By: Cecille – A Filipina in Qatar
All the managers wanted me in their departments. I was good. I was flexible. I was hard working. And I was fast. In a construction company with so many one-billion-projects, every minute counts. Every digit entered in the system matters.
I knew how to charm the suppliers and make them say “walla, habibi, mafi mushkel” when I give them cheques which are 150 days postdated even if the payment terms are cash upon delivery.
I was pretty, too.
I was “one of the best elements” of the company.
I earned compliments. I earned the respect. But I didn’t earn a raise.
I was a Filipina. I still am, and I always will be.
They all love to say “I hate racial discrimination.” Such baloney.
The very people who told me that I am better in my field than any of the middle easterns would say that my salary is enough for an Asian.
Just because I am tanned, does it mean that my expenses are less than that of my fair-skinned counterparts?
Just because I have to jump when I need some old files situated at the top of the shelves, does it mean that the milk my son is drinking is cheaper than the cigarettes they are smoking?
Just because I have to step on heavy duty punchers to make holes on thick documents, does it mean that I cannot have a title whose holder has to sit on an executive chair behind an exquisite desk?
Just because I have to go to the children’s section to buy my clothes, does it mean that I do not get affected by the way each nationality is being treated?
When they finally let me go, they employed three of their own to replace me, each one earning twice as much as I used to, only to learn that, nobody can accomplish what I could in a given period of time.
I am a Filipina.
I don’t have a car, but I can go to the office earlier than everybody else, and stay there later than the time the busy mice decide to call it a day.
I don’t have a mac, but I’m smart.
I don’t have a tall nose, but I’m beautiful.
I could pass as a “somebody” if only I had a different passport.
But I am a Somebody. Because I am a Filipina.
I know how to defend myself. I know how to stand tall. I know how to keep my chin up. Don’t beg for my number. Don’t ask me for a date. Don’t expect to see my smile.
You are forgetting that I am a Filipina.