Bad news, good news. The bad news is that my basic plan for world dominationâ€”send out Pinay maids to raise the next generation as Pinoysâ€”will not work in China. The Chinese government frowns upon the “importation” of Filipino domestic helpers and nannies, as this takes employment away from the local nannies called ayis. Smart move. It’s not just to protect local labor, I think; they know the importance of being raised in one’s own culture. I mean, they don’t have a culture that’s thrived thousands of years for nothing. There are some Pinay maids working in China, but most of them are employed by expats.
The good news is that the bestselling line of snacks in China is Oishi, a Filipino brand. Oishi is manufactured by Liwayway Co., which began in Manila in 1946 as Liwayway Gawgaw. According to my source, Oishi has 10 percent of the huge Chinese snack food market; given the competition, this is enough to take the number one ranking. According to an extremely cheerful Chinese volunteer, Oishi snacks were handed out free at her school, so everyone became habituated to the chips and whatnot. There are Oishi products that aren’t even available in the Philippines yet, such as the grilled mushroom, the sweet and spicy, and the tomato ketchup-flavored potato chips in cans. (Although it must be noted that the truly Pinoy flavor would be banana ketchup.) As my sister, who consumed mass quantities of Bread Pan during her pregnancy, will attest, Oishi snacks can be quite addictive. Perhaps addictive enough to compensate for the absence of Pinay domestics in China. . .