One little quirk I noticed and can admit about myself is that ‘people watching’ amidst the buzz of daily life interests me. But much more interesting is that I am more interested in watching people in my country, the Philippines, more so than watching people here in Australia. In fact, I don’t watch people in Australia.
Even if they are Filipinos.
What is it about watching my people I find captivating? I have asked myself that question before and tried to be honest towards myself. I tend to give more of my attention to people near my age: students scattered about the streets during lunch, brief glances from inside the jeepney at other boys and girls in the other jeepney, them loitering at plazas, malls and public spaces, them playing at basketball courts, arcades and parks, a group of them huddled around a table by a restaurant, and I got an eye for them when they are working in the shops.
I’m still looking for a clear answer. Because I lived most of my life outside my country, only spending my first 6 years in the Philippines, I thought maybe I was just piecing up together a life of could-or-would-have-been. You know, sometimes I picture myself walking among those group of students in their uniforms, laughing and talking fluently in a language I’m still trying to pick up again. Or maybe it is just a mere fascination of a different lifestyle and culture, one I was born from but since forgotten. Or was it the feeling of fitting in with a group of people who share the same blood, skin colour and facial features? Or was it a desire to feel that I can fit back in, after what feels like being pulled out or deprived of that place? Was it an appreciation for the privilege of being pulled out from their poverty because of my parents’ efforts? But they look happy and content, despite being poor. I’m yearning for something that they have that I don’t have. Acceptance? Connection? Identity?
Once someone asked me what kind of girlfriend I’ll want to have as a dare question. So I said that she has to be humble, passionate, et cetera… That sort of thing.
She said, “No, no! I mean, would you like to have a Filipina or an Australian girlfriend.”
“Any, really. Depends. I don’t mind.”
“But between the two, which one do you think…”
She trails off.