In a nutshell it is the withdrawing of one’s feelings and affection for someone they feel has offended them in some way. It is a very ethnic Malay thing with the Malaysians and Indonesians (ethnically the same race) calling it ‘merajuk’. Whatever it is called, it can be a very frustrating time for the average kano, especially those new to the Filipina.
What Is Tampo?
Tampo takes several forms but overall it is a way of expressing anger, hostility and disappointment without the direct confrontation we usually express these emotions with in the west. It can take the form of:
- resisting expressions of affection
- not talking to the person concerned, or to people in general
- being unusually quiet
- locking oneself in his or her own room
- refusing to eat
- not joining friends in group activities
- withdrawing from the group
- simply keeping to oneself.
If these don’t get the necessary reaction, they may escalate to foot stamping, pot slamming and, my wife’s favourite, shoe throwing.
How Do You Handle Tampo?
The whole point of giving you tampo is to give you the opportunity to make amends, known as ‘amuin’ in Filipino. You give her a little time and space, then you begin to make approaches that show you are concerned for her feelings and well being. She will ignore these at first, but persevere. Once you have groveled sufficiently, she will respond and begin to offer her affection again.
Whether you are in the wrong or not is irrelevant. It is your duty, since she is the one doing the tampo thing, to do the amuin thing. OK? Forget right or wrong, if you want life to resume normality, play the game and tell her you are sorry, do things for her to show you love her and give her the escape hatch her ‘face’ needs. Or, deal with it like I do.
Don’t Try This At Home
In the west such behavior is considered childish and weak. Sulking and expecting the other party, even if they are in the right, to make amends is not our way. But you didn’t marry a western woman, you married a Filipina and in their culture, this makes perfect sense. It is a way for people to resolve issues without resorting to violence or weaponry and they have the temperament to do this on the drop of a hat. You could, of course, attempt my method of tampo management but be warned, it has taken me many years to get to this point and I am still honing my technique, tampo by tampo.
First of all identify tampo is in progress as quickly as possible. This will minimize the risks of making things worse. Now, back off. Give her space and if possible, leave the house but at least leave the room. Take cover in your man shed. If you don’t have one, get one! Even if it is your car and you go for a drive, get away from her. Next, match her tampo with your own, western version. The French call it ‘insouciance’. You are not bothered by her silence, in fact you are enjoying the peace and quiet and ‘me time’. Now keep it up while totally ignoring her silence and pretending nothing is wrong. A variation is to match her tone, if she ever addresses you, with a similar, gruff, brusque tone. Not rude or confrontational, just not soft and sweet.