Rice: Binding Filipinos and Indians alike - Blaber Blogger

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Rice: Binding Filipinos and Indians alike

There was a viral photo that came circulating in FB for some time. It was an Iphone mounted on a bowl of rice, captioned- "If your Iphone got soaked in water, do this and it will be fixed". Then at the bottom follows, "Asians will come for the rice and fix the phone."

It's really interesting isn't it. How a simple food can bind an entire race. In this case, the rice- main staple for many Asian countries including the Philippines. A meal is certainly not a meal without rice. A meal without rice is simply a snack. Thus, KFC's dinner meal or whatever fast food claiming that they are selling should re-think when facing an Asian customer, because if it doesn't come with rice, well it's a snack.

Obviously, this penchant for a similar staple is shared by our asian brothers and sisters. For instance, the Indians. Whereas in the Philippines, there are two main ways of cooking rice- boiled to dry or fried (which is more Chinese in origin than Filipino). But Indians take rice as not just "rice" but a special form of cuisine. They have different ways of cooking rice.

One night I went to the kitchen and saw that the rice was soaked in water. I was worried because rice tends to be "uncooked" if oversoaked. But my Indian colleagues were simply preparing the rice for a different way of cooking. They put it on fire with so much water I was doubtful whether if it will even be cooked. But it was a long process of boiling and waiting till the water is finally evaporated. And voila, the rice is done. 

Another time, they cooked the rice and mixed some yellowish ingredients to it and made it yellow (obviously). It was pretty similar to the biryani's I see on the food market. And there are so many other kinds of cooked rice.

I still prefer the white, unsalted and bland rice. Though, from time to time I eat the flavored rice my India colleagues usually cook (I usually buy from the nearby grocery).

The Filipino and Indian Diaspora

Well, I won't be discussing the whole length and history of the two countries. Go check Wiki for yourself. But what you need to know, and probably all you need to know is that the two countries share so much similarities. To wit-

1.    Both countries were colonized by the Europeans long ago.
2.    Both countries are able to communicate in English.
3.    Both countries are in demand to the job market due to the English and other skills.
4.    Both countries share similar values in life such as love for family, kin and kin (in short, family oriented)
5.    Both are hardworking bunch of people
6.    Both love to enjoy parties and social gatherings (sociable types)
7.    Both believe in same faith(s)

I'm sure the list can go on and on. 

But what I'm driving at is this- whenever you see a Filipino in any part of the world, expect to see Indians. It is now beginning to become apparent that Filipinos and Indians may be the top most races working in countries outside of their own. And this says a lot about the kind of workers they are. For sure, they have become successful in the job arena for a reason, and employers know that all too well.

This realization did not occur to me until I left the Philippines in 2010 and tried my luck in Saudi Arabia. The company I worked for is probably dominated by Indians with some few of us Filipinos. The relationship between the two races I must say is very harmonious. Indians are a jolly bunch of workers and it's very easy to work with them.

In 2013 I flew to Oman and had the very same observation. Indians are the probably the closest pals Filipinos can find. I can say that for myself as I count the myriads of Indian friends I made over the course of my stay in the Sultanate. I find them very easy to go along with. No qualms about you being Asian, because you share the same roots.

I'm just very fortunate that I met so many wonderful Indian friends. And because of that, I am keen on visiting India some time soon. It will certainly be a part of my travel bucket list.

In the meantime, I'll just enjoy a spoon full of biryani as I dream about India's amazing places.

A Guest Blog by my friend, Allan.


Traveler. Blogger. Researcher. Artist (in many ways)
Currently working as a sales executive in Muscat, Oman.
Graduate of Communication Research at the University of the Philippines, Diliman Quezon City; Cum Laude standing with a General Weighted Average of 1.70. Nominated for Best Department Thesis and 2007 Exchange Student in South Korea.

Check his blog Expat in the City

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