CULTURE

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In Filipino culture, having someone do something may be done in a number of subtle ways.  It is rather rude to "tell" someone directly what he needs to do. Instead, a concerned person may say it in a more polite way, often using the collective pronoun tayo (we) to exhort the other person into doing something necessary.  For instance, instead of saying, "Tumahik kayo" (You be quiet), it is better to say "Tumahimik muna tayo sandali" (Let us be quiet for a moment).  

Pagsabihan (to tell someone) is the Tagalog term used to mean that someone needs to be told to do something.   Considering that Filipino culture values non-confrontational behavior, it is important to be indirect with another person, either through polite words or have another person, called tagapamagitan (mediator), to act as interlocutor. Within the context of the family, for example, siblings do not tell each other directly what needs to be done.  Often, a member of the family will ask either the mother or the father to mediate. 

Apart from polite words and mediating, Filipinos also value self-initiative in having to do something.  The Tagalog term sariling kusa or sariling palo (initiative) assumes that someone is sensitive to his surroundings, including his kasambahay (housemates) that he need not be told about what ought to be done.  Throwing the garbage, cleaning the house, sharing in the household basic expenses are among the important things that one has to be sensitive about without having to be told. 

The Tagalog term for being sensitive in a positive way is marunong makiramdam (knows how to feel), or marunong makisama (knows how to live with others).  The antonyms for these terms are: makapal [ang mukha] (dense-faced), walang pakisama (no camaraderie), walang pakikiramay or walang malasakit (no empathy), or in its extreme sense, walang pakikipagkapwa-tao (no human compassion).

In the context of day-to-day activities, the polite way of having someone do something is through the use of maka-, makapag-, or magpa- in a sentence.   These affixes basically "softens" the verbs that may otherwise be interpreted as coming from someone who is being too bossy or a "control freak".

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