Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Cornel West on Democracy Matters. And while you're at it, pls. follow the link to the interview with Arundhati Roy.

Margaret Cho wants to issue a fatwa against Michelle Malkin...but doesn't know how.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The National Museum of the American Indian was inaugurated yesterday.

The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, whose tribal council chairman is Greg Sarris and is part-Filipino, finally won federal recognition in 2001. I met Greg (again) last Saturday at an event related to the Laguna conservation project in Sonoma County -- the Laguna is a 240square mile area that used to belong to the Pomos and Miwoks. Had a chance to chat briefly with him about the Filipino-Pomo connection and how much research and documentation needs to be done.

At this event, Greg and his aunt Anita Silver performed a blessing song and ritual and the Pomo words that I was hearing sounded like "ugnayan" which means "interconnectedness" in Filipino. I started to tear up as I listened even as my left brain started to analyze this emotional response. What is this - nostalgia or a genuine connection between my tribe and Greg's? (He did mention that it was so easy for the Manongs to marry Indian women because the men easily adjusted to tribal culture because they also come from tribal cultures in the Philippines). Or am i harboring unconscious designs to be an 'Indian want-abee?"

And yesterday, I received Tink Tinker's book, Missionary Conquest, about the complicity of missionaries with the colonization and genocide of Native peoples. Tinker, a theologian, asks: how can a liberation theology be articulated for Native peoples when that theology is the instrument that was used for genocidal purposes?

Even though the federal government has failed repeatedly to exterminate Indians through the passing of Indian identification policies and the abrogation of treaties, the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall reminds us that the First Peoples are still here and are engaged in redefining history and our future together.

Monday, September 20, 2004

New publication on Pinay Power. Check it out.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Sonoma County Book Fair

Tiboli Publishing was able to secure a tent and table at this event for the first time this year. This is a local event that prides itself in being small yet capable of attracting big names like Jane Hirschfield, Chitra Divakaruni, Dana Gioia, Truong Tran, and others.

Tiboli's scheduled readings in its own tent by Jorge Emmanuel, Oscar Penaranda, Al Robles, Tony Robles, Vangie Buell, and Liz Megino were not in the book fair program. Furthermore, the tent was located on a side street that's noisy with traffic and invisible from the main area where the booths and the main stage are located. (I believe these decisions about placement and visibility are political so I won't even get into it here for now). The few souls that found the hidden tent and listened to the first readers (Jorge, Oscar, and Vangie) realized that there were no copies of The Forbidden Book available because the copies are held up at customs at the Port of Oakland. The Forbidden Book indeed! as Ed Datangel told one customer.

However, there was a Fil Am high school junior who found the tent and hang-out to talk to the Tiboli folks. Soon he brought over his English teacher who beamed with pride about her student's creative writing ability and how invisible Fil Am literature is in Sonoma County so this was a great occasion for the young man. A few more Fil am youths came by to check out the table and sat for a while to listen to Jorge's talk. Then, of course, what's a Filipino event without picture taking with Al and Tony and the gang? The kids loved it!

A Korean American journalist working on a documentary on the legal history of Filipino Americans for NPR sat throughout the The Forbidden Book reading armed with tape and microphone which, of course, proved futile in the din of traffic noise.

Ed was kind enough to let me bring copies of Pinoy Poetics which were immediately bought by Vangie and Liz.

I have yet to find out if Ed thinks it was worth his while to come all the way to Santa Rosa for this event. Perhaps if he plans to come again next year, we will have more time to plan and ask for better accommodations. But it was worth my time to just be with Liz, Vangie, Jorge, Oscar, Al and Tony and watch the young people Fil Ams hover around these writers admirably, thankful for the connections made and inspiration.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Adding Vanessa Kenyon of Sonoma State University. Vanessa was a member of the Filipino American Students Association as an undergrad and now works for the Pre-College Program on campus as Outreach Advisor. BUT above all, she is an emerging poet and her most recent gig is to open for Aya de Leon. Welcome, Vanessa!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

So here is Al Gore quoted in The New Yorker (Credits to Jonathan Weiler at the Flytrap for doing this first). Gorgeous language and insight worthy of an American president:

"The real distinction of this Presidency is that, at its core, he is a very weak man. He projects himself as incredibly strong, but behind closed doors he is incapable of saying no to his biggest financial supporters and his coalition in the Oval Office. He’s been shockingly malleable to Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and the whole New American Century bunch. He was rolled in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. He was too weak to resist it."

