And we all giggled when we left the meeting, thinking, “Those expats, if only they’d learn to speak like locals!” Hong Kong’s part-time girlfriends (and a boyfriend) tell their stories Remembering it now, I am actually embarrassed. ” Asks a man across the aisle from me on a flight to Hong Kong from Tokyo. I’ve been to Cebu, Bohol, Boracay…” This reaction is the usual spiel I get from foreigners who have been to my country.
My terrorised twenty-two-year-old self had to run across Nathan Road and jump over a barrier to get away from him. ” “Yes.” “If your friends want a job they can get in touch with me.” He shoves his workbook on my tray table and motions emphatically for me to write my details.Here, we’re seen as opportunistic, gold-digging, lazy, untrustworthy, promiscuous, and dirty. That woman who will be all over men with white skin and/or deep pockets. A foreigner will not see or respect a Filipino woman the same way he will see or interact with a European, Latina, or Australian woman. If it were a Spanish pija (posh girl) they would never come on that way! “I’d love to go back to the Philippines.” I turn my back on the wistful expression on his face, my skin crawling. It is with a sinking feeling that I listen to the beginning of that all-too-familiar speech that has invaded introductory conversations with men (and some women) for most of my twenties. I want to be regarded with more respect and dignity.On a night out in Madrid, my Spanish girlfriend and I were making our way out of a nightclub. An Irish man I used to date told his officemates about me once. Of course, you can prove them wrong when they get to know you.A few days back, in Tokyo, an Australian man – a friend of a friend, whom I met at a birthday event – turned passive-aggressive on me when I refused to pander to him, as he was clearly expecting something else.“Bitchy” was one of the words he used in that conversation, during which he also tried to prove that my English was bad after I used a word he didn’t recognise: “repressed”.