But I do hope we’re on the right track.I’ve been to 3 Asian countries only, all of which are hands down more developed compared to the Philippines in terms of economies, transport system, financial system, etc. Life, as it seems, in worldly standards at least, is better and easier in these countries. And yes, being a tourist in these countries is a worthwhile experience. In Filipino, masarap maging turista paminsan-minsan.
But as the OFWs point out, relatives back home tend to see only the beautiful parts, the tourist attractions, theme parks, dazzling lights and shopping. What’s behind it all, the sacrifices, the loneliness, worse the discrimination and abuse, the higher costs of living, albeit very much real, are not highlighted and acknowledged. Being an OFW is not easy. They don’t lay golden eggs, and their time away from home to have a relatively higher income, also comes at a high price.
Not all OFWs suffer in other countries. Some, I hope majority, hit the jackpot in earning fortunes for their relatives here at home through good employment and employers. Especially if Juan is an overseas Filipino professional, engaged in white collar jobs. However, vast majority of our countrymen are actually in blue collar jobs, with less pay, less benefits, more demanding, and sometimes even less foreign friends and support groups that is why they tend to form smaller groups of their own, spending their limited “day-offs” huddled in parks, overpasses, sidewalks, malls, sharing stories of pain and hope. Of tears and laughter. Matiisin ang Pinoy.
OFWs and their dependents should also have the same. Their hard earned money should also work harder for them. And please, not in scams. With the right financial education, our modern day heroes should not only work hard, but they should also work smart. Dependents back home receiving remittances should make these seed moneys grow, and accelerate the time that loved ones abroad can once again go back home, this time for good.
We heard of moms who have been domestic helpers for years, travelling a number of countries and working for various nationalities. Mrs Internationals. For a tourist, being to many countries might have been pleasurable albeit expensive. For OFWs, I hope being to many countries has been pleasurable to them as well, because it is definitely expensive not just financially but psychologically.
I do hope that in all those years working for money, OFWs and their dependents have saved some money which can in turn work for them. Invest in financial instruments and businesses instead of spending on unnecessary luxuries. It is one thing to reward oneself but another to splurge now and deprive oneself of a better future. I hope that their dependents are equipped with the attitude, discipline and know-how to make these grow.
Lastly, I wanted to ask, whether they also wanted to bring their relatives and children abroad as tourists, so they can see for themselves what’s beautiful and what’s painful in living in a foreign land.
But I did not as most likely, they do, but in the meantime, they won’t, as they’ll find it expensive and counter-productive. I hope in time, they also go to other countries, not as employees, but as tourists, with their families.
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