I had a really great Friday night last week. Aside from Donna Miranda performing "Of Course Not, this is a Bathtub" at my Malate art space, The Living Room, I also got to hang out and have drinks with current residents Megan Wilson, Eliza Barrios, and Eliza's cousin/aunt, Anne (above) who was in Manila visiting her.
Loved her. Anne is a funny, articulate jeans clad twenty something year old who texts on her phone a lot. She loved Malate. She totally got into the contemporary dance/video piece, and had great chats with quite a few of the strange but interesting men and women who made it down to my neighborhood to watch Donna. She got along famously with Bogart of course, (above) and was thrilled to be having beers and act all "Bohemian" so to speak.
But what really made the night absolutely meaningful to me, Eliza, and Anne was that this was her last night in the Philippines. She was in transit on her way to Saudi Arabia where she works as a dental assistant. Apparently, for the next year, she will not be allowed to have any beer whatsoever, hang out or talk to any men at all, and wear a veil/abaya everytime she goes out to into a public place. Apparently, her passport is also confiscated, she is locked into her room every night for her own "safety", and allowed to only have half a day off at most per week to buy groceries. She is also sometimes "requested" to give massages to some of the Saudi folk she knows (because that's what Filipinos are supposed to do). And all this just to earn Php20,000.00 a month.
And yet, Anne manages to do all this all while keeping her great smile and wits about her. And believe it or not, she is actually grateful for the opportunities life has given. It's truly amazing how strong we Filipinos can be and what we will put up with.
But stories like Anne's only makes my blood boil. Why can't our politicians get their f*cking act together enough to provide jobs and fix our economy so that folks like Anne don't have to be separated from their children to work abroad as our new "heroes". People like Anne can greatly contribute to our society and should not be putting up with such degradation. Meeting and hanging out with people like Anne only makes me seethe when I think about the next elections.
So guys, for the next election, vote wisely. Make sure that we vote for someone who can bring Anne and all like her back home. Don't vote for some selfish power hungry freak who can't see the bigger picture, OK?
Check if you are registered to vote for the 2010 elections here:
Labels: elections, filipino, saudi arabia, vote vote vote