Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pinay wins it big in London by Alfred Yuson (The Philippine Star 05/16/2004)


When I was little, I wanted what many Filipino children all over the>country wanted. I wanted to be blond, blue-eyed, and white.

I thought -- if I just wished hard enough and was good enough, I'd wake>upon Christmas morning with snow outside my window and freckles across my nose! More than four centuries under western domination does that to you. I>have sixteen cousins. In a> couple years, there will just be five of us left in the Philippines, the>rest will have gone abroad in search of "greener pastures." It's not just an anomaly; it's a trend; the Filipino diaspora. Today, about eight million Filipinos are scattered around the>world.>> There are those who disapprove of Filipinos who choose to leave. I used>to. Maybe this is a> natural reaction of someone who was left behind, smiling for family>pictures that get emptier> with each succeeding year. Desertion, I called it. My country is a land>that has perpetually> fought for the freedom to be itself. Our heroes offered their lives in>the struggle against the> Spanish, the Japanese, the Americans. To pack up and deny that identity>is tantamount to spitting> on that sacrifice.>> Or is it? I don't think so, not anymore. True, there is no denying this>phenomenon, aided by the> fact that what was once the other side of the world is now a twelve-hour>plane ride away. But> this is a borderless world, where no individual can claim to be purely>from where he is now. My> mother is of Chinese descent, my father is a quarter Spanish, and I call>myself a pure Filipino-a> hybrid of sorts resulting from a combination of cultures.>> Each square mile anywhere in the world is made up of people of different>ethnicities, with> national identities and individual personalities. because of this, each>square mile is already a> microcosm of the world. In as much as this blessed spot that is England>is the world, so is my> neighborhood back home.>> Seen this way! , the Filipino Diaspora, or any sort of dispersal of>populations, is not as> ominous as so many claim. It must be understood. I come from a Third>World country, one that is> still trying mightily to get back on its feet after many years of>dictatorship. But we shall make> it, given more time. Especially now, when we have thousands of eager>young minds who graduate> from college every year. They have skills. They need jobs. We cannot>absorb them all.>> A borderless world present a bigger opportunity, yet one that is not so>much abandonment but an> extension of identity . Even as we take, we give back. We are the 40,000>skilled nurses who> support the UK's National Health Service. We are the>quarter-of-a-million seafarers manning most> of the world's commercial ships. We are your software engineers in>Ireland, your construction> workers in the Middle East, your doctors and caregivers in North>America, and, your musical> artists in London's West End.>> Nationalism isn't bound by time or place. People from other nations>migrate to create new> nations, yet still remain essentially who they are. British society is>itself an example of a> multi-cultural nation, a melting pot of races, religions, arts and>cultures. We are, indeed, in a> borderless world!>> Leaving sometimes isn't a matter of choice. It's coming back that is.>The Hobbits of the shire> travelled all over Middle-Earth, but they chose to come home, richer in>every sense of the word.> We call people like these balikbayans or the 'returnees' -- those who>followed their dream, yet> choose to return and share their mature talents and good fortune.>> In a few years, I may take advantage of whatever opportunities come my>way. But I will come home.> A borderless world doesn't preclude the idea of a home. I'm a Filipino,>and I'll always be one.> It isn't about just geography; it isn't about boundaries. It's about>giving back to the country> that shaped me.>> And that's going to be more important to me than seeing snow outside my>windows on a bright> Christmas morning.>> Mabuhay and Thank you.


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