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Sunday, April 26, 2009

News and proud moments!

I'm proud to have participated in maiana minahal's soon-to-be-released poetry book, Legend of Sondayo, by writing the brief Intro. check it out!

More Proud Moments:
For starters, here's the Fil Am students at SSU and their version of Tinikling. And just to give a context to this: my university is considered to be the whitest campus among the CSUs and possibly the most affluent, according to a controversial sociological survey recently conducted by one of the professors in the Sociology dept. In recent years, I've witnessed the whittling away of support for ethnic/race-specific programs and organizations on campus as they are subsumed under the broad category of "diversity." There used to be an Asian and Pacific Islander Organization on campus but now only the Fil Am student association exists as the sole APIO organization. There used to be an Intercultural Center and then it was merged with the Women's Center and became Center for Culture, Gender and Sexuality (CCGS). CCGS no longer exists. An ad hoc committee for diversity has been working to raise awareness and alarm over this state of affairs and has recently conducted a series of town hall meetings on what to do about diversity.

In the meantime, the Fil Am events and performances dominated the "Asian Heritage Month" (April) -- from a film showing of Remembering Our Manongs, to noon performances at the Quad, to Island Fever Funk Fest, Barkada Night, etc. For this Barkada Night, the students recommended a Filipino theme at Zinfandel Cafeteria; they asked their parents to come in for the day and work in the cafeteria with the chefs to prepare a Filipino Dinner of tinola, pork sisig, chicken bbque, lumpia, pancit, cassava cake, turon. The FAASSU students decorated the cafeteria with a gallery of "do you know I'm Filipino?" pop icons like Vanessa Hudgens, Cassie, and others. At 6pm and 7pm, the dance crew performed Tinikling, Maglalatik, Pandanggo sa Ilaw, and Binasuan much to the delight of their families and the students. Julieann Murella (president), even learned and sang the Philippine National Anthem in Pilipino - so cool!

This was a working day for parents/aunties/uncles of the students and they had to take the day off to drive from as far away as San Jose to support their sons/daughters. Then Sarah and JulieAnn took the opportunity and asked me to tell their parents that they want to go to the Philippines on an exchange program to learn Filipino. I reassured the parents that it would be worthwhile to allow their kids to do this.

And then there's Lauren, a freshman who was the president of the FIlipino club at her high school. She introduced herself to me and immediately wanted to immerse herself in all things Fil Am on campus. She showed me her videos and photos of the Philippine trip she took with her high school and asked if I'd let her share her story with my Fil Am class. She wants to be involved in the community as well.

And then there's Scott Ma who graduated last year but couldn't quite stay away from FAASSU and keeps the online archives of FAASSU updated.

Joel Binalimbing has also graduated but is still dancing with the crew. I say this dance crew is going to go places! The men's Maglalatik dance gets the girl's screaming and their fast-pace Tinikling version is mesmerizing! And I will never forgot what Rhonda said: I can't speak the language, but I can dance...and feel connected to my Filipinoness!

Rachel Espinoza, FAASSU Cultural Coordinator, has become quite the performance poet. Even though she was reading from Pinoy Poetics, she has memorized the long poem (aargh, I forgot the title!) and didn't really need a codigo/cheatsheet. The four male budding spoken word artists (next time, I'll make sure to know their names!) had fun performing their first composition.

Karen Pennrich and Flori Nowelsky, the other Fil Am advisers of the club on campus, surely keep the students feel supported by SSU staff.

Oh, it feels wonderful to be able to journal this now...

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