Asian-American Education: Historical Background and Current Realities

By Meyer Weinberg | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Philippines

When the Spanish invaded the Philippines in 1565, they found that "the inhabitants, men and women alike, knew how to read and write and that they preserved their laws, stories, and proverbs on pieces of tree bark, bamboo, or palm leaves on which they incised characters that looked more or less like Greek or Arabic, by using a stylus." 1 After a century or so of Spanish settlement, the native system of writing had disappeared, as did the archives of written native culture. The spiritual custodians of the conquerors, the Roman Catholic clergy, had destroyed the latter while they effectively forbade further teaching of the native script. The people of the Philippines spoke many dialects, but the writing system was apparently uniform for all of them. The alphabet had contained 12 consonants and three vowels. Schumacher contended that "the use of the syllabary seems to have been confined to such practical and ephemeral uses as letters and the noting down of debts." 2 Other sources, such as Bernabe--quoted earlier--held that "laws, stories, and proverbs" were also recorded. 3

The natives' "long tradition of literacy" 4 was abruptly cut off by the conquerors. Despite repeated orders from Madrid, the friars refused to teach Spanish to the natives. Enough of the regional dialect was taught to enable the memorization of translated prayers. This practice also helped perpetuate division among the peasant masses, which served the Spaniards' political purpose.

The religious missionaries, who actually ruled from day to day, sought out collaborators from among the native chiefs whose children received a more advanced education. "The children proved enthusiastic and effective auxiliaries of the religious in winning over the parents to the new religion, reporting clandes-

-97-

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Asian-American Education: Historical Background and Current Realities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter One: Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - China 12
  • Chapter Two - China 36
  • Notes 37
  • Chapter Three - Chap 42
  • Notes 67
  • Chapter Four - Korea 74
  • Notes 92
  • Chapter Five - Philippines 97
  • Notes 122
  • Concluding Remarks 128
  • Notes 151
  • Chapter Seven - Cambodia 156
  • Concluding Remarks 170
  • Notes 171
  • Chapter Eight Laos 176
  • Notes 199
  • Chapter Nine Hong Kong 205
  • Notes 221
  • Chapter Ten Taiwan 226
  • Notes 237
  • Chapter Eleven Micronesia 241
  • Notes 255
  • Chapter Twelve Polynesia 259
  • Notes 281
  • Chapter Thirteen India 287
  • Notes 307
  • Chapter Fourteen Cross-Group Issues 313
  • Notes 327
  • Index 331
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