I had a totally different fresh experience of Filipinos.

This time I stayed 6 days in Marriott Manila (5-star), hang-out at Resorts World Manila, SM Mall of Asia, driven around by hotel limo, and with a Pro-Tour Guide. Obviously, I was mainly in the high end places in Manila, serviced by 5-star hoteliers like in other 5-star hotels in Hong Kong and around the world.I was very impressed by the staff in Marriott and Maxims (6-star) in Manila. The front desk cashier-receptionists were helpful, courteous, and professional. I must acknowledge Diane Reyes (Front Desk Supervisor, Marriott) for going out of her way to print out some vital presentation slides late at night when the business center is closed. The concierge went out of their way to help me in changing my flight. And they all knew me or called me by my name including the operator.

I find that Professional Filipinos have heart and passion. It’s in their service and Catholic culture and we all know Filipino singers and Filipinos in general are some of the best natural singers in Asia, and the world (Bruno Mars, Charice, etc.). There was this cool vocalist-guitarist that sang in the Marriott lobby that had a Norah Jones voice.I also met Filipino Professionals and Managers I felt were high-caliber.

That’s when I realized how prejudiced and ignorant Hong Kongers are about Filipinos. Our experience comes from mainly interacting with Filipino maids and judging GROs from a distance in WanChai. We have this warped bias perception of Filipinos seen through our Filipino maid “inner glasses” experiences (your internal filters). It’s amazing we don’t compare with our own oft-times uncouth Hong Kong “Char Charn Tang” coffee-shop waiters and construction workers (there are no HK maids left) – they are “no different” than Filipino maids.

In fact, our Hong Kongers are much more arrogant too.Yes, I did have previously bad experiences with over-charging non-meter taxi drivers like in any big Asian city. In EVERY shopping mall and hotel, everyone goes through a proper security door frame and metal detectors because apparently quite a few Filipinos carry guns (I myself didn’t see any civilians carry one).I was once conned by a horse & carriage guy around Intramuros, Manila. Before I started I asked him 3 times if there were other charges, he avoided the question and mumbled away. At the end of the 1 hour ride, he demanded that the carriage/tour was 100 pesos (my agreed price), PLUS 500 pesos for the horse! (an original con).

At Republiq Club (Manila’s no.1 hottest club in Resorts World Manila) I met 2 beautiful Filipino ladies in the VIP section whilst I was mingling with my clients after the exclusive Grand Fiesta gala dinner. A celebrity-looking Kharen Reynolds slowly revealed to me over 2 hours that she was running away from her BF, Mohd Khashoggi, a nephew of the famous multi-billionaire Saudi Arabian arms dealer. She later claimed she was beaten up, she feared for her life, sobbed and begged me to rescue her and put her up in a condo in Hong Kong.Totally unbelievable story (what was she doing in Republiq – the most obvious place for her BF’s bodyguards to find her, you figure)! She moved on when she realized that I was not buying any of that. As always I “pretend to be a boar to eat the tiger” (old wise Chinese saying equivalent to “Give enough rope for one to hang oneself). NO, I did NOT eat (trap) the tiger.

“One bad apple spoils the whole bunch”
(in the harsh real world reality and perception).

But that ONE bad apple do NOT represent the whole bunch (we should aim for this ideal).
You can CHOOSE to see the BAD & the UGLY in a particular race.

Or, you can CHOOSE to SEE THE GOOD in that race.
I consciously choose to see the good in people as much as I can (sometimes I do fail as human being, but I thrive for this ideal).

15 of the 19 suicide hijacker-terrorists of September 11 attacks were Muslim Saudi Arabians. Now that does not give anyone the human right to LABEL & STEREOTYPE ALL Saudi Arabians and ALL Muslims as Terrorists. There are many American Terrorists too but they seem to be labelled as misfits, rebels, schizophrenics – not Terrorists. How come…

EVERY COUNTRY HAS ITS GOOD, BAD AND UGLY PEOPLE.
I have personally heard horror stories of lazy Filipino husbands who do nothing but take all the money earned by their wives who are Hong Kong maids.

When I went to the United States 20 years ago, some ugly and ignorant Americans laughed at my China Man face and innocently asked how do Malaysians climb down from their home in the jungle trees like orang utans. And, whether it is safe or not to visit the Petronas Towers, the world’s tallest TWIN towers – like it would collapse anytime soon… I did eat many a humble pie.

I do try to educate Americans who appear OPEN – about the myths and gross misconceptions of Malaysia, India, Asia, and Hong Kong (“Howdy, hey how’s it like to live in a sampan …”). Yeah right!

