The Lack of Compliments

Two stories off the back of that.

SWMBO and I went to a wedding at Tagaytay a few years back. We then spent a week at a remote resort on Palawan. Basically, it was half a dozen huts and an eating area.

Whilst there, I took a walk to the local fishing village with one of the guys who worked at the hotel. The huts were dirt floor, everyone bare feet. There was a toddler, the bloke I was with's niece. Cute as a button and shy as little 'uns are, she eventually came out of her shell and was intent on showing me a kitten from a litter that they had. I had a few coins in my pocket and gave them to her as I left. She absolutely beamed and went charging away through the hut to show her parents.

It was only as I walked away that I realised I'd probably given her a sizeable portion of her father's daily or weekly wage.

Two things struck me about the dwelling, though: mobile phones on wooden beams up off the floor, being charged using car batteries; and the pictures on the walls of two family members who'd graduated. As you say, education is seen as the enabler, the way to betterment, and is a source of real pride as well as an economic necessity for all. The pressure from the family to do well once you make it to university must be immense.


A few years previous to that, I was at a conference in Hong Kong. My boss, in his wisdom, had put us up in Wanchai. Okay, no big deal. Joe Bananas when it was still there did the best Bloody Mary I've ever drunk, if you could put up with the hookers - Filipinos - who were circling like sharks.

In the end, to get some respite, I rang a girl I knew from the Australian delegation and asked her to come down to the bar and plonk herself on my knee.

She brought with her some of her delegation and several of them had the bright idea that they wanted to go to a girlie bar. So, off we trudged up the strip to a place where there was the obligatory pole in the corner and the girls all took a turn dancing with various levels of unenthusiasm.

(Brief note: all Filipino women appear to have exactly the same breasts.)

The madame sat in the corner watching everything like a hawk. One of the girls came and sat next to me. I made it very clear that I wasn't interested in going in the back room but if it kept the madame off her back I'd buy as many drinks as would keep everyone happy.

The girl and I got talking. Basically, she was 'working' to get the money together to go home and do a degree in hotel management. We had quite a searching conversation about how she felt about selling herself to better her later life. We got to a point where she said that she found it upsetting but, really, she had little choice. We moved the conversation on.

It was very poignant. She was a genuinely lovely girl and that was her only way out. I couldn't judge her; I actually felt very empathetic. That would be about 15 years ago now and I hope she got where she wanted to be and is content.

It is a different world for so many people. We don't know how lucky we are here. I think that what makes me most angry about the race-baiters and identity politics merchants - they really are scrabbling to make a fight out of nothing. It must be exhausting being that nasty and bitter.

Joe Bananas – one of the few bars I have queued up to get into.

Once inside (this was more than 25 years ago) it was wonderful mayhem, a couple of nights running.
I was so naive back then, I don’t even remember the commercially minded young ladies from the Philippines…
Spot on. Treat everyone with respect and kindness until they give you an excuse to release your inner psycho face eater.
Makes it even more poignant & savoury when you whisper 'I'm going to stop calling you Sir/Madam now' as they lie prone in the dust, gravel & sh1te.
Chuck a 'mate' or 'fella' in every so often & job's a good 'un.
(pass the meds & first aid kit, buddy!) ;)
I’m afraid I fell foul of that last bit on Monday. He is an annoying jobsworth who has been getting under my skin once or twice a week for several months now, and I have previously managed to contain it.
He did something not terribly foolish on Monday, which triggered an explosion – and I have felt bad about it ever since!
Probably a good idea to let him out of the wheelie bin & brush the fire-ants from his ears, now.
In time for the weekend and all that. You're not a complete monster, after all.
Mrs Chion, now retired, was in the tourist business - their work, in addtion to the obvious museums and other tourist stuff, could be very varied and now and again would include taking small parties from abroad usually two or three people on shopping visits, and usually with a particular item in mind.
Not the sort of thing most of us would feel necessary when spending time exploring say. KaDeWe or Galeries Lafayette, but there are a lot of well-heeled people who think nothing of paying for things to run smoothly without wasting time.
So one day she gets a family group of three from overseas who were shopping for a very expensive Swiss cosmetic, La Prairie, and they had been told that Harrods was the must place to go in order to buy the stuff.
My wife said, "Of course we will go to Harrods" [it was their call, after all, they were paying the piper] "But for that product and a better shopping experience , I would recommend Harvey Nicolls, next door"

No skin off the wife's nose, commission from the store was neither paid nor expected.

