Thursday, August 16, 2007

More responses to Fay Olympia's narrative about Spam and Colonization - this one is from Jose Montelibano's column, GLIMPSES, published in the Daily Inquirer in the Philippines. Please pay attention to his last paragraph!

I do not know Fay, but it as though we already do in deeper ways. I did not know whether to give a standing ovation or cry tears of both joy and pain. What she wrote moved me so, as though she saw a corner of my heart and spoke for it.

I have taken on causes in the last 25 years of my life, mostly on social justice and political alternatives. For those causes, I gave as much as I could. I also discovered that one's capacity to give expands and deepens with personal maturity or the quality of the vision adopted and pursued. I cannot claim innocence of either wrongdoing or wrong thinking, but I can claim taking corrective steps in both departments of life. It remains an ongoing struggle, however, as the conditioning that has been indoctrinated into us by our environment is not an easy layer to dismantle in our very psyche.

What is important considering what I believe I can still achieve, or contribute to, towards nation building and the refinement of Filipino culture and value system is simply doing it day by day and drawing others to merge in collective understanding and action. When I think of a scenario where Filipinos try to undo a foreign or false understanding of ourselves which do not benefit our growth, I see impossibility, and an awesome, seemingly immeasurable ocean of required change. I feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of the problem and the complexity of it. Yet, I am determined to do something to unravel it with the life I have remaining.

It takes awareness not to fall into anger and resentment when the light of what has happened to us shoves aside the historical amnesia that has gripped us for so long. The configuration of the world today, especially with its communications technology which acts like a common and strong bond between peoples, make belligerence an archaic and unproductive attitude - even with cause.

Somehow, counter-measures to a recognized wrong must raise itself to higher levels than just shifting to the opposite polarity. There is great need for qualitative transformation from the part of victims to break the pattern of a pendulum swing from one extreme to another. Thus, Filipinos in America, or Fil-Ams, are challenged to recognize the historical ills committed by what is now their new country towards their motherland. Gratitude for the new opportunities clash with the utter distaste at the brutality and exploitation of a colonial past - no matter the Spam and the Coke that followed afterwards.

And I believe that a new spirit in Fil-Ams is already born and will find more visible manifestation in the immediate future. Many second generation Fil-Ams are finding their way home, either from curiosity or a deeper attraction that they have yet to consciously process. But it is there, and it will reshape not only our relationship with America but the future of the Philippines as well.***

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