The Philippine dream(?)

May 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Criticism | 11 Comments

So, my cousin and her husband are arriving here in Canada this coming Tuesday. And they’re planning to stay here for good. They have been wanting to get here ever since her brother, my other cousin obviously, got here and probably told her how great it is here. I dunno about you, but I never found out what’s so great about living in a country alien to you, having been born in another foreign country myself. Great, another big caplitalist city. Great, another overcrowded, fool-infested mall.

Trust me, living in another country isn’t as great as you think it is. It’s all a myth, probably due to our people’s inexplicable fascination with foreigners especially Americans and created by people who migrated elsewhere trying to convince their peers and relatives to do the same, with the usual exaggerations and none of the forewarnings.

What you might have studied in the Philippines whether it is in a university or a community college may not be up to their standards. And this must mean that you might have to do some extra courses or go back to university/college. Or else, you’ll just fall to the option of working in a factory, a fast-food restaurant or whatever. And I’ve been acquainted with some people who do two part-time jobs just to make ends meet, and even this is not enough for them.

And even though other people may not say or do it right in front of you, some of them can be condescending or patronizing, especially if you just immigrated and are new to the foreign nation. They do, after all, have a name for us new immigrants, what they call F.O.B.s (fresh off the boat), which they usually use to call people with broken English and any other kind of stereotypically foreign behaviour. And please don’t tell me that Filipinos are innocent of making any kind of racist, misogynistic or homophobic remark because even my parents and my friends are guilty of such things. They’d usually say something like, oh, this kind of people is prone to crimes and ill behaviour, oh, thank god you’re not like the other gays (What? Are we divided into two factions!?), and, oh, I wouldn’t be caught dead dating a person of such race (Please, you’re not that hot yourself.). If that’s not offensive, then I don’t know what is.

We’re a bunch of sheep, I tell you, just going with the flow, never going against it.

And what’s up with a lot of Filipinos aspiring to be nurses? Herd mentality, much? If not that, they’d want to be accountants (I’ve been guilty myself), and older ones would just settle for less and become caregivers instead. Caregiver, a euphemism, a fancy term, for yaya, maid, domestic servant, babysitter, nanny. Oh no, the blacks are now thinking for themselves, let’s go oppress the Filipinos and Hispanics instead. I can’t help but roll my eyes whenever I see Filipino women taking care of a bunch of white kids. Folks, this is how much we adore the foreigners, that we’re willing enough to live in their homes and clean their toilets or kids’ butts ourselves. Do we take joy at serving other people, scrubbing other people’s backs and butts? Are we already contented at having less? Why can’t we aspire to be something greater instead? They already reached the stars, and what have we done, other than assisting other people who think less of us, taking care of others who are of no relation to us? Is this more or less the Philippine dream, if there is one? Either to serve others or to follow the American dream?

Some of us try to pass off as of a different race, ashamed of our “inferior” identities. Some take advantage of the fact that they have grown up abroad and know the ABCs of English to go back to the Philippines and pursue a career there, usually an acting career. If they’ve gone to America, can speak a bit of Tagalog, can switch back and forth from Tagalog to English with ease, and look “presentable” enough for the spotlight, they’re already overqualified. Any acting experience or capability must be beside the point. If that isn’t bad enough, even the foreigners know that we just can’t get enough of them that they even decide to live in our country. It’s not that the living conditions are terrible in their homeland and that there’s a promise of better living in the Philippines. No, it’s that living in the Philippines is relatively less costly than it is in their home country. They know they’re better off there; they narcissistically like to be adored and worshipped. They don’t plan to liberate us, to get us off our third-world situation. They just want to take advantage of the situation. Cheap wages, higher profits. Globalization galore. Call centres, sweatshops, you name it.

