First, the sunburn:
The Filipino community in Tokyo celebrated yesterday, both the Independence and Migrant Workers’ Days. I hosted the day-long program (with two alternating partners). It was held in an open field inside a park.
Luckily, the weather was fine (I was told it rained heavily last year, the show had to be cancelled). The sky was so clear this time, it allowed the sun to mightily throw all its destructive ultra-violets to us.
(Dennis Trillo thrilled the crowd)
As usual, I forgot to apply sun block (ever-ready boy scout I never was). By mid-noon, my face was already blood-red, and I knew I’ll be wearing a well-fried face for some time.
(Jed Madela wowed 'em with his vocals)
But , in hindsight, I really don’t care. What’s this minor inconvenience compared to the fulfillment of seeing our kababayans happy? Truth is, it would have been too self-indulging if I were to think of sun protection when everyone was also there in the middle of the park, enjoying the show. Even the guest artists from Manila basked in the sun.
(Allan K left the crowd in stitches)
Now, the bruised ego.
I only had a half-hour break by about 1 o’clock to change barongs and have lunch. The production assistants offered to get me food, but I decided to go out of the dressing area to check our office booth. As I passed by the VIP tent, the chairman of the activity saw me and offered me lunch.
I took a single barbecue stick and a morsel of pancit. As I was munching on my anorexic food alone, an overbearing underling working with a government agency approached me and told me to my face, “the food is only for embassy officials and the guests!”
WTF! I was stunned! I can’t believe someone could be so rude! What was she expecting me to do – return the food? My shock dumbfounded me. All I was able to do was inform a friend with the Embassy about it and left the unfinished lunch at the booth.
I felt so bad. Some officers came to me later to apologize (not the ill-mannered woman), but I really cannot find any good excuse for her uncalled-for act.
I tried rationalizing her outburst when people said: “she’s always been like that”, and “maybe she didn’t recognize you, being new here”, but I can’t.
If she has always been so uncouth, why is she still there working with and representing the government? And in an agency that trumpets our fabled hospitality at that? If she was mean to me, given her alleged reputation, then there must have been many victims before me. Her boorishness has no room in government service- not in the Philippines, not anywhere in our embassies abroad!
She did not recognize me? For pete's sakes, I was on stage all morning! Where was she all the time? Or better yet, did she really need to recognize me? I was in my dignified barong, for crying out loud! I surely could not be mistaken for some vagrant trying to score food! Or even presuming it was just anybody from the crowd. Does she have the right to do that? Definitely not.
Ahh... Yesterday could have been a perfect day (I still finished the hosting job despite the experience). But there really are people in this world who are out to ruin each and every good day. To hell with them.