Friday, April 25, 2008

On Arranged Marriages

I met up last night with my best friend Jhen who happens to be here in Baguio on the same days that we're here. She came with three of her cousins and I asked them to join us for dinner. All are younger than us, teeners, to be exact.

Joanna, whom I'm familiar with, told me bluntly, "Ate Katia, kasal na ko." (I'm married already.) I said she's bluffing: she doesn't have a boyfriend, she's bisexual, she's nineteen, blahblahblah. She showed me her wedding ring which she used as a pendant.

As they gulp down margaritas and snack on sisig, so goes the story of her fixed marriage. Came this American citizen Filipino national boy who was a family friend, now with the US Marine, trying to find someone he could marry for--in what I understood--a salary increase. He met Joanna and is actually fascinated by her, proposed the idea to his and her family. Personally, she doesn't want this, she told me. She was given the time to think, and finally she agreed, last month. I asked what made her decide to go for it, knowing she's not happy (as of the moment at least) about it. She told me she'll be going against everybody's will if she doesn't.

Yea, she'll be a step closer to becoming an American citizen, she'll take her family with her... So maybe that's why everybody pushes her to marry that guy. The [Filipino] American Dream. Almost every Filipino has it, and it's what makes people narrowminded about such decisions. They didn't even think about her happiness; marriage is a lifelong decision, and even if the marriage can get divorced/annuled, the thought of using your daughter to get what you want is still not excusable. What about the years she'll be wasting if the marriage turns out so bad?

Sacrifices are something you do because you want to do them, I'm going to live in another country because I want to be with my boyfriend; but I can't imagine her leaving her home, her friends, her family and everything she can call home for someone she barely knows. And all because the people push her to do so. This is nothing short of selling your kid.

She's nineteen, for crying out loud. She may not be able to realize right now what that decision entails, and the people who are supposed to be thinking for her is too blinded by 'future' it's gonna bring to them.

No comments: