When the nail sticks out

rants, raves and randomness

The Element of Trust

If there is one thing I noticed, it’s that there is a general mistrust of fellow Filipinos. You see, my contract just expired and one of the ways I thought to make best use of my time is to gather unwanted things and send them home to the typhoon victims.

Unwanted things. You’d think they’be thankful for helping them get rid of trash. Throwing your unwanted things in Japan can be a headache, especially if they don’t fall into any of the burnable/non-burnable/pet-bottles/cans/glass/newspapers/cardboard boxes categories. Some wards would require youto pay for throwing your trash. One moving out of Japan can, of course, opt to use private trash disposal company – but some cost as much as 600USD for their services. Back in the day, you could dispose of your TV, computer, washing machine, fridge- all appliances- etc. by dumping them  in front of the building for the garbage truck to pick up. (When I was a university student, I picked up my TV set from a pile of trash outside my dorm). Now this is not allowed, hence the flux of people giving away their free things on Craigslist. And yes most of these things are in perfect, working condition. It’s just that, you know, space is one commodity we don’t have.

So I thought – why not gather all these unwanted things and give them to people who need them? Yes, out of my own shallow purse. It’s basically hitting two birds with one stone. I coordinated with my beloved ORG and we agreed that the box of unwanted clothing will be taken to the residents of Baco, Oriental Mindoro. In any case, even if the box didn’t make it, I trust my colleagues will take it to whoever needs it most. We’ve done these medical missions before, it’s nothing new. True, I don’t promise to be personally there. But here is one thing that I do :  I trust my org.

I posted my ad on Tokyo Craigslist and a Filipino forum.  The replies I get from Craigslist are overwhelming. Today,  despite the cold, I will be starting my garbage collection. In the Filipino forum, unfortunately, there are skeptics.They are what, in Caspar Hare’s discussions, called the counter-inductivists. In short, for whatever inductive reasoning you throw into them, they will find a way to disagree with you, fault you and doubt your motives. Some people just call them haters. I have to shake my head in disbelief when the moderator erased my post. Life goes on. In the end, I can give you all the Facebook event links – but if you are a counter-inductivist, you’d still end up believing I’m out to get your trash! In a Mathematical equation, you’d have to have  this much trust


In short, you have to be more inclined to trust that not to trust. This boils down to the sum total of your experiences with mankind. Does the total of your encounter with your fellow humans gives your more tendency to trust others? I’m lucky to be able to say yes.

Faith in Humanity

Faith in Humanity

A Filipino friend of mine who lived in Israel once commented on some Israeli’s habit of not locking their car doors when they drive. He explained to me that they make it a point to do so, so that during accidents, they can be rescued easily. An element of trust to your neighbors gets you a long way -it can save your life.

I am also surprised at how credit-card-less reservations in restaurants and hotels still exist in this country. People do trust each other, not only to keep their commitments, but to come on time. Not only that – because people operate with a basic level of trust, domestic flights are a breeze. Arrive at the airport 15 minutes before your flight, tap your printed bar-code to a machine and get your ticket issued to you! Compared that to the two hour wait in the Philippines plus endless identity checks. It reflects the level people actually trust each other.

In Italy when I walking around in Venice, a man on boat invited me tour the island with his girlfriend. I decided, well, what the heck. So we went touring the surrounding islands. By early evening, I was asking him to take me back to the train station in Sta Lucia so I could look for a hostel. He then invited me to stay in his home on the island of Murano. I asked him if he wasn’t afraid I, a stranger, was going to rob him. He answered if I wasn’t afraid he was going to rape me – what if he were a serial killer? I thought that made us even – and I stayed for the night. Heck, I stayed for the next two months, and I had an immensely great time because I was foolish to trust a stranger and smart trust  my gut. But it had to begin with something : trust.

Trust is pre-requisite of many daily activities. When you apply for a job at Gaijinpot, you trust that these companies are not fake companies out to get your details. When you eat at a restaurant, you trust that they don’t spit on your food. When you start working for a company, you trust that on the 25th, you will get paid.We read reviews on Make-up alley or TripAdvisor – we trust our fellow consumers’ judgement. We trust that banks will not steal our money. Many websites operate on trust of varying levels : CouchSurfing, Odesk, Global Freeloaders, WWOOF, Meet-ups, Guru, EDx- and more.The simple “like” and+1 are forms of trust – we trust our fellow netizens’ judgement to like to +1 things worth being liked and +1’ed . When all these countries pledged aid to the Philippines, they show that they trust.

I know. I am not completely guiltless myself. In Narita airport, going home, I picked up a Smartphone in the restroom. It obviously belonged to a Filipino, but I chose to return it to a Japanese because I doubted my own.  In the immigration, where there are constantly many Filipinos, I kept close guard of my purse and my tablet.  Last Saturday, when we went to a hotel in Shinjuku for an eat-all-you-can lunch, I refused to leave my things unattended because there were some foreigners. I constantly whine about the Japanese mistrust of gaijins, foreigners- and yet, I succumb to the same mistrust of my fellow gaijins.So what right do I have to get irritated when all these skeptics question my motives for desiring their trash?

The counter-inductivist in me would say, Well, you’ve been wrong in trusting many many times before. Maybe this time you’d be right. 

Trust your fellow Filipino. Take a leap of faith.

*Featured image from this site



Our missions were successful!! Thank you for all those who helped, volunteered, donated..the people who trusted US!

Please check out [2013] RELIEF BY IMMERSION IN CAPIZ AND ILO-ILO, WESTERN VISAYAS, PHILIPPINES. Our outreach programs are listed on our blog, UP OUTDOOR OUTREACH.

One comment on “The Element of Trust

  1. godtisx
    November 23, 2013

    Interesting write up, I think trusting your fellow man in situations where you would doubt? Is a leap of faith. But some of us have alot of proof from which our distrust stems. Still, I get your article. You can side step alot of opportunities if you plaster that all over everything.


    But, it’s hard not to do….

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