As Filipinos embark on a new life as migrant workers abroad, there is little doubt that they set well-defined priorities: the education of children, build a new house or save up for married life.
While many try to fulfill these dreams, others have altered plans as they discover new opportunities abroad. Staying in Canada with the family seems better than toiling alone far from loved ones. Marrying a local man could open up career opportunities and better welfare benefits. Entering into a relationship with a wealthy citizen could bring financial windfall. With priorities altered, Filipinos abroad may no longer be in sync with promises pledged to families as they waved goodbye at the airport.
Some Filipinos have unwittingly or deliberately destroyed the fabric that binds the family, earning jeers from fellowmen as they fall in love abroad while maintaining families or relationships in the Philippines. Work has been disrupted. Regular communication with families back home stopped. Others have inevitably run against the law like getting pregnant out of wedlock, ending up deported with dreams shattered.
However, there are those whose focus is steadfast and allow no distractions to reshape their objectives of going abroad. One of them is Jean Castro, a household service worker in Singapore for the past nine years. According to AsiaOne interview, Jean “doesn’t need such problems to disrupt her work life in Singapore.”
“It is better to have peace of mind. I will avoid such things at all cost,” the 39-year-old single mother-of-two says as she dismisses the idea of finding a man in Singapore.
When her employer opened up the conversation about Marriage Restriction Policy, Jean wondered why anyone would even entertain the idea even if local laws on migrant workers entering into a relationship are relaxed.
“What is the point of expecting and hoping that everything will work out like a fairy tale when the law says you shouldn’t?” she asks.
Not that nobody has expressed that wish to be more than just friends to her.
When male friends bring up the idea, Jean just “get straight to the point and tell them that I don’t want to be in a relationship” as she is determined to provide her family a better life and use her saved money to invest in building a boarding house for university students at her hometown in Iloilo City.
“I never came here to have a relationship. I came here just to work and help provide for my family in the Philippines.”