The Potato Chip and the Tall Man

I am not really complaining, just thought it was sort of funny and ironic.

One faithful night, I was watching Mega Factories (I think) in National Geographic and this episode was featuring the Frito Lays factory during the fourth of July crunch. They showed how those delectable potato chips are made from the selection of prime potatoes, peeling, cutting, frying, seasoning and packing.

I was impressed by the efficiency of their factory line. I was also drawn to how meticulous their system is to providing just the best chips for the American people. Somewhere during the process, a machine selects chips that have been fried and have some dark spots in it takes it out of the line to prevent it from being packed. The supervisor that was facilitating the tour of the factory picks up a potato chip, round and without any burnt marks, and declares it “a perfect potato chip.” Wow.

This past week, during my hiatus from work, I bought some Lays potato chips for me to consume preferably while watching TV. I open a bag, dig in to the luscious chips, and about the fifth chip I pick from the bag has a burn mark on it. I immediately remember the what I watched in National Geographic about how these are supposed to have been picked out of the line. Needless to say I finished the whole bag (they are still the best commercial potato chips) and saw quite a number of chips with burn marks.

I live in the Philippines. I bought that bag of Chips here in the Philippines. That bag was marked Export . So it seems that what was not acceptable to be sold to Americans (probably to prevent having to throw some otherwise perfect potato chips) were packed for export to other countries. Like the Philippines.

So being the informative fellow that I am, I tell this story to my colleague at work. She responds with “Baliktad eh no? Pag nag-export tayo yung pinakamaganda lang.” (It’s different from us, right? When we export we only send the best quality products.)

What’s funny and ironic about this is that here in the Philippines, when we say export quality (such as mangoes, pineapples, tuna and what-not) are the best of the bunch, picked meticulously in-line with the foreigners preferences. I commend the American thinking that only the best be given to their people while also commend the Philippine attitude of only giving the best quality to other people.

Come to think of it, this can be traced to the Philippines’ affinity to the American culture, that things Imported from them is good for us. Hey, it’s business.

This can be also viewed in terms of Sports. The world’s best basketball league, features stalwarts such as 3-time NBA MVP Lebron James and 2010 FIBA World Basketball MVP Kevin Durant no name a few. But they also have the best players of other countries such as Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Ricky Rubio, and Yi Jianlian (hell even Hamed Haddadi of Iran). Only the best can play in the USA.

But what do all of us do? Players from the USA that weren’t quite good enough to play in the NBA travel overseas because they know that foreign teams would still be ecstatic to have them play for their teams. Some are even naturalized so they can play for that country’s national team. The Philippines is one such country. We have a Marcus Douthit. Former draft pick by the Lakers, decided to Play in Europe, was once again courted by the Lakers but was cut. He played in the D-League and Foreign countries and had a fairly decent if not good career. Now he is an integral part of the Philippines Mens Basketball team.

Every year, the country’s professional basketball league the PBA adds imports to beef-up the rosters of teams and add some flair into the league. This past conference, it was highlighted by the two best imports Denzel Bowles (named best import but has not played in the NBA yet) and Donell Harvey (who was signed by different NBA teams but never really played any significant minutes).

I don’t hate America. I just find it funny that we Filipinos generally embrace the American culture so much that we forget that mostly what we get from them are things (or players) they deemed not good enough for their standards. Be it the Lays potato chips or Marcus Douthit.

I do not own any of the pictures in this post.

Peace 😉

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