So, this must be our version of the American dream, since we do tend to dearly imitate everything American, the ultimate Philippine dream: to be subjected or to freely choose to serve the ones who in the past have invaded our country and have oppressed our ancestors and who in the present still have a subtle imperialistic control on our government. Now, reveal those whips, leather, ropes and handcuffs you have hiding in your closet, you masochistic perverts, and I myself will do the whipping for you.



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  1. I dunno why but I sometimes think if I’d bring a friend here in New Jersey he’d probably kiss the soil, and it’s more than just because he’s been to a new place (if he’d been in Cambodia I don’t think he’d do the same), but because this is America.

    Well, America’s been doing so much of the hegemony-related stuff everyone thinks of them as supreme instead of their true manipulative, power-hungry self.

    Honestly I wouldn’t like to work in the U.S. For one, it’s too cold. Then it’s far from my friends, and lastly, they don’t have sisig. Though again, practicality-wise (though I’m not the kind) I know it’s better in the greener pasture. But what the fuck.

    • US doesn’t have the exoticism and romanticism of other countries but even if I did go to other more “exotic” countries, I won’t go imitating and/or worshipping their cultures and traditions, or even adapting to the point of replacing and forgetting my own culture and upbringing.

      When I went to the US for the first time three years ago, I believe, I just felt like it was completely the same as Canada; they’re only separated by a border. Although both tend to think they’re better than the other (that one is diverse and the other is only a melting pot and all that), they’re pretty much the same as much as they don’t admit it.

      Sisig!!! No sisig even in Filipino stores there? 😦

  2. Just like to share; my mom has been long asking me to apply for a tourist visa to the US and find an American woman whom I can marry just so I could, in turn, become an American citizen. Hell no, i would tell her, simply because i’m not into women, and the fact that, i really don’t like it there (not that I’ve been there).

    true, one may have finished a degree here in the Philippines, but they’ll end up being ‘caregivers’ there in the US. My mom actually is a caregiver, who ended up marrying her ‘amo’ hehe.

    and yeah, why do we (Filipinos) all give such a big fuss on these bulol magTagalog na mga foreigners who end up being actors/actresses here in the country, especially after being one of the housemates ni Kuya. I don’t even get it when they call it Pinoy Big Brother whereas, most of the housemates are not purely Pinoy

    • ‘and yeah, why do we (Filipinos) all give such a big fuss on these bulol magTagalog na mga foreigners who end up being actors/actresses here in the country, especially after being one of the housemates ni Kuya.’

      – exactly why I don’t watch local TV that much. too much of them wannabes.

    • I shudder at the thought of marrying a woman for any kind of reason, hahaha.

      Just like how they adore foreigners, they also worship Filipinos who have also had the taste of being in foreign countries. Even if you’re ugly or not, dumb or not, in which I can use a person I personally know as an example. Hahahaha, I’m mean.

  3. Good one Chris! I like this topic and I agree/disagree with you on some points but overall, this is pure awesomeness.

    I onced had the chance to work with a retired US navy who is now based here. He said something that made my head explode when I asked him why he would rather be here than in his hometown (South Carolina).

    ‘Because here, I am fucking Prince Charles.’

    Another thing about Pinoy’s, when you’re in a restaurant filled with americans/europeans and you want to call the attention of the waiters/waitresses…good luck with that. you either have to stand the fuck up or flings your arms crazy so you can catch their attention. Because they’re all too busy sucking up with the foreigners.

    • I’m curious of the points I’ve made that you disagree with :P.

      What a fucking egotistical prick! If I were in that situation, I would have probably choked the guy even if it meant me getting more beaten up than he would be. Or more likely, just to make him take that back or make him appear dumb, I’d criticize the typical American behaviour and his notions of non-Americans.

      Too bad, he won’t even get any admiring, glorifications or worshipping from the likes of me.

      Have you experienced something like that before in a restaurant? That must have been frustrating. Don’t give any tips, hahaha.

