Wednesday, 3 October 2007

What’s the matter with these Filipinos? I of II

Here in NE Derbyshire, a Filipino community was organised last year. It was a brave thing to do for a number of them who thought it best to join together and be one bayanihan group.

For a Filipino like me who is married to an Englishman, this certainly was a good idea. My social exposure is limited to my British family, neighbourhood and work. To be able to meet up with other Filipinos and talk about the angst (and the nice things of course) of British life was a welcome thing.

And so for £36 a year (roughly 3,600 pesos), I get to attend Filipino parties, eat Filipino food, and speak Filipino/Tagalog. Sounds lovely, except that my Tagalog is as good as a Chinese trying hard to speak Russian.


So when the repetitive consonant-vowel pairings impede my speech, I shift to English, not because I pretend that I can speak it well but because I realised that I could be understood better. The only thing is, most Filipinos do the same, speaking in English like it’s been their first language. It’s fine with me but I get uneasy somehow when the accent becomes a very thick northern England (like those insulated people who have never been out of Derbyshire because of fear that once they leave the borders of the Peak District, they’ll turn into Londoners, or worse, Americans (exclamation point here. My keyboard lost the number one).


Because of my membership in the community, I became familiar with a lot of Filipinos in the area. So when I see a face that I don’t recognise, I automatically ask if they join the community, blah blah blah. For those who decided not to be members, their reason is either the ‘hmmm, I just couldn’t be bothered’ variety or simply ‘umm…’ accompanied by a crinkling of the nose. I assure you this is my funniest moment with Filipinos here and much as I would like to sympathise with them, I just couldn’t.

The thing is, as they like to say, they just want to avoid the type who talk behind your back, the chismosa types, the materialistic ogres who like to compare cars, houses and washing machines, as well as the nurses who think they’re better than the rest (the rest are the non-nurses of course, possibly like me, who is here not because of a skill but because of a husband).

So what’s wrong with these Filipinos, huh? Why can’t they just be together without the upsets? Why can’t they be together without the arrogance and superiority? Why can’t they just simply be, like bloody ordinary migrants?

I hope this community doesn’t become elitist. I also hope that they could address this issue of Filipinos being isolated by other Filipinos.


denden said...

hi soy!

i thought it was only me who thinks that there are some "nurses who think they’re better than the rest". ugh. please.

it's the filipino's crab mentality at its best. it's the same here in london and i guess everywhere too. i went to bradford at the weekend and noticed that the filipino community there is quite close-knit.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think it's always the same? The new Filipino immigrants think they know better. They act and think that they are your betters! Not all naman siguro, only the ones I have met. Sana we can all go beyond this and just accept that we are all in this country for different reasons, be it professional, marriage or by accident.And please, when we get together, lets play nice and stop talking about the people who are not present ;)

Joy said...

I can so feel your frayed nerves all the way in Norwich! Sadly, what goes on over there is the same everywhere else. And it's not just the Pinoy community, but every other old or emerging BME group suffers the same.

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