"OK", they said but insisted on explaining to Harvey Nick's staff that they were just looking, "That's fine" said the saleswoman but was so patient in explaining the products.
However, they had their heart set on Harrods, so off they trooped to the posh shop where they were ignored by chatting assistants on the cosmetics counters - treatment that the comfortably-off don't care to tolerate.

So back to Harvey Nicholls it was, back to the same lady who had been kind to them and proceeded to stock up, I don't know the amount spent but I'm guessing with that stuff, it must have been at least a grand's worth.
Maybe just good sales technique in the first instance, but the saleswoman was genuinely gratified when my wife complimented her, explaining that they returned simply because of the assistant's kindness.
I went to a restaurant a few years back where the head chef was the owner, having had an outstanding meal for the four of us, I went to the bar to pay the meal (and get a sneaky malt in as well) and the head chef was there, paid a compliment to him on the food and bought the kitchen guys a round of beers and the head chef a decent bottle of wine from their range, the bill in total came to around 500 quid along with a 10 pound tip to the 2 waitresses that served us.
Excellent point & well-made. I think how happy I'd be if someone gave me a cup of tea, or bun, or fiver or tenner (which could be a big chunk of wages if part-time) and all of a sudden, that bit of pretty paper (plastic now) is part of something pretty magical.


Book Reviewer
Some of the nicest people that come in the store, along with Canadians, Brits, Jamaicans, European's are the Middle Easterners, Indians, Iraqi's, and Afghan's.

Some of the worst I have to say are also from India, demanding immediate service even if you are helping someone else, demanding ridiculous discounts (or free) for miniscule reasons, demanding that WE pick out their perfectly straight wood, or insisting we become their own personal shopper. Non of which works.

The bottom line is:
EVERY race and EVERY country has super nice people and a minority of *********.
Yes! Precisely the point.

But that's not what the baiters try to have us believe.


Book Reviewer
It’s also quite amusing listening to kids from Surrey sound like they’re from Brixton, (and who would wet themselves if they found themselves in Brixton!), then when they bump into you on the bus revert to the posh Surrey accent they really have.
Yes, but apparently I'm a 'racist' for pointing out such nonsense.


*Said with a Geordie-tinged Surrey accent.
The Filipinos on the cruise ships were all below-decks. Front-of-house was all Caucasian.
Years ago DFDS had lots of Filipinos front of house. I once sailed Hamburg-Harwich (?) and they were great. All the loose change went into a big pot (pre-Euro) as they poured more beer and provided more pizza.
Super blokes. Yes, they got a lot of cash (fair play), but there was never a hint of exploitation.


Book Reviewer
Years ago DFDS had lots of Filipinos front of house. I once sailed Hamburg-Harwich (?) and they were great. All the loose change went into a big pot (pre-Euro) as they poured more beer and provided more pizza.
Super blokes. Yes, they got a lot of cash (fair play), but there was never a hint of exploitation.
Not mine to comment on. SWMBO was there, not me. Whether it was done for an American market, I don’t know. One thing she has mentioned is that the Filipinos’ pay was pegged far lower than the European staff’s and they worked far harder.


War Hero
Yes, but apparently I'm a 'racist' for pointing out such nonsense.


*Said with a Geordie-tinged Surrey accent.
What I also find amusing is that the further north you go, the regional accent is all you hear, racial background doesn’t get a look in. If you live in Yorkshire, you’re assimilated and will sound like it.

The affected accent is what you get inside the M25 and further south.
Yes, but apparently I'm a 'racist' for pointing out such nonsense.


