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?


8 thoughts on “Indebtedness

  1. The checks would have been worthless but the 176K was OK. If I was her ( and mind you I have horns) and I was maltreated in a country full of arrogant pricks, I would throw the checks in the trash and keep the $176K.

    It would have been different if she was treated with dignity in the country – she could show gratitude – but she wasn't. Tit for tat.

    As for the butter cookies, I would have told them to shove it in their you know what 😦


  2. ha ha and i know you have horns ha ha

    well, it's just that my children are the idealistic types. i know this would change after realization sets in, but let them be with their ideals. if you tell them about her not treated with dignity, they will retort with the famous 'two wrongs won't make a right'. he he


  3. I wouldn't know what I would have done had I been the one to get the money. I might think it was a gift from heaven. hehehe

    actually, come to think about it, I might not be able to sleep well at night knowing that what I am spending is not mine. That's probably what was in the Filipina's mind. Better than not having the money rather than spending sleepless nights wondering if she would ever be found out.


  4. ako rin, mr rolly, siguradong sleepless nights and my conscience talking all the time ang sasapitin ko. disaster kung magkakaganun!


  5. hmmm what will I do? I will keep the money for 5 months or even a year without spending a dime from it. Then I'll wait if someone will beg on TV or on the papers to return it to them. If they appear, I will return it. If they won't, then I'll give the money to charity. Our church in Negros needs renovating hehe.


  6. Is this lady a saint? I would have returned the money but withheld 10% as a finder's fee. If the people who lost that much money had been offered that deal when they thought the money was gone forever you know they would have agreed. 90 percent is way better than nothing.


  7. that, i think, is the mistake of good natured perez, frank. she should have spoken about her need for assistance or help and the condition she currently have. but then again, she might be too shy to even talk about it.


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