This post was completed approximately two years after I was asked to write it. I was complimented on my use of the semi-colon. Thrills.
If theres one thing Australia has failed to wean out of me, its my inability to be on time. Filipinos call this Filipino time; Aussies call it being late.
I try my best. My clocks and watches are set at least fifteen minutes ahead. I put things in my calendar half an hour before they start. But nothing has worked. My husband has resorted to scheduling activities an hour ahead, just to ensure Ill be ready on time.
My chronic lateness is a running joke with my Aussie friends. What they dont seem to understand is that I regard the clock, with its authoritarian precision and merciless advance, as a mere guide to life rather than its master.
Its not you; its me
Aussies take my lack of punctuality personally, but I think most Filipinos would agree that our lateness has nothing to do with disrespecting our friends time. I have no sense of time. Filipinos are eternal optimists, and we think everything will take no more than fifteen minutes. We have to get to a party at Blacktown from Parramatta? Yeah, half an hour should be okay. Itll take me five minutes to shower, get dressed, do my hair, wrap the present
If all else fails, blame the kids
Ive been late to baptisms, weddings, funerals and everything in between. But there are certain times when being late means you risk being ostracised by your family and friends. If you have a special role in an eventif youre a ninang or part of the bridal partythen its a good idea to get there on time. I was smack bang on time for my own wedding and you should have seen the surprise on everyones faces. Thats how my husband knows I love him.
When scientists decode the human genome, maybe we can finally discover a biological cause for Filipino time. Ill be first in line for the cure. Itll only take me fifteen minutes to get ready.
This article was first published in July 2010 in Australian Filipina newsletter.