29 March 2011

commenting on my english

So many times, within minutes upon meeting people (from hotels, travel agencies, recruitment agencies, car rental companies, etc), they usually comment on the way I speak. They will look at my business card, look at me again, and ask where I’m from. When I tell them I’m from the Philippines, they always (always!) say that I don’t sound like a Filipino because I speak English fluently, and with an American accent. Then they ask more questions and I have to tell them my life story...well, not exactly, but I have to tell them where I was born (and explain where it is, if they don’t know), that English was the first language I learned, yadda-yadda-yadda. It was a bit flattering at first, but then the compliment seemed to become like an insult after some time. It’s as if they expect Filipinos not to be able to speak English well, which is disappointing because I remember that many years ago, Filipinos had a reputation of being one of the nationalities in the world with the best English communication skills even though it wasn’t their native language. I know I can’t do anything about it...except maybe the next time someone tells me that I speak English very well, I’ll just reply: “Thank you. You do too.” =)

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