July 4, 1946 was the date we got our independence from the United States of America, or was it? Did colonialism really end when America gave us our independence on that said date? Lately, I have seen a series of events which gave me an impression that colonialism still thrives in our beloved country even after more than 500 years of foreign rule.
Picture this: in a small internet café at Tomas Morato Ave., a group of noisy and rowdy foreigners (Iranians) shouting at the top of their voices while playing computer games unmindful of the presence of other people. And what puzzled me was that not a single Filipino inside the cafe voiced out a complaint against this very disruptive conduct. Adding insult to this very “offensive” behavior was when one of the foreigners stood up and scolded the undersized Filipino cashier (the Iranian was brawny) saying “your aircon is too cold”.
When the Filipino politely said “Sir you could take another table”, the irate foreigner said “don’t be stupid just lessen the temperature. I want my original table”. “Whoa! They are a nasty bunch” I said to myself as thoughts quickly raced inside my mind. Because I live nearby, the idea of bringing in our driver, houseboy, our neighborhood security guard and all their friends to “engage” these people and teach them “proper” manners “played” into my mind. But I also knew this would be very violent and later “reason” won over my feelings. I just comforted the poor little Filipino cashier by saying “engaging these people isn’t worth it”.
It was a pity that the little cashier had to take the incident in stride but what was more appalling was that not a single Filipino protested against this “unacceptable” conduct displayed by a foreigner against a Filipino in our very own country.
Let me take you to another story. These incidents happened inside a “British” owned offshore bank three months ago. A lady friend of mine and her work colleagues, all officers of that prestigious bank, are unjustly and contionuously berated in public by the prestigious bank’s male Indian senior officer.
As my friend was in the middle of her business presentation, the “foreigner” boss said “that is a crappy report made by a “very stupid” person, step up to your position! You are not thinking, you are not thinking”! The Indian executive continued with his berating, and verbal abuse despite my lady friend’s efforts to defend herself. This lady friend and her work colleagues experienced oppression several times under the said Indian senior executive – he would interrupt lunch breaks and require his team to hold cross functional meetings instead of taking their lunch or hold meetings beyond office hours if the team does not follow he calls them “lazy” and would use statements like “the bank does not pay you for this kind of work”!
This Indian regarded by the prestigious British bank as its senior officer certainly shows a lack of sensibility or concern for Filipino Employees’ feelings and welfare, including Filipino culture as a whole.
In another alarming incident the same senior Indian bank executive also went to the extent of threatening one of the officers under him who refused to alter figures in a report which the said Indian executive would use to his advantage. The Indian national issued threatening statements such as “do not bite the hand that feeds you”. The oppressed employees raised their grievance to the Bank’s Human Resources Department, but despite that, the Indian executive has not ceased his maltreatment of Filipino officers under him. The grievance case was also escalated to the appropriate government organization but to no avail. It is so sad that it seems that our fellow Filipinos who are supposed to be protecting their brothers are instead massing the oppressive acts of these foreigners in our native country!
The words “stupid” and “lazy” when used by a foreigner on a Filipino in our own country reminds us of the time when the Spanish colonizers called our forefathers stupid and indolent. When the Americans came to our shores in 1899, those who resisted (Filipino Insurrectos) were called “gugus”, a slang word where we probably got the Filipino term “gago” meaning “stupid”. When the Japanese invaded in 1942, they brought with them their favorite cuss word “bakeru” meaning “stupid” in reference to their new subjects, the Filipinos.
Today, I am quite amazed (at the same time appalled), that some of the foreigners visiting or even working here have the audacity to use such a bad language on our people in our own country. I am not against foreigners visiting or working in our country, they are good for the economy. What I am against are “arrogant” foreigners who think that our country is still a colony because they have the money and influence to “rule” over us. A friend of mine told me that we were a “conquerable” race. My answer to him is maybe, because in the past we were always “passive”in our response to all the indignities committed against us by people of different races. Not to long ago, the great Jose Rizal said “Where there are no slaves, there are no tyrants”.
With this saying, my lady friend and her other colleagues filed a complaint before the Bureau of Immigrations against this arrogant Indian national who probably thinks of himself as a British colonizer just because he works in a British firm. Maybe this guy needs some lessons in history. Has he forgotten the time when the Indians were maltreated by their colonizers, the British? And as for this prestigeous British offshore bank, are they willing to sacrifice and post a risk to their present values and reputation by protecting this arrogant maltreating Indian executive?
As for the group of “rowdy” Iranians at Tomas Morato, I am very sure that they will meet their “match” someday if they continue their arrogant ways against us Filipinos.