Working abroad

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I DROPPED by Friday last week at the Canadian consulate office together with three others to secure for the latter the opportunity to land employment there. The three are my close kin who have acquired various skills since finishing high school.

Two of them are a couple and the husband is my grandnephew. The other is my grandson-in-law. I am quite lucky that the consul himself has been a friend of long standing, going to many years back.

I sat and waited for him to go through the usual process of his office in determining if the individual who wants to go Canada is worthy enough to become a resident there, or is just a contract employee with a business/corporate firm before maybe eventually qualifying--if he or she chooses--to be a potential naturalized citizen.

But normally, if one has only finished high school--meaning he is not a degree holder--he can just be a contract worker.

However, the cConsul said that, through the years of dealing with people who desire to work in Canada, he realized that those who go there could help each other by working diligently and behaving properly as they are expected to. Then they are able to protect and sustain the good name of their Filipino coworkers.

Those who go there as contractual personnel end up working for two years at a time.

Consul Bob Lee said he has helped a number of Filipinos become good “Canadians.”

Actually, what I truly accept without any measure of hesitation regarding the Canadian consul’s view is the observation about our people working overseas: that their being able to work diligently, behave properly, and maintain good relationship among themselves create a wholesome image of our people abroad.

They are able to “build" a sort of community among themselves in a foreign land that is acceptable and admirable to their “host.”

But I have heard of many tales about our people who have gone abroad, and how they “exported” some of their ways of surviving here to their “adapted” countries, and explode with joy in the telling for having succeeded.

One of my favorites is the one told to me by a friend who had been TNT (tago ng tago) in Los Angeles, California some years ago. They could not get work unless they could produce a “card.” (Was it a social security card?)

And so, they resorted to the making of facsimile or counterfeit card, with an expert counterfeiter of a Filipino making them. I learned about it many years ago during a stopover on my way to attend the Apec conference in Washington State with then president Fidel Ramos.

The LA Filipinos would meet at a Filipino-owned Cafe downtown and make the deal. A similar case happened in a Middle East country. This one is about counterfeit driver’s licenses.

In any case, my point is that we make our image abroad in the way we work and behave.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 03, 2013.


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