26 July 2005
Being a Muslim in the Philippines can be tough. Without even knowing who you are, you can be subjected to discrimination, that range from slight to really bad, just because of the name you carry or something that you wear (the kombong (veil) for women and the kopya or the tableegh outfit for men). Honestly, I have always been more oblivious than conscious of the 'slight discrimination' that I’ve so far been subjected to as a Muslim based in Manila.
I usually would just keep my calm or come back at people with jokes when I experience being treated like someone so stupid or someone who has no feelings at all. I would always try my best to stay as cool as I can by reminding myself that I know better than the kind of people who discriminate. Also, sometimes, I see that it is not really hatred that makes them do such things that inevitably insult me, it is actually sheer ignorance. Some people just don’t know anything. I do admit, though, that there are times when I can’t help but lose my temper.
Here are some of the "funniest experiences" that come to mind right now:
1. One of my closest college friends, who happens to be a Christian, decided to introduce me to a female friend he had just met. As I held out my hand to shake hers, she backed off and hid behind my friend’s back. I really didn’t understand why. I just looked at my friend and shrugged. The girl kept peeping, though, and making noises, the kind that would usually be that of a very frightened child.
Me: Anong problema? (What's the problem?)
Girl: Takot kasi ako sa mga Muslim eh. (I'm afraid of Muslims, you see.)
Me: Ha? Bakit? (Huh? Why?) *Oh. Dear. God.*
Girl: Kasi masama daw ugali ng mga Muslim, lalo kapag galit! (Because I heard that Muslims are bad, especially when they're angry.)
Me: Hello?! Hindi naman. (That's not true.)
Girl: Pumapatay daw kayo kapag galit! (I heard that you actually kill when you're mad!)
Me: Nye! Hindi naman ako galit eh... pero sa totoo lang malapit na akong magalit! (Yikes! Well, I'm not mad... but I'm actually starting to get mad right now!)
*Of course, I was half-joking and smiling when I said this!*
The girl got more scared. Apparently, she didn’t have the same sense of humor I did. I glared at my embarrassed friend and told him, in Bisaya, never to introduce me to people like that! Hadn’t my friend taken her away at that moment, I could have clawed her eyes out! Hey, I was already galit by then! Tsk, tsk, tsk.
2. I was walking with some new friends I met from a program I joined somewhere in the North. We passed by a store where a very popular song was blaring and I, of course, sang along.
New Friend: *obviously very surprised* Ay, bakit mo alam ‘yan? (Hey, why do you know that?)
Me: Alin? (Which?)
New Friend: ‘Yung kanta. (That song.)
Me: Eh, uso kaya 'yan. (Why, it's very popular.)
New Friend: Tinutugtog ‘yan sa radio stations sa lugar ‘nyo? (Radio stations in your place play that song?)
Me: Oo naman. At saka, araw-araw na ginawa ng Diyos, pinapalabas kaya sa MTV ‘yan! (Of course! And, besides, that's played on MTV every single day!)
New Friend: Hindi ba’t tina-translate sa Muslim ang mga kanta kapag pinatutugtog sa Mindanao? (Aren't songs translated to Muslim when they're played in Mindanao?)
Me: Uhm, hindi. At saka walang lengguwaheng Muslim ang pangalan. (Uhm, no. And, there's no such thing as Muslim language.)
And, I continued singing! This time, louder...
I’ve also experienced very "funny" yet disturbing things in dealing with cab drivers, waiters, security guards and the like. A cab driver assumed I was a drug pusher because he was sure that all Muslims based in Manila are drug pushers. Some lady told her daughter, not very softly, to guard and be very careful with her bag while pointing at me with her lips. In these instances, I couldn’t believe what was happening at first and then, eventually, I’d just raise an eyebrow and laugh. I have weird sense of humor, I know.
Being a Muslim in the Philippines can be tough, but it affords one lots of "funny" situations. Do I hear you laughing?
