Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where Have You Been My Brown-Eyed Son?

FB, I think, is a software application most of us appreciate it was invented. It enables us to communicate with our love ones and rekindle connection to our long forgotten friends and acquaintances in wherever corner of the world they maybe. It also gave me a glimpsed and first hand idea of their present state of affair.

Because of our coming high school event, our batch is gearing up its preparation for next year’s reunion. We used FB to find former classmates and as an organizational tool to update and inform each and everyone involved of our proposed agenda and plans. Those who have funds to spare voluntarily gave to finance our projects. Of course it is not imposed but still “expected” from those working or residing abroad to gave a much larger donation.

As I inspect our financial status, I noticed more “supports” are given by our Middle East based and sea-faring alumni than from our counterparts living in the western hemisphere. It strikes me as ironic that people back home look upon OFWs and sea-men to be a less desirable endeavor compared to a “blue passport” or a “green card” holder, and yet, this tally speaks otherwise.

A high school teacher once told me – “O, kumusta? Si (a classmate) na sa Amerika na!” With emphasis on “na”, as if going to “Tate” is the ultimate paradigm of success. Perhaps this holds true some 30 or so years back, but with the current trend and financial slump in which US has yet to recover, I think other wise. This assumption was further strengthened when one of my US based classmates mentioned – “we’re lucky, we still have jobs”. It is sad to think that they have to prepare and save a year ahead just to be able to attend our homecoming event. They felt envious when they found out going back home for vacation is routine, done on a yearly basis and free airline fare for us and our families.

These crisis US is now facing changed even the most amiable guy I know, a buddy since our formative years and haven’t seen for a long time. I found out he has an FB account, sent a message and jokingly said the climate in the US haven’t done much to his “color”. The reply I received isn’t what I expected. He was upset and began an outburst of insults including “ignorant” and “out of touch with reality”. You must be in a lot of pressure and stress to be so sensitive and react like that on something as trivial as a joke between friends.

Perhaps he is right. I haven’t changed much. But still I’d rather be “ignorant” than to “learn” that to get ahead, you either use people or step on someone’s toes. I’d rather be “carefree” than to look at the glass half-empty. I’d rather be foolish but happy than to come home from work morose and humorless.

I don’t look at “life” that way.


  1. Being based in the Mid East has been frowned upon for the longest time. But I'm glad that I opted to come here instead of grabbing the other offers that I had. A lot of people questioned my decision, but the past and current events justified enough why I should be here.

    In general, I don't want to compare notes. Kase kahit nasaang part tayo ng mundo as expatriates, may kanya kanyang advantages at disadvantages talaga.

    Btw, I'm not very active in FB. But I find delight whenever long lost contacts reconnect with me, including my teachers (I'm glad most of them are still alive)!

  2. "... I find delight whenever long lost contacts reconnect with me, including my teachers (I'm glad most of them are still alive)! "

    I'll be more delighted if I'm chatting with someone from "the other side". : )

  3. ha ha ha ibang level naman ang pinapangarap mo a!

    i also read in FB a similar case where somebody i know threw a joke at somebody, and they became enemies to the point that he was blocked.

    FB has its own advantage and disadvantage, too.

    i have a friend who has a pending immigration application to US. i wonder if she doesnt know of the situation there. it's a good thing there is a regression but she wanted to be there. i hope she'll not be disappointed.

  4. bing, hindi naman ako na blocked kasi I apologized naman. Pero it still bugs me, why he reacted that way. : (

  5. Honestly, naiinggit nga ako sa mga Global Filipinos na kapag magbakasyon sa Pilipinas ang company ang bumibili ng ticket for them. Kasi ako, galing sa bulsa ko ang airfare tuwing bakasyon.

    Nabasa ko sa magazine ng airline company kanina habang pabalik ako ng Adelaide (from Perth) na sa makabagong teknolohiya medyo hindi pa masyadong defined ang tinatawag na etiquette. Tulad nga niyang sa Facebook medyo mahirap nga kasi kakaiba ang dating ng mga salita kapag nababasa kaysa sa sinasabi ng harapan. Kaya nga raw naimbento ang mga emoticons. o",) Pero tama kayo, stressed lang sa situation ang kaibigan niyo kaya hindi niya siguro nakuhang it was just a friendly joke.

    I like this post.

  6. RJ, people changes according to the dictate of the environment they're in. So if you're in a dog-eat-dog society, you strive hard not to be the underdog. Dalawa lang yan kung ang tao ay hindi apektado ng kanilang kapaligiran. Either he got a strong resolve or his mentally out of sync.

    I don't consider him a friend anymore.

  7. I had always the desire to go to the US but for a vacation only like to see the Grand Canyon or visit Disneyland.

    I still feel lucky to have worked here.

  8. Iba din ang tingin ko sa mga OFWs natin, though i envy their earnings, i adore them for having to sacrifice a good life with their families here in Pinas, pero sige lang, it actually does not matter which part of the world you are in now, what matters most is the way you see things, and that you are happy, contented and not toxic. Your friend may have read your joke while he was on top of his toxicity.

