Wednesday, 4 January 2006

A day without a Filipino

In 2004, the movie, “A Day Without A Mexican,” was shown in the United States. The film’s plot dealt with a hypothetical situation that many Americans cannot even contemplate happening today - what would it be like in the state of California if all the Mexican-Americans living in the state today (all one-third of the state’s population) suddenly disappeared. Without a trace and without any explanation.

One day, all the nannies, gardeners, pool cleaners, storekeepers and, of course, professionals of all careers and fields of endeavor that have helped the state run smoothly all these years were nowhere to be found. Of course, the result was total chaos and dysfunction.

The film was meant to be humorous and tongue-in-cheek, but underneath the comedy was a very serious reality — the economy of the state of California, and indeed many states in the US, was being run by immigrant labor. From California in the east to New York in the west, the American economic machine would cease to function if there were no immigrant workers to do the critical jobs necessary to make it run.

One can easily substitute the world “Mexican” in the film to “Filipino” and no one would probably notice the switch. For that matter we can extend the state of California to include most of the Middle East, many countries in Europe and majority of the United States — and the hypothesis of the movie would still stand.

Quietly, but efficiently and with total dedication and commitment, we Filipinos can be very proud of the role we play in today’s global economy. In airport duty free shops, massive oil tankers and containers ships, inside blue chip corporations, working in schools and universities and, of course, running hospitals and critical health care facilities — we Filipinos are everywhere doing critical and value-adding roles that make the world run smoothly.

In our little corner of Stockport in northwest England, in our own small way, we carry on the role that so many of our brothers and sisters perform in most parts of the world. Health care professionals, most of us, we keep the folk of the Northwest hale and healthy that they may themselves perform the various roles that they do in the community.

We are in information technology too, designing websites that help businesses in the area advertise their products and services to the world. We are even in management, looking after markets and territories far beyond the confines of English shores.

Whatever it is that we do — whether assisting in an operating theatre, designing a state of the art website, developing strategies for a global organization, whipping up fantastic culinary creations or working in a learning institution — we do so with the same enthusiasm and dedication that have made us favorites the world over, including here in our corner of the United Kingdom.

This much-admired work ethic is due to our faith and spirituality as a people.

Whether it is Hong Kong, Geneva or Stockport the best place to meet and greet fellow Filipinos is in the Church. Wherever we are in the world we always strive to preserve our faith — and in keeping with its teachings — express it with the example and witness of our own lives.

Small wonder then that one day without a Filipino — wherever it may be in the world — will be one day nobody would like to experience.

GREETINGS: Warmest greetings to the Parish of St. Chad’s in Cheadle, Cheshire (United Kingdom) on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of its founding.

Published in the Sun Star Daily, Saturday, April 01, 2006 (

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