American Idol finalist Jasmine Trias is in Manila and the local media cannot get enough of her as big businesses like McDonald’s and Smart are earning big bucks as they further fan a “Jasmin mania” phenomenon (The telecom company even had its name mentioned in the captions Trias’ front-page photos on the newspapers).
Because she’s a Filipino-American, Jasmine became an instant hit in the Philippines. That the local media cannot get enough of her is a clear manifestation of our fixation with Fil-foreigners.
This is another symptom of colonial mentality, as pointed out by the Inquirer‘s Raul Palabrica: “The seeds of colonial mentality must have been so deeply planted that many of our compatriots measure success or failure in various activities of life using American standards.”
Also we, the little brown Americans, must be seeing two things in Jasmine Trias and other successful Americans whose parents or ancestors are Filipinos that make us strongly identify with them. One, they look like us, prompting others to describe Jasmine as “Pinoy na Pinoy.” And two, they’ve achieved our own desires for fame and riches.
Yet there’s something wrong when we call these foreigners with Filipino blood in them and treat them as if they’re one of us. The truth is, they are no longer ours.
“The people that have emigrated from our country are no longer ours to claim,” says Rey Rojo, a Filipino student in UK, in INQ7. 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, ” says Rojo.
In fairness to Jasmine, she reportedly has a collection of OPM music and watches the Filipino Channel. But still, as Oriah pointed out in the previous entry, her home is “Hawaii,” not Manila or Cavite.