Hong Kong in 1997 owned 50% of ALL Foreign Direct Investments in PRC China. Hong Kong also has THE most expensive real estates in the world (more than New York, NY).
The rental (not sale) price for a Prime A shopping mall in Hong Kong is USD4,380 per sq ft!

The cost psf of a car-park space is now the same as the cost psf of an average apartment (maybe the new question should be “Why don’t you live in your car-park?”). Our client Sun Hung Kei is the 2nd richest property group in the world… (I digressed)

Nowadays, some Americans are fearful and suspicious of China including Donald Trump! Macau which is a Special Administrative Region of China took 5 years (from 2002) to be a modern casino-resort development compared to Las Vegas which took 23 years to be what is today (after the opening of The Mirage in 1989). Today Macau brings in 5 TIMES more turnover than Las Vegas.

The truth is I have worked with many great American companies i.e. JWT, Leo Burnett, FranklinCovey, etc. Some of my biggest clients are American such as Coca-Cola, Gap, HP, etc. I have wonderful experiences and relationships with the vast majority of Americans in USA and abroad.
I LOVE AMERICANS! I actually like the American “tell it like it is and first name basis”, rather than the hard to access and read “50 Shades of Subtleness” of Asian politeness.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO FEEL RACISM?
I’ve talked with African Americans, Native Americans (they have Oriental genes), Hispanics, Puerto Ricans, the poor, Vietnamese, and Hong Kong Chinese in ChinaTowns in USA. They FEEL the racism and teasing. They feel the “glass ceiling” of limited career opportunities.

I studied in Melbourne, lived and stayed in some cities in Australia – I FELT the racism and bullying.

To be fair, the Chinese had for more than 4,000 years believed that they were THE superior race (Japanese, Indian, Germans… – it’s human nature), and one of the oldest existing civilization. Chinese invented bureaucracy, government, the art of war, and paper money. They still call Western-educated Chinese as “Yellow Banana” (yellow on the outside and white on the inside), and Westerners as “Devils” although nowadays it carries more of an envious status label.

Then the Chinese destroyed their own priceless historical relics in the ugly and deadly Cultural Revolution. For the last 80 years until the 1980s the Chinese “kow-towed” or bowed to the “perceived superiority” of Westerners and particularly the English language. Not any more.

They’ve earned their rights and respect as shown in the 2008 Beijing Olympics (although a heavy price to pay for pushing the young athletics from 3 years old). And more foreigners are wisely learning Mandarin. China in turn in the next 15 years will have the MOST English-speaking people in the world (albeit a 2nd and international working language).

I LOVE FILIPINOS!

Yes, my latest trip to Manila was an eye-opener and heart-opener about Filipinos. I think generally Filipinos managers are sharp, willing, competent, professional, cultured, and skillful. Plus they have one big difference – they have HEART & PASSION. Unfortunately from my experience Filipino managers in Hong Kong, Singapore, or Malaysia are looked down upon through RACIST eyes. They FEEL it, but they keep humble and quiet, and get on with their (corporate) lives.

The same goes for Mainland PRC Chinese, Indonesian executives, Bangladeshi managers, Iranian Shi’ite Muslim MBA holders, Jewish entrepreneurs, Arabic graduates, WOMEN officers… (the PREJUDICE LIST is endless…)

“POVERTY IS THE WORST KIND OF VIOLENCE” ~ GANDHI
HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED, OR
CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT IS LIKE TO BE POOR & STARVING?
Being poor can make one do crazy things to survive, to live one more day… to feed one’s dying child…
Have a HEART… before you judge others…

GET OUT OF YOUR COUNTRY!
Get a passport (many Americans have rarely gone pass more than 300 miles from their hometown). BTW, there are MORE ORDINARY PRC Chinese traveling the world than ordinary Americans.
Expand your horizons by visiting other Countries.
And you’ll have a more realistic, and hopefully a more EMPATHETIC & RESPECTFUL view of other Races and Nationalities.

Oh BTW, to learn a foreign language, get a BF-GF who is a native speaker. You’ll get the quickest education and acceptance of that foreign culture.
That’s how Alexander The Great conquered and use the Greek cultural diffusion to influence the countries he conquered.

~ ROBERT CHAEN champion that we should not be so quick to stereotype and judge other races or nationalities that are less fortunate than ours. Yes, be ever vigilant in Asian tourist spots and learn from other tourists’ (bad) experiences.
However, when we LET GO of our JUDGMENTS & RACIST PREJUDICES, our world will be a much better place to live – truly 1WORLD with NO borders.