Sunday, October 24, 2004

Well, glad to hear that Barb has issues too with MHK as poet. When I first got hold of her poetry book, I- the non-poet, thought: uh...this doesn't sound like good poetry to me, esp. coming from someone like her. But she sure has a long list of famous friends!

Speaking of community events, I attended the FWN summit/day 2 (of about 40folks) yesterday because I was hosting Perla Daly who came all the way from Connecticut to participate in the panel on Filipino Identity, culture, and spirituality. Melinda de Jesus of Arizona State U, Dawn Mabalon, and Allyson Tintiangco, and another Fil Am business consultant were also on the panel (not really a panel but a fish-bowl discussion). This was the only "academic" panel in the two-day sessions about image-building, branding success, corporate success for Filipina women. The panelists didn't waste time in positing the dilemma of being at this summit (which addresses corporate-success-related issues) when globalization and global capitalism are merely the new forms of colonialism and imperialism. At some point, one of the summit directors interrupted the speakers and told them to "talk amongst yourselves instead of talking to your audience -- that's what a fish bowl discussion is," she said. So they did. Perla talked about her cyberactivism, decolonization, kapwa, loob, babaylan. Allyson and Dawn talked about Pinayism/Pinay power and its many forms and their participation in it. When asked how best to pass on Filipino culture, Allyson said "Breastfeed!"...and she was referring to 7-mo old Mahalaya, who I was lucky to babysit for the duration of the panel. (At least I was useful for a while!). There should have been a q and a after the fish-bowl as people were asked to write their question in 3x5 cards but that part was scrapped. I wonder why?

Before and after this panel, I heard presentations about glass ceilings (it's still there!), Cora Tellez' talk about the defining moments of her career (very impressive!), management survey results that show women who are "less acculturated" are "less successful" than their "more acculturated" counterparts (huh??). At one point it was mentioned that Filipinos come from a culture of non risk-taking, at which my wide-eyes turned to Perla and asked "what do you make of the 2M OFW's - non risk-takers?" Of course, I knew that these comments were meant in the context of corporate culture but nevertheless, it is these paradigms (less vs. more acculturated, taking risk vs. not-taking risk) that, I later told Perla, make the dissonance so loud in my ears.

As for the five "women who could be president" -- all were deserving awardees for their commitment to public service, advocacy, community service. But when they were doing their fish bowl discussion, a question was asked: What do you think of US-Philippine relations? and will you vote to forgive the IMF-WB loans of the Philippines? One made a comment about the Philippines being too dependent on the US and the others said they don't know enough to comment. Another said that the IMF debt should not be forgiven because in business you have to be able to borrow money. Having your debts forgiven is not good for business, she said. Another said the debt should be restructured because it is known that those loans were hoarded and squandered by the Marcoses. Okay but not astute enough of an analysis.

Putting together events like this takes a tremendous amount of work and this summit is well-organized based on the corporate sponsorships they were able to secure, the media blitz they did. Still, I wonder, why there were only 40 women there (many of whom were participating as speakers or facilitators)? Is this an affirmation of the research results they were touting -- that there are so few Filipino women in leadership positions? My instinct tells me perhaps we should be asking a different set of questions.

Nevertheless, I was glad to connect and reconnect with Bulletx' daughter, Bingo, Mylene Cahambing, Chris Robertson (the first Filipina and first woman cable splicer for PG&E!), and other new faces. Evelie Posch and Baylan Megino - opened and closed the summit with their babaylan ritual of the 4 directions - this was much appreciated as far as I can tell.

Two lessons I need to keep learning: have fun regardless....and always find something worth affirming. It was definitely fun to have Perla over the weekend.

Comments: Post a Comment
links to this post

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?