I Am But a Promdi

One of the oldest traditions in my native country, Philippines, is to remove slippers or shoes before entering doors. And it happens once in a while even in these very modern days–and mostly to someone from the country side (provinces) who move to Manila for better opportunities. And believe it or not, some promdis (a Tagalog slang which means from the province) often they lose their sleepers/shoes in bus stops, transits/terminals, 24-Hour Adoration Chapels and many more others.

Regardless, such dense practice is ridiculed by some Westerners (who wear shoes or socks even in bed). Some mean critical latter even expect naive Pinoys to adapt to their ways of living instantaneously–probably, because we ought to bear the burden or the price of migration. What a hefty price indeed! And so their argument: We must blend with the rest; From music, to dance, to fashion, to language, to food, to human interaction. True! Adaptation is the key to survive migration. However, truer than true, adaptation be among animals may take a lifetime. In addition, how can adaptation be possible if one of the party is reluctant to make it happen? For example, limiting our potentials and opportunities; lack of training and development which can be extended to through various communities–all of these, or the lack of these deprives our growth.

It’s so unfortunate, to give up our identities to make a living. It’s so unfortunate to deny our roots just to make ourselves fit to people who see us less as individuals. It’s so unfortunate to be deprived of our own voice.

Personally, I can’t tell you enough, how embarassing to be ridiculed and mimic our thick accents even in our workplaces. It’s intimidating; and it jeopardizes productivity. In fact, even our qualified professionals and title holders are doubted of their competencies. Inevitably, we’re then inflicted by such demeaning treatment; we suffer inferiority complex. Consequently, many Pinoys end up doing blue collar jobs even if they have legitimate academic training due to prejudice and limited opportunities.

Nonetheless, and going back to my fellows from the country side: Let us ask ourselves, is it a crime to leave slippers or shoes in doorsteps out of our utmost respect and tradition? Yes, it may sound absurd—but is it a crime? Does ridiculing them sounds fair, warranted, and becoming? Are we living in most civilized times? Would it be big of a deal to teach/train them the Western etiquette? Because if no one would help them, of course, they would be misfit to the First World Society.

Finally, friends, Blogosphere : I am but a promdi. I am flawed. I am living in ruins. And because of my poor judgment—of being so trusting and gullible—I am in my knees marching the path of condemnation and extreme humiliations that no woman, I think could ever endure. But, don’t worry: I’m okay. “Let the Will be done.”

Lastly, may He grant me the wisdom and strength to carry on with my endeavors. May He continue to bless me the courage to carry on with my life amid all challenges and fading hope. But if death knocks in my door one day, know that I am not scared; know that I believe there is also grace in death. Again, this life is borrowed. I own nothing and no one in this world.

Thank you all! Happy New Year!

Aina Balagtas


13 thoughts on “I Am But a Promdi

  1. Wow Aina. I feel many undercurrents of pain in this post. I’m sorry that you and your fellow immigrants are facing such harsh treatment. We all deserve love and respect. I hope that one day we learn to embrace the differences instead of forcing so many to conform and lose their beauty. It also sounds like something big happened in your life/ work. Prayers for healing and soulful solutions. Hugs, Brad

  2. I feel sad having read your post, Aina. It is quite disheartening that folk still behave so. I experienced much of the same kind of flippancy growing up in England. At least times have changed here, and despite what you may see in the media, much has improved. Improvements in social awareness and empathy are long overdue everywhere, I sincerely hope you see those improvements in your time Aina. Take care.

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