Among Filipinos, tardiness has become a hall mark of our culture. In fact we have a facetious tag for it: Filipino Time.
What is it? It is time scandalously several minutes, hours even, after the appointed time.
Filipino Time is so prevalent in this country that we have already come to accept it as a way of life. It has even become such a sacred excuse that when latecomers invoke it, we accept it as valid reason and with a delicious smile to boot.
Thus, with Filipino Time in vogue, nothing gets done on time. The train, the bus, the plane—they all arrive and leave late.
We receive the mail after ages of waiting. The garbage collectors don’t show up until Christmastime, even though our piles of garbage are growing into a small version of Smokey Mountain.
Meetings, dinner parties, and other social functions rarely start on schedule, thanks to guests who never come on time because they know the affair won’t start early anyway.
As a Filipino magician, I have yet to attend and perform at birthday parties that start on time. The mommy usually tells me Junior’s party starts at 3 PM . The invitation says so. The Show Contract says so. I arrive at 2.30 PM , set up my stuff and wait. And wait. And wait.
The guests start arriving at 4PM. The party then starts slowly, proceeds slowly, and gets to the part where I perform slowly. That usually happens at 6PM , three-and-a-half hours after I arrived at the venue.
In the intervening period, I spend much time watching time passes before me in slow-motion, irretrievably lost, while the rest of the world rushes to its future.
Tardiness is a vicious cycle. Everybody waits for everybody and waste everybody’s time. The funny thing is, late people wear expensive Rolexes while they blithely squander time. What those watches are for is your guess and mine.
Tomorrow, let me tell you why we at Inner Magic Club don’t believe in, subscribe to nor look kindly at Filipino Time.