'Borderless world does not preclude the idea of a home'
Rori requested me to post this winning speech of Patricia Evangelista about the Filipino Diaspora – Filipinos leaving their homelands and seeking opportunities in almost every corner of the world. To many Filipinos, leaving is no longer a matter of choice, it’s coming back that is, she says. Someday, she may also take the same route but she will come home, because she’s a Filipino and will always be one. Coming home is about giving back to the country that shaped us.
I really wanted to search for this speech for posting in our blog, but I always forget. Patricia won three years ago in 2004. Now, she has graduated and writes for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Her column, A Rebel without a Clue appears every Sunday.
Her transformation over the years is noticeable. She used to write about typical teen topics – a Filipino movie she likes, the father she adores, student life, etc. I enjoyed reading her articles because they showed her youthful innocence. She didn’t join rallies fighting for ‘relevant’ causes. One time she used her column to respond to the attacks of some UP activists. Then she wrote about the writing workshop she attended one summer in Dumaguete. Then I noted that she was already writing about extra-judicial killings, militarization, and involuntary disappearances. From the pa-tweetums topics she was already into the more serious stuff. She didn’t do this from the confines of her home. She went to villages in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and other far-flung areas to interview the victims’ families. Something is happening to this young girl, and I wish that all these harsh realities of life will make her stronger and a better person.
A Borderless World
By Patricia Evangelista
THE PHILIPPINES' Patricia Evangelista, 19, won the International PublicSpeaking competition conducted by the English Speaking Union [ESU] in London early this month. The second-year Mass Communications student from the University of the Philippines, Diliman, beat 59 other student contestants from 37 countries, with her five-minute talk on the theme, "A Borderless World." (This was in 2004)
WHEN I was little, I wanted what many Filipino children all over the country wanted. I wanted to be blond, blue-eyed and white.
I thought -- if I just wished hard enough and was good enough, I'd wake up on Christmas morning with snow outside my window and freckles across my nose!
More than four centuries under western domination can do that to you. I have 16 cousins. In a couple of years, there will just be five of us left in the Philippines, the rest will have gone abroad in search of "greener pastures." It's not an anomaly; it's a trend; the Filipino diaspora. Today, about eight million Filipinos are scattered around the world.
There are those who disapprove of Filipinos who choose to leave. I used to. Maybe this is a natural reaction of someone who was left behind, smiling for family pictures that get emptier with each succeeding year. Desertion, I called it. My country is a land that has perpetually fought for the freedom to be itself. Our heroes offered their lives in the struggle against the Spanish, the Japanese, the Americans. To pack up and deny that identity is tantamount to spitting on that sacrifice.
Or is it? I don't think so. Not anymore.
True, there is no denying this phenomenon, aided by the fact that what was once the other side of the world is now a 12-hour plane ride away. But this is a borderless world, where no individual can claim to be purely from where he is now. My mother is of Chinese descent, my father is a quarter Spanish,and I call myself a pure Filipino -- a hybrid of sorts resulting from a combination of cultures.
Each square mile anywhere in the world is made up of people of different ethnicities, with national identities and individual personalities. Because of this, each square mile is already a microcosm of the world. In as much as this blessed spot that is England is the world, so is my neighborhood back home.
Seen this way, the Filipino Diaspora, or any sort of dispersal of populations, is not as ominous as so many claim. It must be understood. I come from a Third World country, one that is still trying mightily to get back on its feet after many years of dictatorship. But we shall make it, given more time. Especially now, when we have thousands of eager young minds who graduate from college every year. They have skills. They need jobs. We cannot absorb them all.
A borderless world presents a bigger opportunity, yet one that is not so much abandonment but an extension of identity. Even as we take, we give back. We are the 40,000 skilled nurses who support the United Kingdom's National Health Service. We are the quarter-of-a- million seafarers manning most of the world's commercial ships. We are your software engineers in Ireland, your construction workers in the Middle East, your doctors and caregivers in North America, and, your musical artists in London's West End.
Nationalism isn't bound by time or place. People from other nations migrate to create new nations, yet still remain essentially who they are. British society is itself an example of a multi-cultural nation, a melting pot of races, religions, arts and cultures. We are, indeed, in a borderless world!
Leaving sometimes isn't a matter of choice. It's coming back that is. The Hobbits of the shire traveled all over Middle-Earth, but they chose to come home, richer in every sense of the word. We call people like these balikbayans or the "returnees" -- those who followed their dream, yet choose to return and share their mature talents and good fortune.
In a few years, I may take advantage of whatever opportunities that come my way. But I will come home. A borderless world doesn't preclude the idea of a home. I'm a Filipino, and I'll always be one. It isn't geography; it isn't about boundaries. It's about giving back to the country that shaped me.
And that's going to be more important to me than seeing snow outside my window on a bright Christmas morning.
Mabuhay and thank you."
Friday, August 24, 2007
Video Clips of the Years Spent in Daet Parochial School
- DPS Elementary Years - Part I
- DPS Elementary Years - Part II
- DPS Elementary Years - Part III
- DPS High School Years - Part I
- DPS High School Years - Part II
- DPS High School Years - Part III
- DPS High School Years - Part IV
- DPS High School Years - Part V
- DPS High School Years - Part VI
- DPS High School Years - Part VII