[ Felicitations and every good wish for policy and political excellence as the first ethnic Filipino in the New Zealand Parliament, kabayan and now M.P. Paolo Garcia! Mabuhay ka! ]
Good morning Precious Reader. If you’ve followed or read this space even once before, you’ve known that now and always we’ve been positive about ourselves, our community and our identity. Specifically how it bounces back to us from friends, spouses, co-workers and other members of the migrant community we live in.
So a very slight change of pace this time. I was curious about the nega things people say about us Pinoys. Specifically, people who have, by choice or otherwise, lived up close and personal with us, spent quality time with us living, working, exercising, pursuing hobbies with or other activities where slowly but surely you get to know a person or persons. After all, those are the people who you’d expect to best know us right?
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Here are their observations, from a very small sample size. Up to you to discern any biases or obvious inaccuracies, but when you think about it, who are we to judge non-Pinoys on how they perceive us? Just a little qualifier here, most of the observations pertain to Pinays not Pinoys, for the simple reason that the respondents have had more exposure to the fairer gender:
Extended help to extended family. Nearly all of the respondents, not just the ones married to Pinays, were aware that a lot of us send money home regularly not just to immediate family (including parents and siblings) but unsurprisingly (to us) to cousins, nephews, nieces and grandparents as well.
There is no value judgment that those I asked make: it’s neither a good or bad thing, just that (1) they, the remitters (as they’re called) should think of themselves first, the money isn’t available forever , and (2) the recipients should have an appreciation of the efforts and intentions behind each remittance, specifically that it shouldn’t be an excuse for indolence and dependence.
OK, now don’t gang up on me, wag nyo po akong pagtulungan, I’m just the messenger here, accumulating a few well-meaning opinions that I solicited, nothing volunteered. And that’s that…
opportunism vs lovability. This actually is a very emotional and subjective observation, but some people say Asians, not just Filipinos, seek out Caucasian men especially from countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in order to dramatically enhance their migration opportunities to said countries. But it’s a chicken-and-egg situation right? Did love, mutual love cause the decision to migrate to the guy’s country where, after all, life is easier? Or did a well-planned opportunity to migrate finalize itself in a decision to make oneself the prize to a lonely, lovesick guy from the land of milk and honey?
The level of bluntness in the last few sentences highlights the contrast between the love of couple who fell head over heels, and the dispassionate observations of friends and relatives with supposedly good intentions. How do you know they don’t actually love each other? How do you not know she’s not good for him? How do you know she’s not gonna leave him as soon as she sorts her paperwork? And so on and so forth.
And do you know to whom it matters , at the end of the day? Not the friends, not the in-laws, not even the best friends of both sides. It matters only to the couple, as it takes two to tango, and nobody ever forces anyone to do anything against their will. Enough said.
Timidity. This refers to both Pinoys and Pinays, and without asking for opinions and observations, I know many of our hosts think this to be true: We never complain, we never clarify, and we never tell the truth, which in this case is that we are sometimes taken advantage of at work. The common denominator here is we are afraid to speak out for fear of rocking the boat, or at worst, losing our jobs. This opens us up to potential abuse and human nature being what it is, we frequently do.
How many times have you seen Pinoy and Pinay workers doing the jobs of two people only because we never complain? How many times have you seen opportunistic bosses and supervisors asking Pinoys and Pinays to do night shift, the longest shifts, and overtime on weekends? Always and plenty. And how many times have lustful lowlifes harass their female AND male Pinoy staff who just bite their collective tongues and endure the humiliation? As they say, sindalas ng tilaok ng manok (as often as the cock crows). It’s a part of life that shouldn’t be a part of life. Because Pinoys and Pinays deserve better.
Bonus items. In the interest of fair disclosure, good and bad, I further enumerate what’s been said about us, even though in a slightly different environment, when the Kiwi visits us in our home grounds in the Philippines. Those who’ve spent a little time there love us of course (that’s why they married us), but think the following : we suffer from a propensity to gossip, overcharge potential buyers who obviously don’t look like fellow Filipinos, and use too much of “Joe” and “sir” for white guys. A lovely observation I heard though is that Filipinas, just because they already have multiple kids, don’t stop pampering their husbands. Tutoo naman. (For sure!)
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Just because these are seen as negatives in Filipinos doesn’t mean we can’t turn it into positives. We can always send money home, to build better lives for families, for a better town, country in the future. We can continue to cultivate relationships and look for love, without getting desperate to use these relationships as a stepping stone to a better life abroad. We can learn to speak out and assert our rights without being troublemakers. We are a truly positive people, and we can’t just let negatives influence who we are.
Mabuhay, thanks for reading!