Jasmine Mania, etc.

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.

20 Replies to “Jasmine Mania, etc.”

  1. There are two sides to a coin. I have seen only one side in your post. There are reasons why people leave the Philippines. When I left, Philippines was not yet on rough seas that’s why I do not call it ship abandonment. In fact, I think I can help the Philippines better by being where I am now..I contribute to the country’s Gross Capital Income. I have not removed the fact that I am still a Filipino even if I moved out of the country. For one thing, if you are an Ilocano from Ilocos, you will still be an Ilocano if you moved to Ilo-ilo. Somehow you will always trace your roots back to where you come from. Jasmine, when you look at the footages of American Idol has always been proud to say she was born in the Philippines first and now lived in Hawaii. Pagulayan won as a Canadian but it was because the rules were very limiting. However, now that he will soon acquire a dual citizenship, he said he will represent the Philippines. I find it very insulting for you guys to say that we are not your own now. I for one has never said you are not my own anymore. To those who are in the Philippines, what have you done for our country so far? I have been a contributor to Gross Per Capita Income so far! At least the government does not have to worry about my family anymore.

  2. Ting Aling: Thanks for bringing here the other side. It is very obvious that despite your decision to stay in another country, you remain a Filipino at heart. You are therefore not included in the kind of Fil-foreigners that I am writing about here. I just hope your children, if they are in the US, will stay concerned with the Philippines they way you are.

  3. Oh by the way, my daughter’s school proudly announced that we hail from the Philippines when she got her “Scholar of the Year” award, an honor given to only one student, (take note–only one) out of the entire grade 8..It is so appalling to hear that the school was so proud to announce that a Filipino excelled only to find out that we are being disowned by our own kababayans. The Japanese are proud that even though Ichiro(broke a record recently) played for a Seattle Baseball team, he was still a Japanese..get that fact straight..

  4. Julian, just wishing that you have not generalized. Majority of us who are outside of the country still long for the Philippines. There is only a few who are not proud of our country..I am speaking from an out-of-the-country perspective. Not to worry, my kids are so Filipino by heart. Peace!

  5. We’re not disowning our loyal kababayans. Like what I’ve wrote, Fipinos abroad like you (note that I did not say Fil-foreigners or Fil-Ams) do not belong to the group who shouldn’t be considered as “no longer ours.” If it’s you who insist on remaining a Filipino, we can not deny you that identity, because it is rightfully yours.

    What is wrong is when Filipinos try to impose our identity on those who haven’t even acknowledged their heritage yet.

  6. that’s what i also noticed with us Filipinos, if there’s a particular event that occurs and a Filipino (or even half-Filipino) is involved, makikisali na agad tayo. kahit na minor role lang ginawa nun or what. hehehe.

  7. Jasmine is not a Filipino. Her relatives are. They know that she will be making a lot of money. Acknowledging her is a big proof of foolishness. Besides, she is not that talented.

  8. i think the phenomenon, of claiming someone famous and successful, eventhough she is mildly pinoy, as ours, is pride by association; the converse of guilt by association. the pride thing is ok, really, at least when we were claiming leah salonga was pinoy and manny pacquiao, too, and paeng nepomuceno. but jasmine. something’s wrong here. where is the achievement the pinoy race can proud of?

  9. well, i think we wouldn’t disown someone if she or he was raised here in the philippines. look at leah salonga, manny paquiao. Jasmine is more of Hawaiian than Fiipino to be exact. It was only revealed after american idol. I would even prefer camille velasco. At least, she grew up here and said also in her video that she came from the philippines. she actually grew up in makati. She is proud to be one. In jasmine, she says she has opm music but even a foreigner can buy one. i think her filipino side is very vague. It is only seen within her ancestors. If one is proud to be filipino, she should stayed here or even in her video should have said it. she didn’t even acknowledge or even hear from her mouth the word “philippines” or “filipino” or even “pinoy”! I only found out that she was filipino after american idol. she didn’t give any info kasi that she was filipino. She could be hispanic, or hawaiian…

  10. Hello, a really interesting experience to visit your website. For sure i will come back soon. greets to all !

  11. Well first of all if u guys took the Filipino history, there is no such thing as a pure Filipino blood. Filipino blood is really made up of 70% Indonesian, 20% Malaysian, then Spanish, Chinese, White etc.

