And suddenly, I was on spotlight


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?

19 thoughts on “And suddenly, I was on spotlight

  1. Must be interesting how to you maintained your composure. I really do not like the idea of raising children so they can take care of us or expect to get “pension” from the children when we grow older. That is quite selfish.


    • I was just speechless. REALLY. Maybe with my mouth open, even. The training coordinator was also Indian but has traveled a lot and seen different cultures…he was also shocked.

      It took me a while to decide to publish that post but thought I’d get it out there!


  2. That was mean.

    This guy is gender biased (expecting the LADY to make tea for everyone??) and judgmental. He made assumptions out of things that were discussed for just a few minutes! He does not know you or your family to comment on how you were brought up.


  3. reading this entry- my blood almost went boiling point! had i been you, i could have said something.. from his line of questioning p lang, very nosy! but yes, these kind of people exists, that is their problem, not yours. i think he’s just jealous, we have that liberty to chose who we love and who we chose to be with for the rest of our lives.


  4. I am so sorry you have to hear or block every word coming out from his foul mouth. But I believe he represents only a tiny percent of his nationality

    I have met a few of them and so far they are amazed and I do detect a hint of wistfulness that they can do the same : be free of obligations to support parents or uncles. Or that they have freedom to choose whom to send to school.


    • Most of my colleagues and other staff from our company group come from the less modern part of India. I can’t blame them for being so opinionated about other cultures that shock them…he was just so rude for voicing out loudly in the middle of our training.

      That was really uncalled for.


  5. WOW this man sounds crazy,
    my stepmother comes from India (from a high cast family) and all her siblings and her self included have lived (some continue to do so) and work abroad, and I am pretty sure they are not expected to look after their parents (but perhaps this is because they are financially stable, I don’t know) My stepmother also married outside of her race and cast, my father although born in England is from Barbados!

    This man actually sounds like my partners family, who are all english. They are so obsessed with the ‘family’ and how the younger generation needs to be close by and live in one anothers’ pockets (it can be so claustrophobic!), and were horrified when one of his cousins moved to Dubai with her husband and had her child there instead of the UK. They won’t be happy when my partner and I announce we have the same intentions to go to Dubai in a couple of years (once we are married obviously lol)



  6. My blood boils whenever I hear these kinds of stories. Somehow Dubai attracts these assholes into one place. I have had my fair share of arrogant pricks who live in either the stone ages (like the fine fellow up there) or lala-land. Gosh!


  7. We all know there are different cultural norms and different social attitudes in many countries, but it is always a shock to find someone who is supposedly educated and “modern” to be so ignorant, intolerant and judgmental. Even if this man personally wanted to adhere to his own cultural habits and convictions, he should have at least known they are not shared by much of the “modern” world.

    It must have been really difficult to listen to his tirade! However, don’t let it bother you. He’s the one who has the problem, not you, so don’t waste your energy.


    • My husband was furious why I didn’t talk back but like what you said, I didn’t want to waste my energy. He sounded stupid when he was ‘preaching’ – the whole room was just shocked at his non-stop blabber!


  8. I’m sorry about this Grace, that you met someone this chauvinist. I am married to an Indian, and he’s none of those bigotries that man certainly is!

    Some attain degrees but they are not really educated. I would guess that man is a hardline Hindu, who puts his country more backwards by his racist views and snubbing other people, even his countrymen due to caste – he and others are the reason caste had been abolished by laws yet still prevails in India! He and others are the reason why not many of Indian women are enjoying the freedom Indian men are having.

    We Filipinos are more independent. I believe we have the same set of parents – once you get married you should be able to manage on your own. Heck, we get trained early for independence, right, since we are sent somewhere usually far for college?

    And that BS he’s saying that someone has to be constantly with their parents, I rather think he’s “caring” a lot for them for what he gets after – inheritance from parents’ assets. Sorry for the sarcasm, but I too had met enough of his kind to know his actual motives.


    • I am glad your husband is forward thinking. There are a lot of prejudices against interracial marriages some are funny while most are insulting. I have faced a lot being married to a Japanese – most don’t know how I deal with the language barrier…they don’t know I am more fluent in Japanese than Tagalog! (I don’t speak Tagalog because I am from the south!)


  9. I haven’t read all the comments yet but I just wanna comment on your post. First of all, Indian women are not considered part of the family after marriage…daughters are always considered to be their in-laws so I don’t know what that guy is talking about! Also, its not true that Indians can’t marry out of their race…look at me for example! I know plenty of Indians who marry out of race/caste. Shoot my parents ran away and got married because they’re from different castes and its becoming more and more common these days. He needs to sit down with his judgmental self! Thanks all folks lol


  10. It must have been very difficult to not lash back at this one tracked minded person (I am holding back uncouth words myself right now). I mean, who is he to judge you on precept norms and morals.

    Sheesh. I applaud you Grace for being cool and composed. In the end, that’s what proper breeding is all about.


    • My husband was like, why did you let this pass?! You should have lashed back!

      But I thought explaining to someone with fixed (distorted) prejudices is futile. And it’s best not to argue with an idiot; the people around looking at the two of you might not know the difference!


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