A few weeks ago, I was grabbing a quick lunch at Rosellini’s in the Makro Cainta complex. Typical of days when I had to run to different suppliers, I combed back my long hair into a high ponytail. That day, I sported a black long-sleeved crew-neck t-shirt, black flaired pants and black sneakers. I looked like a member of the legion of the undead on her day off — except I wore better make-up. As accessories, I wore earrings with small pearls set in white gold and a 101 Dalmatians purse — yep, faux spotted dog fur, baby!
A little girl, about four, approached me as I was midway through my lunch salad and chirped in strained English, “I like your bag.”
I smiled at the pretty little thing and said to her parents who were watching their child with pride from the next table: “She’s so pretty and friendly. Mukhang magiging politiko ho yata ang anak n’yo.”
The father reacted quickly. “A hindi ho — mag-Ja-Japan ho ang anak ko!”
I waited for a recant, a punchline, a chortle; but it never came.
Do modern Filipino parents, very unlike my own, now weave dreams of their children singing and dancing on foreign soil over pursuing professions of a more “noble” character? Do high school guidance counsellors now see a surge in students preferring to go into entertainment rather than law, finance, engineering or god forbid, public service?
Then the reality of Gloria-gate, Ping, jueteng, the congressional inquiries, the ballooning deficit flooded my consciuousness; and I finally got it. Suggesting one’s daughter was politician-material was equivalent to staining the family honesty, honor and dignity. My comment was equivalent to attacking them with insults so vile, the Mom was probably restraining the Dad from stabbing me dead with a butter knife.