Make the World Happy

Picture this: a foreigner from an Asian country is complaining to a Filipino about how things are in his country -- the interest rate on housing loans is 3%, credit cards carry a rate of 18% -- how would the foreigner ever buy a house or why would he even use his credit cards at those rates? The Filipino, on the other hand, tells the other about how housing loan rates in our country are at more than 10% and how credit card companies charge annual rates of about 39% and up.

Wouldn't the foreigner feel blessed? I tell you -- it is the Filipino's role to make the rest of the world happy. You think you have it bad in your country? Guess again. Not that I think the Philippines is such a horrible place. Far from it, actually. I personally believe that this is the best place to be -- at least for me. It is still a continuing puzzle to me though, how a country of bright, talented individuals still cannot lift itself up as a nation. Sabi nga ni Ryan Cayabyab sa kanyang commencement speech sa U.P.: "Aminin nating lahat tayo ay magaling. Ang problema nga lang ay lahat tayo ay magaling." -- or words to that effect.

The Philippines is not for the faint of heart. It is not for those who are easily daunted. Living here takes a lot of resilience, tons of determination, and a sense of humor that can't be torn down by daily stresses. It is quite easy to succeed in a place where everything works, where systems are in place, and where the rules of the game never change. Here? You even have to remind yourself or figure out what game you are playing from time to time.

It isn't any wonder then that when Filipinos leave the country to work or live elsewhere -- by choice or as forced by circumstance -- they more often than not excel. Nurses, engineers, teachers, nannies, doctors, finance people -- name the profession, name the country -- I tell you there will be a Filipino proving to one and all just how hardworking and brilliant the Pinoy is. We make the world happy. I wonder when we can bring a greater sense of happiness home.

Through the web, I have gotten in touch with Filipinos around the globe who express different sentiments and opinions. Am glad to correspond with them and am genuinely interested in the kind of life they live. More often than not, I express appreciation for them "powering the Philippine economy" and quite recently, I got a reply which was very sincere and heartwarming. The following quote comes from Al Manlangit, a Filipino architect (proudly from UP also) working in Kuwait for the last 18 years (You may want to check out his own blog: http://almanlangit.blogharbor.com):

"OFW life has its ups and downs and we try to make the most of a difficult situation and adapt to whatever circumstance we are thrust into in our daily lives. But we never consider ourselves heroic(I get uneasy about this 'heroes' nametag the media bandies around every now and then)nor do we consciously prop up our nation's economy. If, by sending money home, this shores up our country's GDP, it is an unintended consequence. But just like you back home, we are only trying to live our lives as best as we can in a foreign place and hopefully -- we do pine for it -- come home to a better and much brighter place for our children."

So, just live your life as best as you can -- wherever you may find yourself. Be happy. Stay happy. =)

[By Angelica Viloria | Friday, July 29, 2005]


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