* This is an edited version of my article previously published in the
19 July 2005
I've been a citizen of the blog world for more than one year and a half now. All this time, I've been reading and hopping from one blog to another. I have read many a different view about various events, issues and people. I have always enjoyed reading what other people actually think about certain things. I have learned a lot, too.
And, like every single blogger in the world, I also have ideas and opinions of my own. These ideas and opinions may differ from that of others, but I don't really think this makes them (my ideas and opinions) any less, in sense and value, than others'. This is also what I think whenever I read opinions and ideas that are so different from mine. I always tell myself, "to each his own."
This also holds true in the "real" world. There will always be people who will see or view things in a way far different from one's own. It is always good to keep "to each his own" in mind. But, then again, there are people who just don't understand this or who refuse to understand this. Some people would even go as far as think that only their own opinions or views of things are important and correct; others are stupid and not worth hearing! Hay naku!
I've never really been told straight to my face (or in my blog) that my idea or opinion is stupid, but I've seen this done to some people. This could actually cause a person to feel inferior and forever lose the confidence to express himself/herself. While I feel for these people, the kind who let others make them appear or sound stupid, I can't help but think that it's their own doing, too. Why allow it? It's not like it's a crime to actually have a different take on things, right? I wonder what I'd do if and when some smart, know-it-all person tries to make me look and feel stupid just because I have my own idea of things. I'd probably keep quiet, like some people I know. I'd probably try to argue my way out of "stupidity". Or I could actually break a nose bridge or two. Wahahaha! :)
11 July 2005
This month started really nice for me. Work's been okay, school's great and my interest in both has continuously been increasing. I haven't been having enough sleep, but that's all right. I'm actually getting used to that. I've been enjoying all the assigned readings, too. My CL 240 (Asian Literature) readings has awakened my "Asian-ness" more than ever. Asian culture is just great. I love being Asian! :)
Days are nice and happy. I feel peaceful and I am just in love with life right now. May this feeling last... :)
--This day was very special because it was
Oh, and they also chose me to be their Maid of Honor. When they first told me about it, I was so touched. It was really an honor. And, like I said to them, I shall always be here... as a friend, as a sister and as "asungot." :)
Congratulations to you, Tita Pie and Paps! :)
July 9 and 10:
--UAAP time!!! Saturday (July 9) was the Opening Day of the University Athletics Associatio of the Philippines (UAAP). It was super! School pride was oozing from every corner of the Araneta Coliseum. I loved the feeling of being there amid the shouting, cheering, dancing and singing. It was another unforgettable experience. It was my first UAAP Opening Day. :)
That same day, the UP Fighting Maroons played against the UST Growling Tigers. At the start of the game up until the third quarter, it looked like UP would lose. But, no! In the end, they prevailed! I guess it helped that the UP crowd was louder and more in number than I've ever seen them before. Excitement and school spirit was so strong it just felt wonderful. It was a great, "thriller" game! I was just so happy that we won! UP fight!!! :)
The next day, my friends and I found ourselves at the Araneta Coliseum again. We were there to cheer for the Ateneo Blue Eagles who played against the De La Salle Green Archers. As always, the whole place was packed with die hard fans and the crowds from both sides were on their feet from start to finish. Ateneo lost, but the audience and the cheering were just awesome! Ateneo-La Salle games are really something. I think these games are actually the 'heart' of the UAAP. I always find it amazing how people from both schools really go out of their way to cheer and support their teams. It's just unbelievable! I actually admire these people. Now, I wonder what the Philippines would be like if every Filipino had the kind of national pride and love for the country that's comparable to the love and pride that the Ateneans and La Sallians have for their schools. Hmmm, oh well... :)
July 2: Paps
July 3: Tita Pie and Aaron
July 4: Ina a Mala (my paternal grandmother), Donna, Jeh and Dean's Mommy.
July 5: Leelah
July 6: Gladys, Sasa and Lala
July 8: Lowlah Honey
July 11: Trixy Girl (my uber-cute niece!)
Happy, happy birthday to all of you. I wish that all your aspirations be realized and I pray that God always shower blessings upon you and your loved-ones! And, I wish you PEACE! :)