Things An Expat Is Thinking In The Philippines.

A growing list of things of some things Expats are thinking in the Philippines, and other things they want you to know.

Do foreigners seem strange sometimes to you? Do you wonder why they seem to not appreciate your gestures? Is it weird that they get bothered by things that seem just fine to you? Here’s an evolving list of things Expats are thinking in the Philippines.

Have I been knighted?

This one seems rather trivial, doesn’t it? Addressing that customer who introduced himself as “John” as “Sir John” seems like being simply courteous to a customer. It seems to show respect and deference to their importance, right? So why is he staring at you in a funny way, and why does he decline the title?

The answer here is equally rather trivial, I’m afraid. In America, it’s common to address customers in one of three ways. If you know their last name, then it’s Mr./Mrs. Smith. In this case, the Mr./Mrs. is the show of respect. Now, if they only gave you their first name, you get to choose between the two other options, but keep in mind an important rule; the way you address them is completely based on not only how well they know you, but how well they think you know them.

So, for example, you can choose between “Sir” and “John”. Sir is the safe bet. It works for everyone you would be talking to anywhere from one to three times in a customer service environment. However, John speaks of a greater familiarity…a friendliness that has grown over some time. Or John told you to call him John, which trumps all choices.

So in America, at least, combining the sir and the first name feels rather fake and out of place. That’s why we decline the title, joke about the title, or give a funny look.

The Silent Treatment

Ever meet those foreigners who look like they haven’t smiled since the free-love days of the 70’s? You smile at them and they just act like you did so from the spirit realm? Trust me…it’s not you, it’s us.

You see, foreigners often come to the Philippines with a set of preconceptions based on what we were told or researched ahead of time. We heard about poverty in the Philippines. We saw the news about scooter drive-bys and home invasions of foreigners. We heard about pickpockets and gold diggers and plots and schemes. We also heard about how easy it is to be kicked out of the country and blackmailed.

Inside, we know that this is just a small percentage of the Philippines as a whole, but it only takes one of these things to happen to topple our entire world. Many expats sold everything they had to move here and be with someone special, so we can’t take too many chances. If we keep the number of people in our lives low, there’s less chance that something could go wrong.

Yes, it’s wrong to judge as a whole. We should be more open and welcoming to Filipinos in our lives. However, with the stakes of expulsion and blacklisting so high, would you take the chance? This is the reasoning that some foreigners may have in being hesitant to risking random friendships in the Philippines.

The “Horndog”

This one applies mostly to the ladies, I think, but there’s some room for thought for the Pinoys as well. The problem? Some men come to the Philippines thinking that just about any female here would be swooning to be with them, and they act just like that. Everything he says is a pick-up line, every action a flirtation, and every goal of his seems to be a trip to SOGO. You wonder why they can’t just bother women in their own country. You’re a good girl, and that’s just not the way you play.

Well, the first thing to know is that this isn’t a Philippines phenomenon. In fact, it’s non-country specific entirely. These guys act the very same way in their own country as well. The difference is that here, in the Philippines, there’s poverty. Some foreigners think that, for prices that are cheap to them, they can buy all of the affections they want and then walk away to find more. In a measure of fairness, there are some Filipinas who enable that thinking.

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But the expanded truth of this is that the majority of these men have absolutely no chance of scoring so much in their own country because the standards are too high for them. Water always flows in the path of least resistance, and so when they come here they act as though their bragging and money should get them what they want.

But here’s the good news. Most of those men come and go because they never wanted to make the changes needed to stay in the Philippines for very long. Some are on vacation, and some will move on to “greener pastures” in other hotspots for such things in the world. Even more importantly, as Western influence washes over Asia, this gets harder and harder to do with educated Filipinas who are a bit more savvy about the world. They know how to spot a fraud from miles away, and integrity is easier to have in this day and age.

To be continued…

This article is part of a new addition to called “Growing Articles”, which means to say that this article will be updated quite a bit, and more frequently than other articles. Please check back often to see new editions as they appear.

Also, don’t forget to comment below! Do you agree with me? Disagree? I’d love to have a conversation about these things, so don’t be shy…speak your mind! And as always…be awesome.

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