“I’m not of the school that questions his intelligence,” Gore went on. “There are different kinds of intelligence, and it’s arrogant for a person with one kind of intelligence to question someone with another kind. He certainly is a master at some things, and he has a following. He seeks strength in simplicity. But, in today’s world, that’s often a problem. I don’t think that he’s weak intellectually. I think that he is incurious.... But I think his weakness is a moral weakness. I think he is a bully, and, like all bullies, he’s a coward when confronted with a force that he’s fearful of. His reaction to the extravagant and unbelievably selfish wish list of the wealthy interest groups that put him in the White House is obsequious. The degree of obsequiousness that is involved in saying ‘yes, yes, yes, yes, yes’ to whatever these people want, no matter the damage and harm done to the nation as a whole -- that can come only from genuine moral cowardice. I don’t see any other explanation for it, because it’s not a question of principle. The only common denominator is each of the groups has a lot of money that they’re willing to put in service to his political fortunes and their ferocious and unyielding pursuit of public policies that benefit them at the expense of the nation.”

When words speak louder than action.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Barb's Utang na loob question: Sorry, I haven't heard this applied (seriously) to the notion of fathers having only daughters...although it's probably easy enough to surmise how this might be bandied about as if it were true in a moralistic, patriarchal/macho, colonial context. As for pakikisama - yes, it is only accommodative/superficial, perhaps an entry-level approach to a relationship with the potential to become eventually pakikipagkapwa as one's relationship to the other moves from "outsider" to "one-of-us."

Maybe this will help (from V. Enriquez):

Levels of interaction revealed in Filipino language:

Ibang-Tao/Outsider category:
Levels: Pakikitungo (level of amenities/civility)
Pakikisalamuha (level of mixing)
Pakikilahok (level of joining/participating)
Pakikibagay (level of conforming)
Pakikisama (level of adjusting)

Hindi Ibang-Tao/"One-of-us" category
Levels: Pakikipagpalagayang-loob (level of mutual trust)
Pakikisangkot (level of getting involved)
Pakikiisa (level of fusion, oneness, and full trust)

Very often I find that when community folks talk about "Filipino values and culture" they are stuck with rehearsing the old "utang na loob" and "pakikisama" values as circulated by earlier non-Filipino social psychologists. This is not their fault, however, for we are only the product of our own miseducation.

Ver Enriquez' model helps to locate our intra-ethnic relationships in the two categories and the levels within each and perhaps may serve as a gauge of how much we have decolonized...and so likewise read the Lucky Chances casino incident in this context.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

This is from my former colleague, Jackie Reza, at Univ of San Francisco. Please come if you are in the area:

Dear Friends & Allies of Gloria Anzaldua:

I'm writing to remind some of you & let others know about a celebration of Gloria's life that we will be holding at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library on Sat., Sept. 25 (the day before G's birthday), from 3-5 pm.

In another listserve (pagbabalikloob) folks are reminiscing about NVM Gonzalez's life and work...which led me to become nostalgic for the days when we had kapihans (coffee and symposium) at my home discussing Filipino identity, history, culture, psychology...which nourished my feeble attempts to explicate on decolonization-as-process...as a process it is, therefore, always moving...in my case, moving towards some kind of integral consciousness.

Do most poets (at)tempt this integral consciousness through their poems? I think some do.

She does when she tells my students: To me being a poet is all about becoming a better human being.

She does because she is mandirigmang babae.

She does because she constructs white space as subversive space.

She does because she redefines scavenging as an aspect of loob.

I started this post on news about a celebration of Gloria Anzaldua's life...which reminded me of NVM and other mentors of a decade gone by. Now I am thinking about the poets I've mentioned and the idea of babaylan as embodied by these poets. Hmmnn...

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Happy Birthday, Eileen! and thank you, Barb! for the ecard.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

On being a Lola

This morning I woke up thinking: I can either think of the world as being fragile and endangered or I can think of it as being in the midst of the eternal constant cycle of creation and destruction. Either way, I thought, I am not in control. This might seem like an onerous thought for a Sunday morning after a wonderful day of gathering with loved ones to welcome our little Noah. But actually this represents a shift in my attitude. I have always been a bit too critical, pessimistic, and easily discouraged by sociopolitical and ecological trends (and it's not always because I am a Virgo). I realize that even thinking about these trends in narrow contexts terms gives them more power than deserved...So I am a new and improved Lola!

This is the power of Noah over me. He has already begun to teach me new things.

I was also telling folks that this semester started with the least worry and stress (in spite of worse conditions in CA higher ed). This attitude is not something that I have consciously willed into being. I am simply noticing that I’ve never before started the semester without the usual worries, gripes, and whines about nothing and everything. Facing my students (175 of them in 4 classes), all I can think of is "could that face be Noah’s 19 years from now? How would I want him to feel sitting there with 50 other anxious souls facing a strange professor?" Of course, I’m hoping that when that time comes, I will not seem like an oddity like I am today.

We thank our friends for sharing our joy of having Noah in our lives. Thank you all for sharing/creating our little village so that he may grow up in the tradition of "It takes a village." (Of course, I know you also came for the lumpia and adobo, salads, scones -- none of which were store-bought and all Leny-made).

Eileen and Tom who took time out from playing with Achilles to come and join us. Eileen, of course, was able to make a pitch for Menage a Trois and I Take Thee, English... even as she was making her gracious exit on the way to another party.

