Thursday, May 17, 2007


They were two different foreigners with almost the same story. They went to a local government office on some minor official business. Suddenly they were met by an enraged Filipino waving a gun and screaming, “You ********* foreigners are ruining my country!!!” He actually threatened to kill them.

Both Americans were shocked. They could not imagine why they deserved this treatment. What had they done? I was “shocked” too, but not at the Filipino as much as at my expatriate friends.

Now, I do not condone the actions of the government official but I understand the causes. I understand why he became enraged. One of the reasons I write this column is to respond to that rage.

I was “shocked” by my expatriate friends because just a week before they sat silently by and watched an American stand in a public place and say ugly, nasty things about the Philippines and the culture. They did not stop him. They did not even criticize him for his violation of every Filipino within hearing. Some months ago other foreigners sat by as another foul mouthed American said even more ugly nasty things about the Philippines. They did not stop him either. Finally a normally quiet security guard came over and politely asked him not to talk bad about his country. Do foreigners think these incidents are not talked about in Pinoy community? Do you think these proud polite people are not angered by these and other outrages? Here some foreigners routinely talk to Filipinas like they are whores. These women are somebody’s sister, somebody’s wife, they deserve respect. In America this conduct would probably get your butt whipped on the spot. Fortunately for them most Filipinos are more polite, tolerant and respectful.

There are rules of conduct for guests in our home and in your country. When you act or allow others to act in a boorish obnoxious way, do not be shocked when someone screams out in frustration. In “Bambi” the Disney film Flower said, “If you can not say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” That is pretty smart for a skunk. There are problems in every country. Publicly pointing out even real problems here serves no useful purpose and often hurts others. If you do not like life here in the Philippines you can always go home.

To the enraged government official I want to say; it is not all foreigners. Most foreigners respect and love this country. There are many foreigners that are even actively working to help the Philippines improve the quality of life here. So do not blame all foreigners for the acts of a few.

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