*Said with a Geordie-tinged Surrey accent.
I live in Hampshire, and road rudeness is common. And adopted by me. I never wave to other road-users, let them out, whatever. Fukcem.
I managed to leave work early today in Petersfield. Some dimwit schoolgirl on her phone stepped out in front of me. As I am now a loudmouth Southern tawt I yelled at her as she might have scuffed me motor.
Her apology was something Joyce Grenfell might have been proud of.
Made me smile for about two minutes.
I was in a course in Kensington, and was having late night drinks in the hotel bar. Bar man was ex Gurkha Rifles. A couple of chinless cxxt were in the bar “I say! Boy! Boy! Brings us two more whatevertheyweredrinking” and off he doubled, carrying their drinks.
“Why do you let them two toff twats talk to you like that “
“I get it every night working here, it’s okay, it’s expected”
“What about I go over and knock thier faces together?”
He declined obviously but my drinks got cheaper, courtesy of the piece of shyt toff cxxts


I use Trip Advisor quite a lot, for reviews on hotels and eateries and some of the reviews left are somewhat interesting. Perhaps i have just become used to poor service, that i now just spin past those and look for comments directly relating to "is the food any good" for an eatery and am i going to be "comfortable" staying at this accommodation. The whole customer service thing is so subjective and potentially even cultural, that i can look past most things, unless somebody is simply down right bad at their job, or directly rude to me. I notice people based in the USA and Middle East can be particularly picky on hotels and sometimes the service offered by peeps from the Sub Continent, may not be to a lot of peeps liking.

I remember reading some really bad reviews on a Kebab place in Swinton, all relating to the service they received from the staff. BUT all the reviews said the food was outstanding. I wanted a takeaway and wasn't there for a philosophical debate and got just that. No hello, goodbye or thankyou, which some might find a bit shit. But jeez the kebab was good.

Flip side, i have been buying watches from the same guy for years and its simply down to him being interested and listening to what i was saying and taking action based on that. He has swapped straps and buckles and been very patient with me and guess what, i have now spent a couple of grand with him and there's never any haggling - thank you for your service, see you next time.
Probably a good idea to let him out of the wheelie bin & brush the fire-ants from his ears, now.
In time for the weekend and all that. You're not a complete monster, after all.

Oh, I did. Apologised next time I saw him (two days later).

The interesting thing is, ran into one of his colleagues yesterday – this fellow reassured me by saying he is a long term temp who is getting on everybody’s ti.s, and he is not the least bit surprised that somebody blew up at him!
I have interacted with many many filipinos whilst working in Dubai. They're very proud of their ability to speak in English and work hard at school to learn it. To the extent that they take the piss out of any of their kabayans who don't speak English very well. They're only too keenly aware that their only opportunity to pull themselves up by the bootstraps out of the poverty trap is to get educated and then get a job outside of da pinas.
My neighbours maid (I never needed one) would chat with me most days. She had two kids, a girl of 15 and a boy 13. The daughter was pretty bright from what I could make out but they never had the money to pay for her to go to college (maids wages are not great and the father, well what can I say). It was obvious that without some help the girl would sink into doing the same job as her mother. Maybe I was dumb or gullible or whatever but I sent her the equivalent of £1000 in pesos. Now, 9 years later she is studying as a lawyer and she will make something of her life. Her brother is also doing well in college.

I found that, at a guess, 9 out of 10 domestic/waiting staff that I interacted with had left their kids at home and either mother or sister were looking after them. Because the feckless boyfriends went off with other women, leaving the mother to try and find ways to earn money to take care of the family at home.
It does seem to be the case that Filipinas make poor life choices in the romance stakes.
There are job opportunities here but the contemporary youth have a strange attitude, even if they are just in town from growing up on a subsistence farm... Status. Increasingly, boys want to get rich girls up the duff and live as playboy husbands, as seen on soap operas and other peoples real, or contrived, social media pages, and girls would rather starve than do menial work which, as students, is beneath them. All airs and graces but without two pesos to rub together.
The Philippines Me-Me-Me generation.


Book Reviewer