Betty and Jorge from Costa Rica and Unocal. Thanks, Betty, for making sure the punch bowl was replenished and for taking ice water to Cal as he fried lumpia in 90 degree weather outdoors. Jorge, we will have the karaoke party next time.

Didiet, my Indonesian friend - for helping me with day-before preps.

Susan and Bruce, Ardath, Roshni and Chuck – my mentors and dear friends from SSU – who are making sure that I don’t take this academic track too seriously so as not to have fun while doing it and for reminding me to look forward to retirement when one can still become a farmer, an art enthusiast and advocate, a novelist, and ride a tandem bike from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz!

Ianthe and Paul who have just arrived back from taking their only daughter to college in Oregon.

Judy and Pam brought us home-made chutney and apple juice from their farm.

Laurie shared her irrepressible joy of grandmothering. I want to be a gorgeous Lola, too, like Laurie.

Niki who is raising Tenzing and Trinley and writing her book on "motherhood and buddhism" – for teaching me on how to raise multiracial (grand) children.

Ginny and Babatunde who found a short window of time in between Babatunde's gig at the Benicia Yatch Club to take the long drive from Vallejo. Thanks!

Pat G, Noah’s Dad’s art teacher at Santa Rosa High School. I think we should all honor the teachers that make a difference in our children’s lives. Pat is one of those.

Lata and her husband who reminds me that we have promised to have lunch together and we haven’t done so yet.

Peter and Grace (and six year old Shamani) - my former students at SSU, and founders of the Fil Am organization – for telling me that I have mellowed/lightened up since their days at SSU.

Michelle and Rhett who brought buko pie and egg pie from Valerio’s . (I had to fight with Shamani to have a slice of both). They brought the video of the pamanhikan and as the last ones to leave, they also helped us eat more leftovers and take more food home.

Sopheap (with husband Denny and young sons, Maverick and Ethan) – who couldn’t stay because the kids were sick, thanks for dropping by! Sopheap and I go way back when we were still both students at SSU. Sopheap, a survivor of the Cambodian Holocaust, is one of my inspirations and I have frequently invited her to my classes to talk about her journey on how she finally passed the CBEST and getting her teaching credential.

Our neighbors Elsie and Maffie who couldn't believe that the little boy next door is now a Dad.

Shakira, Evelie, Linda, Jean, Francisco , Mutombo, Rina,and other friends who weren’t able to make it but sent their best wishes on this occasion – thank you, too!

Noah’s parents, like all protective parents at this stage, overcame their anxiety about how little Noah would hold up amidst so much attention. He stayed awake all afternoon and enjoyed it all. Just like Lola, he loves to party!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I'm posting excerpts from Rabbi Arthur Waskow's email regarding the ban against Muslim scholars to teach in the US. Please read on and see link at the bottom.

One such person is Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss Muslim who teaches in France and preaches that Muslim grievances against various policies of the US government and Muslim objections to the culture of consumerism, the Market as God, must NOT be expressed through violence, through terrorism. He preaches that the Muslim countries must reform themselves from within, not whining as victims of the West but creating societies of decency and democracy that can go beyond their own history and the present misdeeds of the West.

Notre Dame University in Indiana invites Professor Ramadan to join its facultyand its institute for peace studies. The State Department grants him a visa, months in advance of his when he is coming to teach -- now, as the semester begins.

But just a few days before he is to teach, with his old apartment empty, his family ready to fly across the ocean, his kids enrolled in an Indiana school, his students at Notre Dame waiting, the State Department -- your State Department, my State Department -- cancels the visa.

Why? The Department of Homeland Security said his agency had given the State Department information about Professor Ramadan but declined to say what it was except that, "Generally speaking, the criteria for revocation of visas include public safety risk or national security threat.."The State Department said Professor Ramadan's visa was revoked under a legal provision [evidently of the "Patriot Act"] that bans espionage agents, saboteurs and anyone the United States "knows, or has reasonable ground to believe, is engaged in or is likely to engage after entry in any terrorist activity." It could not provide any details about Professor Ramadan's case..

Notre Dame University in Indiana, that well-known nest of anti-American terrorists, says it has vetted Professor Ramadan thoroughly. It has no doubts about his worthiness as a professor of peace studies and Islamic ethics.

One of the best ways to support ultra-Islamist terrorists, like those who committed mass murder in Beersheva, is to make no distinctions between serious Muslim critics of the West who oppose terrrorists, and terrorists themselves. Humiliating Muslim scholars, denying them the opportunity to teach in the US and thus show us the deep differences among Muslims, teaching the mass of Muslims that the US government has contempt for all of them -- a great formula for supporting Hamas. This action is rooted in exactly the same stupidity, ignorance, and arrogance that predicted Iraq would shower US invaders and occupiers with flowers and join in building a pro-American bulwark. Eighteen months later, a bloody mess.

We can speak out to reverse this most recent disgusting, arrogant, act. Click or visit HERE: I have sent asimilar letter to the New York Times.

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