“filipinos are the most pretentious people”

it’s a crazy saturday night.  one bar has closed—permanently, many whisper—and Fred’s and another bar are taking the brunt. our tables and guests are spilling over the sidewalk and street. clients of the other bar, known to be a destination for hipster, fashionista, LGBT types, are ordering drinks and food from us; some of our guests are ordering stuff from them. it’s frickin’ mayhem.

“alam mo,” my brother says, as he finishes off his last beer, “ang problema ng pinoy ay di dahil tayo ang pinaka-bobo, o pinaka-kawawa o anuman. ang problema natin e dahil tayo ay pinaka-pretentious.”

he’s an intimidating fellow, my brother. not because he’s big or anything, but because he’s so sure of whatever he says. he’s never wrong; even when he sounds wrong, he’s right. 

“gaya niyan,” he says, looking at a guy who has just walked out of the bar, wearing a pilot’s hat, and with two piercings on his lip. “bakit ka naka-pilot’s hat? para san? para sabihin ‘wala’, ‘wala lang.’ cool ka, ganon? ‘wala lang. kasi feel ko.’

“o yan,” he turns his head, looking at several girls in denim shorts and mid-calf length leather boots. “bakit ka naka-boots, e ang init-init dito sa pilipinas?”

he twists his body and looks for a particular individual, his final victim. “o yan,” he says. “fake snookie. tangina! bakit mo gusto maging fake snookie??? o fake kahit sinoman? bakit? bakit??? di ba pwedeng wag nalang? wala. wala!”

i look in the same direction he’s looking. yep. there it is. a fake snookie. with hair piled just so, skin orangey-brown, and eyebrows painted on in their jersey-shore-finest.

the philippine snookie.

i look up. the moon is full. clouds swaddle it, then change their mind, then come to protect it again. it’s as balmy as any summer night. 

a young woman flounces by. her hair has turned frizzy by the heat, her flower-printed kimono flaps around her body. she’s wearing denim shorts and yes, mid-calf length boots. her sweat is melting her makeup. i recognize her as one of the few rude customers that evening, one who thinks her american accent makes her superior. 

well yeah, i acquiesce. my brother’s right.


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