Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Uncles and Aunties

When I was a kid, I call everyone that is around my parents' age Uncle and Auntie. I'm not sure if this practice is shared among all Filipino cultures, but at least that's how I was brought up.

One normally calls a person Uncle or Auntie, when he is related to your parents - their siblings or cousins. But that address extends to your parents' friends, as well. And for some, they even use that term to address strangers on an informal basis. It's a sign of respect for the elders.

I guess there is always that sense of community among the Filipinos. It's very typical of Filipinos to feel close to someone even if they only met recently. Filipinos use the word "friend" lightly. Acquaintances are friends already.

Ever since I moved to Sweden, I have learned not to treat everyone as friends. It seems here, when you refer someone to as "friend", it means you have shared a lot of private moments and have been through a lot.

But sometimes you just miss that feeling. That feeling of camaraderie, community. The sense of belongingness. I think that's why when Filipinos get together, they tend to be really loud and rowdy, and crazy at times. I just attended that type of get-together so I'm still a little hung up.

Unfortunately, there are always two sides of a coin. There is always that danger of people becoming too familiar, that they tend to intrude on your personal life. And talk about you. And invade your privacy. That "familiarity" sort of gives one the right to do that.

Most of the Swedes are very private. They only talk about safe topic, safe sentiments. They don't openly discuss their relationships or about their emotions. They have that wall that is very hard to penetrate. You'd think you've shared a bond the day before, then the day after, back goes that wall between you.

Seeing those sides of the coin... There is always a good and a bad to each side. It's just a matter of perspective.

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