Crusading against the devil in others

Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes even perceptibly worse than it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself …Today it is everywhere self-evident that we are on the side of Light, they on the side of Darkness. And being on the side of Darkness, they deserve to be punished and must be liquidated (since our divinity justifies everything) by the most fiendish means at our disposal… ~ Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudun.
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Another culture clash story

She tells me again that many Filipinos are stupid and if the doctor decides he doesn’t like the dog he will just let it go in the street and the stupid Filipinos will eat it.

I like to think I’m a transnational, 3rd culture person who is not your typical American but I am an American well indoctrinated on racism and the things you cannot say and I do not know what to do with this.  It’s more awkward for a well indoctrinated American to listen to Filipinos talk about race and skin colour than it is to have that dream where you realize you are giving a speech in public and if you are lucky you are wearing underwear.  My entire inside writhes with embarrassment and humiliation and cringe. You can’t say that stuff. But this is not America and she is not white and she is not American and Filipinos mostly do not see these things the same way well indoctrinated Americans do* and this does not compute and my circuits are frying with all the disconnects and the tears.
Did I mention how I feel about tears?

P tells me firmly, “Give the dog to your helper. I insist.”

My helper can’t take the dog.  We already asked. Also, she is also Filipina, so I don’t understand. More tears from neighbour. Did I mention tears make me frantically look for exits? Did I mention Kryptonite?

“I cry all day,” she says, grabbing my sopping, sweaty, arm.

I cringe in embarrassment over her hand now dipped in my nasty sweat.  Also, I have to pee.

P. tells me, “I would take him, but I already have a dog so I insist your helper will take him.”

The Filipina helper who cannot take the dog also already has a dog- and she doesn’t have a house.  She lives in her church building.

I do not know what else to do.  I’m desperate.  “I’m so sorry,” I plead. “We’ll keep looking, okay?”

I try to take a step. She doesn’t let go.

I look at the sky, which is darker and darker. I really need to pee.  I clench everything I need to clench and some things that I don’t.

“I love Hog-eye,” she says.

“Yes,”I agree, “you are so kind.  You do love… ” I stop.  OH no.  WHAT?

She finishes my sentence.   “I love Hog-eye. I am so stressed I cry for Hog-eye.”

Lord save me please.

Hawk-eye. The dog’s name is Hawk-eye & I really need to pee & I’m stressed & in a panic over all the tears. Lord. Don’t let me laugh do not let me laugh, please don’t let me disgrace myself & embarrass her by laughing and then disgrace and embarrass myself by what’s surely going to happen if I laugh. (I am not laughing because it’s funny but because I am trapped in a horror film and stressed.  It’s funeral laughter, OKAY?)

This is an emergency, LORD, PLEASE!!!

She releases my arm, I mutter more abject apologies & race home for the CR (toilet). I lay down in front of the fan to stop the sweating- which is now more from the panic attack induced by the tears of solid kryptonite then the heat because the rain has started so the temperature dropped to a balmy 85 degrees and 130% humidity.

I start writing this & I kid you not, she comes to my gate with a neighbour who she has talked into taking the dog.

I do not know how many neighbours she has asked in the half hour since she let me go.

My husband goes out to greet them and shows him the dog and they make conversation and it turns out that also, he might buy the bed we are trying to sell without success and maybe some other things too, and he will come back in a few days with his daughters to play with the dog and it’s all very jolly and happy.

Also, he is Filipino.

*This has probably been one of the most eye-opening things about living in the Philippines. All those hyphenated Americans and even more especially the not hyphenated at all but lily white liberal Americans making up rules for the rest of us about what is and is not appropriate and acceptable and what is cultural appropriation and they are the authorities on all this?  The actual Asians back in Asia (because it’s not just Filipinos we meet here in this very multinational city), and the actual Africans back in African (or here in Davao), mostly think they are whiny nut-cases.


Part 2- I told some American friends and they told the story of how there was an error on their electric bill and it was really high and before they ever got the bill, everybody living in their complex had seen and discussed their electric bill.  They hired a local contractor to come do some carpentry work sealing in their air-con better, and HE had seen and heard all about their bill.

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Eastern Vs Western Communication

Every word of this is truer than true, which did not stop me from laughing so hard I had tears running down my cheeks.  Dave Barry on visiting Japan (but this is true of at least two other eastern cultures with which I have some passing familiarity):

“Compared with the Japanese, the average American displays in communication all the subtlety of Harpo hiting Zeppo with a dead chicken. The Japanese tend to communicate via nuance and euphemism, often leaving important things unsaid; whereas Americans tend to think they’re being subtle when they refrain from grabbing the listener by the shirt.  (and they are all generally very reluctant to come right and tell a person “no.”


He created a handy little table, which, to this American is side splittingly funny, but it’s not at all subtle.  Nevertheless, you should probably understand what these things probably mean:

I see.  Translation: No.

Ah.  Translation: No

Ah-hah.  Translation: No.

Yes.  Translation: No.

That is difficult.  Translation: That is completely impossible.

That is very interesting.  Translation: Why are you still asking for the impossible, you boorish American? Don’t you know enough to be embarrassed?

We will study your proposal.  Translation: We will feed your proposal to a goat.


I couldn’t find a youtube video of the Marx brothers with a chicken (that sounds more like The Three Stooges to me), but I did find this:


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Self Awareness Level Zero

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Sending food to your college kid

My last two babies are in college. I send one of them a gift card for gas (when her big sister remembers to take care of that transaction for me, LOL).
I send my son some groceries once a month. Last year I did it via Amazon. This year he has a car so he can go pick them up at Walmart via their grocery pick up service.
I could just send a check, and in some ways, he’d probably prefer that (last year I couldn’t, it was Amazon affiliate money). But I like being able to pick some of the food he eats (even if he probably gives some of those same foods away) and I like being able to throw in something like a box of hot cocoa mix, or a bag of mini candy bars or a pint of cherry tomatoes once in a while. It’s one small way to maintain a personal touch across the oceans that divide us. Also, he has to text me at least once or twice since I need him to tell me the best time for him to pick up the order and to tell me if he needs more cooking oil or not.;-D
I am tickled that he asked for ingredients to make Korean beef (with ground beef), and for raw broccoli.
Walmart gave me an affiliate link, so if you have never used their grocery pick up service and you want to give it a try, if you use my link, each of us gets ten dollars to apply toward an order.
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