I was aghast when I went to Ayala Center Cebu a few weeks ago.
Just right after the metal detector machine, a Japanese couple, or so I believe they were, with two kids were having a nasty fight. With Koreans, Taiwanese and Japanese invading this nation, you can tell their citizenship through the way they talk and walk. My ears are now adept to the sound of the Korean and Japanese tongues that I just could tell those couple were Japs.
Back to the incident unfolding right in the middle of a busy Ayala, I believe it was a fight despite of the fact that the "wife" was just standing, head bowed and the "husband" shouting as if Ayala was his living room. Suddenly the male Jap slapped the female Jap. Her face getting redder and I was imagining it would burst out of shame. The hapless children, also devoid of voice, looked somewhere but did not move.
No one came to her rescue. I felt sorry for her and the kids.
I don't know how the Japs treat their women. I've never been to Japan and the Japanese I've known were mostly women and the men mostly very meek and mild. What I've read and seen from Memoirs of a Geisha were superfluous I think. That was a time when women were considered servants and whores in their society.
I knew from my readings that they used Filipinas as comfort women during the Japanese occupation in the country.
I knew these Japs were suicidal killers just like their kamikazes.
But I also knew they have overcome that notion and the prejudices we have against them. And being a first world country, I believed the Japs have come to terms with humane treatment, the role of women and gender equality in the society.
But seeing that incident was frustrating. I think everyone was willing but could not place themselves as to what extent should we be of help. Language and cultural barriers posed a problem and might have complicated the scene more.
In the end, all I did (and just like what everyone was doing) was stare and with a heavy heart left the site and did our business as if nothing happened.
But still the look of that woman- afraid, ashamed of the incident- left an imprint even in my dreams.
(Picture from http://flickr.com/photos/khawa6r/268383361/)