… or should I say a grain of it?
Let me back up a bit and provide some context before I explain the salt thing.
I’ve been back here in Manila for almost two years now and I must admit that the first 1.5 years were difficult. I came back and stayed mostly for reasons that had to do with my family and particularly my mom (who was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in March of 2006). During this time I ended up going back to my passion (writing and literature) and I’m also doing what I never thought I’d be doing, at least not this early in the game – teaching at a respected university (DLSU Manila).
And the super extra bonus of all bonuses – Jay and I also found each other again, after 12 years of bad timing, geographic obstacles, and general life flux. Yay! 🙂
But I had to get used to a lot of other things that I didn’t have to deal with when I was living abroad. At least not to the extent that I feel like I do here. I’m talking about gossip. No, I’m not saying it’s something unique to us Pinoys so please don’t get your panties in a bundle. But from my personal experience, people gossip a lot over here.
I guess it’s a bit more obvious to me because before I was living in Washington, DC, where, in gossip’s stead, people talked about politics and social justice issues like it was going out of style. But our subjects were public figures (and their political agenda/issues equally public), so I guess they’re fair game to be ‘gossiped about’. But when people start talking about people you actually know, it all of a sudden makes for an uncomfortable situation altogether. At least for me it does. Or it did… I guess you could say I’ve developed a thicker skin.
As my boss likes to say, I’ve been reintroduced to the mangniniras, the ‘haters’ who are displeased with their current predicament so they make it a personal mission to bring you down with them. It exists everywhere and has different monikers (oh – read the current issue of Psychology Today and it discusses mangniniras in Australia and New Zealand; in their parts it’s called “tall poppy syndrome,” first introduced to me by my Auzzie-Pinay friend and maid of honor [along with Dre], Wendy).
Now, like I said in my April 28 post, I had plugged in the names of my suppliers in the W@W e-group/forum search engine to see what other brides (past and present) had to say about each of them. I wasn’t going to blog about it because a moderator told me that it could influence (negatively) other brides out there who may be swayed by what I had to say. It could mean bad business for my suppliers.
But I’ve thought long and hard about it and I realize that that’s giving me way too much credit and empowerment (although… thank you?) – Jay and I and this little blog, after all, are little fish inside a very big blog pond, and what the heck do we know except what we personally think and feel, based on our own very subjective experiences? As a writer, I’m also not the best of friends with censorship.
Additionally, it’s not giving other couples out there enough credit. I’m sure if we can sort through the muck, they can, too.
So I will say this – almost all of my suppliers (except Chinkie, our coordinator) received negative reviews. In fact, our designer and florist had a string of bad ones. But they also received glowing reviews. And after talking it over with Jay, we’ve decided to take everything with a grain of salt. Marimi talagang mga mangninira.
I could tell that a few disgruntled brides in the e-group didn’t have the best experience with a few of my suppliers; they’re entitled to their opinions. But I can distinguish between one bad experience and an agenda, as some are on a personal mission to sway other brides from going through the same hell. But that’s their hell. Who knows, perhaps they were a bit bridezilla to begin with. 🙂 Or perhaps expectations were never on equal level. Whatever the reasons, as a discerning couple, you really have to weigh out the good and the bad reviews that you read in e-groups/forums with your own personal experience with a particular supplier because everything is relative. What was rude to one couple may be seen as strictly professional and direct for another. What’s tacky to one couple may be classy for another, right?
One of my suppliers was called ‘binge’ (deaf… grabe!), there were complaints about how high a particular make-up artist’s rates are – but then again what is high for one person is affordable for another, and to my knowledge, the supposed ‘binge’ supplier of mine heard me loud and clear when I chatted with him.
So couples, YOU be the judge. Take everything you hear and read with a grain of salt. Yes, a pattern of bad behavior should set off red flags. But trust your instincts and be weary of reviews (especially nega ones) that sound too much alike because they could be written by the same person/couple who have an agenda. Go with your personal taste, preferences, and experiences. Which means beyond the forums and e-groups, if you can spare the time, go and meet with each supplier so that you can weigh out your options yourselves instead of basing your choices on someone else’s perceptions.
With that said – happy supplier hunting to all!