My first trip abroad was in Hong Kong and I marveled at their train system, the lack of security guards checking bags in malls and office buildings, and the cleanliness of the streets and buildings. You could register a business in a few hours and open a bank account with only a passport. I was elated: despite the fact that many of them were rude, their system worked.
"Hong Kong is actually dirty," said one of the locals I was visiting. "You should see Britain." That comment opened my mind. I already liked what I saw in Hong Kong and this was still not enough for someone who has seen Britain?
From HK, more trips opened for me. I visited --
- Australia, where the airport quarantine was really serious on protecting from foreign pests and disease and I could visit mountains and beaches just by riding a train;
- Bangkok, where travel was smooth and peaceful because their roads were mostly free of potholes and the Thai did not honk their horns even in the worst of traffic; and
- Europe, where they had lots of parks and greenery and (in some cases) their politicians traveled like the rest of us. In Italy, their old villages were travel destinations and they were proud of their village cuisine. In London and Paris, they have preserved their old buildings and structures and you can't help but wonder how inspiring it would be to work in these cities.
In all these countries, they had good mass transit (even Bangkok's Sky Train and Metro beats our 3 train systems) and travel-friendly signs and maps. In Bangkok, although most of their signs are in Thai, their airport and Sky Train have English maps.
PS: There are more than 565,000 registered OFWs abroad (and that does not include the undocumented ones), according to a 2006 DOLE report. If we include the undocumented ones and those who have migrated, along with their families, there must be more than 1 million Filipinos abroad. Imagine if we formed a forum or a think tank where even just a tiny percentage of these Filipinos took a few minutes to write down their ideas?
I am going to label this as "What Works Abroad". Future posts on this thread will be labeled similarly.