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Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako Pakyaw! Pakyaw! Pakyaw! Hindi Ako Bilib Kay Pakyaw!
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Thursday, 12 November 2009 20:44


By JESSE JOSE

A Cup O’ Kapeng Barako

 

If you are a Filipino and you dare say those words above, to another Filipino, you’re liable to get “murdered” by that Filipino.  Or, you can get ostracized and dubbed as an “unpatriotic” Filipino, who had turned his back on his “ethnic pride.”

 

Or, you can get cursed severely …

 

My dear Erapok, Bart T., in a mass e-mail, verbalized it in pretty words that red-hot Filipino anger, in this way:

 

There’s such a feeling we call “Ethic Pride.”  We all have to respect that feeling.  That’s probably why the Irish people celebrate and flaunt their St. Patrick’s Day in the USA, why Irish men still love to show their skirts on parades, why the Puerto Ricans or even the Mexicans trumpet their horns on US streets in exaltation of their independence back home.

 

If we cannot respect our own pride and heritage, we must not expect others to respect us.  If we cannot even love the triumphs of your compatriots, do not expect others to recognize your own talents or just even listen to your message.  (Signed) Bart

 

My reply to Bart:

 

Erapok et al,

 

I am a journalist/columnist, NOT a Filipino trumpeter.  I write the way I see things, NOT the way others would like me to see things.  If people don’t want to “listen to my message or recognize my talents,” as you put it, that’s their prerogative … and their problem, not mine.

 

Just like it’s also my prerogative na ayaw ko kay Pakyaw at hindi ako bilib sa kanya.  I think his last two fights against De La Hoya and Hatton were “fixed” by the Vegas MOB.  It’s all about money.  He’s a good boxer, but not the greatest in the world, as his Filipino admires claimed him to be.

 

Let’s don’t get overly sensitive now and get personal about our comments to each other when discussing Pakyaw and his fight against “El Kuto” this Saturday.  Boksing lang ‘to.  We are all just commenting and voicing out our opinions.  You’ve got your own opinion and I’ve got mine.  Many others, too, have their own thoughts about this matter, perhaps, similar to yours … or perhaps, different.  Be cool, Erapok. (Signed) Jesse

 

P erry Diaz, a friend and a colleague and a fellow MegaScene columnist had also verbalized his thoughts, succinctly.  Quoting an excerpt from his e-mail, he said: 

 

Pareng Jesse,

 

… In my opinion, when you put down Paquiao, you’re putting down yourself and all the Pinoys in the world.  I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a Redneck say, “Look at these people, one of them becomes the best pound-for-pound fighter and they pull him down!

 

Isn’t that what we call “crab mentality”?  (Signed) Perry

 

My reply:

 

Pareng Perry,

 

May I beg to differ with you?  I don’t agree with that opinion.  That’s putting all Pinoys in one “BOX,” where everybody MUST think alike, talk alike … and even look alike.  And that if you DARE think or say anything outside of that box, you’re “putting yourself down and all the Pinoys in the world.”  And that if you don’t align yourself with fellow Pinoys within that box, you’re a “cock-eyed” Pinoy.  That’s limiting and confining yourself within that Pinoy box … don’t you think?

 

We, Pinoys, or anybody else for that matter, should be free to think and talk and to voice our opinions freely on anything and on anybody, without fear, whether that person you wish to comment on is the ALMIGHTY Pakyaw …

 

That’s the American way!

 

When George W. Bush was still the President, many Americans laughed at him and put him down.  He was laughed at on comedy shows and he was fodder for late-TV comedians and pundits, print and broadcast.  And he was the President the most powerful country in the whole world.

 

Surely those fellow Americans who put him down did not feel that they were putting themselves down as Americans, do you?  They were merely voicing out their opinions and acting like typical Americans.

 

Si Pakyaw, boksingero lang, pare.  True, he’s got a lot of fans and Filipino admirers and … he’s one of our own.  He’s also a “public” person, and anybody who is a public persona, will always have plenty of detractors and critics.

 

If you remember, you yourself and several people on this list serve -- na mga community leaders pa kuno -- had also made fun of of Pakyaw’s Visayan accent and singing “talent.”

 

Nasa America na tayo, pare.  We have chosen this country now as our country and our children’s country.  And it’s a great, benevolent and generous country, may I add. 

 

We Pinoys should now think like Americans.  NOT as Pinoys within that proverbial box, thinking alike and talking alike and perhaps, even wanting to look alike.  Pare, it’s time to leave that box and join Mainstream America

 

As to that “crab mentality” of Pinoys, unfortunately, that’s true.  We also possess a “monkey mentality.”  You know, as in “monkey see, monkey do.” 

 

Not too long ago, Mariah Carey, that famous and very sexy American singer, attended a concert in her honor, where our Philippine singers from that popular TV musical show, ASAP, imitated her.  I suppose they were able to ape her singing and stage antics so closely that she angrily called those Carey look-alike singers as a “bunch of monkeys.”

 

She was right.  Pinoys COPY and IMITATE everything and anything American.  We are talented imitators.  We are monkeys …  Alimango na nga tayo, chongo pa.  Que barbaridad! (Signed) Jesse

 

R omy Marquez of San Diego, Ca., another respected colleague and a prolific investigative journalist, chimed in, highlighting first what I said about “Pinoys within the proverbial box, thinking alike and talking alike …”  Then he said this:

 

Pareng Jesse … That is so profound, so enriching … something that could only come from you, or somebody like you who possessed the knowledge, the understanding, the tolerance, the experience and the talent to articulate one’s thoughts.  Thank you so much.  This one truly lives up to your reputation, fearless, barakong-barako!  (Signed) Romy Marquez

 

Well, someone likes me.   But back to Pakyaw, I dare say AGAIN, hindi ako bilib sa kanya and I think he’s gonna lose this time!  That’s all.  JJ



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Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2009 20:53
 
Comments (2)
1 Friday, 13 November 2009 14:24
Hi Jess,


Thank you for asking for my opinion. I had to go back and read what you wrote a few more times.


