“Puta! College graduate ako pero ano ang ginagawa ko, naglilinis ng inodoro.” ~ Joy
(Loose Translation – Fuck! I have a college degree but what am I doing now – cleaning the toilet.”
Hello, Love, Goodbye follows the plight of oversees Filipino workers in Hongkong focusing on Joy and Ethan’s stories. Joy was a registered nurse in the Philippines who was forced to work as a domestic helper (DH) in HK to help her family back home. Ethan was a bartender who wanted to get his residency in HK. Their lives entangled by accident and the movie showed their journey in finding love and the fulfillment of their dreams.
Watching Joy’s struggles in HK reminded me of my own when I moved to America. It wasn’t as crazy as the movie since I still worked in an office and my job didn’t entail physical labor but I could relate to her feelings of helplessness, her fears and anger.
Ten years ago, I came here with a bachelor’s degree from the best university in my home country, a law degree and years of managerial experience working for MNCs. But it didn’t matter much. I experienced being told that I must have thought calculators were computers by an ex-boss, that he thought we used horses as a means of transportation, being yelled at for helping a coworker with an excel report because I “must not know how to use MS Office…”
I had senior co-workers bully me because Manny Pacquiao won the boxing title and I really couldn’t say much because I couldn’t afford to lose my job. I had to keep my mouth shut for years, pretend to be dumb and weak because I felt I had to – America was not my home and I was a second class citizen…
I share this not because I pitied myself because frankly, my experiences were nothing compared to other pinoys who were not even in a first world country. Despite my struggles in the first couple of years, hundreds (if not thousands of my kababayans) would readily switch places with me. I share this because I am proud of what I have achieved and of where I am now – a place I earned through my hard work, loyalty, work ethics and the love and support of my family. After a decade, I can finally say I am where I belong and this is my home.