–A Weekly Chronicle Series
Let me introduce you to one of the inspiring persons in my small life, my sister. She abides the law, prefers surety, works hard and opens a huge heart for others. With her confident eyes, smart-looking aura and charming personality, she cannot fail to impress you.
She is my one and only darling sister. Obviously, this biased mix of flattery should be cut out. I’m sorry for doing so.
However, just like all of us, my sister is not that uplifting all the time. She has her own ignominious moments too.
During our recent encounters with Kuala Lumpur, a Polish woman asked her a very simple thing. Oddly enough, she mistakenly answered it.
“I’m from New Zealand”, she said.
For me, that was a foul, an affront.
Ridiculous. Funny. Saddening too.
“How could you disown your own country over a place you’ve just barely live for two years? Even if for a decade, it doesn’t make any sense to me. Your New Zealand resident visa doesn’t help either. Basically, you’re still from the Philippines. Look at you!” that I told her on a playful remark, trying to hide some resentment I felt.
Regardless, everyone deserves a second chance.That moment, my contention of her was still changeable though. “Heaven, please help this woman” I thought.
Upon the weight of her words, Jose Rizal, our national hero, epitome of valor, chivalry and nationalism must have been wallowing in deep disappointment and so did I. Hence, here comes this writing.
One time, she told me that the tourism campaign slogan “More Fun in the Philippines” is totally wrong. “More Hassle in the Philippines is more apt” she said on an indignant tone.
She had worked overseas and had the chance to go home after 2 years. A month-long vacation alongside with her litany of unfortunate events; long hours of power supply interruption, inconsistent international banking services and endless queues everywhere. Her unpleasant judgment is blameworthy somehow.
Personally, our recent trips taught me great thoughts. You fly off somewhere outside the confines of your comfort zone and see that there’s a big world out there, convenient, sleek, savvy and fast-paced. It’s okay to feel envious to these improved countries. Nevertheless, yield these feelings of hoping for better things for your country. You must believe that your present-day inconveniences may be annoying for others but these nuisances made you who you are today. “Filipinos are said to be the most resilient people in the world “, it may sound rusty yet it never wears off. Be thankful. I find it rather a blessing, actually.
An estimated 2.2 million Filipinos are scattered in all parts of the world, working hard to make ends meet for their families and providing them a better life. I wonder if most of them are still excited to go home or if some are already contemptuous of the catchy “it’s more fun in here”, just like my sister. I wonder if would I ever feel animosity towards my country had I tried to live somewhere called “most livable country” like New Zealand.
Truth to tell, I don’t want to. I think I wouldn’t. May the heavens be with me.
On the last part of our trip something caught my attention. While on our way to Changi Airport in Singapore, for the second time, my sister had a lively conversation with a European. This time, she was a Swiss lady whom we met in the Subway. For every getting to know repartee, the lady asked her these same question again, “So where are you from?
I waited for my sister’s reply, thinking of how she is going to rebuff her blood and roots the second time around then.
“I’m from the Philippines, but right now I’m based in New Zealand”, modestly she said. A heap of relief hovered to me. Now that’s the sister I’ve known.