A few days ago, I got an e-mail from a lady in the USA. The lady is a Filipina, but indicated that she had been living in the USA for quite some time now. She told me that in fact, she had kind of lost touch with her Filipino side, and had actually forgotten much of how things are here in the Philippines. I certainly understood this, because Feyma actually went through much of this herself, and in the past year or so she has been on a journey of rediscovering her roots and her culture.
This lady went on to tell me that her nephew has come to the Philippines. About a week ago, his father heard from him, but has not heard from him since. They are worried about the young man (I don’t know his age, but I suspect he is in his 20’s). In their last communication, the young man told his father that he had found a girl here in the Philippines and had decided to marry her. He indicated that they would be married right away. After that, there has been no communication from the young man.
The lady went on to tell me that her American nephew was a cocky young man. She also told me, though, that he is a small guy. He has a big mouth, but she said that he doesn’t have the muscle to back up what he says. She described him as “very cocky.” Well, I found this to be somewhat troubling.
You see, the Philippines is not a place to be cocky. I have written before that if you cause somebody here to lose face, it could be a fatal mistake. Getting into a situation like that is not hard to do, especially when you have only been here a short time as this fellow seems to have been. When you haven’t been here long enough to understand how things work, and when you are already a cocky person, you are playing with fire. Shoot off your mouth to the wrong person and it might be the last time you shoot off your mouth.
I wrote back to this lady that I really didn’t have any way of knowing anything about her nephew (she didn’t even give me his name), but that her description of him left me concerned for him. I reminded her that this is not a place to have the kind of attitude that she described of her nephew.
Just a reminder to all readers. It is easy to let yourself get into a bad situation. Americans and other foreigners tend to shoot off our mouths and say things in the heat of the moment. Five minutes later we may have put things behind us. That’s not how it works here, though. If you insult somebody, an hour later you may think that it is all behind you, but for the Filipino who felt insulted, he may still be out to get you 10 years later. Because of this, be very careful. Our cultures are very different, and culture is something that is deeply ingrained in a person. I have done stupid things and said hurtful things myself to people, and I regret it. I try hard not to do that anymore, but it still happens. Thankfully it is not very frequent anymore. Just be advised to be cautious. If you feel yourself getting angry, walk away. I know it is against your nature, but just do it.