Singaporean taxi driver shocks Pinay with his love for the Philippines and a short history lesson on why - The Daily Sentry

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Singaporean taxi driver shocks Pinay with his love for the Philippines and a short history lesson on why

Photo credit: Facebook/Alexa Balbuena
Pinay OFW of Singapore Alexa Balbuena asked the driver of the cab that she was riding to bring her to Henderson Road but little to her knowledge, the taxi driver took a slight detour down memory lane.

The kind Singaporean gentleman stated,

“Don’t worry lah. Walang problema.”

Balbuena who was in a for surprise, asked why he knew Tagalog. The taxi driver answered that he loved the Philippines and with that lead to their short detour down memory lane.
Alexa Balbuena, photo from her Facebook
"Fifty years ago - I'm 65 now - everyone looked up to the Philippines. Everyone spoke really good English. You were under the Spanish regime for many years, and were colonized by the Americans for a hundred years (50 years, I corrected), so Filipinos spoke English very well. No other country in Asia could do that.

Fifty years ago, Singapore was still a fishing village. Malaysia's oil was not yet "founded". Indonesia didn't believe in the outside world, even China. Thailand's khob khun ka then is still very much the same now. And at the time, we only spoke Malay. So, everyone envied the Philippines.

After school, I would take my shoeshine box, go to the pier and shine the shoes of Philippine sailors. They moved around in leather boots and Levi's jackets, and for me, this was something I dreamed about.”

"So, I told myself, 'when I grow up, I want to be a Filipino!”

 The man once announced to his 15-year old self that his ambition was to become a Filipino due to the exceptionality of the country. He was also proud that the Philippines and Singapore’s leaders were once best friends.
"When Singapore became independent, there was no one else to train our army but the Philippines. Lee Kwan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos were very good friends. They were excellent leaders. Marcos ruled with an iron fist and Lee Kwan Yew was a benevolent dictator. So, our top brass officers were sent to the Philippines for training.”

Balbuena was so curious about the sources of his vast knowledge on the Philippines, the taxi driver then replied that,

"Well, I did project management in the Middle East and met so many Filipinos there. I am Christian, so I usually spent time with them to worship.

"Filipinos, when they see each other, they're so different you know. You can see their love and pride for their fellowmen and their country. They're very patriotic. They could be away for so many years and still proudly say, 'I am from the Philippines!'

"In the Middle East, there's a row of fast food restaurants where lots of Filipinos worked. And when I went to eat, I always told them I'm an associate, that I'm a member of the Filipino association. And they accepted me freely and said, 'okay pare, free flow drinks for you.’”

The man then stated that there should be a day for the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) due to their incredible contributions to their country.

"The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) contribute to 30% of the Philippine economy, you know. Thirty percent! They work so hard ah! They bring in the dollars. And then they send dutifully to their families back home. I really think there should be one day in a year where OFWs are celebrated around the world and given one month bonus by the government. I mean, seriously lah.”
He then prompted Balbuena to be proud of her country by stating,

“So, I hope that with this short story you feel proud to be a Filipino. And not shy at all.”

A short 15-minute ride with the story of their two countries in the eyes of a Singaporean reignited the hear of Balbuena.

“Who would have thought that a man from a first-world country like Singapore, a country everyone now admires and looks up to, had once dreamed of becoming a Filipino?” the OFW stated.

Balbuena then reannouced her love for the Philipines by the end of her post. Such an unexpected cab tale encouraged her to take pride in the great heritage of the country. Hopes still linger on though, that every Filipino would love the country as much as this taxi driver did.
Source: Facebook/Alexa Balbuena