Well, the topic of this article might take a little different path that you may be expecting by reading the title.
It all goes back to a week ago or so when I was looking at Facebook. A few foreigners who live in the Philippines were having a discussion that was sort of negative about the Philippines. Most of those types of discussions really tend to bother me, because I just wonder why people choose to live here when they only seem to have negative feelings about the place.
Somebody had posted on Facebook saying that many products were hard to find here in the Philippines or were not available at all. As I posted earlier this year, I have personally found that over the years this sort of thing has improved a lot and most things are available now if you just look for them. Well, in response to this Facebook post, another fellow living here replied, and I will paraphrase what he said:
I went to Gaisano Mall a while back and was looking for powdered sugar. I looked but could not find it, so I asked the clerk where I could find it. He took me over to the aisle where the sugar is, and we looked but could not find any powdered sugar at all. So, the clerk told me that they did not have any stock, no powdered sugar was available.
There was a lady next to us in the aisle and she overheard the conversation. She told me that they had powdered sugar in another area and she took me there so I could get what I needed. Sure enough, they had it, but the package said “Confectioners Sugar” instead of “Powdered Sugar”. I got what I needed and was on my way.
This just shows that the people in the Philippines are uneducated! The clerk told me there was no stock, but there was, he just didn’t know the right name that was on the package!
So, according to this fellow, the Filipino people are uneducated because they don’t know what the proper name is in the USA? Truth is that in many countries around the world the item in question is called “Confectioners Sugar” and not powdered sugar. In the USA it is most widely known as powdered sugar.
Who is uneducated?
As I read that, I thought to myself…. it would seem to me that the American fellow was uneducated! He didn’t know that it is called confectioners sugar here! Why would he consider himself to be educated but the Filipino clerk to be uneducated? The American fellow had lived in both countries, but didn’t know the proper name in the Philippines. The Filipino guy had likely lived only in the Philippines, why should he know or care what the name is in the USA?
I guess my point is that there are differences from one country to another. The names of certain things are different in different parts of the world. Why resort to name calling and belittling somebody when you are the one who is not conforming with the local nomenclature? What it comes down to is that if we want to live in a different country, the Philippines in this case, it is us who must adapt and learn about local customs and names and such. If we are unwilling to adapt and learn, then it is us who chooses to remain uneducated in the local ways.
I’ve been here for 14 years now. Sometimes when I see things like this discussion or other foreigners out in public, I can really remember how I was 10 or more years ago. I would have said something similar back then… “why don’t they know that stuff is called powdered sugar, not confectioners sugar”. The fact is that I was wrong for having that type of attitude. But, we all live and learn (hopefully) as time goes by.
The fellow also mentioned that the clerk was just being lazy by saying that there was no stock of powdered sugar instead of really finding out for sure. I can’t see that, because if he was lazy he would have just said there was no stock, not walked over to the sugar aisle and try to help the foreigner find what he was looking for.
Ah, life in the Philippines really is sweet if you just calm down, relax, chill out and roll with the punches. That’s how I see it anyway!