Being Filipino

There is an on-going discussion at Yuga’s blog on why American columnist Michelle Malkin is not included in the list of Filipino bloggers. Yuga says Malkin is clearly “of Filipino descent.”

But there is of course a difference between being of Filipino descent and being Filipino. In her Piercing Pens entry “Defining the Filipino”, Oriah wrote:

But who is and what makes a Filipino? For many of us, being born a Filipino citizen is the key. For some, just tracing your roots to one Filipino makes you one. As for me, citizenship is earned, not laid out on a silver platter. We work to earn the title of being true blue Pinoys.

Defining the Filipino is still a challenge for most of us but one thing I am certain, it’s not just ancestry or bloodline or eating adobo that defines us.

In another entry, I wrote that “… there’s something wrong when we call these foreigners with Filipino blood in them [Pinoys] and treat them as if they’re one of us. The truth is, they are no longer ours.”

I then quoted Rey Rojo, a Filipino student in the United Kingdom, who wrote a piece for INQ7:

The people that have emigrated from our country are no longer ours to claim. They–or their parents–chose to leave the Philippines and live as Americans. Why can’t we let go of them?

These Filipino-foreigners to whom we impose our culture and our identity should make the first claim of having Filipino origins. After all, it is not they that require attention; it is we who are hungry for positive world acknowledgment and praise.

Yuga said he places Malkin in the same category as Caterina Fake of Flickr, of Black Eyed Peas, Nicole Scherzinger of Pussycat Dolls, actor Rob Schneider or even designer-blogger Bryan Veloso. But most, if not all, of these people have expressed their pride–or at least interest–in being Filipino.

On the other hand, Malkin acknowledges her Filipino descent, but she denounced our nation when we were rejoicing for Angelo de la Cruz’s freedom from Iraqi kidnappers in 2004. She wrote that she’s “deeply, mortifyingly ashamed of [her] parents’ native land” because President Arroyo “has crumbled like a fried lumpia wrapper under pressure from radical Muslim terrorists.”

Do we still want to call this woman a “Filipino (or Filipina) blogger”?

5 Replies to “Being Filipino”

  1. 1) She considers herself American. Period. You cannot really blame her. It may have something to do with how her parents raised her. And the fact that this probably led to her indifference about her roots. Some immigrants in the 70s did not teach their kids to speak or understand any tagalog because they were afraid that this would cause assimmilation difficulty.

    2) As for “denouncing our nation”… well, I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was just frustrated with Arroyo’s reaction. Filipinos shoudl not take this personally, imo.

    3) One does not need to work to be Filipino. One just is Filipino. Or not. At least, that is my opinion.

    4) I agree with Rey Rojo’s observation 100%

  2. one more thing… this (“After all, it is not they that require attention; it is we who are hungry for positive world acknowledgment and praise.”) reminded me of something…

    remember when Versace was killed? Some people just had to shout out that Andrew Cunanan was Filipino.

    Hindi lang positive…

  3. persecuting someone because of some political views whatsoever is unfair. so how do u label someone as a “true blue filipino”? – is it just someone who will shout loud and proud “im a filipino and im famous…and love everything thats happening in the philippines” ??? Stupid people who just recognized/acknowledge positive achievements of people who are sort of ” famous” overseas??? and unrecognizing negative and a lot of inconvenient truths about filipinos? swallow your unnecessary pride and think back and ask yourself “am i being fair? or am i just making myself and my beloved country look uglier because of my unfair commentary/blog?”.

    Identification/Citizenship is a political issue for some people. For me is an individual choice/preference. You cant tell someone who they are and whom they belong to and what not. Dont be such ignorant you people – you embarrass me.

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