Tuesday, December 11, 2007


One of my favorite things about multinational assignments is, well, its very definition - the opportunity to work with people from different places. That leads to a rare treat that I hardly ever get to enjoy back home, insulting one another nationality.

- While at work

Scotsman - I can't understand this. It seems to be written by a Filipino.
Filipino - I heard that Scots learn to read at a later age than most.
Englishman - Yeah, like 40.

- Discussing that rare treat for the economy class traveller
American - I've never been upgraded to business class.
Englishman - That's because they know you're an American, and can't appreciate it.

- After getting into an accident and coming to work with a bandage on my face
Scotsman - I don't know much about Filipinos. Aren't you all on boats?
Englishman - I'd be careful, he fights. Look at him.
Filipino - Yeah, when the immigration officer denied my application for asylum, I took exception.
Scotsman - Well, if you gave (the Englishman) over there as a reference, I'm not surprised they denied you. You should feel fortunate that they didn't lock you up.

To be fair though, that last comment is close to the truth for 2 of my British colleagues.

One Scot just returned from a Caribbean cruise, and he mentioned that the majority of the crew were Filipinos, and seemed to be well appreciated and tipped by the other vacationers.

The Englishman related that his first work experience with Filipinos was while working with a supply boat company in Nigeria. Part of his duties was to go out and inspect the various boats, mostly with Filipino crews. On one trip, he found a chiller filled with beer and he straightaway informed the crew that it was against regulations to drink on board. The crew chief replied with a straight face that no, they don't drink on board. He smiled and asked the Englishman if he would care to have one. Carry on the, the Englishman said. He said to me that the Filipinos stood out for making him feel so welcome.

I treasure these moments and stories, that make one feel more unique and less alone all at the same time.