Mga Filipino Nga Lang Ba ang Masisipag?
Another article from my column in The Filipino Journal:
In my only half a year’s experience of working here in Canada, I was able to interact closely with people of various races—Caucasians, Blacks, First Nations, Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Hindis, Italians, and many more. Because I am broad-minded and multiculturally tolerant, I usually get to engage many of them in serious conversations about life and struggles. And based on these once-in-a-while interactions and my observations on how they approach their jobs, I can confidently say that most of them are hardworking individuals and each possesses commendable work ethics. I therefore refute the popular belief of many Filipinos that they are the only people who possess a distinct sense of industry and hard work. If only we are to widen our cultural perspective, we will realize that all working individuals—regardless of race—strive hard in their jobs with a common purpose—that is, to be regarded as worthy of their chosen professions or occupations and to be able to earn well, enough to meet the daily needs of their families and to save sufficiently for their future.
Real Lives, Real People
Here are some of the people with whom I get to interact in my day-to-day working life here in Canada—individuals who I believe possess a laudable sense of work ethics.
Natalie, a Jamaican, works tirelessly eight hours a day, five days a week, at A&W Restaurant. She performs her multiple tasks without the need to be reminded of. Whenever the store is not busy, she never idles around. She usually looks for ways to keep herself occupied. She doesn’t hesitate to be of assistance to her coworkers, helping especially the new hirees and making them feel confident in their newfound jobs.
Tobey, a Caucasian, another former coworker of mine at A&W, despite being already a store manager, still does the tasks of an ordinary service crew whenever we were understaffed. She would unhesitatingly clean the washrooms, empty the garbage bins, and sweep or mop the floor.
Always possess a sunny disposition despite the typically stressful environment in the workplace.
Rachel, an Ethiopian working as a fellow health care aide at Riverview Health Centre, always possesses a sunny disposition despite the typically stressful environment where we work. To some, orientating students and newly hired workers is another unnecessary task; but to Rachel, this serves as a learning experience not only for the person being orientated but also for herself. During a break time, I had the opportunity to engage her in a conversation. I learned that she was working doubly hard because she financially helps some of her brothers back home. She said that helping a family member is part of their culture. And isn’t this outlook the same with that of Filipinos?
Ajeet, a Hindi taxi driver, who happens to be the one who usually picks me up early in the morning whenever I work the day shift, takes out his cab even though the weather is unfavorable and the snow on the ground is knee-deep. He said that being a cab driver is a dangerous and tasking job, and yet he is on the road usually twelve hours a day. Because of this job, he was able to send his children to university, most of whom are now professionals; and he takes pride in telling me these accomplishments.
Judy, a Caucasian working as a nursing coordinator at Tuxedo Villa, is always on the go. You will never see her glued at her desk. She always visits every station to address whatever is needed there. I usually see her helping the staff feed the elderly residents during meal times, a task which I’m sure is no longer part of her workload. She is also good at remembering names and faces, addressing every resident and member of the staff on a first-name basis.
Sa Madaling Salita
Hindi namumukod-tangi sa kasipagan ang mga Filipino. Bawat taong naghahanapbuhay—anuman ang kanyang lahi—ay iisa pa rin ang pangunahing mithiin: Ang makapaghanapbuhay nang maayos at ang kumita nang angkop sa kanyang kakayanan upang matustusan ang mga pangangailangan sa buhay at para masiguro ang kinabukasan ng pamilya at iba pang mga mahal sa buhay. At bawat lahi—hindi lamang Filipino—ay kakikitaan ng mga halimbawa ng indibidwál na kumikilos nang higit sa hinihingi ng kanilang mga trabaho—mga taong inuuna ang serbisyo sa kapwa at pangalawa lamang ang pera sa kanilang mga adhikain sa buhay.