“Nana” is a cute word, ain’t it?


Its an alternative word for Nanny. The popularized Urban Legend of a question asked to Precious Lara Quigaman really broadened my perception of Nannies.

It is said that when asked the question,”What do you say to the people of the world who have typecasted filipinos as nannies?" she brilliantly answered, “I take no offense on being typecasted as a nanny. But i do take offense that the educated people of the world have somehow denegrated the true sense and meaning of what a nanny is... let me tell you what she is. She is someone who gives more than she takes. She is someone you trust to look after the very people most precious to you – your child, the elderly, yourself. She is the one who has made a living out of caring and loving other people. So to those who have typecasted us as nannies, thank you. It is a testament to the loving and caring culture of the Filipino people. And for that, I am forever proud and grateful of my roots and culture.

I was blown away.

Just recently, I was asked a favor to look after a close friend’s daughter, whose school was right next to where I worked. I obliged of course. My friend took me with her to school to introduce me to the teachers just so I’m permitted to pick up our Princess. Initially, when one of the parents saw me, asked my friend “Is she your new nanny?” I took a few seconds to try to weigh whether I would be offended, or whether I’d accept the fact that my race is known to work as nannies almost worldwide.

And then I began to assess myself: Was I dressed like a Nanny? Did I look like one? How is a Nanny supposed to look like anyway? How is a Nanny supposed to dress?

I was in my jeans and flats, my hair was braided and I was wearing a black flowy top with pleats. I wasn’t in my usual office outfit – but then again, facing the reality that most people look down on my race, no matter how presentable I was, I would still be seen as a Nanny.

Earlier today, two ladies, one of which I thought was one of the most kind-hearted women I’ve known (which is rare because as much as I hate to stereotype, people from their country almost always act like they poop gold and buy the oxygen they need to fill up their lungs, and God knows I am 95% correct most of the time) were speaking in their language, and I accidentally found out that she was talking about me and my bestfriend. The conversation went somewhat like this :

Lady 1 : What are these two girls doing here everyday?
Lady 2 : Well you know, when people of the higher class have no time to pick up their children, they send lower class people to take them.

My jaw dropped. Mostly because I thought she was really nice, which, as I said, was rare for women like her. I’m still in shock because I didn’t expect to be wrong about her.

If I were thought to be a Nanny, that was fine. But low class? In what sense? Was it the way I spoke? The way I carried myself? The way I ... dressed?

What made them classify us as low class people? We looked presentable. Is it because they were in designer clothes? I own designer clothes. Is it because they're from a country that was colonized by France? What does that have to do with anything?

These are facts. I told myself to remain as humble as I could and just shrug it off. One of them even said "Bye" and threw a sweet smile at us. How did she find it in herself to do that after what she said about us?

And then I remembered that a social status only lasts while we're on earth, none of that matters to God.

So what is it, then?

I work in a place where I’m surrounded by Nannies and House help of different races. Some of them act like a diva, some of them boss us around, some are rude, most of them are gossip-mongers, and most of them come from my country.

Its not what they do for a living that makes me judge my fellow kababayans – its their attitude, really. And this is what I hope we’d learn.

I’m not so sure what I’m trying to imply. This entry is all over the place but I sure do hope that you picked up several things from reading this.

This is how the world has embraced my race. I can proudly say that I am from a third-world country. I like being one of the few who can proudly hold my head high and say that I’m a Filipina.

So what if most of us are Nannies? Domestic Helpers? We’re doing what we can to provide for our families. Taking care of other people’s children and not being able to do the same for our own is harder than you think. Its heartbreaking.

I turned to my bestfriend and told her not to think about it. I knew where I stood. I may not be filthy rich but being classy meant more than having a stuffed wallet. And honestly they definitely went lower than what they classified us as.

My Mother certainly did not carry me in her womb for nine months to be treated this way by anyone else. My Father did not work hard to provide for me to be thought of this way by anyone else.

So it should go the same for you. As long as you know that you're doing no harm to anyone, NEVER LET OTHERS STEP ON YOU LIKE THIS. I'm not saying that you fight them back (physically, ha!) cos that's stooping down to their level. Instead, grace them with a smile, and let them think they've fooled you to believe that they're kind-hearted and innocent. LET THEM THINK YOU'RE STUPID! You'll know when you have to stand up for yourself.

And most of all, think about how we weren't worth it but always remember how God sacrificed His only son for us. If that isn't enough to make you realize your self-worth then I don't know what else to tell you.

TO ALL THE NANNIES AND OFWs WHO HAVE BEEN LOOKED DOWN ON AND BELITTLED - this one's for you. God bless us all.

5 comments:

  1. You SO do not look like a nanny, Abbie and personally I babysit little kids i taiwan like a nanny and it's no shame. But yes, to be called lower class is below the belt and it's surprising that she could act two faced. :|

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  2. aw :( I felt bad after reading this.
    This should be passed on, Abbie. Let me spread the word.

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  3. I thought by "nana" you meant grandma. :P
    But, whoa, I can't believe somebody 'educated' and classifies themselves as 'high class' would say something like that so casually. SMH. They don't own the world.

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  4. Wow. Really moving post. But off the record, part of the reason why our neighbor countries misjudge us is because there are some [not generalizing] OFW's who would also bring us down. Like in HK, even your own kababayan will swindle you. You can't ask them favor to take your photo [assuming your tourist] because there's a 98% they will steal it. Not like if you go in US, Filipinos are most likely to be respected because those of professional status can afford to go there and they can see the classy side of us. I just hope that even our own kababayans, in their own simple way, would bring pride to the name of country.

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  5. I don't know what to say except that this is a very beautiful entry and I couldn't have said it any better.

    Ugh, they may see themselves from the "higher class" (Go flatter yourselves, Ladies 1 and 2!) but didn't they they know they were acting otherwise?! The nerve to still flash a sweet smile after everything they said! Sometimes I can't believe and fathom just how two-faced some people can be.

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