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In Defense of the ‘Lowly Punas-Puwet’

August 23, 2011

There’s this new “hot” topic in some Facebook groups called “Punas-Puwet” issue. The term “punas-puwet” or “ass-wipers” refers to Filipino caregivers who provide “odd”(???) care and services to old and sick people abroad. My comment is as follows:

We cannot all be businessmen and entrepreneurs, just as we cannot all be doctors, lawyers, engineers or writers. Reality has it that someone needs to perform some kind of work for somebody, yet that does not downgrade the reputation or character of the one doing the work or service. The fundamental principle here is “free trade”. As long as you pay for the service that you receive from others, you’re good. Someone has to cook and serve your food in a restaurant or food chain, but you have to pay for the value or service you get. And if you believe you’re a successful businessman, don’t try to fool yourself by thinking you’re untouchable or that you belong to the upper level of the food chain. The fact is, you are engaged in the provision of service or products to your consumers in exchange for value like anybody else. Again, the key word here is “free trade”.

The “punas-puwets” are being paid dearly and expensively for doing their work. The “odd” nature of their job doesn’t mean they are slaves or that what they do reduces them to mere slaves. Like you and me, they are providing service for value. If that’s what they do, it’s none of your damn business. And if you think that’s wrong just because they happen to be Filipinos, then better check your “values” and “premise” first before uttering a word. But if that’s what they do because you claim they can longer find a more “decent” job, the best solution then is: it’s either you provide them that kind of “decent” job or STFU!

Whenever you arbitrarily, unfairly judge other people, it’s your own moral character and standards that you reveal.

Certainly there are countless of people who have their own personal ambition. There are many people who aspire to be doctors, artists, engineers, writers, bloggers, journalists, home experts, lawyers, tourist guides, nurses, teachers, plumbers, carpenters, secretaries, etc. As long as you do not hurt or arbitrarily affect other people, you’re doing the right thing no matter what kind of job you do.

A true rational, good, competent entrepreneur respects and admires the ability of his staff who exude potentials. A true rational, thinking man admires and respects people who strive to do their very best with their abilities to survive, to live, and to be happy. The most admirable, respectable and moral human being is the one who tries his best to survive despite downfall in life.

True, money means value. Money is your reward for your hard work, competence, and ability. But it’s not the barometer of your character. It does not define you. What defines you is how you live your life as a proper human being. Between a businessman and a professor, one can say that the former makes more money, but that doesn’t mean he’s more successful. Strictly speaking and in reality, money does not define success, especially when it’s earned through deceit, corruption, or by compromising one’s principles. I have more respect for a professor or a mentor who’s able to do his job well and who makes a difference in the lives of his/her students than a so-called businessman who’s got the braggadocio of a newly elected looting congressman.

It’s wrong to see people as a collective of socially structured mammals who must have one “social” or professional goal. You cannot say, “ah! Filipinos must be this or that.” That’s the flippest thing to say, because it only shows your repressed “Filipino pride” or “flip mentality.” After all, it’s your life… it’s my life. “Mind your own business” is the rule of the game.

Instead of blaming those people who have this “pwede na, pwede pa” attitude, why not advocate for a change of ‘political’ system in the country? Filipinos go abroad for some reason. There must be some social or political factor why they’re ‘forced’ to go abroad, and that’s because of very limited opportunities in our country. Had we totally allowed foreign investors to do business and invest in this country, there would have been more jobs and opportunities for the poor and  for those those so-called unemployables.

That’s the reason why we’re pushing for free market reforms in this country. If we only had a free market economy wherein foreign investors were free to invest and business restrictions and regulations were frowned upon, we could have a better country and more opportunities for people. So instead of going abroad to be punas-pwets, these “lowly” people could just find work and opportunities in the country. Less regulations and restrictions undeniably produce jobs and opportunities that even those uneducated or unschooled (take your pick) could have a chance for a better life.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. GabbyD permalink
    August 24, 2011 3:38

    “The “punas-puwets” are being paid dearly and expensively for doing their work. The “odd” nature of their job doesn’t mean they are slaves or that what they do reduces them to mere slaves”

    i like this alot. in fact i’d go further. salaries have no correlation to the “worth” of the work. wages, like all prices, are just a function of supply and demand.

    • dev permalink
      May 1, 2012 3:38

      true is your assessment of demand & Supply. If the Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis & other developing countries get into the act of punas pwets then the dear & expensive work they do becomes a cheap service commodity. Face it its only us who found this job 1st.

  2. barefoot_cinderella permalink
    September 23, 2011 3:38

    As long as you do not hurt or arbitrarily affect other people, you’re doing the right thing no matter what kind of job you do. <– I wouldn't say the same for female porn actresses but that's just my personal opinion

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