Musings: My ethnicity

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Throughout my childhood, I've been spending nearly a quarter of it indulging myself in Filipino overly-melodramatic series and films. Like many other asian dramas, in my opinion, they are cringe-worthy, too dramatic and very cheesy and each and everyone that I've watched so far all have similar storylines, characters and overall theme which, in general, sheds an obvious light to the divisions between rich and poor.

Not only that, but I also want to point out the portrayal of SE asians in Western shows and films as well; I either have never seen them on screen, they are portrayed as cleaners, maids, servants, waiters or something fairly low-skilled or service type jobs or, in a woman's case, they are seen as simply "the housewife of the rich white husband" or a nanny. I also find that they're often represented as lower/working class, living in benefits or in tiny houses with children and little money. From the top of my head, a classic example is a Sean Ellis film Metro Manila in which it's about a family from the rural countryside who move into the city of Metro Manila for a better life. To some extent, his depiction of this brutal city in the Philippines is somewhat true: the difficulty of finding a job, cheap accommodation and the type of work they're forced to do especially for someone from the countryside. However, it is slightly exaggerated. Women do not always get abducted in broad daylight in a busy road, not every family or individual person is homeless and the people are not that cynical.

I love how the movie depicts the realities of living in the Philippines which, as I said to some extent, is true because of the corrupt government. I don't love is how it reinforces the ideology that it is a corrupt and third-world country with lower-class people.

As a south east asian, what irritates me sometimes is how some people see my home country only as a third-world country: it is in fact more than that. My country is extremely popular in terms of tourism because of its natural beauty, the tropical weather and the rich culture and history and the english-speaking filipinos. It is not just a country who produces our nurses, makes our clothes, our food, etc.

Another great example is Bata, Bata... Pa'no ka Ginawa? which depicts the roles of a woman in the Philippines.

As a young individual who's willing to change society and impact the world, I want to change this perception because I'm just tired of being constantly marginalised, unrecognised and feeling invisible to society and the media. To be able to do that from where I'm currently at, I'm going to open your minds a bit with this post to make you all realise and see what's outside the 'sphere of races'.

Of course, I understand that Black Lives Matter is a very important movement into achieving equality between the races, but we also need to consider southeast asians because, like black people, they also face racism, discrimination and prejudice but just not in a way that that would bring immediate attention. That also leads me into another point: I think the reasons for Black Lives Matter becoming so widely recognised now is due to the recent issues on the news relating to police brutality and racial profiling (such examples are here). We shouldn't need to be reminded of this continuous problem through the violence that we see on the news. It's the 21st Century so it should be integrated in our minds already. We should be thinking about it immediately. About how unequal society is.

I know that I've kind of drifted off topic, but it sort of relates to what I'm trying to say on this post. I don't want to keep reminding people that this world is still unequal and as generation Z individuals, we need to take action or at least recognise the problems and raise awareness of it to make the world more equal, peaceful and open-minded.

Thank you for reading this, something that my family and I and people of our community are affected by and something that I feel passionate about.

Proud Filipinas


Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ

Sorry for the late post ':D

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3 comments

  1. Love hearing your opinion on how representation of minorities really affects how the society sees the culture and people! I appreciate your honest critique of movies and please, continue to believe that with a sincere intention and lots of hard work, I know that you will change the world for the better!

    xo, Yasmin
    http://www.iamyasmin.ca

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    1. This has made my day and it really means a lot, thank you Yasmin! Changing how the world sees my ethnicity will take some time, but I think I'm slowly getting there :D

      x Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ

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  2. HI ANOTHER FILIPINO OKAY YAY!

    I totally sympathize with your frustrations over how the Philippines is portrayed. There's so much more to the country than that. For one, there are malls that pretty much outdo many of the one here on the west side of the world, and two, they're capable of more things than they actually think we are. We have such a rich culture, too-- like apparently in Luzon they speak Spanish there, too? I had the most incredible opportunity to intern at a publishing company where most of their publications were in English. Feminism is important, but intersectional feminism is something we need to strive for, and it's important especially because of what's happening here in America... Anyways, good post!

    xoxo Morning

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Thank you all for your lovely comments :) I will get back to most of you as soon as possible, so make sure you are checking back x

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