24 July 2013

One Day Filipinos Will Rule the World

A former player went on a package tour to Hong Kong recently; and I suppose it was a small price to pay in exchange for a burrito at Army and Navy to have to listen to his travel tales. In fairness, the burrito made the tales bearable.

And so he was talking about this Cantonese tour guide, who asked the bright-eyed first-time Pinoy visitors inside the tour bus, “What do you notice down there on the streets?”

Making a lame effort to deserve my burrito, I cut in and answered, “The mass of people?” I have not been to Hong Kong, but videos of the place that I have seen always seemed to portray this Quiapo-style avenue with a seemingly endless mass of people to-ing and fro-ing.

Turns out that I was not smarter than a fifth grader, after all! Wrong answer! Scant reward for efforting, but at least I did something to try and deserve my burrito.


We use no arms but instead our ability to assimilate, all the while never forgetting despite our desire to integrate who we really are – Filipinos. Where native populations choose not to pass on their genes, we will be there when they die out.
“No!” my former player exclaimed, probably partly in annoyance at my interruption. “There are no children on the streets!”

And because it was after school hours when we went for our burritos, there were many such young people on the streets here in Lipa and my former player even pointed at some making their way to the mall to emphasize his point.

“High cost of living? One-child policy?” I again interrupted, undeterred by my earlier wrong answer.

But my former player was intent on telling his story his way. He went on with what the Cantonese tour guide said, “In China, couples only have one child because of state policy.”

And I thought Hong Kong is now part of China? But apparently, the former Crown Colony is allowed a measure of autonomy.

So the tour guide went on, “In Hong Kong, no need for one-child policy! Couples choose to limit the number of children that they have and some choose to have none at all.”

And the reason?

“Everything is expensive! Housing is expensive. Food is expensive. And most of all, schooling is expensive.” And the tour guide quoted a figure in the millions. In Hong Kong dollars, of course.

If at all there were kids on the streets, my former player continued with his narration, these were probably tourists from the Mainland in the company of their recently affluent parents.

“In the Philippines,” the tour guide continued, “those who are poor have more children.” But of course. There is good value to fornication as entertainment after lights out.

“In Hong Kong, people are not poor but they have no children. In 50 years, Hong Kong will become part of the Philippines!” An unmistakable reference, no doubt, to the hundreds of thousands of Pinoys working in Hong Kong in various capacities; from domestic helpers to corporate executives.

That piece of sensationalist hypothesizing by the Cantonese tour guide might have sounded tailor-made for the Pinoy audience inside the tour bus; but it was not entirely baseless.

I once went on a courtesy call with a group of school administrators to see the Archbishop of Lipa soon after his installation; and he could not stop talking about OFWs, one of his pet advocacies.

He told us of this small village in – of all places – Norway where Filipino expatriates and their growing families were starting to outnumber the local population. I would have thought this outrageous if it was not the Archbishop telling the story.

I mean, Norway? Apparently, I underestimated the extent of the Filipino Diaspora; and Filipinos are more widely scattered around the planet than I thought.

In fact, the Archbishop said something similar to what the Cantonese tour guide said; albeit bolder. He said one day Filipinos will take over the world; although the statement was probably meant to be taken metaphorically.

History is replete with stories of nations taking over others, but always in the context of conquest. That is, takeovers were enforced by way of armed conflicts and one nation prevailing over another.

If at all – and the idea is realistically still quite far-fetched in the present – if Filipinos take over nations, it will be quite the opposite of how history has told its stories. Where the winds of the Diaspora blow us, we bring our love of family and community with us.

We use no arms but instead our ability to assimilate, all the while never forgetting despite our desire to integrate who we really are – Filipinos. Where native populations choose not to pass on their genes, we will be there when they die out.

Just being Filipinos. Waiting.

Photo from commons.wikimedia.org.











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The Filipino as a Chameleon
Filipino Time: Personality or Cultural Trait?

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