Finally, it comes to my last few days staying here, I just feel that time really passes quickly. I would love to stay with my host family for a longer time if I had the chance. I enjoyed the time here so much and I will definitely miss it after I go back to Hong Kong. There are many things in the Philippines which are different from those that I used to see in Hong Kong.
Close relationships shaped the community
In Cabano (the barangay that I am living in), I already knew a lot of people in such a short period of time. A close relationship is built within the community and people treat others as if their own family members. They take care of all the people around them. Yet in Hong Kong, everyone will simply lock their door and stay inside their own apartment. They don’t even know who is living near them. The distant relationship shows that Hong Kong people are indifferent to others and just focus on their own issues. When it comes to fighting for freedom or any other rights, most people in Hong Kong just turn a blind eye to them, even they are closely related. That’s why I do treasure the time staying here as I really feel like I am a part of the community.
I still remember when I was walking back to my house some days ago, a kid invited me to play basketball when I passed by the court although we did not know each other before. After that, every time I walk pass the court he will still ask me to play basketball with him by passing his basketball to me. If people could really take the initiative to know more about the surroundings, the atmosphere of the neighborhoods will be much better.
On Father’s Day, I was invited to enjoy the sumptuous feast in another house and celebrate together. A lot of food was prepared and all the people enjoyed it so much. After that I went to another house in the community as well and joined their party! All the kids were dancing and singing together in the open space outside the house. I did have a great night even though I cannot celebrate with my own family in Hong Kong. I did enjoy being a part of the community, which you cannot find the same in Hong Kong.
Concepts of time reflect the slow-paced lifestyle
Apart from the warm neighborhoods, I finally understand what is meant by ‘Filipino time’ in these three weeks. People here don’t really care about punctuality. Jeepneys never leave on time, even local people don’t know the exact time that they will leave the stop. It is very difficult to estimate the travelling time from one place to another even if you have been to there for several times. Unlike other places like the UK, you will surely miss the train if you arrive one minute later than the designed time. Last time when I went back my house from RGL (the business that I am working in), I waited for the jeepney for an hour and it still didn’t arrive. At last the owner’s son took me back by his motorcycle or else I might have to wait for an hour more.
The huge difference in the concept of time truly reflects the slow-paced lifestyle in the Philippines. I do enjoy this kind of lifestyle as it could give me more chances to look into details of everything. In Hong Kong, everyone only strives for efficiency. They only care about results but not the process in between, which I think it is not the right attitude. For my business consulting work, I did have a great time with the business owners and their family even I don’t know whether my suggestions have any impacts or not. Through interacting with them for several days here, I have not only learnt a lot about the business operation in the Philippines, but also the Filipino culture. I have also developed friendship with them even though we have a big age difference. We have done a lot of things other than the business consulting, like sharing personal stories and discussing economics, politics, and even history! That’s why I enjoyed the process of this business consulting work so much. Therefore, it is very important not to focus on the results only. If people could enjoy the whole process, they could learn more than others no matter how the result is.
Some is better than none
On last Wednesday, our group went to the elementary school in our community and 6 day-care centres to distribute the recycled soaps to the kids and teach them how to wash their hands properly. In Hong Kong, we can easily get water by simply turning on the tap in our home. Yet in the Philippines, people seldom wash their hands because sometimes it is not easy to get water, especially in the dry seasons. They do not have the awareness of washing their hands frequently to avoid any diseases. It is true that the service project that we have done may not have a big impact on them, or they may not follow even though we have taught them. For me, I just think that ‘some is better than none’. If we could change some people’s minds, the good values could spread around easily. It is hoped that the soaps are useful for them and they could cultivate the habits of washing hands.
After these three weeks, I had developed great relationships with my host family, the business owners and their family members that I have worked with, and people from the community. I do hope that I didn’t cause much disturbance on them and it is hoped that all my suggestions to the business could be helpful to tackle their problems.