Its a question I ask a lot lately as everywhere seems to have brick walls when your trying to make progress. You try to get involved with things for local communities you run the risk of embarrassing the local government officials. You want to redecorate a school that has never been painted yet at the same time wonder will it actually damage the schools financial budget next year as it would be assumed your pockets are forever deep. I look for sustainable development and it seems so many people are looking for projects that will require continuous investment. I know it doesn’t work already as I have dealt with government organisations in the UK who always overspend on purpose to try and get more money the next year so why would creating a money pit be beneficial to anyone long term? Then there is “its yours” mentality which I have seen several times now and some of it directly related to myself where people will mistreat something because it doesn’t belong to them. Including my welding machine that looks like it was dropped from a building. In the Philippines its often excepted but my western perspective is different. If I borrow something I will bring it back in the same condition I borrowed it in, If I break it I replace it. Because something isn’t mine means I will take extra care of it.
Projects I work on are giveaway but they have to be something that people give in the future as well. E.g. if I started a plant nursery and got the first seedlings and gave them to other people to grow on I would expect them to pass some of their next batch onto neighbours etc. Not sell them.
Often I do things for people and expect nothing in return but here I have found people adding commission to so many things as a friend of mine said he has no Pinoy friends because he wouldn’t want to get friendly and then they do something to offend him. Which originally I found harsh but over time and the fact he has been here for more than eight years some of them very difficult due to financial thefts and other problems relating to trusting people I can understand what he means. Similar statements come from friends in Makati that friendship just ends up in being abused.
Do you agree on this? I am still a bit puzzled as I try to think on how to take the money side out of a lot of friendships and generally it will come round to the same thing. There was something I was involved with that I found that although everything I was doing I paid for and donated extra that others were literally claiming for everything including fuel and lunches as expenses yet everyone else as part of the project just absorbed the costs as their own.
Somewhere along the way things have gone wrong and a lot of the trends are appearing which simply shouldn’t be there. I do have the odd friend like it in the UK but generally you just avoid anything financial with them as you know they skim. At the same time I wouldn’t buy them a beer when I am out either as I know somewhere down the line they have managed to rip me off for something. But that is probably about one person in three hundred. Generally I probably have more friends that would give things than take and willing to do stuff just because I am involved. So why is it with some of the stuff here that I get involved in which is “free” or donations/charitable are some people looking to make a profit or a sideline income?
I think I have got to the point where I no longer fit in anywhere. General civilian life in the UK is completely different to the military one I was brought up in, Philippines life I find myself nearly three years on and still a Foreigner I have intergreated more than a lot of other people but still its the white face standing out amongst the crowd. But at the same time I wonder if its a bad thing? Maybe I do need to start distancing myself more and aligning more with Expat’s of similar backgrounds and businesses. Time will tell but personally I think once a Foreigner always a Foreigner as things will always come back to it.