Friending Request, etc.


I’d lived in Europe for about forty-three years now. At present I am in the Philippines and stayed here for a while already. I am only on vacation to visit my family but an accident happened, which then I was confined in the hospital for more than two weeks, and maybe more if I agreed with my doctors who wanted an operation to my damage spinal column. I refused to be operated; I chose pills and time for my cure; though I must wear a corset to support my back. My husband was few times hence and forth between the Philippines and the Netherlands, for pensioners liked us, the Netherlands allowed us only six months to stay abroad, up to maximum eight months. It’s impossible for me to travel long distance so I have to be where I am now until I could travel.


Living with my family is liked integrating again in the Filipino way of life. I am an easy, and very patience person; frankly, I remained myself, never forgotten the three Filipino languages I’d mastered, eating rice every day, still eating the dried fish, and salted fry (bagoong in Tagalog and ginamos in Bisaya), and many more, but---oh, yes, there’s this big word BUT.


Chaotic and nonchalant behavior irritated me; more on their way of interpreting the right manners and good conduct; no budgeting of their means, the way of one day millionaire; if you try to correct or say something, you will have an answer as ‘that’s before, your generation’s, time changes’ or ‘old fashion, an antique way.’ Also, talking in turbo language, and if texting, using abbreviation that’s difficult to guess and if you asked what is the meaning, they will only laugh and said I am behind of the time. Liked ‘smth,’ I never could guess what the abbreviation stands for, it could be ‘smooth’ or Smith’ but the words I thought doesn’t fit the message. When asked, she answered that the word is ‘something.’


Yet, I never could hate my family, when they do things, that in my opinion is out of the order, I would just say then to myself, let it go; I had lived so long abroad, and I could not apply to them the things I acquired from foreign country; Filipinos lived the way they’re used to be, so instead implementing or imposing or learning to them new things for the better; I came out accepting ways I’d long forgotten. I am becoming a Filipino again with ways, that most foreigners could never understand.


Whatever, family is family. How I missed them when I am abroad. I spent a lot of money in calling long distance, later, phone card for calling was available and cheaper. Almost every weekend I am calling them, and the calling was on appointment, for they must first go to the local post office, as liked many Filipinos, our family were poor, there’s no telephone in house.


Then came the social media, or Facebook which made contacts easier with the app Messenger. As most netizens, I also opened an account in Facebook, and I liked it; not only that one could do voice contact but also could see each other thru video call. I have to buy then mobile phones for the family; the cost of contacting was low even we talked or have video call for hours.


The world opened for everyone, and also for my family. Making friends through the platform, anywhere local and abroad became a past time hobby that many enjoyed. Facebook as social media platform gave many advantages both in contacting family members, and friends, and also financial savings.


One time, while scrolling through Facebook, I came to an account, where I saw pictures of many young girls, and to my surprise I saw the photo of my thirteen years old second-generation granddaughter. I read the caption under her photo and I was shocked. There’s no name mentioned who she is, but it’s like somebody who posted her photo was selling her as the caption says, ‘you like her, contact me.’ I quickly called my daughter and told her about it, interrogated her thirteen years old daughter but she crossed her heart and said she knew nothing about it. When asked how come her photo appeared on the account of the said man, she answered maybe, they just hacked her photo and used it. I requested my husband to pretend he was interested so that he could access the link site, and we were both shocked, it was a dark or underground site that only available for those interested, or potential client that could pay. If my husband will pay the price they were asking, the item he was interested of could be delivered to him. I was irked that my granddaughter was just an item for them, so I posted to the account of the man, demanded to take out the photo of my granddaughter, or else they will have trouble both locally and internationally; at the same time, warned the family about the danger and to be cautious. This is one example of the dark side of social media platform. Luckily for us, especially to my granddaughter, that account was disappeared; the underground site, my husband could not access it anymore.


Many netizens expressed their thoughts; their moments of joy and sadness; their problems; in the social media platforms. Sometimes I asked myself, was that now necessary to expose everything what’s happening in your life for all people to know? Whatever thoughts one may have, me, will never do such, but not all people are like me. Yet, when a certain Filipina received this Nobel Prize, I did.


I will not mention her name but all Filipinos, knew who she was. She had worked with CNN, have good articulation with the English language, and I admired her. Seldom you could see a Filipina shined in an international platform, although I heard or read hearsays, that she was not actually a Filipina but an Indonesian. For me, that was not a big issue, if she said she is a Filipina then she is; what bothered me was the Nobel Prize for Peace.


I could not resist to post in my account, just one question ‘How come she have the Nobel Prize for Peace, when she did nothing concerning Peace?’ This comment I posted, attracted many trolls, and they attacked, some with nasty words towards me. For a moment, I engaged myself in words war. They accused me as a troll of the former President Duterte because at that time, this woman has trouble with the government administration. I stopped when they begin to name me dirty. That’s why I don’t liked politics; whatever small gesture or words, for some false interpreters will blow it out big. I have my own opinion why she received the Nobel Peace Prize, but I better keep it to myself, for sometimes truth as the saying goes, will set you free, but truth I believed could also bring a lot of troubles, besides what I thought or believed will be just an opinion, no truth based.


Then came these friending requests on me in my social media account. When I received notification that someone wanted to be a friend, I will look the profile of the said person and if I don’t know who he or she was, I never accepted the request, but one time, I could not explain to myself why I did accept all the friending request only to regret and blocked most of them quickly. I thought because I am busy with self-publishing with my novels; the people could help a little about making my books be known, but that was not the case. What a disturbance, for some called me at any moment; and on the first call they called me ‘darling,’ ‘dear,’ when there’s no contact yet, for I just accepted their requests. I just ignored them for a while but some started to court me, and the worst, few sent their genitals photo with a description or words, that if I take him as lover, I will be very satisfied. Since then, I seldom accept a friending request; I have better things to do.


These annoyance on the social media platforms, unfortunately I experienced it. I am not condemning the platforms, I am still glad it was there for easy contacts and communications, and I hope it will stay for long.  **End**R. Dorio