Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Filipino – It’s Not Where You Are But Who You Are
“Public display of emotions (kissing and hugging) is evidently abhorred most especially in the provinces. Less that I realized that this was a big cultural shock for me the first time I stood on a western land. Do our social roles and functions forbid us from exercising the ultimate display of freedom that is the freedom of expression? On the other hand, would it be destructive to the culture that we have grown up with should we adapt to these practices?”
These are some of the questions posted by a Filipina in the forum of a social networking site. I must assume that she is a migrant Filipino living in the Western front. The questions are indeed valid as I see it and I supposed that this identity crisis is common not only to the Filipino migrants but the Filipinos in general.
There is nothing wrong in one’s adapting certain practices of other country especially if the situation calls for it. In fact, it’s expected for a Filipino to show respect to a host county for which he/she is a foreigner by doing what is customary to that country. On the other hand as I put it, only to “certain” practices as long as you’re comfortable of doing it. In doing so, one must draw the line between adapting and imitating. The former is appropriate but the latter is disgusting especially if it is unbefitting. The problem begins when one’s adaptation of foreign practices repulses the culture for which he or she was raised and much more; if such adaptation is highly uncalled for. Perhaps, the question should be rephrased by: “When and when not to adapt?”
One’s willingness to retain certain traits of being a Filipino, weather he’s pure or a mestizo (half-breed) depends on his orientation of the Filipino values, its culture and heritage. One’s adaptation of foreign culture is more prevalent to the Filipino migrant’s off-springs; either these kids were born and raised outside of the Philippines or migrated to other countries after being born in the Philippines. This is because of some Filipino migrants poised indignant of their root as a Filipino. How pathetic it is sometimes seeing a Filipino, that after staying for quite sometimes abroad suddenly lost memories of who and what he is; worst, could not even speak in his native tongue.
As I simply put it, there is nothing wrong in embracing certain practices or norms of other country especially if it’s highly inevitable. However, we should never forget what we are and who we are. One’s toiling in a foreign country albeit for a long time could justify neither one’s selective amnesia nor its twisting tongue, worst; forgetting totally who he was.
The color of your hair and skin could not alter you’re being a Filipino. It’s in our veins and our blood is whimsical and enchanting.