Thursday, November 24, 2022

10 Bad Habits of Many OFWs

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Overseas Filipino Workers as heroes are already becoming a cliche. We send money back to the Philippines, sustaining the lives of our families while stabilizing the dollar reserve that revived an otherwise lackluster Philippine economy.

But while we acknowledge our capabilities, we are also humans like everyone else. We get tired, we get confused, we have ugly habits, and make bad decisions.

Ugly habits OFWs need to change

1. We trust everyone else very easily.

Since we are working abroad, the sight of a Filipino seems a relief to us. We think that they are our long-lost friends and put trust in them so easily. No wonder many get duped by so-called friends who borrow money from us, use us as references or guarantors on loans, or even got our relationships and reputation in trouble because they circulate gossips to everyone. Online, we befriend people who, in the end, could only do more harm than good.

2. We send all our earnings to our families.

It’s a common argument that we are working abroad for the sake of our families: we send kids to school, we want to provide a decent house for our parents, or make our relatives more self-sufficient with our financial help to support a business. Coupled with a low salary and declining peso equivalent, we are bent on sending all our earnings back home. We deprive ourselves even of the most basic necessities like toiletries or meals just so that we can send more to families.

Ugly habits
Ugly habits: Woman sharing gossip woth another woman.

3. We want shortcuts.

We want to go abroad as quickly as possible. This could mean bypassing the necessary steps that would be OFWs need to follow like skipping the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar, paying a fixer to arrange our papers to save time, or bribing the medical examination agency to conceal our health condition.

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As a result, we continue to sustain the bad system (bribery and corruption) that we ourselves criticize later and suffer the consequences (terminated due to health conditions) while we’re already helpless abroad.

4. We spend more than what we earn.

Many of us are social climbers. We try to please everyone with our latest gadgets, jewelry, and clothing. This is not bad only if we are spending within our means. But many OFWs tend to be overshadowed by the lures of spending as we seek attention and admiration from others.

Worse, some of us had to take loan sharks or pawn our passports just to get more money to fuel our materialistic desires or spend lavishly while on vacation in the Philippines.

5. We don’t save for our future.

Putting our families above ourselves is a hallmark of a hero, but it also meant risking our future. We seem to ignore the fact that our stint as OFWs is finite and one day, we’ll pack our bags and go back home.

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We disregard investing in the stock market or choose to spend on weekend escapades than saving for a modest piece of real estate in the Philippines because we enumerate a list of expenses while complaining about our low salary and paltry currency exchange market.

6. We complain first before we research.

When the dollar falls against the peso, we blame the corrupt officials. When we hear news of Filipinos trapped in war zones, we blame corrupt officials. When someone is sentenced to imprisonment for drug trafficking we blame corrupt officials. We make hasty conclusions before we actually try to find out more about the issue.

Our limited knowledge is very dangerous especially if we assume we are faultless. Let’s try reading the news more and less on listening to what other people say.

Ugly habit that's also a crime: pickpocketing a fellow Filipina in Hong Kong.
Ugly habit that’s also a crime: pickpocketing a fellow Filipina in Hong Kong.

7. We encourage corruption

For us to avoid being offloaded at airports, we choose to bribe officials and proceed with our journey, then report the offending official and, in turn, change the country for the better. To expedite the processing of papers, we rely on “insiders” and fixers who do wonders in exchange for grease money. We are only willing to criticize but not ready to sacrifice especially if it means doing so will inconvenience us.

8. We don’t know how to say NO

When people approach us for favors (friends, family, colleagues, bosses), we grant these favors more often than not. Maybe it’s because of our nature to put others ahead of ourselves, which also pervades at work and dealing with other people.

But it also brings a false impression on us. If someone borrows money, and we say we can, these people might say we’re generous but also creates an impression that we’re financially well-to-do. Saying NO isn’t bad.

9. We easily get jealous

Some of us feel insecure and get jealous if a kababayan has emerged from just a mere OFW to a full-fledged balikbayan. Whether they are promoted at work or found a suitable partner, some of us can’t help but reveal that crab mentality and bash them instead of feeling happy for them.

It seems that we are happier if our kababayans are down, laid off from work, or abused by employers than improve their lives through honest, hard day’s work.

10. We can easily get involved in unwanted relationships

The feeling of homesickness can be used as an excuse to get involved in adulterous relationships. In doing so, we may have forgotten our families back home, just like beer that erases problems even for just a moment. Blinded by what good friends might say, we tell them to mind their own business even if the only they wanted our well-being.

These habits refer to many of us OFWs but it should be understood that it’s not a generalization. If anyone of us can relate to any of these bad habits, it’s likely we’re doing it.

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  1. Really agree! Most OFWs became defensive when you will tell them about these bad habbits. More and more are also involved in “extra sideline”, particularly the OFW women, who used to be involved in relationship with foreign men to have more money (as cheap as 50 Dollars per day-off). It affects not only the reputation of the involved OFW Pinays but also the entire Filipino community.

  2. sad reality po ito kahit saang bahagi ng Mundo na me OFW. Dito rin sa kinaroroonan ko, talo ng mga cleaners sa pabonggahan ng gadgets ang mga nagtatrabaho sa office, establishments, etc! sahod lng nila nasa 700-900 dirhams pero ang mga gadgets, kung hindi mga branded mobiles eh mha high-ends na tablets! ako, hanggan Nokia C-3 lng, mag 4 yrs na ito sa akin hehehehe..

    Minsan nakakahiya pinanggagawa nila dito… yung Uganda kong kasama, sabi pa sa akin, paano daw “nakakayanan” ng kababayan natin makipag relasyon sa mga Africans na ang lalaki nila. para akong natanga at na speechless.

  3. Wow ,I would disagree about doing that short cut,from my experienced,I been working as a domestic helper for 13yrs in Singapore but when I planned to work in Hong Kong which I am right now,when I decided to exit in Philippines I went thru a lot of bullshit in Philippines from so called agency to that medical examination,in that hospital which held all the medical examination I don’t think there there were a chance to BRIBE those doctors or any of stuff there,they are all in cahoots with the agency to extort money from this OFW,instead of bribing them am working for 13 yrs and what the heck I went thru TESDA or so called training just for me to able to work in hong Kong,all these procedure are bullish! ….you guys no nothing about OFW as well

  4. Marami ang ganyan dito sa ibang bansa,kung ano ang in or bago sa mga gadget bili dito bili duon…
    Tas crab mentality talaga ay talamak,hndi naman masama ang mainggit kung ito positibo huwag sa negative side,kung mainggit sana sa kapwa gawing motivation sana yun to strive more,work hard kaso hndi eh,pag nainggit na gagawan na ng hndi maganda ang kapwa…

  5. it’s true about OFW we rent out our property to the filipino workers for just half of the rent just to help them out ginawang squater ang bahay namin party all the time sometimes late yong rent nila magaling pang makipag argue kahit mali naman sila they want to stay in 5 star hotel but their budget is motel only. Such headache they even pushed me when I was asking them a question. My goodness they give you such stress.No appreciation mga mayayabang pa they tell you I’m journalist I’m going to be a lawyer I’m rich in the philippines. wow I almost said if you are rich you came here as an immigrant not a OFW. enough already stop pretending.

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