Thursday, September 18, 2008

“Pinay sa Singapore”

“Pinay sa Singapore”
It's the first Sunday after payday, and I’m dragging my feet to Lucky Plaza. Located on Orchard Road, near the MRT station, it is a shopping mall where many Filipinos go to make remittances, to shop for Philippine goods, to eat Filipino meals, etc.

I need to go to Lucky Plaza to remit the monthly payment for my house in the Philippines. The place is crowded just like every Sunday in Singapore. And just like every Sunday in Singapore, I see Filipino women…in groups:

- sitting under some trees eating their favorite home-cooked meals;
- sending money to their loved ones;
- walking around dressed skimpily with 80% of their skin exposed;
- eating at McDonald’s with an Indian fellow who pays for their meal;
- flirting with a Filipino guy who works as a seaman;
- looking around with shifty eyes watching out for something, or someone?

I see Filipino women…alone:

- shopping for clothes to send home to her family;
- queuing to pay her monthly SSS / Pag-ibig dues;
- calling up her family on a payphone;
- crying while talking on the phone… to her husband? children?

I see Filipino women with foreign men:

- flirting with an Indian fellow;
- cuddling the head of a Bangladeshi guy on her lap;
- sleeping on the shoulder of a Burmese man;
- holding hands with an Indian guy…

Most of the time, the Filipina in the above scenario seems to be more than 40-year old, married, and have five children!

These are frightful sights for me. And it hurts me whenever my male officemates joke about it.

“Women at Lucky Plaza are cheaper. It will cost you just a meal at first. Then, they would come digging pink bills out of your pocket in time.”

“What do those guys like about flirting aunties at Lucky Plaza?”

And they’ve even asked me, “Is it true that when Filipino women age, they become more aggressive? Watch your age then!”
These scenes at Lucky Plaza amuse Singaporeans and other races. They make fun of our fellow OFWs. It makes me sad. It makes me mad.

A year ago, on the first Sunday after my payday, I was so eager to go to Lucky Plaza to remit the payment for my house in the Philippines. When people asked me of my nationality, I had proudly announced, “I am a Filipina. I am an OFW.”

Today, my bag of mixed emotions sometimes overwhelm me. Yes, I am a Filipina. Those flirting aunties are Filipinas, too. And we are all OFWs.

I rationalize my pain and sense of shame by telling myself that it is the ‘oldest profession.’ There are women of other nationalities who also ply their wares on Orchard Road, especially in the evenings.

If I had a magic wand:

I’d zip the mouths of my male colleagues forever;
I’d turn Lucky Plaza into an enchanted queendom where well-meaning wishes are granted;
I’d build the Philippines into thousands of Singapores;
I’d bring an end to the OFW phenomenon!


Nardito C. Sapon said...

Hi Rizza,

I had the same observations when I landed in Singapore 8 years ago and up until now, these hold true.

With some pinch of summoned courage I did try to ask some of our lady kababayan's why.

Most admitted to having these foreigners for boyfriend, rather than having fellow Filipinos whom they accuse of being pala-inom(drunkards), babaero (womanizers) and nanggugulpe (physical abusers.)

None of those DH I've spoken with admitted to doing it for a fee. They found it too risky. It was another group they say, who are often on Social Visit Passes.

I personally know some who were lucky to have ended their relationships with foreigners in marriage. There's one who married a Sri-Lankan, who became a successful trader. She now struts about in diamond-laden necklace and other fine jewelries.

Another friend is blissfully married to an Indian business executive and they are blessed with fine kids.

I also know of a Bangladeshi who ended up getting conned by our damsel kababayan. She left with some SG$4,000 in unpaid love debts.

Years ago, my boss confided that her Filipina nanny was deported because besides having a day job, she was also moonlighting as a GRO. She got apprehended and banned from entering Singapore forever.

Such comments from your colleagues are rather unfair but that's how they perceive it to be.

How I'd wish you'd be gifted with a magic wand. Me, too. But in the meanwhile that we do not, as yet, belong to the Super Friends' Justice League, let us enjoin each and everyone to say a little prayer on behalf of all our distressed Kababayans, aggressive aunties included.

Best regards,

Tony@NIPPON said...

Alas! No magic wand as we do not live in a land of make believe; though many are trying to.... Let us not forget the same plight of our kababayans in the middle east, Japan and other parts of the world...

Yes we have no magic wand, but our government has the ability to step up, raise their hand and do something on our situation. Its not magic, its acting upon the reality, but somehow, we are still looking forward on it.....

It all boils down to our intentions; achieve a better life; embarking to an unknown future.....

Rizza said...

When I was in the Philippines, I also knew a few colleagues whose parents were separated due to 3rd party from abroad.

And it is unfortunate to see broken marriages.

When I worked here in Singapore, I quite understood how the misery and loneliness can be overwhelming.

But I am capable of sponsoring my family to join me here and considered myself one of the few lucky people.

I sympathize rather than condemn our fellow OFW who seeks the love and attention from other people--

--including those who do odd things and believed that the end justifies the means.

We may come up with activities/projects/programs that promotes family values and

connecting families to somehow remind our fellow OFW that the REASON they are working hard out here is not worth destroying.

The impression that was created maybe hard to rub out, but it is worth trying for the lost sheep.

And an OFW is worth it.

NONU said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NONU said...

I think you guys are worried by your Filipino girls .But may i ask u why are they going with INDIAN,PAKISTANI,CHINESE,SINGAPOREANS very easy?

I have answer for this , the truth is Filipino boys are not real man they just want to enjoy the time with no responsibility. I stayed in Philippines for 2 years and what i see is boys just want fun with new girl everyday, make a women pregnant and leave her alone. Lots of physical abuse on wifes, gf and even prostitutes. Few man stand for there women rest just think women is a play tool to play.
I have known so many women with same story of abuses, child prostitutions, die for desire i cant explain. Truth is truth you cant hide.

Filipino women are the best lover I have seen after having relations across globe. I love a Filipino and I am her 1st and last lover till i die.

akoemotera said...

hi rizza, i was barely 3 months here in SG but i guess i don't need years of stay here to realize the "real thing" about what's happening in Lucky Plaza. i was thinking maybe our government should hold an orientation/seminar before deploying anyone abroad on the culture of the country they will be working to, how to dress properly to hold a small amount of dignity and teach some pointers. i have accidentally interviewed a group of pinays after i got my oec last week while having my late lunch in LP.