White is a Mighty Fine Color
- 0.1 White is a Mighty Fine Color
- 0.2 What’s All This Fuss About White?
- 0.3 I Meet Fred And Learn What HE Thinks
- 0.4 Is It Safe To Talk In Daylight?
- 0.5 Have THEY Ever Actually Lived in the Philippines?
- 0.6 Not Going Back To The USA? OMG!
- 0.7 I Don’t Know, How Can You Stand It In Podunk Where YOU Live, Fred?
- 0.8 This Article’s Already Getting Long, and it Surely Isn’t Done
- 1 Related Posts
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I better start this post by apologizing to “The Boss”, fellow New Jerseyite Bruce Springsteen who started his recording career with a song that was pretty much a flop for him, but I’ve always remembered the chorus
“Blinded by the light, cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night.”
I couldn’t resist the somewhat strained connection to the similar sounding phrase which I use to represent a number of people I’ve met who probably have no business even visiting the Philippines, let alone trying to live here. If you are still living under the mindset of “White is Right”, if you want to move to the Philippines only if you can find a little walled enclave of
White (oh, sorry, Western) folk where you can safely sit around and talk down “They” and “Them”, then do us both a favor and leave now. You won’t be missed.
What’s All This Fuss About White?
You’ll recall I published a couple posts recently about my mother-in-law’s Christmas medical odyssey. (live link coming soon)
Over the past few weeks a similar story has been going on very nearby, involving the sister of one of my Filipino neighbors.
I’ll call him Juan and also disguise his sister’s name and her husband .. a fellow “White” Norte Americano … Fred (not his real name), the guy who prompted me to write this story.
I’ve had this in my drafts folder for a couple days now, not really sure if I really wanted to write it, but I really feel it needs to be said, so here it is, warts included.
I Meet Fred And Learn What HE Thinks
A few days before Christmas I went out to open my driveway gate and take my car out when I saw a sort of heavyweight (like me) stranger in my neighbor’s yard across the street … kind of looking around with a disbelieving expression on his face … and he obviously wasn’t from around these parts.
When he saw me, his face lit up and he came out into the street to introduce himself, looking around from side to side like a bank robber on the lam from the cops.
Is It Safe To Talk In Daylight?
“Hello, I’m Fred, I’m (the neighbor’s) brother in law, my wife is his sister, Martha. Is it safe to stand here and talk”?
Well that kind of threw me for a loop I’ve lived on this block for almost 10 years now,115 months and counting now, I know all my neighbors (Filipino, of course) by name and our street is so quiet that neighborhood dogs are liable to stretch out in the middle of the pavement for a nap, only getting up if an occasional car comes by and toots at them.
It was about 9 am and everything was exactly as normal, the kids from number 10 next door were up the street playing with the kids in front of number 8, Sherman, my neighbor in number 4 up at the end if the street had just driven by on his motorcycle and waved, and down at the far end of the block I could see my wife’s favorite vegetable ladies who come by twice a week, walking our way.
“Of course it’s safe”, I told him, “what were you expecting”?
“Well”, he replied, “this is the Philippines you know, and ‘they‘ all warned me at home how dangerous it is here!”
Have THEY Ever Actually Lived in the Philippines?
I asked him if any of the folks who had warned him had ever actually been to the Philippines, and he allowed as to how he didn’t know, but doubted that they had.
I wonder why there are so many “experts” out there who give advice, but don’t really know a darn thing about the Philippines by any actual experience … but I held my tongue.
I’ve dealt with so many Westerners with this preconceived “I already know” attitude that it bores me.
Then Fred asked me, “How long are you staying here”?
I replied with my standard answer, “Probably the rest of my life, unless I ever get bored and decide to move somewhere else.”
Not Going Back To The USA? OMG!
I wish you could have seen this guy’s face for real. You know how we have the expression about somebody turning gray? I’ve seen people in coffins in the funeral home that looked more alive than Fred suddenly did.
“My God”, he exclaimed, “You mean you’re not going back to the US”? “How can you stand it here?”
I Don’t Know, How Can You Stand It In Podunk Where YOU Live, Fred?
Frankly, I don’t think it’s really much of a conversation starter or friendship facilitator to travel 8,000 miles, walk up to a person and openly question their judgement like that … I don’t really give a care where Fred chooses to live … or why is it his positron in life to criticize mine … but that is one of the most common ways Westerners start their relationships with me here.
Just as with Filipinos who meet me for the first time and ask, “Why don’t you and your wife have children?”, I just make allowances and try to let the words roll off my back.
This Article’s Already Getting Long, and it Surely Isn’t Done
I can see this story getting longer, because there’s a lot to say about Fred and his Philippine epiphany, so I’ll continue it RSN (Real Soon Now).