With all due respect, I feel that there are 3 kinds of Pinoys in America and I am referring to the older Pinoys who were not born here, and not the Generation Xers or the young 'uns. First kind are Pinoys who are here but still cling to their Pinoy ways by imposing what they grew up with and how they grew up in an American setting. The second kind are those who came and decided to forget everything about their being a Pinoy, aka "their roots, from the get-go. This kind will go out of steam after a while. They can only try so much but without much "there", nothing is going to stick. The 3rd kind are those who try to get the best of both worlds and live their lives every day as a fusion of two cultures. The 3rd kind will realize that as time goes by in the most natural progression of things, one culture will have the tendency to reign over the other, in most cases - the American culture - but this can only be seamless if one gets to realize that he or she is not a pedigreed American but a Filipino American and that's really okay to take risks, be bold and veer away from the mold from time to time.


The first kind brings all sorts of problems especially when it comes to raising kids. The second kind is just plain obnoxious to me. The first kind has the tendency to remain inside the box and have opinions that stay inside the box. The second kind will definitely go for whatever mainstream America thinks and feels but in reality, one, he or she does not really totally agree and just don't want to admit it or two, the desire to be mainstream is so intense that it does not matter whether he or she understands the issue at hand or not. In short, these people like to think that they're cool to simplify the concept. I hope I am making sense. The 3rd kind are people like you who dare say what they feel and think without worrying that they will offend the monkeys, the dogs, the cats, the roosters...you know what I mean.


I have always questioned the agenda of former actors and actresses and even media people who now occupy a seat in Philippine politics. I am a believer that what prompted them to run in the first place is knowing that they have their fan base (and in the case of the Philippines, the grassroots) to back them up. The desire to serve is a smokescreen and a really nice tag line to win votes during campaign season.


I am with you. Manny Pacquiao is a boxer first and foremost. He can sing and so could 33 million folks in the Philippines who flock to karaoke bars. He can act, sure, he has the money to produce his own movie and can pretty much ask Gloria Arroyo to star with him and she'll most likely say after 2010. He pretty much can do whatever he wants because of who he is and the line to what makes the most sense and what doesn't tends to be blurred and definitely ignored. In short, money talks. What a novel concept!


Sad to say, the Philippines and her people do not have an identity in the eyes of mainstream America. You are absolutely right - we are great copiers, mimickers and followers of American pop culture. By being labeled, "The Best Imitators of the World" and to actual embrace such monicker, lies the intrinsic cause of why the first kind of Pinoys in America react to things the way they do. They have a tendency to be emotional and stick to what is comfortable to them. I don't think that they intended to do that but I feel that it stems from fear, of not wanting to be the one to break from the pack and from a place where one feels the need to really back his or her own.


To think like an American, in all sense of the word, is looked upon by the first kind of Pinoys as a sellout, traitorous and even un-Filipino like.


Taking it down to a more intimate example....look around you the next time you go to a Filipino party, you will be surprised to see that a lot of folks who have been here for a very long time have remained inside the box and do not even think twice about staying there for good.



In the Philippines, I feel that instead of elevating the bar so people can better their thinking and be more defiant to the status quo, those who are in the position to raise that bar subconsciously yield to "the way things are" because they give up too easily thus the worsening social maladies.


Boy, now my head hurts. I hope I am making sense. Oh, I have to mention too that it usually takes so much energy to convince people to change their opinions especially if they belong to the first kind of Noy-Pis (hehehe) so why even bother? Sure it makes for nice discussion or even really rambunctious debate but in the end, you still yield your own power via your column that has a big follower. The decision to change or not, to move forward or stay put, to embrace just one culture or allow oneself to enjoy the beauty of two cultures is really relative.


There Jess...again, please keep this to yourself as I don't have the energy to thwart off hate-mongers...:0)...let me know what you think too.


A Reader from the MidWest
2 Friday, 13 November 2009 14:27
Kuya,

I agree with you that in America we are free to express our opinion openly, without fear. Kung gusto mong magkaron ng limang asawa, go for it. Kung gusto mong kumain ng kumain, go for it. Kung gusto mong mag-trabajo ng mag-trabajo, go for it. Ikaw lang ang maka-judge ng sarili mo.


Regarding Pacquiao, he is doing it for money. Mayaman na siya, dapat tumigil ang kanyang labanan. Hinidi siya titigil hanggang maging Cassius Clay siya. Nakita mo ba sa Filipino Chanel ang kanyang nanay? Nasa spotlight din siya? Dapat ibigay ng nanay niya ang spotlight sa iba.


Oo, nakakahanga ang boxing ni Pacquiao. Ang mga Filipino naman naloloko din. Mas hahanga ako at titigan ko ng matagal, kung ang pinapanood ko ay mga Filipinos na magagaling, kagaya ni Elaine, na White House Correspondent. Makikita mo siya sa CNN. At si Chris, anak mo, later on magiging CNN correspondent din siya. These kind of people do their work sincerely and with love. Walang ego.


Raquel

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