Filipinos abroad live with less love, missing family and friends. As soon as they arrive in another country, they are compelled to send back money and gifts to keep the love of the family they left in the Philippines, or at least be remembered. How they can still deserve hate with this culturally ingrained attitude must be a marvel of social science.
When Edith left Manila, she had in her heart all intentions of preparing for her retirement so she would not be a burden to her children when she could no longer earn a living. She found a good job in America and managed to qualify for basic social security benefits but the cost of living did not allow for really big savings.
In an economy run by credit, she used credit cards to send dollars and fill the Balikbayan boxes she sent to her children in Manila. She browsed through her children’s Facebook photos. She could not find anyone wearing something she bought. She did find similar items just not the ones from her. When she came home to Manila for a brief vacation she found the gifts that maxed out her credit cards in storage.
As per her projection, aging caught up with her, as soon as she got her US citizenship and benefits. She lost her capacity to work due to a disability. She cashed out her 401K and sent half of it to one of her children as her last bequest.
After the 401K money was gone, the monthly social security benefit was barely enough for her to live on independently. With nothing more to send, she started to get the cold shoulder. Without any argument from her end, she got hateful messages. One even unfriended her in Facebook. Where did all that come from?
The Americans have the answer: “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Edith wishes her children well. Hopefully someday they can go to the Mall of Asia and buy a better mother.
See also The Facebook Friend