Bato-bato sa langit, ang tamaan ‘wag magalit
Posted by Jake Idris
The title of this post is a popular adage which means that only the guilty ones get affected by an offensive remark that was thrown up in air.
Warning for people who get irritated by conceit: I kinda sound mayabang in this post, but that tone is relevant in this story.
Just a short and annoying, yet funny, experience.
I was the second-to-the-last person who boarded a jeepney at Eton Centris-Q Ave. terminal. On my right was a fat woman, who didn’t look sosyal, (sorry for the description, but this will be important later) and on my left was a really suspicious-looking guy (you know what I mean).
Mere seconds after I sat on the bench came the last passenger – a guy. The fat woman moved further to her right and I to my left such that the last guy could sit between us.
Finally, the jeepney arrived to the destination of the fat woman. But before she got off the jeepney (while half-standing, half-sitting), she addressed the guy on her left.
Fat woman: Titingnan mo yang nasa kaliwa mo.
The exact English translation for that line is “Look at the person on your left (who was me).” But taken to the appropriate context, it meant “Don’t take your eyes off the person on your left,” or “Beware of the person on your left,” in a very on-your-guard tone.
I wasn’t really paying attention to their conversation, but I heard it clearly.
Everyone steered their heads toward my direction and looked at me intently. Anyone who would hear those words would, of course, make them think that the person sitting exactly on the guy’s left, who was me, was up to something bad; most likely robbery or theft.
So I had to defend my reputation!
Me: (hollering) Hoy, PIG! Are you referring to me!
Yep, I had to say it in English. In the Philippines, anyone who speaks in English is highly regarded. Filipinos won’t usually think English-speakers are capable of petty and poverty-motivated crimes.
She was not able to reply as she had already alighted the jeepney and the vehicle moved by now.
Well, in my heart, I know the fat woman was not referring to me. Even I looked at guy on my left with suspicion. Remember that the suspicious guy, before I came, was the person on that fat woman’s left. I didn’t know what happened between them before I got on that jeepney, though. (Probably he gave her an indecent proposal. I could only guess.)
But if you were in my position when everyone started staring at me, you would get really annoyed.
To think (humility aside, look at the links) – I was wearing a nice watch (I’m not sure if the brand is popular but it doesn’t look cheap), a Henleys tee from Hollister, and a freshly polished pair of Bradford shoes. And I was carrying newly bought groceries! (Being able to buy groceries doesn’t make someone not capable of theft. But, at least, it makes ME look more capable of buying than she.) über yabang lang.
I don’t look like a rich kid, neither am I one. But definitely, she looked more in need than I.
I didn’t explain to the people. I didn’t have to. Yeah, I felt the need, but I’d look more guilty. And for sure, and I hope, they realized that the fat woman was not referring to me.