Sunday, December 4, 2011

Coke's "The OFW Project"

A FB friend of mine posted this Coke advertisement. Then, I clicked it. Then, my tears rolled down at the middle of the video, in a deafening silence of the night.

The ad was emotional, especially to people who shared the same sentiment like me. It showcased how hard OFW lives are, living in places of strangers and discriminating crowds. For those at the video, they endured being away for over 5 years straight without home vacation for practical reasons. They’d rather send money home instead of buying home trip ticket so to buy medicines of ailing relatives, or spend for kids’ education. I could just imagine how hard that would be. In my case, I haven’t gone home for just 11 months, and I feel like dying already. How much more for them? Well, it made me realized that I am luckier to have this job and home trip ticket courtesy of employer. I was thinking of zipping my mouth from my angst and sorrows that are not even 1/8 of others’ sufferings and heartaches.

In others’ viewpoint, OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) are somehow looked at perversely. For some, when a person decides to go abroad, they think that he is going to be rich and he is lucky to get the job. Well, I would say, partly yes and partly no.
Yes, in the sense that you get to earn dollars or any other currency of higher value than Php (Myr, in my case), and when you send home even several hundred or a thousand is already tens of thousands of pesos in exchange. It felt so good for most of us that we usually pray the Philippine currency will not gain in the market so we could take advantage. But because it is an evil prayer, God did not hear us! LOL.

No, and I will tell you why. Before leaving the country, one may ask several questions to himself if he can survive in a place of no friends and relative – and if luck is adverse, people that don’t speak English. OMG! Horrifying, right? And when most of us are already there, speaking for the true dirty job to family and friends is even harder. That is why most of us paint smiles in the photographs with beautiful backgrounds so to assure our relatives back home that we are okey. The truth is, we are usually not and we still miss home. Some friends at home don’t care how we feel when they call us rich and ask us to bring gadgets and stuff as ‘pasalubong’ in homecoming. We don’t mind either and we don’t need anybody’s sympathy, we just need a little understanding.

That’s just the glimpse of how tough life is for us - leaving no choice but to work though we feel overloaded and underpaid compared to those who call themselves ‘superior races’, or enduring nostalgia for the sake of descent life at home, or swallowing our pride just to finish degrading assignments and make it through. At least Coke appreciated that, which is why, I cried in the middle of the night.

But somehow I question the brand’s intention. Was the reality-drama effect that surely captures the hearts of many really to gain sympathy for our advantage, or just mere using the lives of people like me to sell a can or truckloads of carbonated drink? I don’t really know, and having this ‘benefit of the doubt’ isn’t a serious crime I guess.

For me, the Coca-cola’s ‘The OFW Project’ showcased beautifully touching stories about sacrifices and strength. But I see some other intention which is quite offensive. I know I am confusing you of my feeling right now. Do I like it? Yes, but why am I offended? Because I feel that our stories a re being commercialised. Come on, I wasn’t born yesterday!

You can disagree to me and I won’t take it personal; to each his own anyway. But I am begging from any businesses, not just Coke, to have a little respect by not exploiting our stories for any profit agenda. We had enough! 

Nonetheless, I still have faith in Coke that it still feels like opening happiness in every can or bottle of it. I am a Pepsi fan, but I am not paid by them to write this. This is just an opinion and I just thought the world is free.

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