Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Borne Identity

I culled this story from my old blog in the Multiply site. Just thought it’s loud enough to attract attention.

So here it goes. He-he-he!

Ok so this is the first time I’m going to write something here. Really, I don’t know how to begin this but perhaps I can evoke my high-school literary skills once more. That’s a long time ago so that should come easy for me because I also used to be an associate editor of a company newsletter, which I still footnote in my CVs till now. At least, the fond memory of my excited colleagues anticipating to read my column each time an issue comes out still sends me high-school shivers.
Let me tell you a story. Once I visited Italy with a colleague and we went to Venice over the weekend. It was crowded with tourists, as always. It came to me as some sort of ritual that if you visit a foreign country, you should see a famous place or landmark like Eiffel Tower, Great Wall in China, Liberty Statue and others and have your picture taken. It’s no big deal really. It’s still just a common norm that works well to convince your friends that “I was there!” despite the proliferation of all these computer-generated manipulation nowadays when anybody can fool you that he was in this place and that. The picture is always the best medium of identifying the place and the person together.
Well, I also did an amount of this identifying work by finding someone who was also a fellow Filipino. Italy is not like Hong Kong or Singapore where you can bump into a fellow countryman with intermissions of five to ten minutes. I felt like waiting for ages to find one until perhaps I started yelling some common chants like “Cory, Cory” and flashing the notorious “L-sign” with my hands to match. “Hmmm, not a good idea to create the Filipino image abroad”, I thought. Instead, I started looking for clues.
Yes, clues! Or shall I say, those unique to Filipinos. Let me list some that are common if you happen to walk in the park:
1. If he looks Malayan in race, not too tall to qualify for a basketball team but not too short to
wear G-strings, he could be Filipino.
2. He’s wearing printed T-shirts, walking shorts and pair of sandals or branded rubber shoes
altogether. Or if it’s cold, he’s wearing a sports jacket, Levi’s, Guess or any famous brand of
jeans and rubber shoes or sneakers altogether and a baseball cap as topping.
3. He carries a clutch bag.
4. He may wear some jewelry: necklace, rings on several fingers, etc.
5. If he speaks English, he pronounces each word very distinctly. Sometimes the “f” will
sound like a “p” and vice versa, a speech habit we fondly call as “f-p syndrome”. This goes
to the case of “v” and “b” sounds as well.
6. You say "Psst” and he turns around.
7. His name is Boy or Bong.
8. If he’s thirty-somethin’ or above, his fat belly is beginning to show up.
9. He addresses his friends, acquaintances, fellow mates “Pa-re” or “Pre” as an Aussie will
call his “ma-it”
10. He points to something afar by shaping his lips in a "kissing" fashion.
11. He looks lost like he’s also looking for a fellow Filipino. He might even yell “Balut” and
wait for the acknowledgement.

I'll tell you what "balut" is next time.

Well that's it. That’s all there is in that blog.

In parting I would just like to express my opinion on this matter of Filipino identification mentioned in this list. I think Pinoys everywhere are more likely to hear more compliments about them when somebody sees them in person than when they are watched on TV covering songs of white celebrities. Try singing the song of Mariah Carey on TV with her watching and she might say “that brown monkey can sing huh?’



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