Last week in this column we had a few comments regarding age. That got me thinking a little about age and how it often relates to life here in the Philippines. If you aren’t familiar with the culture and conventions of the Philippines, it’s no secret you will have some getting “used to” to do.
One area you’ll find very much different here are some distinct differences in attitudes and even rules about age … as well as some other human attributes. Just as with the ongoing discussion on my own blog, PhilFAQS and Bob’s column recently on the “they all look alike to me” issue, there are a lot of other things here in the Philippines that will immediately fail the current US Politically Correct test.
I’m 63 years old, according to the calendar. Most of the time, though, I feel about 16. (this happens especially when I get to thinking about what I want to do when I grow up ;-)) Sometimes a little older, but God has blessed me with good health and I don’t feel old at all. There is a current view held by some that 60 is the new 40. Don’t know if I would buy into that completely but I certainly don’t feel any older than I did when I was 40 … except perhaps when climbing stairs.
In the US there are very few things I can’t do at 63 that I couldn’t do at 23. Enlist in the armed services or join a police or fire department with legally mandated retirement ages are a few of a very small list. In fact, Congress recently changed the law so that I could even be a scheduled airline pilot for a few more years … when I was in the Federal Service I had a number of workmates over the years in their 70’s One fellow when I was working in Japan who was held in some reverence by his Japanese staff members because he had worked with General MacArthur in the Dai-Ichi Building in Tokyo back in1945 … he finally retired, of his own free will, at a ripe old age of 86.
It’s not that way here in the Philippines. If, for example, I decided to buy a home and went for bank financing, guess what? Too old. Almost all long-term consumer credit requires the applicant to be under 60. Follow up on a help-wanted job in the newspaper that looks interesting? Might as well save my time and theirs … age limits, typically below 30 or 35 are attached to virtually every help wanted ad.
Not long ago I noted an ad in the window of a Jollibee at an NLEX rest stop. “Entry level cleaning person needed. Must have for year college degree, experience and preferably be female, attractive and under 24.” This was a job, undoubtedly at about $10 USD per day. 6 days a week, swinging a mop and wielding a toilet brush in the rest rooms. All you attractive younger ladies reading this are free to send me your contact details, I’ll put you in touch 😉 But don’t forget that 4 year diploma you worked so hard to earn, you’ll need that too, in addition to the blessings of youth.
Most health insurance companies stop providing coverage here at 65 also … kind of one of those Catch 22’s in my book. Unless you get ‘tagged’ by something serious at a young age you don’t really need health insurance all that much until you’re past 65 or so … exactly when you can’t have it here.
So indeed, there are some age difference things to get used to. But there’s always a plus side. No ne cares if you send a 10 or 12 year old to the store to buy ciggies or beer or get a prescription filled. Very convenient in that way. To paraphrase Tine Turner, “What’s age got to do with it”?
It’s a different life here, that gets proven nearly every day … at least to me … but after all, I’m old.