I wasn’t going to write in my journal about such a trivial event like being hit by a taxi. Trivial because, because aside from some arm bruising, I am fine. What happened minutes afterwards is however, leaving a lasting impression on hospitality in The Philippines.
Why walking is a virtual crime in the Philippines
I walk to many places. A rarity in the Philippines as the majority, and by majority I mean 98% of the population seem to have an alergy to this human activity.
Heat & dust is the causal excuse. Sweaty clothes, skin and exertion are closer to the truth.
Taxi vs The Longest Way Home
It had been raining most of the night as I walked out onto the city streets. Giant puddles already evaporating away in the morning heat. I walked down a not so busy two lane road that lead to a mall.
Nothing was different to any other time I walked there. I side stepped a parked car. Up ahead the odd on coming car passed. I side stepped a motorella being repaired. There is no sidewalk here. It’s the road, or the drainage ditch. Ahead of me a taxi approached at speed.
I was sandwiched between a broken motorella and an empty two lane road; little to worry about.
And, the taxi stuck
Whack! He clipped me with his side mirror.
There was a slap of plastic, a thud of recoil and a shout from me.
A car behind him swerved and sounded their horn. I turned to see the taxi keep going. His mirror bent back at an angle. Then, a tricycle pulled out, and he got stuck behind him.
The taxi was stuck, and could not move. I stood there and thought about what to do. I thought at the very least he would take this opportunity and get out of the taxi to see if I was alright. But, no.
Then I saw a hand appear from the passenger side that tried to fix the sidemirror. With this, I lost the plot.
Storming over I roared some furious words through the passenger window.
The drivers eyes widened, he waved and bowed. I continued my tirade and he continued his bowing. What happened next was worse than his incessant excuse for an apology.
No one did anything
I looked up in an effort to think about how far I should take this with the bowing taxi idiot. The whole road had come to a standstill. People had come out of their stores. Stopped their cars and were all staring in silence.
This all started the moment he had hit me. But I paid little attention to them at that time.
I walked back along my original path, holding my arm. Not a person said a thing. No one approached either me, nor the taxi.
East meets west
The whole scene was taken from a developed country. See a person on the road in trouble, and don’t get involved in case it affects you too. But here, in the ever so friendly hospitality endowed Philippines, surely someone would offer help?
Or even just ask if I was alright?
No, they did not. Not a soul. And, that hurt a lot more than my arm.
Is hospitality in Asia only skin deep?
I will be the first person to admit I don’t always get things right. But deep down I’ve always harbored a suspicion of Asian hospitality. Is it only skin deep?
My case in point. World War II. Look at old documentaries of nations surrendering. The Asian side always looks emotionless. In loss or victory. The other side whether in defeat or victory show emotion.
Here in The Philippines there are set times put on things like grief. Someone does something wrong, and after a set time everything goes back to normal.
Sure as a tourist you get the hospitality of a thousand smiles as you pay your hotel, pay the waiter, pay the laundry. Say hello, say goodbye and it’s all waves. But step out of line. And, the smiles drop faster than a bullet to the head.
And it continues …
After being invited to an event recently, I bought some people a small thank you present. Only one said thank you in return, no one else did.
Am I so detached from the rest of the world to think that people don’t say thank you here anymore? No, but it’s becoming rare. Take, take take is on the increase. Or maybe it was always there.
Taxi vs Culture
Taxi drivers are pretty awful the world over. But, I must say in The Philippines I’ve only been cheated by about 5% of the ones’s I’ve taken. That’s a very low number.
On this day who knows what was going through his mind. I imagine it was switched off. He made a stupid mistake. So what. What’s really wrong is he never stopped, he never got out, and he never apologised.
Worse than the taxi were the people standing around that did nothing in a nation that’s meant to be so good, and friendly. And, that is my point here.
Is The Philippines at “that” cross roads
Go to a poor area here. Away from the malls. If you slip, stumble or trip, people will ask of you.
Go where there is money, and chances are you’ll be left to fend for yourself.
What I was meant to write here today was a list of things I don’t like about the Philippines. That list is now getting longer. Which is a shame. The only good thing I can think about this, is, perhaps. If my suspicion is true. I may well have finally understood about social integration here.
Things not to like about The Philippines