It’s common practice for Filipino’s to call superiors with ma’am or sir.
I often get frowns or rude remarks for not practicing this. In school I learned that Filipino’s have an intense attachment to formal titles because they have a global inferiority complex. I believe this attachment is a solution to attack the wrong problems.
I do make exceptions when I mock someone or just do it for fun. In a previous job I addressed people by their title and maybe a bit of a description when there’s more than one like cute hr, younger accountant or granny sales manager.
I also forgot all their names all together. People didn’t seem pleased and I had a hard time writing letters because I had to go “Hey! What’s the name of our older accountant? I need to get some checks signed.” The response is usually a raised eye brow.
I know that the purpose of this practice is to treat our “superior” elders with respect. The thing is, we are supposed to treat everyone with respect and we don’t really need to tag anyone as “superior” in order to start respecting them. I don’t mock people with the same or lower experience as I have.
The next time somebody asks me to call them sir or ma’am, I’ll ask them if they enjoy being called sir or ma’am? If so I just might. I’m thinking most people don’t really.
I know we want a world where we can communicate what we want to say clearly.
Let’s not add to to the bureaucracy shall we?Written on September 24th, 2011 by Kevin Olega