Friday, February 24, 2006

I'm mean as a Scot -- AGAIN

Hey don't get angry at me -- it's a Hungarian expression. Mean as a Scot is an expression in Hungary that implies that the subject (in this case myself) is mean about money, meaning they are very stingy and cheap with their money.

I thought I'd been cured of this meanness by my Korean and ex-pat friends in Korea who were -- almost without exclusion -- very generous people. And so I too became generous. I enjoyed it a great deal and I found that I still had more than enough money for myself -- perhaps because the generosity was so reciprocal.

Now, things are a little different. I've discovered that Tatay, Rosi's dad has been extorting money from her since the day I got her to move back into her mom and dad's house. I say he has been extorting the money because in her delicate (i.e. pregnant) condition she didn't feel the freedom to tell him to go to hell.

It looks like she has given him about 100 pesos a day US$2, everyday for the last 5 months so that he can drink his Tanduay -- the big local brandname for rum in the Philippines. I had given her a little money to make sure she'd eat well and take plenty of vitamins for the upcoming baby, but Tatay has drunken away about half of the money I've been giving her!

Now my mind is on all that money that has gone into the toilet and I'm pissed and thinking about ways to be frugal. Now when a man walks by trying to sell me a 110 peso copy of Time magazine for 160 pesos I tell him I won't give him a peso more than 110. The immediate result is that I don't get to read the magazine because you can't get the damn thing anywhere around here unless you buy it from the creep who wants to charge more than the cover price.

Also, I find myself more annoyed at stuff. For example, at La Nouva Capannina I was just told that I can no longer use their wireless access for free while I drink, I'll have to pay an hourly fee of 60 pesos if I don't want to dine here -- and I must spend a minimum of 500 pesos on food!

This all started out because some people just can't take no for an answer. That's the big issue here that's really beginning to piss me off. Rowena (Rosi's 3-year-old) gets anything that she asks for from Rosi, Tatay and Nanay because when they say 'no' she starts to cry -- I guess they find it unbearable to watch her cry.

This is something that I believe that she got directly from Tatay. Two days ago I found myself sitting on the veranda at about 3pm and along came Tatay and four of his drinking buddies smelling of Tanduay and acting pretty drunk. Tatay was out of money so he asked me to give him some so he could buy some more. I said "no". He looked at me strangely as if he didn't understand me properly and continued to ask, whilst I continued to say no. Then after a few more volleys of questions and answers of 'no'. He took my hand and started to beg me "oh please, just give me some money for some Tanduay".

Needless to say, I was raised to be stubborn, I persisted and he and his friends found another venue for their drinking and aparently somebody else who didn't say "no".

My problem and probably the main reason as to why I feel so angry right now is that I don't know how to make sure that Rosi will be okay while I'm away. Doubtless Tatay will go on another drinking binge and run out of money soon. Then without me there, Rosi will have to be as good at saying no as I am. Unfortunatley she sucks at saying 'no'.

So, I'm left with two solutions as I see it:
  • I can give her just a little bit of money and arrange for a plan so that if she says "no" to Tatay and he goes on a rampage and tells her to get the hell out of his house she will have someplace safe to stay and bring little Charlize to term.
  • I can give her no money and arrange for a safe place for her to stay if the abscence of drinking money makes Tatay tell her to get the hell out of his house.
The problem with the first solution is that I doubt that Rosi will say "no" to him as she doesn't really want to stay alone in a hotel -- even if she doesn't have very much money. The advantage of the second solution is that she will have to say no to Tatay as she won't have any money. But that doesn't allow for the lack of reason that persists in a drunken mind.

Keep in mind that the place where Rosi and her parents live is a kind of paradise of sorts. If you feel like eating some fruit you simply need to climb a tree nearby and pluck the rype fruit. If you want some veggies just wander around a bit and you can easily find many vegetables and herbs that you can put in your dinner. If you want some fish just take a long bamboo stick and put a wire and hook on it and catch yourself some fish or take a net and catch some small crabs or shrimp.

You might think that I'm just imagining too much here. Why afterall would a normally reasonable man tell his 8 month pregnant daughter to get out of his house? Unfortunately the world is full of people who act without thinking -- especially the drunken kind.

And sadly, I know from past experience that Tatay did go on a rampage and tell her to get the hell out of his house it happened in November and I was extremely upset. Rosi had, uncharacteristically said "no" and he flew off the handle. I tried to arrange for her to move to a safe place but apparently it blew over and she refused to move to a safe place.

So, here I am, pissed off and unable to communicate with Tatay because he speaks no English. For all the good it would do -- because a drunk never remembers the reasonable things that he has agreed to when he was sober.

Anybody have an alternate solution they could suggest? I have to go back to Korea in 9 short days, and I'll be gone from the Philippines for 1 month.

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