How Much of a Snob Are You?

6:11 PM Monday, December 07, 2009

Since I was never pretty nor rich, much of what I could be snobbish about was brains. And for a while, I was one of those who routinely laughed and even sometimes felt that I was a better person because I knew how to speak English fluently. I was/am arrogant in other ways but bad grammar has been one of my bigger pet peeves. I also had very superficial standards for dignity and intelligence.

But fortunately for me, I am growing up. I am knowing better.

It certainly didn't happen overnight.

But then I found THE BERKS. They are blogger friends who are generally older than me, who routinely share their own life experiences with me. Those abroad are always quick to say that even Filipinos are racist and snobbish. They are quick to remind me of the true value of hard work and dignity and what to really be proud of about being Filipino.

And then my parents became caregivers and gardeners. When the petition for them finally came through, my Mom decided to leave her long career in the government (where she was a Personnel Manager already) and my Dad decided to leave his properties here to build a life abroad for my sister, and in time, my brother. My parents have never shunned manual work and were always industrious, but when they started working what I have always thought of silently as 'menial' jobs, it was only then that I realized how stupid I've been, and how noble they truly are. It was a shift in perspective but I now really, really regret having been scared to be mistaken for a domestic helper that one time I went to HongKong (when a man was asking all Pinays who will be DH to fall in a separate line at the migration desk). I was ashamed to be ashamed then, especially since I was not even asked if I was one by anybody, but I am now ashamed for not fully realizing then just how much sacrifice those women are giving to this country.

And then there's my husband. I graduated cum laude while he dropped from college and was still a student when we met. I can out-English him but heaven knows I will never earn as much as he is earning now. Heck, when I quit my job, he was already earning times 2.5 of my salary. He has a more logical, rational mind. And he's simply brilliant with computers. I can't even set up my son's bike, and plugging the right plugs in my PC is as techie as I got. How dare I, then, to think that big words necessarily equate to intelligence?

And well, I am a Mom now. If I didn't appreciate Multiple Intelligence and Learning Styles when I was studying Psychology all those years ago, I certainly do now. I didn't have to have a special needs child to appreciate the fact that each child is different and will learn differently. I cannot expect my kids to all grow up brilliant, but I am at pains making sure they'd grow up productive and happy. It's listening to a child's grammatical mistakes that makes me laugh less at an adult's mistakes. Weird, isn't it?

And then there's the Deaf, who will always find it hard to be grammatically fluent. Being welcomed into their world has also made me appreciate more just how we offer different abilities and perspectives to the world, so it really is silly to expect brilliance in just one way.


A childhood friend, who was usually referred to as gay-looking, and who was really so slow at school went caregiving in Canada and found herself an older Canadian man to marry. She's now very happy, living well, with two healthy kids and a husband who peppers her Friendster and Facebook pages with mushy, cheesy whatevers.

So now, when I see 'exotic' looking Pinays with foreigners at the mall... I also don't feel bad for them. If fellow Pinoys find them ugly, then it's certainly great that other guys found them appealing. Plus, these men are helping their families have better lives. Because of these men, more people are able to study. And hopefully, their mixed race kids will grow up enlightened about discrimination and prejudice because they have the best of both worlds.

I just hope they're all treating each other well.


So now, my only pet peeve is really text speak when it comes to grammar. And when I see poorly-constructed sentences, I don't think about that person being dumb.

Koreans, Chinese and Japanese all don't treat good English as a sign of excellence. Usually, they only learn it if it will serve their business well. Even Europeans are very forgiving about English mistakes. So I now really don't see why Filipinos should fuss so much.


  1. We've all been guilty of this at one point or another. Some more than others, yes, pero lahat tayo may kanya kanyang ere diba?

    Something totally unrelated, actually two things:
    - I have a Got Heart 2010 Planner giveaway at my blog, you might want to check it out :)
    - have you heard about Walls of Hope? They're calling for volunteers and donations to repaint the walls and murals at the PCMC. Just though you might be interested :)


  2. Wow sis..thank you for the heads up!!! Lalo na about the PCMC thing!


  3. Great post, Mec.

    It's good to get a reality-check every now and then.


  4. Well said. I agree with you, what's all the fuss is about English.

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  5. I love this entry kasi tagos siya. Yes, I think, in one way or another guilty tayo sa ganito or naging guilty tayo sa ganito once in our lives. Well, what matters is how we learned from our past blunders and how we grew up and matured enough to understand all this, and early, too, if I may say so. :)


  6. thanks for the visits people... andf for liking the entry. I'm really happy talaga that I am growing up. :)


  7. Thank you for writing this article. Very interesting.

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  8. Very enlightening ng post mo. Tama ka naman, hindi talaga basis of excellence ang pagugung fluent sa English language. Naging part lang ng Pinoy culture yun kasi we always use the English language sa Corporate world (well most). Sa UP nga diba, at one point in time, inencourage na gumamit ng Filipino language sa pagtuturo.

    Louis Dizon

  9. I admit my English is really not good. In fact it almost stopped me from blogging publicly. My grammar sucks, my diction is awful but that wouldn't stop me from doing something that I love, right?

    Iris / Entrepremom

  10. Iris... indeed! You just have something to say!!!

    Louis... ako hirap din talaga sa Tagalog. I always say, "I think in English but love in Filipino" :)


  11. I know its a cliche but nice post! I hope the grammar police will read this one... shame on you whoever he/she is.


  12. and about our special child kids I think I will be the happiest if my daughter can say a three word sentence that was not prompted to her and she really understands the meaning.


  13. I so like this post.. THUMBS UP sis...

    Mommy Dharlz

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