The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Are you narcistic?

October 24, 2006

Since Sunday, October 22, I've been getting shifts from my healthcare agency; and that's all good! More shifts equals more money and more experience in the healthcare field.

"Are you Filipino?" I've been frequently getting this question at work--and mind you--from fellow Filipinos! Hahaha! I'm unsure of the reason, but I surmise it's the way I interact with people of other races, especially with Caucasians. Having been so much experienced in dealing with people, courtesy of my previous works in the Philippines--as a pharmaceutical representative ( I got to deal with physicians), as a coding supervisor (I got to train and orientate people, as an editor (I got to discuss with academicians), as a band member....

I mean, I've been noticing that many Filipinos at work have the tendency to flock among themselves; only a few of them mingle with other races. And when they speak English, the fluency and the fluidity seem missing. I'm unsure of the reason they find talking with other races uncomfortable. Has this something to do with inferiority complex, which is--worse--aggravated by the superiority complex of some Caucasians? Difficulty in expressing oneself in English? Feelings of incompetence about things and other trivial topics that inevitably pop up in any conversation?

Oh well, there are a hundred reasons, for sure. But if one isolates herself from other races, by mingling only with her compatriots, she is wasting her chance to be broad-minded and culturally adaptable.

I--I don't feel inferior. In fact, I jump at every chance to converse with people of other races. And, surprisingly, they're the ones who usually get surprised when they talk with me; chiefly because I can always relate to whatever they're talking about.

Once, I asked this Caucasian coworker: "What country did you come from?"

She replied: "Oh, you wouldn't know. It's somewhere in Europe."

I said: "Try me."

"Okay," she said, but still hesitant. "Poland."

"What!" And then I laughed.

Half-disgusted and half-annoyed, I litanied:

"Poland is regarded as the heart of Europe because it is located at the center of the European continent. Its capital is Warsaw, which is also the country's largest city. Its flag consists of white on top and red below. Its currency is zloty. Some well-known Polish people include Madam Marie Sklodowska-Curie, the scientist; Frédéric François Chopin, the Classical pianist and composer; and, of course, the late Pope John Paul II, whose real name was Karol Wojtyla, born in Wadowice, childhood nickname Lelek...

"What else?"

Grr! You could imagine the coworker's embarrassment and amazement and my sense of pride being a well-learned Filipino.

Nagba-blush rin pala sila kapag napapahiya. Hahaha!


Many Caucasians couldn't believe that I'm Filipino. I've been mistaken for a Chilean, Spanish, German. What! German? Yeah. Hahaha!

Oh well.

More funny workplace stories next time.


All I can say is, Knowledge is power. It is also a formidable weapon against discrimination and condescension.


A coworker kept on saying "CONMITATION." Before I asked her about the meaning of the word, I checked it first. Yes! I knew it; she meant CONTAMINATION.

Instead of correcting her pointblank. I just replied the correct word every time she would mention her version. After some time, she began pronouncing it correctly.

A Caucasian coworker, a registered nurse, engaged me in a discussion about Psychiatric Nursing. She began mentioning topics like Alzheimer's disease, dementia praecox, schizophrenia. I told her that I find Psychiatry and Psychology very interesting subjects.

Then, she said that there was this one resident who looks at the mirror virtually all the time. I immediately interjected, "Ah, she has this personality disorder called narcissism.

She said: "Yeah, she has narcism.

I repeated: "Yeah, she has narcissism", giving the word a proper stress. The coworker laughed and said: "Oops, yeah, narcissism, I meant."

I would have discussed with her about Narcissus, the Greek Mythology nymph from where that medical term originated, but it was already break time. Hahaha!


  • At Thursday, October 26, 2006 8:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Certain asian races tend to do that, eLf, which is really annoying. It's so much fun integrating and making friends with people of different races!

    I have a work mate who would always spell EXCITING as EGG-CITING. Go figure...

  • At Saturday, October 28, 2006 2:23:00 AM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Yup, it's fun integrating with people of different races, kasi we get new insights and points of view. Most of all, we can make that simple conversation a chance to let them peak into our Filipinoness. I mean, let's face it, many people of other races, especially non-Asians, have so many stereotypical and wrong misconseptions and presumptions about the Philippines or Filipinos; so we--being broad-minded and well-educated--can represent the positive side of being Filipino.

  • At Saturday, October 28, 2006 9:10:00 PM, Blogger Dani said…

    elf... I'm caucasian. English is my first and only language (I was bilingual as a child, but lost that knowledge due to lack of using it). I've always been impressed with your wisdom and how well-spoken/well-written you are. It's definitely something you should be proud of; you are a wonderful respresentative of your nationality. :-)

  • At Sunday, October 29, 2006 8:09:00 AM, Blogger leidivine said…

    Ang Pinoy ay Pinoy ay Pinoy.


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