I was in a corporate training session a few weeks back about “Interpersonal Relations”. I know the trainer really well and he is good. I love the topic too.
At the start of the training session, we were made to write our names in a small piece of paper and the trainer folded it and put it in a hat. Then we picked out a name, asked keep it to ourselves and asked to observe the person with the name we picked for the duration of the training session. When the trainer asked who wants to share what they observed about the person they picked, a young man raised his hands.
“I observed that the lady went inside the cafeteria during our break and only made a tea for herself and did not make for others!”
I was the only ‘lady’ in that training session.
Everyone looked at me and I was speechless – was I required to serve these people!? Hell, no. I don’t know where that came from!
The man then grinned at me and said he was just joking. The trainer gave us 10 minutes to chit-chat and he asked me questions like, why my family name is Japanese (for which I answered because my husband is Japanese, how many siblings I have and where are they now (I answered they are all working and living abroad). He commented who takes care of my parents now and isn’t it weird that I am not living with my parents. I said my parents are living on their own and in the Philippines, we really don’t have any obligations to live with our parents after marriage. If at all, my parents rule was this: when you choose to marry, that means you can stand on your own and not live with your parents. Plus, my parents are not comfortable living with any of their married children.
Chit chat session done.
When the trainer asked again “so what have you learned from each other during the chit chat session?”, the man did not wait for the trainer’s cue to call him and started blabbing away like an automatic rifle:
“Sir, I don’t get why this lady can marry someone different from her race! In India (this is the first of his “In India” litany of preaches), it’s very difficult to marry someone from outside your caste, or religion, or state or with different language!”
He goes on to say that my marriage will certainly not last and I’m causing trouble for myself. Ahem, I’ve been married for more than 10 years now, thank you very much.
And as if that was not enough to put me in a spotlight, he continued:
“And I also learned that people from the Philippines are brought up without emotional attachment for their parents! They just go, get married and leave parents on their own. In India…children are responsible for their parents. He takes a breath and continued..In India, someone has to be there constantly for them!”
Shocked is a very gentle word for what I felt. The trainer has to interrupt the man to stop his judgemental (more like MENTAL) speech against me.
These are people walking around wearing modern clothes, having graduated from universities, holding a degree yet completely showcase their stone age ideas proudly. And after that spotlight moment, I think: how many more people look at me that way as I walk around the work place?