    Usually Fil-Ams and American born Pinoys do not feel the thirst to find their ethnic roots in their early age, they usually trace it later in life like in College. If you noticed, Tagalog and Philippine history classes in Colleges are filled with 95% Fil-Ams/Amer Born Pinoys. They want to know their roots and the language.

    But there are some few Fil-Ams that are not interested in tracing their roots. I have met them and interviewed them. Usually the reasons are mainly lost connection to and not interested at all.

    Jasmine Trias is one of these Fil-Ams that I have mentioned, she lost connection with the culture this is why she wanted to go to the Philippines to feel how to be a Pinoy by heart. Read repot below.

    Jasmine once again graces the cover of another magazine! This time it’s the December 2004 edition of Access Magazine. In “Jasmine Trias: PLDT Group’s Christmas Idol,” “Asked about how she feels about having a big family [when she was in the Philippines last October], she said, ‘I’ve always wanted to go to the Philippines, to acutally experience the culture. It is always something I wanted to do and now that I’m here, I’m very grateful. It made me value my being a Filipino more.'” In the second article, “Jasmine Trias discovers her Filipino side,” she talked about her stay in the Philippines, how her family celebrates Christmas at home, her sources of inspiration (Alicia Keys, her family and fans), her plans to attend college and possibly going into business marketing, and her knowledge of Tagalog. The mag is available only to employees and friends of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.

  12. Those foreign-born Filipinos and half Filipinos are milking us. Jasmine went here and has claimed to be Filipino coz she wasn;t successful in the US. She entered the top 3 because of the huge Filipino population in Hawaii. Look at KC Montero, he came here coz he can’t be a hollywood star, and he wanted to be a star!

    besides, it’s AMERICAN Idol, not Filipino Idol, right?

    I better waitch our AI ripp-offs here. AT least they’re Filipinos

  13. I’m a Fil-Am and I’ve been fascinated with Filipino mentality and it’s effects. The opinions here about Jasmine reminded me when my wife’s climb in the corporate ladder from the bottom to becoming a senior manager was opposed, block and sabotage by co-filipinos. The attack and gossips was really bad specially among filipinas but she persisted. I guess anyone who does not meet your standard of being filipino is not good enough. That’s too bad, filipinos around the world could use more role models even if they live somewhere else or mix heritage. Ever try doing a search on filipino achievers, filipino role models, filipino business sucess, filipino billionaires the results are pathetic. 85 million filipinos in the philippines maybe around 4 to 6 million overseas and 1 filipina, a woman beats out thousands and thousands americans to perform and watch by millions and she gets bashed by her own. So what else is new no wonder so very few among us achieve anything great, there’s a filipino lurking around waiting to pull you down, putt’s you in your place. It’s like “Who do you think you are, you’re just a filipino” you’re not american, chinese or mestizo, you get back down, down, down here where you belong.

  14. I’m a Canadian Citizen Now…but I am always proud to be a Filipino..We had been very sucessful as a family…My Brother & Sisters are also in the Medical Field….Me and my wife also work with the Health Department and because of this we were able to invest in the Philippines.

    The issue about “Jasmine Trias” ….she is an American citizen , but her parents are from the philippines…..she is proud to be a filipino….

  15. Jimmy our definition of success are completely different. I live in Silicon Valley where Filipinos are getting left behind Chinese, Vietnamese, Indians and other Immigrants are making a difference. They’re climbing the social and econimic ladder faster. They start businesses and are more agressive. Most filipinos are just happy to have a job. Don’t get me wrong my family is full of Engineers and we all make good money and live in big expensive houses, we have many properties in the philippines but I don’t consider that a success. It’s kind of sad that we don’t have any Filipino Role Model that I’m aware of, Do you? I gravitate towards business people because they create wealth and they create jobs. To me success is when the public looks at you they’ll say I want to be like him/her or do what he/she does or achieve what he/she has achieved.

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