My friend tells me that “FilChis are extremely rare here in LA. Most Filipinos (he) meet are pure Filipinos and there are very few of them that (he met) in the workforce. There seems to be a bias that almost all Filipinos end up in nursing or medical field but not as doctors — medical technician, physical therapist, pharmacist. That definitely seems to be true from what (he’s) seen. About 80% of the Filipinos he’s met (there) fit that profile. And its extremely rare to see Filipinos in any kind of grad school here. Maybe its because Filipinos are more caring by nature and so choose a field where they have to deal with people. Or they want more time to be with their family. Either way though, you really have to make an extra effort to meet them in LA.”
He touches on racial discrimination against Filipinos in the United States.
Basically, in my communication with him, he argues that in general, Filipinos or Asians still suffer a glass ceiling in the Land of Milk and Honey.
Though life is more comfortable, it’s also tougher to move up the ladder as higher positions are usually reserved for the Caucasians.
I think it’s the same everywhere.
There’s still that notion that Filipinos are domestic helpers here in Taiwan.
There has been countless of times when someone would be surprised to find out where I’m from, and then tell me that their maid is also from the Philippines, as if this information would make me jump for joy.
“Oh, so you’re from the Philippines! Wow, so is our maid!” they’d happily exclaim without malicious intent.
Not that I’m ashamed to be Filipino.
Do note that being a domestic helper or construction worker are by no way not noble career pursuits.
They are making a decent living and are breadwinners of their huge families back home.
However, this just points out how prevalent of Filipinos being in the care-taking, domestic helping, and construction working industries.
So is there a glass ceiling against Filipinos?
I wouldn’t go as far, but note that there are really a few Filipinos here who are heading huge corporations (of course, me being in Taiwan where 99% are Chinese don’t help).
And yet, I honestly believe that any limitations that Filipinos set for ourselves are hugely our fault too.
When we do not get the promotion/career advancement that we feel we richly deserve, we take the easy way out and say, “Well, that’s because people are biased against Filipinos. There’s really little place for us in the upper echelons of society.”
My boss is Korean, and we have senior managers who are Indians.
They are also minorities, and yet, despite the discrimination they may face in the workforce, many have fought on and broken such glass ceilings.
Bring in more ambitious Koreans and Indians and all of a sudden, most of your upper managers are of that race. By sheer determination, they’ve broken the barrier.
But it’s not because they took the easy way out and blamed it on something they cannot change.
I think this is a lesson for all — focus on what you can change, and work with what you cannot. Wisdom comes from knowing the difference.
My roommate tells me that she is afraid that Taiwan may be the next Philippines.
She tells me that the Philippines was so developed 20 years ago, and look how far it’s gone.
She fears that Taiwan may be the same especially now that China is becoming an economic superpower.
If that is the case, Taiawn economy will suffer and unemployment will raise.
I looked at her.
For one, who cares about the national unemployment rate?
I do not understand why we spend so much time worrying about others, when we should instead tend to our own backyard first. So what if unemployment rate is on a national high?
If 80% of the jobs in the US are given to Americans for example (an exaggerated amount but am here to make a point), why complain about these 80%?
Instaed of wasting too much time moaning about the sad fate of being in a certain sad race, I’d rather spend more time concentrating how I can get 20% of that pie.
There are always exceptions to the rule.
I understand that dour statistics has a way of discouraging us, but heck, if you have a good job, why worry too much about others?
*And for this, I know that people may criticize me for being oh-so-selfish, but heck, let’s be honest here…
My point is not to be selfish, okay?
My point is more of, if you worry too much about saving the world, then you may be spending too much time worrying and not doing something to ensure you’re not part of the 80% who’ll be out of jobs for example.
Instead of wasting time at home complaining about unemployment statistics, heck, go out and send out those resumes and concentrate about furthering your own career.
There are always exceptions to the rule.
The goal is to be one of the exceptions instead of the rule.
If people think that most Filipinos are care-givers and domestic helpers, then do your best to prove to them that there are other professions Filipinos can do well in as well.
If there are 10 upper positions in the company, don’t complain that 9 of these positions go to Caucasians or Taiwanese (if you’re in Taiwan).
Instead, focus on that one position that you can actually get.
So what if you need to work harder and slave more?
That’s the point of life anyway, right?
People are surprised that I am from the Philippines.
Actually, to be honest, in my company, I am probably the only Filipino they know in the Taipei office.
Almost everybody is from Taiwan (which is unsurprising because duh, we’re in Taiwan).
However, instead of focusing on my race, I try to let my performance to speak for themselves.
Hence, in time, race becomes less of a factor.
People don’t know me as the “Filipino-Chinese who works in XXX company.”
Rather, they know me as the person who does her job pretty well, oh and “yeah… where is she from again? Think she’s non-Taiwanese.”
So stop trying to change the world.
Worry about your own backyard first. Clean it up, and then if you still have more time to spend, then start worrying about the world.
But do something about it.
Don’t cite useless statistics.
Go out and ensure that you’re part of the happy statistics.
The exception to the rule.
And not worry about things that you can’t change.
Happy week ahead!