This picture sums it all:
This taxi driver has two daughters and like most of his colleagues often struggles to make ends meet. There is no such thing as maximum hours of work a day in the Philippines. You have to work, so you work. Trade union doesn’t mean anything. Sometimes the driver is so tired that he can fall asleep at a red light. How many times did I hear “is it ok Mam if I put the music louder to keep me awake?”. The cab drivers spend endless hours in the traffic, and while us French would insult all the other drivers and the traffic police for being so useless, Filipinos don’t waste their time on complaining. They seize the opportunities, like this driver who opened a little sari sari in his taxi. Who would not buy sweets or something to eat when stuck in traffic?
The most striking difference between Filipino and French attitude is that those guys do not complain for nothing nor share their misery as we would. The Filipino attitude to me is “we’ll make it”, and they are very resourceful. If plan A doesn’t work, there is a plan B. If plan B is not good either, let’s have a San Mig and plan C will come tomorrow. There are 23 other letters in the alphabet and I bet they will explore them all if they have to!
Around Christmas, many taxi drivers are returning from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates to spend their annual leave with their families. They always have so many stories to tell. Again, I never heard anyone complaining.They are proud people, dedicated to their family, and while we French would feel it so unfair to have to live so far and blame it on the Government, the politics, the foreigner neighbour…. All the Filipinos iI met are thankful for the chance they have to offer a decent living to their families and be able to send the kids to school.
Icing on the cake, it is all wrapped with genuine smiles ! Thank you Filipino for hosting us, we still have lots to learn from your very positive and resilient attitude 🙂