I didn’t realise how much this quiet batchmate of mine had achieved in the last quarter century until I read about his “return” in the lifestyle section of the Inquirer.net. I used to see Den Abesamis in high school and grade school but did not know him at all. Obviously he was a physical standout even then. Tall, waif-thin, and sharp featured; his going on to become a model was no surprise for most of us.
But then any tall, waif-thin, sharp-featured schmoe can become a model. Den Abesamis, it turns out, is no ordinary schmoe. He retired from ramp modelling at 28 and went on to become a mover and shaker — an executive — in the industry that once employed him as a clothes hanger. He discribed his role as an industry exec: “I didn’t sell, I made things run”.
Coming back to the Philippines after years living and working in New York City to care for his 74-year-old mother, Den Abesamis had these observations to make about his country of birth:
Coming home was a culture shock. “I’m trying to adjust to the traffic situation and the puwede na iyan thinking. You learn to be patient here.” His former classmates would merely laugh off his frustrations and complaints about customer service in the Philippines that are posted in Facebook.
The above snippet coming out of the Inquirer.net report alone encapsulates the Filipino Condition. You get a guy with an outside perspective making astute observations about the banal dyfunction of the society, and it is merely laughed off.
Well, I suppose Den Abesamis can quite easily laugh with us on this one. The point is that while he has the option to laugh all the way to the bank, most Filipinos have no option but to just laugh.
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