Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Grass is Always Greener

A lot of Filipinos are leaving the Philippines. People have been working or migrating for years... 30, 40 years ago. So what else is new?

With a rather disturbing outlook for the future, many Filipinos, if they could would want to work abroad. A lot of them for sure because of monetary reasons. People pay more abroad for the same job they are doing here. Who wouldn't want to be paid more?

And no, this isn't limited to people in the Philippines. Europeans travel to work in the United States. Canadians travel to the United States just to work. Europeans travel to the Middle East just to work. Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, name it, people travel to places to seek for better employment. FilAms come to the Philippines to play basketball because, there's more money for them here.

So working away from one's home country, isn't a Filipino monopoly. It just seems that way sometimes. After all the Greeks thought the Earth was the center of the universe too and from their point of view, it was. If you don't believe, why else is there a China Town in almost every country in the world? Or even Jews. Migration isn't limited to Filipinos and never will be.

Thats what we get for being able to travel the world in a day. It is a much smaller place than we realize; we all seek the greener grass.

But something must be wrong when doctors apply for a nursing post in the United States because they would earn more as a nurse there, than as a doctor here. There is something to be said when teachers with four year college degrees become house help in Hong Kong.

They all have their reasons to want to work that way. At the end of the day, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. They want more money.

Some say, its because there are limited opportunities in the Philippines. With an economy going at 4% GDP (Year-to-date figure) and inflation at 7.6% (June 2005), we can not disprove this. With a population soaring at 85 million people and with 95% of businesses being small and medium enterprises, it becomes even more difficult to provide for one's family.

Is it really that bad here? Are you serious? Where else in the world can you just simply be given boxes of mangoes for free, without even asking for it? Visit a province or a small farm and if you're friends with the owner, he would probably give you some mangoes for free, without a second thought to it. It isn't as bad as we may think it is. After all isn't there a Chinese proverb that says there is opportunity in crisis (or something to that effect)?

There is also something to be said about Filipino culture. Where else in the world can one live while chatting all day at a store and still have beer in the evenings? Only in the Philippines can you see such things. For all its greatness, the Filipino's strong family ties can often be the source of his suffering. But this is for a separate topic all together.

Let me tell you something personal. My dad was a medical doctor. He was with five to six hospitals and made reasonable comfortable money during the early 1980s. He was then headhunted and started to work abroad for just one hospital, having famous patients. He earned loads of money more than what he did for five to six hospitals. He had opportunities to travel the world and study. Life was simple there, he had little office politics. More than the money, I think he liked the simplicity of it. But that was just my dad, for others it may be a different story.

Taking the Philippines' troublesome political situation aside, it is a very human thing that people will travel to work or to find better places to live because it is an opportunity for them in more ways than one, chief being people will want for more money, greener pastures and all that.

And when people tie this need to an “Exodus” of Filipinos? I think all they want deep down is simple. They want an environment that is fair and simple, not noisy and complicated as we have now. All they want is to give their families a better living. Politics has little to do with it. It is all personal.

So if you have the opportunity, why not right? As they say, it only knocks once. Do what is right for you, what matters to you. It is the same, the world over. The grass is always greener, whether or not you are Filipino.