I received an invitation this week for the Philippines’ Independence Day Ball on June 8 at the Hyatt Hotel. I was surprised that the Philippine Embassy would organize a hotel ball to celebrate Filipino independence when there are 40,000 Filipinos here in Korea. How do they expect to fit everyone in a hotel ballroom? I asked if everyone who goes to church in the Hyewha (where at least 1,000 Filipinos attend service every Sunday) are invited and I learned that the ball is only by invitation…simply translated means it’s only for the elite Pinoys.
How can we celebrate Filipino independence when we ourselves still discriminate our own people? I would think that since we are in foreign land that we would have more respect and appreciation for OFWs who work so hard for their families back home. How can we expect other people to respect Filipino domestic helpers and factory workers when we ourselves do not give them the respect that they deserve? If we can’t treat them as equals then how do we expect other people to treat them as equals?
A Singaporean lady once openly expressed her opinion to me that she feels sorry for Filipino women because they are being exported by the government to work as domestic helpers. While it is sad that we have to send our mothers, daughters, or sisters abroad to work, I believe being a domestic helper or caregiver is a very dignified job. Why do people hire domestic helpers if they were not needed? I don’t have a helper and I do house chores myself, does that make me less of a person?
I think if we want to achieve real independence, we should break away from the “I’m better than you” mentality. We should free ourselves from the bounds of social classes. If we want to progress, then we should be able to respect each and every Filipino, regardless of his net assets (or the lack of it).
If the Filipino ambassador sincerely wanted to celebrate Independence Day then i suggest we do a concert in a gymnasium to bring everyone together. Admittedly all pinoys love to sing and dance, regardless of social class.