In the Philippines there is often a conflict between telling the truth and saving “face”. There are also issues of being shy, of not offending others by saying something confronting, and of course being concerned about what others think. This can clash with the Australian way of being blunt and direct by preference. How do you deal with this in an Australian Filipina relationship?
Australia and Philippines – Some basic differences with truth
Australians and Filipinos have a different approach to truth. Please note there are no value-judgments being made here. Not saying anyone is “good” or “bad” here. Just saying that we deal with matters that require what we call “straight answers” differently.
Australians like to “tell it how it is”. No mucking about. No B.S. Answer the question. Tell it straight. Take it on the chin. We expect straight answers, and we accept what we’re told without suspicion or the need to re-interpret and ask ourselves “What did they mean by this?”
Filipinos tend to think of the consequences of what they are about to say before they say it. Will it sound bad? Will it reflect badly on them? Will it reflect badly on someone else? Will it be embarrassing or shameful? Will the person hearing it be annoyed, unhappy or disappointed? Will it lead to some dire consequences? If so, there is a tendency to say something else, or to simply say nothing.
Negative consequences of not telling the truth to an Australian
Yes, in true Australian straight-forward manner, I will state that the main purpose of this article is to tell Filipina ladies in relationships with Australian men that they need to get into the habit of being direct and transparent. Keeping secrets, embellishing stories or simply not telling the truth? This goes down very badly with Australians, and can cause problems in your relationship and in dealings you have with DIPB and the Australian Embassy as part of an Australian visa application!
The other purpose is to explain this difference to Australian men, to not only learn that your Filipina girl is not an awful person for doing this, ie. it’s normal where she comes from, and we are all products of our upbringing and our environment, and also so you are prepared for this and can learn to question what you hear.
Personal consequences and relationship consequences
Your Australian man will assume you are telling the simple truth. He will have no concept of needing to work out if you mean something else, because you feel nakakahiya (embarrassed/ashamed). So he will believe you and will defend you. You must not betray his trust, as it’s not something you will regain very quickly. And couples can experience awful fights over matters like this.
Visa application consequences
Husband consequences? Your husband will most likely forgive you for not telling the truth. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will not! And Down Under Visa won’t be too pleased either, let me tell you. We rely on you supplying us with truthful answers and truthful information in general. Mila (my wife and business partner), being Filipina, has a combination of Filipino scrutiny and suspicion with Australian bluntness. If she suspects someone of telling an “imaginative” story, she will warn that person of the consequences of false statements and bogus documents.
Visa consequences? Visa application refusal, and a 3 year ban under Regulation 4020. That becomes a 10 year ban if they doubt your identity. I’m sure you can well imagine how it would feel if you were hit with this! So don’t do it, unless you enjoy awful things happening to you. The Department have ways unknown to us of how they find out things that people are hiding. Yes, maybe it’s embarrassing to you to admit you have four kids, or maybe you didn’t want to mention that marriage you had when you were 18. And yes, it will be annoying having to deal with the fake birth certificate, but the consequences to a visa application are far worse!
Overcoming shyness in favour of truth
Start with your husband. Start with the man with whom you feel safe and loved. Take a few deep breaths, and tell him the truth. You will soon realise that nothing bad will happen when you do this. You will maintain his trust, and you will have a stronger marriage as a result. And you won’t have to remember what different stories you told to different people either, which makes life so much simpler. You are intending to live in Australia with an Australian man, right? Well, this is the Australian way. You really have to do it, and it’s not a bad habit to develop.