04 January 2020

Australian Filipina Couples - Acceptance in Modern Australia

I live in the Philippines with my wife and collection of children. I'm an Australian, and will always be Australian. However home is where the heart is, and my heart belongs first and foremost with my wife Mila. And the fantastic life we built together is here in the Philippines, and has been for a number of years. 10 years in May 2020 actually. I'm sure a few people thought we'd be back within a year or two with tails between legs, but no. We're thriving here actually.

Why did we settle here? Why are we still here when Australia is obviously richer and more advanced? A number of reasons.

  • Then-12-year-old daughter Remy wasn't really doing as well there as we had hoped
  • We wanted niece Jessica to live with us and with Remy, as they were always close
  • I felt it was advantageous business-wise to be here all the time
  • And there was an underlying "racism" about which definitely bothered me more than it did Mila, and I felt she could shine more here than in Australia. This is something it's high time I expanded on, and here I go.....

Racism in Australia in the 2000's

Racism is a strong word, and modern-day Australia does and should rightly recoil at this. Those of us who never lived through the 1970's-and-before Australia never had to live through the open use of racial slurs and telling neighbours to "Go back where you came from". Thank goodness Australia grew through its dark times into what can truly be called a multicultural society where it's easy for migrants to find a welcome place.

What I'm talking about you could categorise as "small 'r' racism", I guess. No insults. No making a person feel welcome. More just a lack of understanding in some people, and a few unfortunate stereotypes.

What stereotypes? The fragile Asian china-doll, and the dominating man who wants a docile wife!

The fragile Asian china-doll and the dominating man with docile wife

I'm talking about an awful stereotype of poor docile and submissive Asian girls marrying socially-inept Australian men whom no "normal" Australian woman would tolerate. The mail-order-bride and her pig-man. If they only realised that saying "Asian" is like saying "European". Many cultures, and no bowing scraping "born to serve men" women exist in the Philippines. These are tough and capable ladies who would leave many of their western counterparts gasping for air before they would run out of steam!

Australian Filipina marriages don't always get great press. Mainstream media rarely touches it, except a few mail-order-bride current-affair bullshit "exposés". The ones about the pig-like man who somehow went through bride after bride who couldn't stand him, and how they would do anything to escape poverty.

Movies? Priscilla Queen of the Desert? Rikky and Pete? If you've seen them, you see a pretty ignorant view of what many of us live with and know are just plain normal relationships.

Speaking for myself, and speaking for my wife? She's my best friend in the world. And I understand her and respect her highly. Here in Philippines? Everyone who meets her can see who and what she is, and that is a strong and capable woman with vision and goals. A tough and capable lady, who has achieved more than most. And at the same time she has a kind heart and generous nature, and always thinks of the effects of everything on others. I'm a kinder person today because of her.

What I do NOT miss about life in Australia is those people who thought she was a little china-doll that needed defending. Defending from what, you may ask? Why, defending from ME of course! Because I must surely be dominating her and keeping her under the thumb! Controlling her every move and crushing her spirit.

Possibly worse for me, because I have a cheeky sense of humour. Most Aussies do, but maybe I'm a little worse than the average. Most people who know me know only too well when I'm yanking their chain, but those with stereotypes in mind would leap to her defence constantly. For some reason they would think after nearly 20 years together that she wouldn't perhaps know me a little better than they do.

Again, maybe mostly situational. I'd love to hear comments from other Australian Filipino couples as to whether you've felt condescended-to or patronised by those around you? Maybe younger and better-educated friends and family may make a difference? Would truly love to hear some comments below!