  9. life is too serious to be taken seriously. I enjoy simple living. No complications, no problems. I don't long for material things. I am contented with what I have. If I get something special, that's a bonus. I'm sure you feel the same way.

  10. may maririnig ka pa nga, 2 or 3 trabaho sa isang araw para lang may maipadala sa pinas, sa US na nagwowork yan ah!

    Sa kabilang banda, maswerte pa rin tayong mga OFW na hindi sa US napunta,8 hours na trabaho, may oras para magsaya, hindi nagkukulang sa padala minsan may sobra pa :D

  11. Anonymous, pareho tayo. Gusto ko lang pumunta sa 'merika para mag "sightseeing".

    sheng, napilitan tayong tumira sa ibang lugar para sa ikabubuti natin at ng pamilya. Pero kung ganyan lang naman ang pagbabago ng ugali ko, huwag na lang.

  12. Ka Rolly, tama ka, ganyan din ang pananaw ko sa buhay.

    CM, totoo yan. Isang kamag-anak ko na accountant sa pinas ang ganyan. Parking attendant sa umaga at waiter sa gabi. Sa pintuan lang ng bahay sila nagkakasalubong ng mrs nya. Lumaki ang mga anak nilang bihirang makita ang mga magulang. : (

  13. http://bwzone.wordpress.com1 March 2011 at 15:18

    Folks in North America pay taxes, at 30% of their earnings. OFW's in saudi Arabia don't. OFWs go home yearly with expense paid trips while they have to fork out big bucks for a ticket. A family of 3 from where I am would need at least 4 grand to pay for the fare depending on the season and maybe another 4 grand for pocket money/dole outs to relatives - again depending on the length of the vacation. You can spend 10 grand dollars easy if you take a 3 week vacation with hopping around the islands with plane fare from North America included. Cheaper for those in the west coast where they can get a ticket for 500 bucks. My wife and daughter went home last summer. It wasn't cheap.

    Aside from taxes people here also pay mortgages for their houses and amortizations for their new cars, tax sheltered investments and retirement plans, credits cards etc.. and... monthly charitable contributions to financially and physically ailing relatives in Pinas. For a big trip to Pinas, they have to save.

    as for your friend's outburst oh well, masyado lang syang pusong mamon :) He should just take it in stride. MY wife also got upset when a former high school friend in FB joked that she is fat but she kept herself cool. Problem is her friend is fatter than her hehe :) They seem to be OK now.

  14. bw, true bro. Some of them feel lucky if they could save 15% of their monthly take after all the deductions and bills paid.

    I got this rule of thumb - never say to a woman she is fat even if she is. >: D

  15. If I can comment further... Coming to North AMerica as OFW isn't a good idea. In fact there is no OFW concept here. Those with work permits like nurses, caregivers, software specialists will also pay taxes like residents unlike the OFWs in the Middle East. They would receive the same services as citizens do like free health care as in the case of Canada. In the States they will have to buy health insurance with co-sponsorship with their employer.The real deal is to unite your family and live here and that would be one's net goal and in fact the premise of the government of allowing people to come and work here. This is from the Canadian perspective, where no one should be bound with a single employer forever. After 3 years, you can get permanent residence and free to find another job.This is consistent with giving everyone his fundamental freedom to live and succeed like everyone else.

    Now, there are those who would rent a room, get 2 jobs one legal and the other under the table, survive on canned goods so they can send all their money to their families back home. Wife and daughter gets a new car, travel to Hongkong and Singapore, pack the latest cell phones while the old geezer works his butt of like an ox back in North America. This is the ugly part of our Pinoy culture which is motivated by ego and vanity.

    There are advantages and disadvantages vs OFW and immigration. I would say that the OFW deal is great for short term and immigration has its benefits over the long term. There are things we need to enjoy before we hit the bucket. Freedom for one is priceless. Quality of life is never measured by how much cash one has but by the overall contentment of the life he enjoys and the fulfillment of his professional, social and spiritual pursuits.

  16. But being in Tate (or anywhere in the Western world) is still what most Pinoys use as 'measure of success' -- or better yet, the twang-er you can speak when you return to the Philippines, the better the place that you've been in. ☺

    In my personal op, FB is an electronic, sanitised, modernised version of pakikipagchismisan sa kapitbahay. Malapit ko na nga syang i-unlike. Hehe.

  17. bw, for people like me who never dreamed of immigrating to the US or Canada, the "short-term" benefit of being an OFW is good enough for me. But for those who still aspire, your post is a reminder of what to expect when they get there.

    For me, "contentment" is a state of mind, regardless of your financial, professional, social or spiritual status.

  18. Nebz, it goes to show, ang babaw ng concept of success ng karamihan ng pinoy.

    re: FB, yes it could also be used that way. But like any utility software, it is just a tool. How you used it, may it be for good or bad, is in the user's discretion.

  19. FB has generated a lot of reunions. masaya.
    (marami rin lang akong tinataguan at di ko kinu-confirm ang fb requests. haha!)
    enjoy the reunion.

  20. atticus, nakakatuwang makipag usap talaga. everyone seems very excited. ang hindi ko lang gusto ay yung nag-rerequest ng kung ano-ano sa farmville.