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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why Expats ignore fellow Expats?

Earlier, my husband mentioned about a post he read from one of the "Expat forums in the Philippines". The topic was "Why expats never acknowledge each other when they bump into each other?"
It has been my question too for a long time. And this happens not only to expatriates in the Philippines but also to expats around the world. I asked Sean once before, "Why you never greet nor acknowledge the other English people that you bump into and vice versa?" He shrugged and replied, "They are just another group of strangers." Filipinos, by nature, are very friendly, courteous and smile a lot even in times of difficulties. However, these traits aren't always present when Filipinos live and work in other countries. I think, expats' attitude (from any nation) toward fellow expats are affected by and in some way, adapt to the culture of their present country of residence.

With that said, I would like to ask other expatriates, do you acknowledge your own countrymen?

On the contrary, people hardly take notice of others in the neighbourhood, not even the one living next door. When the time comes that one has to work abroad, these questions pop to some people's minds: "Why should we greet a total stranger even if he or she comes from our homeland? Should we suddenly be courteous? Or should we acknowledge fellow expats with hypocritical politeness? Do we really have to? Who cares? Nevertheless, I can only speak for myself. Seeing other Filipino expats is a pure delight and pride. More importantly, having the chance to meet other expatriates is one of the good therapies for homesickness. Longing for loved ones and motherland can be very depressing. Worse, it can be exacerbated by unfamiliar environment and/or foreign culture. I know this feeling very well because I've been living in different countries the past decade. With that said, I would like to ask other expatriates, do you acknowledge your own countrymen?


  1. It depends. If I'm seated beside them , like for example in a train or waiting room, I'd greet them but if they're just shopping around or they're busy with something else, I don't. If she looks haughty and bitchy, I don't. I might not know that she is in her bad mood that day, so I don't know greet.

  2. hi, i am not an expat but i have plans to go abroad if God will allow. it saddens me to learn that this is the case. i would like that i get to talk to fellow Filipinos abroad when i get there but how i wonder how i would react if rejected. oh, well, i think i don't have to fret about it yet. :-)

    nice post, btw.

  3. Hi Bingkee and Bingskee!

    Goodness gracious! I just realized bingkee and bingskee are 2 different persons / bloggers.

    @ bingkee: I'm not suggesting that it's a MUST to greet other expats. Acknowledging fellow expatriates with just a simple "nod" should suffice.

    @ bingskee: before you venture abroad, try to research about the nation's culture. So, you don't get a "culture-shock"



  4. Well, about being busy, I don't want to call their attention just to give them a greeting. They might be annoyed. And the other thing, I had 3 experiences that I greeted somebody only to be snubbed by fellow Filipinas. I should have been warned then--their looks had already given it all that they're "snobbish".
    I live in the northeast of America, and Filipinos here are really not that close. It's because most Filipinos don't just live in one community but separated in proximity. Everybody's too busy to be bothered even by a hello.


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