      You know what, I wouldn’t make such a big deal about it if the foreigners staying in the Philippines were forced to learn, the main language, the Tagalog dialect, because that’s the way it is if we were to go to another country, not the other way around. Aba, excuse me, dapat sila magadapt at dapat sila yung nabubulol, hindi tayo sa kaka-Ingles.

  4. You make me sad, Chris.

    But only because your posts always make me think. LOL. I’m just kidding. Why do I never write about relevant stuff like this? I feel like I should. Anyway, on to your post. Honestly, I have NEVER dreamed of living anywhere else, even if my mom has been pushing me to do so. When I have enough money, I plan to visit other countries. But the prospect of living elsewhere is one that actually scares me.

    I agree with many of your points here. But I am not as “opposed” to the idea as you are. I believe that many of the Pinoys who choose to leave the country do so not because they actually WANT to, but because circumstances force them to do so. If by leaving the country and finding a better “life” or a better paying job in some foreign land means that you can feed your family, then why not?

    I think it is unfair to “blame” those who made the choice to leave. I think it would be more appropriate to find out why people are leaving anyway. If workers get paid well in the country, I doubt anyone would want to leave.

    • Go on, go on, side with them. Hahaha.
      I’m not exactly finger-pointing here, I mean I am one who didn’t grow up in the Philippines myself, but migrating somewhere else (just the way we did) isn’t exactly going to help the Philippine economy any better.
      We claim we’re “makabayan” yet we go somewhere else and only go back home for holiday purposes or buying cheaper stuff.
      And I also don’t like the idea of us most Filipinos just having jobs of serving other people. If we plan to go somewhere else, shouldn’t we go furthermore and dream of being lawyers, doctors, actors, directors, sports players, etc. etc. etc.? AND NOT SETTLE FOR LESS AND NOT ASPIRE TO BE MERE CAREGIVERS, WAITERS, RECEPTIONISTS AND NURSES? Bow. 😛

  5. Ewan ko kung napanuod ko o nabasa ko, isang kumag na contestant ng Amazing Race nagtanong, “do you speak English?”, sumagot yung local, “yes, do you speak Somali?” Dapat ganun ang angas nating mga Pilipino, lalo dito mismo sa atin, o amin ba? Haha.

    Mahirap ang buhay dito, pagka-graduate mo ng kursong Engineering sa kagustuhan na makatulong kaagad sa magulang at sa kauntihan ng makuhang trabaho ay merchandiser sa supermarket ang unang bagsak mo. Mainit dito sa Pilipinas kaya mabilis ang pagtanda, mabilis ang buhay, kaya lahat nagmamadali, hindi glamoroso ang pagkawkaw ng puwet ng mga dayuhan pero kung yun naman ang makakapagbigay ng pera sa pamilya mong madami pa ang nag-aaral, isang magulang na diabetic, makakabayad kaagad sa mga nautang na pera sa panahon na pinasok sa eskuwela, at makakapagpasaya sa isang bunsong kapatid na mabilhan ng 2nd hand na PSP man lang, eh ayos na. Mahirap abutin kaagad yun dito sa Pinas, Chris. May mga may angas at tiyaga na umuunlad naman dito pero konti ang oportunidad, 90 million mahigit yata ang mga Pilipino sa bansa.

    Mas lantaran yung kahirapan ng buhay at yung urgency na malusutan ito, kaya yung pinakamadaling paraan ang sinusunggaban, lahat far-sighted na, kakaunti na ang humihinto pansamantala at nag-iisip, kaya hindi nakikita kung ano ang pwede at dapat gawin, dito mismo sa atin, o amin ba? Hahaha. Nandiyan ka kasi, hehe.

    Hindi ko alam kung may sense mga sinabi ko pero gustong gusto ko lang magkomento, madalian lang, di ko na rin ininggles kasi maiintindihan mo naman, at para maintindihan maige ng mga paksa mo, mga pinoy. Lumamig tuloy ang kape kong hinaluan ng ovaltine.

  6. nothing a bit of MDMA and cuddling can’t cure.

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