Readers' Submissions

The Story of ‘J’


Yet again, I must start a submission with an apology. This has nothing to do with Thailand and there’s no sex described.

This is a real-life story about a South-East Asian lady, a Filippina, living here in Cyprus. I use the term ‘lady’ advisedly because that is surely what she is. Some of the information has come from her, some has come from a very trusted friend (another Filippina lady) and some is from my own observation. I readily admit to a bias because this is a lady I could easily (or maybe already have) fall for.

‘J’ is 40 but could confidently pass for ten years younger if she wished, but she is comfortable with her age. She is ‘cuddly’ rather than slim. She has a beautiful face with (to me anyway) a haunting mix of Asian and European features. She is quietly spoken, shy, and I suppose the best word to describe her is ‘demure’.


She is also well-educated, intelligent, well-mannered and her written and spoken English is to ‘native speaker’ level. She can talk about a range of subjects, is aware of and up-to-date with world news and issues. Back in PI she worked at executive level in local government in ‘the provinces’.

If I still moved in the circles that included dinner suit etc. functions I would be happy and confident to have her as my companion. She has, in short, got ‘class’. I met ‘J’ by way of an introduction from a good Filippina friend ‘W’ of whom I have spoken before. Yesterday afternoon I took ‘J’ to a nearby 5 star hotel where we drank cappuccinos, looked at the Med, and talked. This evening, we went to a Chinese restaurant, had a good meal, and talked.

This is how she lives here in Cyprus which, lest we forget, is an EU country. And I bet that her story is not dissimilar to that of many Filippina living outside PI.

After our dinner date, I took ‘J’ home at about 11 pm. Both of us, I am sure, would have liked to extend the evening but it was not to be. Why? Because she starts work at 6 am. This educated and intelligent lady works in an egg-packing plant. 6 am to 6 pm six days a week, 6 am to 12 noon Sundays. The work is physically hard and non-stop. She is the only Filippina there, and the only woman. Her salary? I can only guess, but it is an educated guess. About €600 a month, €700 tops.

She lives in a flat she shares with a Bulgarian girl (isolated but near her work). The Bulgarian girl is supplementing her earnings with short-time/long-time and the walls are thin.

I asked ‘J’ why she took this job. It was better, she said, than her previous job working as a nanny for British ex-pat families where she was expected to be working or on call 24/7. My unconfirmed guess from experience of knowing many Filippinas here? The husband hit on her and she wouldn’t play.

Why did she come here, and why does she stay? Same old, same old, story in many ways. Her husband abandoned her many years ago when she had a young child. No CSA in PI! Her father died several years ago. She has supported her mother for many years. She has put her son through college. He has now graduated and is hoping to move to Taiwan to find a job as a computer engineer.

Again, only an educated guess, but I bet most of this lady’s earnings go straight back to the Philippines. I hope that she has put some aside for herself and her future. A thought has just occurred to me. Tonight’s date cost me about €90 for taxis and the restaurant. No big deal, except that (again, an educated guess) I don’t suppose that ‘J’ spends that amount on herself in a whole month.

Just to make it clear ‘J’ has not mentioned money at all. Not moaned about her crap job or her circumstances. She is resolutely cheerful. No, she didn’t offer to go 50/50 on the cost of dinner but I didn’t expect her to and I would have refused if she had offered. I’m a bit old-fashioned that way.

I hope and plan to meet ‘J’ again in the near future when her 78 hour working week allows. We seem to have made a good start and most encouragingly can communicate comfortably and effectively.

(Stand by for a Thai reference.) After the tragi-comedy debacle with ex-‘TGF’ who, I believe, saw me as her own personal International Monetary Fund I am feeling, as they say, suitably refreshed.

This is not intended as an argument in the Thai –v- Filippina debate, nor in the nubile young lovely –v- lady closer to your own age discussion. It is merely my observations on my experiences with another SEA lady. As always, your mileage may differ.

Stickman's thoughts:

These Fillipinas working around the world seem to end up in some really awful situations (the egg packing I mean, not the dating you part!)