Tsismis (the Tagalog and Bisaya word for Gossip).
It’s rampant in the Philippines!
Filipinos love to make tsismis. There are even lots of TV shows devoted to tsismis. Gossip shows. Mostly, that’s showbiz stuff, which I really don’t care about and don’t watch, but from time to time I find myself stuck in a situation where such a show is on. Yes, tsismis or gossip is a big deal in the Philippines.
But, wait. It’s not only a Filipino thing! Gossip is big among expats too! Often times, I hear gossip about foreigners from other foreigners. I’ll see somebody in the mall or at a restaurant, and inevitably, it’s…
Hey, Bob, did you hear about John (insert whatever name you want here)? He’s shacked up with four new girls in an apartment over in such and such neighborhood!
Hey Bob! I heard that Steve has gone broke and is getting into such and such illegal business! He’ll end up in jail.
Whatever the case may be, you can imagine that as the rumor spreads, it gets wilder and wilder.
Did you ever hear about the game where you whisper a secret into one kid’s ear, and then he whispers to the next person, and then by the time it goes through 15 or 20 kids and comes back to you, the story is totally different from what you told the first kid? It’s almost that bad when it comes to expats spreading rumors about each other.
Frankly, I’ve come to the point where I don’t even listen to the stuff, in fact, I try to avoid those who are constantly spreading tsismis. When I see them coming, I turn and go the other way! Well, I try to avoid them almost that much. Of course, sometimes you get caught in a place where you have to listen, but I try not to.
Of course, you can always figure that the wilder the rumor, the more likely that it is not anywhere near being true.
My question is, why do expats fall into this whole rumor-mill thing? I mean, if we are all expats, and we need a bit of a support system here, wouldn’t it be better to stick together and not spread wild rumors about each other? I feel that it would.
Perhaps expats see the local tsismis tv shows and they fall into the trap themselves, and since they mostly know other expats, they make up rumors about them? I find it sad, though, when such things happen. Sometimes, the rumors are so wild that if the rumor were heard by a local law enforcement official, there could be repercussions for the individual that was being “smeared” by a rumor. Don’t get me wrong, if somebody is breaking the law or causing trouble in some way, I don’t have a problem with them being punished, but if it is a case that rumors have been made up, or have morphed with each passing of the rumor, then that’s just wrong, and could cause serious problems for somebody who does not deserve it.
In many ways, I find that expats here in the Philippines don’t offer much support to each other. In fact, not only do they not support each other, but I know of a lot of instances where they actively tried to cause trouble for another expat who did not deserve it.
It’s a sad situation, and I personally have gotten to the point where I just don’t socialize with very many expats anymore because of it. Oh, I have a few close expat friends that I have known for years and that I trust implicitly. But, you have to be careful when choosing such friends.