Friday, October 31, 2008

Taiwanese Co-Worker Idolized Filipinos

Wondering how our neighboring countries think about us Filipinos and our country? This is a conversation of a Filipina and her co-worker, a Taiwanese man in his 40's giving his view about our country many years ago and his question on why Philippines is moving backwards in terms of economic growth. Please read below.

I just had a long interesting chat that I feel like sharing with everyone. Kinda shocked and astonished by it.

I was busy at work early this morning when a new hire came in to my lab asking for some help. We introduced ourselves to each other. He was a Taiwanese gentleman with a slight accent…I didn’t ask his age, but he looked to be in his late 40s. He glanced at my badge and noticed my last name was Spanish…looks asian but has a Spanish last name, he knew right away I was Filipino. The first thing he asked, “What happened to the Philippines?!” I told him, yah its kinda messed up right now and laughed about it. But he seemed genuinely interested to know what the hell happened. He has been in the States for some 15 years now, and lost touch of what has been going on in the Philippines. I thought this was funny…why so interested?

He went on to tell me about his childhood. How during that time, his country was so poor and the Philippines was so rich. He remembers growing up and everyone in his country looked to the Philippines as a reference to what they should be, there was no other great Asian country at that time…a few of his teachers got their teaching degrees in the Philippines and were proud of that. The Philippine schools were recognized throughout asia as being top notch schooling. Not just schooling, but many of his people wanted to take vacations in the Philippines. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I asked him, “so you really idolized the Filipinos?” And he said very very much, and he was not the only one. He remembered seeing Marcos on TV and everyone watching around him would be like “WOW” and in awe, just by the way they dressed and moved…he explained it as them being close to royalty, that even his people recognized Marcos and his wife as being so. He went on about how the Filipinos were different Asians. While the rest of the Asians looked the same or were struggling; the Filipinos had the money…the Filipino look was entirely different…the Filipino dress was different, which was a distinct style from everyone else…and to this guy it was really classy, much so that a lot of Asians seemed to love and idolize it. I had to laugh at that point. He added that the other Asian countries were to poor or too traditional at the time to even have their own distinct style and look. In his words, “The Filipinos are truly blessed, they’re the future…The Filipinos are the cool Asians”. He knew well enough about Marcos and his corruption…he even followed the people power revolution. Everyone in Taiwan knew this was a great turning point for the Philippines and they were curious of the overall outcome. From his country’s point of view, what was really holding the Philippines back was Marcos…and after Marcos left, they felt the Philippines would become overwhelmingly wealthy. And to his surprise, the Philippines did the exact opposite. He asked me what did Corazon Aquino do, and why the Philippines didn’t prosper afterwards. How could we have so much before and just lose it all? I told him corruption, a bad government, and a bad economic policy. He didn’t get it, cause his country was the same way before and they managed to still get richer even with corruption. I actually felt kinda stupid after hearing all this. His country went on to follow and mirror Japan, and by the mid-80s was their turning point. How it now seems opposite of what it was before...when the Filipinos used to vacation in Taiwan and the Taiwanese served the Filipinos…he couldn’t believe his eyes when he went home and he saw many Filipinos servers. ”How could the Philippines and it’s people go backwards?”

By this time he was done testing. He is still curious to know more of what is presently going on in the Philippines and wants to talk more later. Ive never heard an Asian from another country tell me this before. I’m also curious to know how his country turned it around. of