Recently I wrote and article here entitled Retire Young in the Philippines — But What About My Children . The thrust of the article was to explore the ideas and possibilities that are somewhat unique to military retirees, especially the idea that it’s not only possible to move to the Philippines at younger age, but that your children would not suffer growing up in the Philippines, but indeed even possibly benefit.
The discussion that arose seemed to center on something that I really didn’t even mention … the Philippine Public Schools system and various other issues people had with school systems in general.
Let me clarify a few things so you can better understand what I am talking about here, right or wrong.
Schools Are Not The Real World
It does not matter what schools your children go to. Some are better (in some people’s opinion), some are worse. Some are free and some cost money. Some have a huge “brand” behind them are are talked about by some as if they are essential to success in life. Others, “not so much”.
But don’t be taken in. regardless of how important you think school is for your child, school doesn’t mean that much regarding success in life.
Nor does “getting a job”. For those of you still dependent upon jobs and who still have one, well more power to you. Both my grown children (in their 30’s) have conventional J*O*B’s, but if they were to lose their jobs tomorrow, I doubt either of them would be long in developing their own business to earn an income. They both have skills, experience and an entrepreneurial attitude that they didn’t learn in school, thank you very much.
You Don’t Have To Go To School in the Country You Work In.
One of the comments I read in my original article just rang kind of sour to me. The commenter said something as if he were settling the debate that said, more or less, “Look, it’s only common sense, you should go to school in the country you want to get a job in.”
Really? Hmmm, I’m not sure I agree with that premise. I’m not sure this lady does, either.
Ever see this lady on TV or in the movies? She is a US citizen, by birth, and she’s living and working in the USA (by choice) and last time I checked she is making plenty money and would be defined as quite successful by most people.
Know what she has in common with the children I was talking about in my original article?
Her dad is a US military member, her mother is Vietnamese-Chinese and her parents took Olivia overseas to grow up and go to school in Japan. How horrible for their daughters? What opportunity could they have in Japan, of all places? At least in the Philippines a lot of people speak English for goodness sake.
But guess what? Although she made a lot of money from jumping into bowls of Jell-O or whatever crazy stunts she used to do on “Attack of the Show”, she has now worked in “name brand” movies with actors like Robert Downey Jr., and if you happen to be a fan of the current hit HBO series “Newsroom” (I’m a huge fan, by the way), I think you’d agree Olivia is pretty successful too.
Know what she says about being half-Asian and growing up and being educated overseas?
Olivia Munn, who plays the strong-willed, tough and confident character Sloan Sabbith in HBO’s original series “The Newsroom,” hated her “too Asian” looks—chinky eyes, dark hair, freckles—while growing up.
Rather than resent this, Munn said, she “accepted it as exactly what it was.” She told the Inquirer during a gathering of Southeast Asian journalists at the Four Seasons Hotel on Orchard Boulevard here, “I just had to accept that people wouldn’t be as sweet or nice to me as they were to her.”
Added the 33-year-old actress, “That’s how I live my life now.”
Q: You’re Chinese, your mom was born in Vietnam, but you grew up in Japan. Which country do you identify with the most?
A: I identify with China and Japan. My mom speaks Mandarin and Vietnamese. I was used to speaking both when I was young, but when I transferred to an American school I became too embarrassed to speak them. I think I want to spend more time learning Mandarin.
Q: Is knowing different languages important?
A: It is. One advantage of having a military family and moving around a lot is that you feel like a citizen of the world. (My emphasis) Even if I feel awkward in life, I also feel that I can go anywhere, that everywhere is my home. I would love to come back and live for a month in a place where they speak only Chinese.
OK, OK, so even though she’s a mixed heritage child and she lived all her formative years overseas, being a film of television star is a pretty exceptional thing. For the “average” Phil-Am kid growing up in the Philippines and going to school outside the US has got to be a disadvantage, right?
Are You Sure About That?
Well let me tell you about another successful person I know very well here in the Philippines, and the company she works for, here in Manila. I’m not sure if I should name them, since I didn’t discuss this with my Filipina acquaintance in advance, but the company is huge, it’s global (based in London, although some Americans think it’s a US company) … it has it’s “tentacles” in that many areas of business back in the USA. It has four letters in it’s name and chances are you have one or more credit cards in your wallet today owned by this company … since the 2008 crash they bought up US banks like crazy, letting most of them keep their brand name.
A year or so ago I went to a family day affair this company held for its employees here in Quezon City, Metro- Manila. During the day I had occasion to sit and have coffee in one of their employee break rooms. On the wall was a huge bulletin board, loaded with all the corporate trivia that’s almost a carbon copy of what’s on the employee bulletin board where you work. Big corporations are, after all, big corporations.
But one thing did catch my eye as very special. The company public relations department had conducted a survey of senior executives in the company asking some questions about how these executives felt about a political issue which was in the news back then.
The issue, or how they felt, isn’t important, but there was a huge poster, like an org chart, showing all the “higher ups” that mattered to this division of the company, and there was a picture (so you could easily see the racial makeup of each person) and a listing of their home towns and where they went to school, along with their ‘words of wisdom” on the survey question.
From the CEO down through the junior vice-president level, there were about 50 people on the hart. Male to female ratio? About 60% male 40% female. “White to non-white ratio? Roughly 50%. Countries of birth represented? I counted roughly 20 different ones. Predominately UK, US, Aus, NZ, HK, Mainland China, India and the Philippines.
And every demographic was pretty well spread evenly across the chart. The CEO was Australian, the 4 Senior VP’s under him were US, UK, Indian and Chinese, two guys and two gals.
And there were LOTS of Filipinos/Filipinas spread across the other 45 or so remaining positions. And all these executives had worked for the company in different areas of the world, and all expected to move somewhere else if the company offered them a better opportunity there.
My acquaintance (Philippine educated through the bachelor degree level) has been with the company about 4 years now, has been promoted 3 times so far, and fully expects she’ll move to a division in another country in the future. The corporation considered their international staff and outlook a plus factor … and looking at their balance sheet it would be hard to argue with that premise.
You think being born and educated in the Philippines is a handicap for a young person? Well you are entitled to your viewpoint, but I think not. Not at all.
I’m going to close with something very appropriate that my friend Bob just wrote on this subject. I enjoyed reading it, I think you might too:
Thinking that you or your kids will be isolated from the work market by moving to the Philippines is, in my mind, really backward thinking, because the truth that I see is quite the opposite. In many respects, you are what you think you are. If you think you will be limited, you will be. If you think that success is down the road for you, you will get closer to success with each action.
(Full article at: http://liveinthephilippines.com/content/backward-thinking/
If you seriously consider all the factors and then decide the Philippines isn’t right for you at an early military retirement age, well great. Everyone has to make the decision that is right for his or here own situation. But if you let other people make the decision for you, based on a lot of bogus negative “blather” (as my grandma used to call it), you don’t know what opportunities you may be denying your children. Godspeed.