Tuesday, October 19, 2004


I have a number of good friends who are naturalized American citizens or are born Americans of Filipino ancestry. The common trait among them is that despite the fact that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States, they are still Filipinos where it counts, deep in their darkest recesses of their souls.

What irks me though are the Filipinos who come to the States, achieve immigrant status or citizenship, and then act as if they were never Filipino in the first place. They put on airs and painful accents, treat other Filipinos with an attitude that often goes beyond contempt, and completely turn their backs on their past, on their cultural heritage, on their inborn nature.

They act as if they've got it made, boast about their homes and cars and appliances, and move as if they're millionaires. Granted, if they convert their US$ to PHP they are millionaires, but in the context of America, they're not quite there.

Which is why I appreciate my friends who have kept their heads even as they live in America - Pauline & Dino, Rickey, Xtine, Fleece and the others who work hard, play hard, and live life without abandoning that quintessential Filipino value of knowing not to declare greatness surpassing God.

To be fair, there is another perspective. There are those whose goal is the absolute abandonment of everything that they were - citizenship, history, culture, language, everything - exchanging their brown skin for multi-ethnic rainbow skin, their puto for baked potatoes, their novenas for thanksgiving. By obliviating who they were, they become new creatures, as strong and as fragile as newly-birthed butterflies, stretching their US-grade wings in the snowy climes.

But while I wish them no ill-will, I certainly do not like them.

Not because I am being judgmental from a nationalistic perspective, but simply because I think that the labels they have placed on their foreheads like stickers are cosmetic ornaments that fail to cover their true nature.


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