Being in a foreign land sometimes tend to make you a little sensitive about your nationality. At some point, a simple black joke is something taken as a serious insult. Suddenly, I find myself a little nationalistic although I am more of a global person. At any rate, I was hurt upon seeing a a comic strip where a teacher was asking her students where the Philippines is located and then her student answered that Filipinas are located in basements of houses being domestic helpers or nannies. It was a comic strip but I got hurt… alot!

I had to translate the comic strip above in English because I do not want to provoke a war here. My goal is to correct this misconception about the Philippines. We may not be financially rich as a nation but we are not so poor as well as how books, magazines and TV shows would portray. We have 7,107 islands and almost 80 million hospitable and skilled people rich in values and traditions. We may not have the best social welfare and pension system but we all have the security that we will die old besides our family and not in a “home for the aged” facility. 

Upon seeing it, I replied to this Facebook page with a long comment. We have more Filipinos who are making big names in various fields and professions. I do not agree that we should be measured as a nation because of the dominance of domestic helper and nannies around the world. For all they know, these domestic helpers and nannies are former nurses, teachers, accountants and even doctors who tried their luck abroad because they wanted to earn more to put their children to good schools and provide a better future to their families.

Back to the comic strip, I wanted to tell the author that the very Filipinas who he described and found living in cold basements enjoying a small amount as allowance with less rights as regular employees are actually considered and respected as MODERN DAY HEROES OF THE PHILIPPINES. They may be treated as slaves doing all the dirty jobs but still, they are people with dignity and deserves respect. They have been taking care of old people as caregivers and small kids as nannies with dedication and commitment because it’s a decent job for them.

More than nannies and caregivers, we have given more to the world. The Philippines has contributed so much to the world in both science, technology, business and sports. We have inventors who helped “conceptualized” if not fully designed the moon-buggy used by NASA, we have the video-phone created by a Filipino from MIT, the incubator which could have been the reason why some of you are alive right now, the karaoke system, the Zara-Effect, the water-powered car (disputed) and the term yoyo that made the toy globally famous.

We also have famous artists, architects, fashion designers, engineers, writers, movie directors and actors. I know many people would negate much of our claims but we came from a world that had its own share of racism and diacrimination. When I was a junior employee, most of my works were never named after me but to my boss. The concepts I had with some of our innovations, projects plus the proposals I have made were tagged to my employers and bosses but not to me. I was just a junior then tasked to do errands less the need for credit. 

This could have been the very same reason why Agapito Flores and Eduardo San Juan never got the formal credits of their work but their foreign counterparts. There are some websites and blogs that attempts to disprove that Eduardo San Juan was behind the design and creation of the Moon-Buggy but this does not remove the fact that he was indeed part of the team that “developed, innovated and enhanced” various concepts for the Lunar Rover.  Anyway, I intend not to dig deeper on this because this is due for another blog entry.

My goal why I am writing this article is to perhaps express my disappointment that amidst being in an era where globalization is a common word, there are still some of us who cannot accept the fact that even poor countries can produce great people. It is sad why some of us tend to generalize and judge us based on our social status and job function. If you see prostitutes who happen to be Filipinas, it doesn’t mean that prostitution is a common profession and do not judge our color based on that. More so, do not make fun out of this – be it a joke or not.

Indeed, there are some European countries known for their sarcastic and ironic skits they call as black humor. I know that every country would have the same jokes or comic strips which does not necessarily mean a thing nor directly discriminate but still they can hurt people. Why make fun out of cultures? We have other topics to make fun of but not culture nor nationalities because the next thing you know, you are eating your own words. We may all be different in terms of color, culture and belief but we are all created equal. No more. No less.