To Speak Tagalog or English in Public?

We went to the post office this afternoon to submit some government forms. There were like five open counters and a single long queue of people that follow the first come, first served rule. That is, when a counter (whichever one) becomes available, the next one in the queue gets served in that counter. Anyway, that wasn’t really the important bit.

Raquel and I got a counter served by a caucasian lady. The counter beside her wasn’t “open for business,” so to speak, but was manned by a lady whom we both thought looked Filipino (or as we say back home, Filipina). We started to talk to the caucasian lady at the counter about our forms when the adjacent lady whispered to me, “Pilipino kayo? (Are you Filipinos?)” I responded that we were indeed Filipinos, in English.

This was when the dilemma started for me.

We were supposed to be talking to the caucasian lady at the counter in English but the Filipino lady was talking to us in Tagalog. So, do I reply to the Filipino lady in Tagalog or in English? If I conversed with her in English, the Filipino lady might think that we are so full of ourselves. However, if we talked to her in Tagalog, the caucasian lady might think that we are rude.

I mean, back in the Philippines, I dislike it when I have Chinese-Filipino acquaintances who suddenly talk in Fukien to each other even though they can speak perfect Tagalog and even though I was right there! I thought that was pretty rude of them since they know I don’t speak Fukien.

I do not want to be that which I dislike so I decided to talk to the Filipino lady in English even though she was talking to me in Tagalog. Well, most of the time, at least. I sneak in some Tagalog words here and there just so she wouldn’t think I’m *too* full of myself.

Anyway, I gave her my number. In Melbourne where we don’t know a lot of Filipinos yet, it’s always good to meet new Filipinos here.

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Published in: on April 28, 2005 at 12:21 am  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. it’s nice to see filipinos in there but they are just strange for youright? you dont know if they are bad or good.and some filipino snub w/ same filipino who lived there ~~!!


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