Friday, April 4, 2008

Ours is a great nation

When I told my friend of my plan to extend my stay here in Korea, he reminded the difficulty that Southeast Asian people particularly Filipinos and Vietnamese are experiencing. He said that we are discriminated and underestimated. He even added that Korea is like America.

It made me angry. After all, I'm still a Filipino. But when I think about it, yes there is a reason why Koreans might feel this way towards us. When you think about it, the first that comes to mind when you say Filipinos is factory workers or brides for Korean men.

Then, there was this part of me that says, these are my people and what has happened to them? Then again, who am I to say that they are 'my' when I don't even know them? Perhaps it's better to say that they are my fellow countrymen. That to assault them is to do the same to me.

But is telling the truth an insult?

When can Filipinos accept it that it is not healthy to delude ourselves of fancy ideas like sweet lemoning when everyone goes all over the globe and become slaves to other people, we create a new image of the country. A country which has evolved past internal to overseas workers.

The government is proud to say that the economy is growing thanks to the effort of these OFWs. But why celebrate when these very people are mere slaves, with low self esteem, driven by the desire to make a better life for their family at the expense of humiliation.

We are a great nation. We can be more than maids, factory workers, drivers, etc. Their is nothing wrong with these jobs but these are jobs of people who have settled into believing that it is all they can do in life- clean, assemble, drive, etc. Ours is not a stupid race. On the contrary, we can rise higher if we only want to do it. I can attest to the fact that Filipinos are smarter than the average individual. The only missing piece is to use this dormant potential.

I wish maybe someday, when I talk to my friend again, I can look up to him straight in the eyes and ask where are the Filipinos you have been belittling?

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