Tag Archives: Filipino

FILIPINO RAISED IN THE UNITED STATES: I FEEL EMBARRASSED FOR FILIPINOS WHO ARE EMBARRASSED TO CALL THEMSELVES A FILIPINO.

This article is my response to an article entitled FILIPINO RAISED IN SINGAPORE: I FEEL EMBARRASSED TO CALL MYSELF A FILIPINO on The Real Singapore, an online magazine/blog.  Here’s my response:

FILIPINO RAISED IN THE UNITED STATES:  I FEEL EMBARRASSED FOR FILIPINOS WHO ARE EMBARRASSED TO CALL THEMSELVES A FILIPINO.

The writer of the article starts by mentioning her origins and credibility; I shall do the same.  I was born in the Philippines,  and I moved to the United States when I was young.  In Honolulu, Hawaii I finished elementary, intermediate, and high school, and in Seattle, I completed a B.A. in Political Science, graduating as the commencement speaker of the class.  Shortly after college, I worked in Las Vegas in sales and marketing, business development, and training, and I have moved back to the Philippines to manage my own business, the American Institute for English Proficiency.

I had an opportunity to go to Singapore a few years ago as my friends and business partner wanted to go on vacation there, but I opted not to join them because I had thought at that time that it would be similar to the US; I went to Vietnam, Thailand, and Hong Kong instead.  That means I don’t really have first-hand knowledge on how Filipinos behave or misbehave in Singapore.  I only hear stories from my former clients and students stories.

However, my response is NOT fully about how Filipinos behave in Singapore.  I am sure that there are many Filipinos who misbehave in a foreign country as there are many foreigners who also misbehave in the Philippines.  I am sure that there are many Singaporeans who also misbehave in another foreign country.  In fact, my father, who lives in Las Vegas, is almost a perfect resident in the US, but when he comes back to the Philippines for a visit, he sometimes runs amok.  I shall not be embarrassed to be my father’s son.

My point is, there will always be people, regardless of race, sex, gender, age, or belief, who do not behave the way we want them to behave.  We should criticize the behavior, not the race.

The embarrassment is not whether they misbehave or not.  The bigger embarrassment is when someone, regardless of race, generalizes an entire culture because of a few individuals.  There roughly 170,000 Filipinos residing in Singapore, with more than half a million Filipinos coming in as tourists.  I’m not quite sure how many Filipinos the writer has observed to make such a conclusion, but regardless of her observations, there are much better ways to express her disappointment.

Instead of attacking an entire race or culture and being embarrassed to be “called a Filipino,” the writer could have simply attacked the “bad behaviors” and provided solutions.

So instead of falling into the traps of the fallacy of hasty generalization, the writer could have mentioned that there are certain behaviors that people, regardless of race, color, or national origin, should avoid.  After all, these “bad behaviors,” are not unique to the Filipinos.  I have seen a display of these poor behaviors in public by other races as well.  Thus, it is very insensitive and tactless for a Filipino to be embarrassed of being a Filipino simply because of the bad behavior of a few.

If the writer’s logic were to be accepted, then I could also say that my friend Sergio should be embarrassed to be a Mexican because of a few poorly behaving Mexicans, then my friend Thibaut should be embarrassed to be French because of a few poorly behaving French nationals, and my friend Cary should be embarrassed to be an American for a few poorly behaving Americans.  Hence, everyone should be embarrassed of their cultures.

Instead of creating racial divides, pitting the Filipinos against the Singaporeans, the writer could have been more sensible and, I reiterate, just pointed out the bad behaviors and a solution to the problem.

I’m not even going to discuss the writer’s points because his or her points seem more emotion- than logic-driven.  The writer finishes the article by saying that he or she sounds “Singaporean” because of having lived there for a decade.  She could have just sounded more human than Singaporean.  Let me finish my post in the same way she ended her article: I have lived in the US for about two decades, and as a human, as a Filipino raised in the United States, as a Filipino who returned to the Philippines, as a Filipino who has traveled to many places, and as a Filipino proud to be Filipino, and as a human being, I feel embarrassed for the writer.

And to fellow Filipinos: Let’s fix our behavior when we are guests in other countries so that another Filipino would not just generalize about our culture and be embarrassed to be a Filipino.

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Eight Good Habits of Filipinos

Eight Good Habits of Filipinos
by Sanaz Raeisi
Although there are some negative things about Filipinos, they have many good characteristics to be proud of.  I believe that they even have good attitudes that only they have it.  I am married to a half Filipino, half-Iranian man, and I have learned that Filipinos are born with this belief: “I will repay the love and sacrifices of my parents as long as I breathe.”  They always think of repaying the love and sacrifices of their parents after schooling and go even as far as assisting them in sending their siblings to school.  This habit has already taken roots deep down in the Filipino culture which I think is difficult to uproot.  I have also lived here in the Philippines for over four years now, and I have discovered some lovely habits of Filipinos:
  1. Neighbors know each other and talk to each other.  It’s very comforting to know that your neighbors are not strangers who stare at you as you go out of the house and come home from work.  Sometimes, they are there to help each other out.
  2. ImageThe bayanihan (helping each other without payment) spirit is so evident inside the jeepney, where fare is passed from one passenger to the other until it reaches the driver’s hand, where change is passed (by passengers) from the drivers hand until it gets to the passenger who’s supposed to receive it.
  3. Pinoys will not buy new appliances until their old ones are totally beyond repair maximizing the life of electronics and reducing garbage.  That also reduces consumerism and helping mother Earth in the end.
  4. ImageMilitary and rebel ceasefire plus zero crime rate during Manny Pacquiao’s fight.  If only Manny has a boxing match everyday, but that’s too much to ask from him.  We need to produce more Manny’s to have a more peaceful country.  Otherwise, he should fight at least twice a week.  Then again, too much to ask.
  5. Most Filipinos are bilingual (Filipino + English).  Where ever you go, you can talk to a Filipino in English.  Many students come to the Philippines to study English because it is the third largest English speaking country in the world behind the US and Canada.  In fact, my husband came to the Philippines to study, and he speaks Persian, English, and of course, Filipino.
  6. ImageOverseas Filipino Workers continue to work hard and send money to the Philippines, helping keep the economy afloat.  I have heard that the remittances of OFW’s are in the billions.  I also work with Filipinos at The American Institute, and I know that they work hard for their family.
  7. In Baguio, the taxi driver gives you your change completely.  I have been to Baguio on several occasions, and the cab drivers have always been very helpful and honest.  I wished they would train the Manila drivers better.
  8. ImageFilipinos are very polite people , specially with the customers. They always smile at you and do their best to help you what you need in the store.  Sometimes, they get a little too friendly when they follow you around, but that’s because they really do want to help you.

Although I may not want to live in the Philippines forever since I am a foreigner, and I feel like I don’t belong here sometimes, I really do love the Philippines and the Filipinos.  I am married to one.  I am leaving the Philippines very soon, and I definitely would like to come back to visit this great country once in awhile.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sanaz Raeisi is a former student, currently a marketing specialist, of the American Institute for English Proficiency (Makati and Quezon City).

Photo Source: Google Images