Intsiksiomai's Blog

Archive for June 2009

Most people would be more than happy to have my lot in life, to have what I have, or to be born the way I was born.  Yeah, I’m happy with life in general, but there is this nagging feeling that I am or I  have been a prostitute at some point in my life.  I’m not referring to the kind of prostitute who stands in Burgos St. or Malate, not even those who works in stripjoints or massage parlors.  I think I was more of a geisha or a high class prostitute.  Geishas entertain men like artists, flirting in a subdued way, showing some skin but not all, suggesting virginity yet offering it somehow to men, looking for a patron who will support  her for a long time if not forever.  I’m so cheap and dirty. Thanks to my “supportive” parents and relatives who acted like pimps.  Imagine, all of my ex-bfs were a decade or two decades older than me.   Isn’t it pretty obvious it’s youth in exchange of money? So what if my parents are rich, or if I’m educated and all?   I’m still no better than a prostitute!

Jenny’s parents own two stores selling fabrics in Divisoria.  Jenny has been working for the past 8 years.  She works 7 days a week.  Her younger sister just finished her college and started working in the store with Jenny.  To make a long story short, Jenny got married, and the next day she went back to work.  Her parents asked her:”Why are you here?” She answere,”I work here.”  The parents said she should leave and go to her husband because she doesn’t belong there anymore.  She belongs to her husband.  There was a heated argument and confrontation.  The younger sister left and eventually found a job in a call center.  Meanwhile, Jenny found a stall one block away from her parents’ store.  Her husband helped her fund the new business.  She’s been pirating her previous customers from her parents’ store, but also adding more of her own.  I’m very happy for Jenny.  Even if she still has a lousy relationship with her parents and brother now, she was able to stand up and eventually succeed.

But the core problem has not been solved.  Jenny and her sister are rightful heirs of that business.  How many girls are as competent as Jenny?(who was able to save herself)  What happens to the daughters who are not as competent as her?  Rot in hell???

Here we go again.  Another Intsik acquaintance is getting married soon.  This is her quick stats.  She has two brothers and the only daughter, but she’s the most hands-on in her father’s business.  The business is export and garments production.  She’s been receiving an 8,000 peso a month salary, works like a cow(48hours straight sometimes).  She is a UP Diliman graduate.  Now that she’s getting married, the father wants to either kick her out of their family business, or she continues to “help” the dad for 8K/month.  Father said the garments business goes to the two brothers.  If you’re an outsider, you will assume that “Winnie” is dumb and it’s her choice to leave.  But this is not the case when you’ve been fed and brainwashed by your family that you have to do it out of love for family.  When we are growing up as kids, who are the people we trust the most–our parents.  Usually, the realization comes after we’ve been victimized by these people.  Winnie is such a smart, reliable, and competent woman(now 30 years old).  But what will she write in her resume suppose she leaves that stupid factory of her dad?  I was a COO for 10 years, but I was “kechut” or “sibak” by the company because I’m a girl, so now I’m applying in your company as an all around maid? It’s a good thing she will marry a nice(not temperamental & possessive) guy who comes from a rich family who’s more than willing to absorb her.  But then again, she’ll be at the mercy of another man?

Many of my intsik contemporaries send their children to schools like ICA and Xavier.  These are the chinese schools known for being “sosyal”.  These kids grow up to be overspending brats, who don’t even want to be seen in McDonalds or Jollibee, or even ride an old car or van.  They want to be associated with high end restos and lavish new cars.  The parents of these bratty kids are the same intsiks I’ve been complaining about, the “no read no write” types who drive in a BMW.  They have the illusion that money can buy refinement.

First of all, refinement is not the most important quality a person should strive for.  There are higher qualities to strive for like self-sufficiency, sense of justice and fairness, integrity, dignity, environmental consciousness, world-consciousness, self-awareness, responsibility, and balance to name a few. Refinement is just the icing of a person, while the other important qualities make up the cake or the core.

Then again, people go about achieving refinement the wrong way.  For a person to be refined, one needs to be a reader at the very least, just to educate himself with the arts, literature, culture of different people around the world in different eras.  Acquainting with these things may not be enough, but at least one can imbibe the recurring mentality of different cultures and practice them when necessary.  Good taste is partly innate and partly acquired.  The exposure helps in the acquisition of good taste.

I have an aunt who gets violent when we don’t follow her European way of table manners and sitting arrangement.  I find it so superficial.  Table ettiquettes were made to make dining a pleasant experience.  I think she turned dining into a horrifying experience by being rigid about it.  Being “cultured” should make us more understanding of people’s differences in dining, and getting violent about deviants is just counterculturedness. My cousins mistakenly think that they look “sosyal” by wearing all branded items with diamonds and BMW and dining in expensive places.  They can’t even construct one correct sentence, what more distinguish one art form from another.  Another aunt told me that I should never join theatre or singing groups but I should accept invitations to watch concerts and plays. That, for her, is “sosyal”.  I beg to disagree.  I’d rather be a performer than a spectator. Spectators maybe branded as sosyal, but performers are the talented ones.  Being a spectator won’t add to my intrinsic value or caliber, being a performer will. Then again, isn’t immersion and participation to the arts the best way to learn the culture that we want to study?