Random musings on this somewhat anti-climactic Philippine Independence Day. One-hundred-seven years after the Aguinaldo's Kawit declaration, and where are we as a nation, as a Filipino diaspora? Recent polling shows that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is the least popular president since Ferdinand Marcos. Recently, Rep. Liza Maza introduced legislation meant to lift the ban on divorce in the Philippines. How far have we come?
I read an interesting column by Emil Guillermo in AsianWeek the other day, lambasting the 49ers for their training video, which contained a buck-toothed Asian man chonging it up a la Mickey Rooney in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'. To quote Sin La Salle in 'Be Cool' after he shoots a Russian gangster for twice calling him a n*gger: "Racial epithets. Why must it always come down to that? Makes me sad for my daughter."
Emil's a good writer. I like his stuff, generally. Articulate, well-thought out arguments, fairly progresive politics. I've read a few of Rodel Rodis' columns in Philippine News. I like some of his stuff too. Makes me wonder where the Pinays (especially Fil-Ams) are in this whole columnist biz. Don't know of any that have gained the prominence of an Emil or Rodel. And the interesting feedback I've been getting about my essay that appeared in Phil News makes me think: "Why couldn't I be a columnist?" I already write this blog, right? Heh.
I realized the other day that I haven't been writing about much political news on this blog. Perhaps it's because I work in a non-profit that does pretty cutting-edge, progressive social change work. Meaning, I have plenty of people around me all the time whom I can politick with. Today, for example, I coordinated a fabulous house party for my organization, Californians for Justice, where a bunch of activists got together to hear about our work, listen to a youth leader from Oakland High School speak, and give us some cash. It's nice to be in those spaces, where we can feel completely comfortable with our politics around race, class, gender, etc.
But it was also nice to be in a place where I was challenged a bit around my politics—my friend T.'s wedding in Sacramento. T. is Chinese-Vietnamese, was forced to immigrate here when she was a child because of the Vietnam War. T. married S., a fellow Chinese-Vietnamese refugee. They were joined at their wedding banquet by 500 family, friends and well-wishers. The program was in Cantonese and English. The crowd was probably at least 90% immigrants or children of immigrants. It was a trip, but a cool one. And the food, damn, don't get me started. All I'll say is: Twelve course Chinese banquet. Abalone. Walnut Prawns. Peking Duck. You get the picture.
Because of the wedding and the house party, I've spent more time in a car this weekend than I have in months. I'm tired, and ready to grub on some homemade pasta and roasted asparagus.