“Yung mga Muslim na yun, chineck mo ba yung mga bag? Baka may bomba ah..”
We’re all guilty of some kind of stereotyping. It’s just impossible not to have any prejudice or bias about anything. It’s simply not possible. You may say otherwise but then again, all of us are different from one another. We have our own preferences based on our personal background and experience. Only one thing keeps us from tearing at each other: RESPECT.
There was this one experience that deeply troubled me. On the way home, riding the bus, a woman maybe around 50 years old or so, sat beside me. I was dead tired at the time and had my ipod on full blast. I just wanted to shut down the world when the woman beside me was outraged by something the bus conductor said. So I turned down the volume and listened in on their conversation, which by now the whole bus heard. Here’s how their conversation went:
Old Hag Woman: “Anong sabi mo sakin?!”
Conductor: “Sabi ko po, saan po kayo bababa?”
Woman: “Hindi, bago nun. Ano sabi mo?”
Conductor starts looking uncomfortable but he replied: “Sabi ko po, ‘Nay, saan po kayo bababa?'”
Woman: “Ayan, yan ang sinabi mo. Wag na wag mo ko tatawagin ng ‘nay. Hindi mo alam kung nanay ba talaga ako o kung may anak ko. Ang nanay hindi nag o-opis. Eh di sana nasa bahay na lang…”
She went on and on that road saying the conductor should not have ‘stereotyped’ her. I understand, I guess, that she might have been offended by the conductor’s assumption of her that since she’s ‘old,’ she is a nanay or a mother. She even said that “real” mothers don’t work (another stereotype). But I also understand, on the part of the conductor, that calling her ‘nay‘ is part of Philippine culture. It’s just like when we call strangers tito or tita or ate or kuya even if we’re not affiliated with them. Besides, her reaction went way overboard.
So anyway, I thought that that episode with the grumpy lady was over. When we got to Calamba, a number of men wearing traditional Muslim attire went down the bus. The grumpy lady then motioned for the conductor and loudly whispered something (since I clearly heard what she said) to him. Here’s how their second conversation went:
Woman, now in a soft & kind voice: “Saan sumakay yung mga Muslim na yun?”
Conductor: “Sa Taft po.”
Woman: “Magkakasama talaga sila?”
Here’s the punchline:
Woman: “Yung mga Muslim na yun, chineck mo ba yung mga bag? Baka may bomba ah..”
*silence in the bus*
I was like, Oh my effin gawd. You just did not say that, you old lady! A few minutes ago you were yelling at the conductor for stereotyping you for being a nanay and then now you’re stereotyping Muslims to be bomb-bringing citizens?? What is wrong with you?? A thousand things were going through my head. I have tons of Muslim friends and I know that though we have our differences, we still respect each other. We don’t just go and “accuse” them of something as harsh as that.
If ever she did have that ‘assumption,’ she should have just kept it to herself. No harm was done. The bus didn’t explode. The “Muslims” who went down the bus didn’t do anything to her. How could she be so mean and narrow-minded? Sure, she’s entitled to her own opinion but please, weigh things down and think first before opening your mouth. Trash stereotyping. Trash making generalizations.
So I told the woman: “I hope you die soon. But before you go to hell, I hope you suffer here on earth…”
Nah, I’m just fooling with you. I didn’t say that. I wanted to but that was just too much. I’m not Muslim nor is my family but I was offended by what she said. When I was about to give her a piece of my mind, she went down the bus. It saddened me how some if not most have minds like her. I wanted to seriously bash her in the head. Maybe that would knock some sense into her mind. I hope someday, in some way, the universe will tell her how stupid and mean she is for saying that and that there’s no room in this world for people like her.