After I posted a couple of days ago my 10th blog entitled “7 Things Seamen Are Tired Of Hearing”, I received an overwhelming response from my comrades and their loved ones, saying that the items listed were soooooooo f*cking accurate. Some of them were messaging me on my Messenger account, telling me that they were totally related on what I’ve written. The responses were so great, with others suggesting that I must make another blog post, with their insights and responses.
Due to insistent public demand, here are the 4 more things seamen are annoyed in hearing to.
1. “Kailan ka sasampa?” (When will you come back onboard)
Seafarers work onboard for months onboard, grueling all the harshest conditions a human can endure at sea. Although some of us experience good and harmonious contract, many seafarers also experience bad and terrific life during their stay in their ships.
Their experience can be compared to that of soldiers who just came back from war and got PTSD. The only remedy for those who had a bullsh*t contract to end their agony is to hear the words “finish contract”, receive their flight details and step on the grounds of NAIA in Manila. In short, to go home.
It may sound absurd, but almost all of seafarers are sensitive when they were asked by their friends about going back onboard. As a matter of fact, all of seafarers receive this question days after going home. Maybe their question is a mere concern to know if they will stay long in their hometown, but on the flip side, it is not a good idea to ask this because they went home to have a break, take a rest and relax their minds and bodies.
The next time you see a seaman, better think twice before asking them when will they come back onboard.
2. “Seaman? Seamanloloko kayo!” (Seaman are cheaters)
It was a very old stereotype to all of the seafarers, whether they are men, women or member of LGBT. They were called as “manloloko” or cheaters. Years ago, seamen were tagged as cheaters because onboard before, the only way to relieve their stress at work onboard is to seek entertainment and happiness from sex workers who come up at ships, or look for them in bars and clubs whenever they are docked. And of course, although they want to hide their experiences onboard, they can’t help but to tell their golden memories to their friends whenever they are on vacation. As a result, seafarers were subjected to these nicknames such as cheater to their loved ones.
But those days are over. As time goes by, newer generation of seafarers are now becoming considerate with the feelings of their loved ones, especially girlfriends, wives or partners. Whenever their ships are docked in a port, instead of going out and seek for “worldly pleasures”, they just wait for the arrival of some businessmen that sells sim cards with high-speed mobile internet connection. This is for them to have videocall with their loved ones. In this manner, they are now avoiding temptations and sticking to their promise that they are now not “seamanloloko”.
Of course, in this age of social media, stories are now arising of seamen who experienced being cheated by their wives, girlfriends or partners. Instead of being “seamanloloko”, a new term evolved to describe those seamen who were so being loyal but their partners were not and it is called “seamaniloloko”. Some of these stories became viral on the internet, like for example, a seaman’s wife was caught sleeping with his husband’s kumpare, a seaman’s girlfriend dating his boss while his boyfriend is working hard onboard, and a seaman’s wife got pregnant but the father is not his husband. Worse, there were some stories that their partners are just using their seamen because of their financial capability.
I will not say that all of the seamen’s partners are cheaters, but the fact that they do not understand the struggles of the seamen onboard, they will not achieve true forever in love.
3. “Pa-backer naman ako” (Can you back me up [in your company])
As a seafarer, it is also our social responsibility to help other aspirants to be accepted to their company and get onboard. We also know that we must help each other because we also have aspirations in life. In return, it is not bad to answer the request of some aspirants to help them.
Here is the dreadful part. Almost all of shipping companies require “backer system” whenever you want to apply for them. Backer system is a known policy wherein in order to be accepted into the desired company, someone in that company must back you up and refer you to the crewing managers. Up to this day, there are still some shipping and manning agencies that are enforcing this policy. This provides an unfair game to other aspirants who want to go onboard but can not be accepted because they do not know someone in the company they wish to apply to.
However, some seamen who suggested to me this item told me that not all seafarers accepted to the companies are deserving. To be accepted in a company because of backer system is a rare opportunity and they must never lose the trust given to them by their backer. But some of them do not do good in their job onboard, fail to act properly and worse, becomes a headache to his crewmates onboard. As a result, his referrers’ name and reputation in the company will be tarnished.
Those referrers who told me this thing have one thing in common- they will never accept requests from people who wants to back them up. It is better for them to find ways to enter the company like searching for a needle in a haystack. It is not bad to help others, but they must also think that to be backed up is not a privilege but a responsibility. Personally, I am not against in backing up someone in our company. I have helped some of my friends and I am grateful that they do well.
4. “Masarap siguro pagkain nyo. Barko Yan eh”. (I think your foods are delicious. It’s a ship)
It’s not secret seafarer’s bodies go large everytime they are onboard. Maybe the reason for it is they have to eat humongous amount of food in order to be energetic, strong and fit so they can cope up with everyday work. This made a stereotype that the food seafarers eat onboard are delicious and somewhat at par with foods served in restaurants.
First of all, yes, we do have budget for our provisions onboard. Our provisions consists of meat, vegetable and fruits, rice and other daily supplements like coffee, milk, condiments and other food items. The only problem here is, in reality, not all cooks onboard are certified “chefs” that can cook delicious food. Others may cook fancy foods as if you’re on a restaurant, but there are some cooks who cook as if they do not planned what to prepare for the day. Additionally, budget for foods are not that so big. Cooks can cook food enough for a crew to consume a meal, and not more than they can chew.
Some seamen are grunting that their cooks are preparing food so bad that they prefer to throw it on the food waste bin. Personally I experienced that too. I had a cook before that cooks sinigang five times a week, kare-kare thrice, munggo twice and miswa with sardines thrice a week.
Not all seafarers experience good food onboard. So if you heard someone reacting to what you said that their food onboard is good, better yet think twice.
How about you? Do you agree with these items? Like, share and comment now!