’t domesticated but they are/were venerated in Finland and China at some point.

As for Africa, while dogs are technically wolves and African wolves have a degree of wolf DNA but since the pure wild grey wolf doesn’t exist in Africa so virtually all Africans never really venerated the wolf anyways. It was never part of their cultures since it doesn’t exist there, not to mention some African cultures might have their own venerated animal. It could be a leopard for some, gorilla or elephant for others but that involves knowing what these cultures are really like (something Retrieverman never bothered to look up on).

But it’s also possible he may not be that well-versed in foreign cultures other than the ones he’s biased towards, he could have false consensus effect in that he assumes many, if not all, people believe in the same things he does. While not unique to him, it does make sense why he’d make such a statement like this despite whatever animal’s considered sacred in other cultures that he might as well be talking about his own veneration for the wolf whilst ignoring other people’s interests in other animals.

If the leopard’s something of a sacred animal among the Ashanti people, often associated with royalty then in some sense that other cultures do venerate the leopard as do some Indians (especially the character of Waghoba). Again, the leopard isn’t domesticated but that hasn’t stopped it from being venerated or associated with divinities. Likewise, the only animals I can name which are both associated with deities and are domesticated are pigs (Norse Frey, Taoist Zhu Bajie and Buddhist Marici), cats and cattle.

Again this is proof that some cultures and people do have their own sacred animal, which’s something to be considered if the wolf’s not always venerated among all people.

Pest Control In the Ancient World

When there’s smoke, there’s fire and when there are pests, there are attempts at controlling or culling their populations. Dogs, being one of the earliest domesticated animals especially in Eastern Eurasia would’ve been one of the first animals used for pest control as evidenced in China that at some point dogs were used to hunt rats in ships (the thing cats would do centuries later). I suspect that in Eastern Eurasia, prior to the arrival of cats mongooses (at least in South Asia) and dogs would’ve been the go-for animals used for pest control and even today just as there are dogs who hunt mice and rats at will, there are people who make them do these.

Even recently, there’s a report of people using dogs to hunt rats in New York City which’s close to how dogs were used in ancient times when one considers the absence of cats outside of Africa and Anatolia in the ancient world. Ferrets would’ve also been used for pest control as well, perhaps a little longer in Southern Europe (that’s if we go by surviving documents from Ancient Greece and Italy/Rome) than cats though they never became that popular for some reason. But I also think it’s ambiguous since whatever gale meant could’ve been either a ferret, its smaller relative the least weasel or even a dog used for pest control (but that proves my point about dogs used for rat control).

If the ferret’s domesticated from the Eurasian polecat, its range mostly exists in Europe so if it’s rare in Africa then Africans would’ve used cats instead and Egypt’s the country where the second wave of cat domestication took place (the first wave took place in modern Turkey and Armenia). While cats could’ve been used for pest control in Armenia and possibly deified to some extent, Egypt’s much better understood and preserved so we get a good idea of how their attitudes to cats evolved. Whilst not every African necessarily likes cats and it does depend on the country, ethnicity and individual but if some contemporary African countries are any indication, cats are still used for pest control.

Sometimes in tandem with dogs if a study in Eswatini’s any indication, though it’s possible that using both ferrets and dogs to cull vermin would’ve produced similar results in Southern Europe to say the least. Or mongooses and dogs in ancient India, which again makes sense as there are Indians who do own mongooses for pest control. Whenever pests come about, there will always be animals deployed to cull their populations.