Indebtedness


It was after dinner one night when we heard the news on television about a jobless Filipina maid in Hongkong who returned 2.1 M worth of money. A part of a news report tells:

But on April 29, Perez found something that could have ended her misfortunes.

After renewing her visa at the immigration department, she noticed a thick packet just slightly bigger than an airmail envelope, in a trash bin on the corner of Pottinger Street and Des Voeux Road.

Perez picked it up and handed it to her companion, a man identified only as David, who opened the packet. Inside were cash and checks amounting to HK$350,545 (P2.1 million).

There was $176,000 in cash (in denomination of $1,000) and four checks: one for US$13,000, another for US$5,000, a third for US$3,250, and another for HK$10,920.

Mildred Perez is a 38 year old Filipina who was working in Hongkong when a tragedy befell her – she was sexually assaulted by her employer. She was banned from working in Hongkong because she became the complainant.

What enraged Papsie (my husband) was this news:

Tsang and Kitty gave Perez a can of butter cookies as a token of gratitude…

Which was my initial reaction, too, but felt later some reservation about the issue. I shrugged the thought and decided there must be a reason why it was only a can of butter cookies was given to Perez.

The Reason Why Papsie Got Mad

For Papsie, the person(s) who lost the money has lost it already and it is ingratitude for him not to acknowledge the goodness of Perez in a way that will truly give her a good deal in return to what she had selflessly done. Actually, I am just sugarcoating. Papsie was enraged and ‘cursed’ Kitty and Tsang. He was so affected he was speaking his sentiments in a loud voice.

Kay was Enraged, Too

Not because of the can of cookies but because of Papsie’s reaction. She believes it is not an obligation to pay or give back something for a good deed. She hates the thought of judging other people because they failed to pay a good deed. Papsie failed to understand her point of view that we should always reserve a space for understanding. There must always be an extension for ‘what-ifs’.

Thoughts to Ponder

  • The Culture. The Filipino culture includes beliefs that good deeds have to be repaid. It is this indebtedness that Filipinos are obligated to pay somehow all the time what was graciously done. This misconception that one is indebted forever because of one good deed puts Filipinos in awkward situations most of the time.
  • The Tendency to Make Judgments Easily. One bad trait that can be common among Filipinos is the ease of making judgments easily. It is this tendency to pass judgment without considerations that always put Filipinos in bad light.
  • Identifying with Others. This may not be an exclusive character for Filipinos but sometimes it is mostly seen that they extend themselves to others, or they attribute some characters as their own.

Have you at one point or some points in your life taken something that does not belong to you? Have you returned it when there was a chance?

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