It is almost a curse. While most people can see or hear something and accept it without question, I am plagued by a mind that asks “WHY?” and “HOW?” As a child I spent several hours figuring out how a car speedometer works.
Last night, I lay awake listening to the neighborhood dogs. Obviously they were “talking”. I could discern when a dog heard something it did not like. His barks were single and separate. When the dog saw someone or something it did not like, the barks were a series that was repeated several times. When a female in heat got a nose under her tail she did not like, she gave a distinctive snapping nasty snarl. All of this is based on years of observation and working in animal rescue shelters. There is one behavior I do not understand, the wail.
Every once in awhile a dog will give a mournful cry which is quickly picked up and echoed by all dogs within hearing. I have nothing I can relate this to but human behavior which may or may not be valid. Could this be a cry of pain and frustration? Could the wailer need the understanding and support of his friends?
In the year I have been writing this column, I have wailed in frustration a couple of times. All I got was silence. I began to think I was alone. I began to think no one cared about the ugly things some of us do to each other, both Pinoy and foreigner, or how some of us disgrace our countries with our bad behavior. I began to think instead of bringing us together, I was driving us apart. I even wrote a “good-bye” column; which my editor refused to print.
Yesterday I received my first email of real support. Surprisingly, it was NOT from a fellow American who should understand me and what I am trying to do, but from a German reading my column in his second language.
He was angry how some of his fellow countrymen seem to find only negative things to say about the Philippines and her people. How many of his countrymen spent most of their time so drunk they can not even hold an intelligent conversation. He was enraged that many of them disgraced themselves and their country with their crude, rude and crass behavior. Finally he was angry at the “good” Germans who tolerate and do nothing about these outrages.
He echoed my frequently expressed sentiments. If you can not be a good guest in the Philippines; if you can not be on your best behavior and represent your country with pride; if you are so upset with the Philippine culture and its people and can not find anything positive to say; YOU SHOULD SHUT-UP OR JUST GO HOME!
This is not America. This is not Germany. This is the Philippines. Love and respect it or go someplace else to show your ass. Your money does not buy you the right to disrespect your host.
My emailer authorized me to use his name and thoughts in the column. I decided not to print his name but I will call upon him to continue to set the example. Continue to help me try to change the negative image of foreigners in this country. Most important help, me spotlight the many GOOD foreigners that are not given the respect they deserve. I ask him to continue to stand up and be counted as a good guest, you are an Everyday Hero.