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Columns - JGL Eye
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Thursday, 02 July 2009 14:55

JGL Eye

By Joseph G. Lariosa

 

C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – When ring announcer Michael Buffer introduced Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao in his pre-fight against British champion Ricky Hatton as hailing from Sarangani province, instead of his usual city of residence, Gen. Santos City, last May, it was Mr. Pacquiao’s way of gerrymandering his will into the hearts of the voters of that little known province, where his wife, Jinky, maintains a residence.

 

“Sarangani province” may only be a two-word sound byte but it left a lasting imprint in the minds of Sarangani people.

 

That was also the way I felt when award-winning book author and Philippine Daily Inquirer celebrated columnist Conrado S. de Quiros mentioned my name in the introductory paragraph of his column, “There’s the Rub,” on the topic entitled, “Purgatory,” last June 29, 2009. It paid tribute to the topic of my syndicated column, JGL Eye, on "Lost Generation."

 

Mr. De Quiros happened to read my column at Chicago-based The Fil-Am Weekly Megascene when he was guest of honor, speaker and inducting officer at the 10th anniversary celebration of the National Press Club of the Philippines in the United States last June 21 at Niles, Illinois.

 

I remember in order to project oneself to a niche audience, sometimes it takes a great deal of talent and plenty of luck.

 

W hen I attended a concert of Pacquiao’s friend and Filipino pop singer, Martin Nievera, some years ago in the Chicago area, Mr. Nievera was obviously angling to get the ear of Ophrah Winfrey.

But unfortunately, there was nobody from the audience who could tell Chicago-based Oprah about the eponymous masterpiece on the Queen of talk show that Martin composed and sang in that concert.

 

Like a movie or sports superstar, Mr. Nievera needs a good agent or a booster if he would like to be a guest of the Ophrah Winfrey Show.

 

An agent, who strikes a deal, usually savors the moment. But he usually acts as a shock absorber if he is peddling an underperforming talent.

 

And Martin certainly did not have the luck that Charice Pempengco had when Oprah’s producers spotted her on YouTube.

 

In my case, I do not need to retain an agent to promote my column. Mr. De Quiros’ "million-dollar" free plug of my column was all I would need when my column caught his fancy.

 

In fact, it was not only Mr. De Quiros, who was attracted to my column.  A reader wrote:

 

“Hi Joseph,

 

"I read your article in Philippines Today with interest.  I am a 69-years old Filipina American born and raised in San Francisco (California). My parents immigrated in the 1920's and 30's, met here and got married, raised 3 children.  My siblings and I did not learn a dialect even though our parents spoke Tagalog (and our father also spoke Ilocano) because of rampant discrimination. My father was called "monkey".  We frequented more often the Uptown theater where African Americans went and less often went to the New American theater because that is where the Caucasians went. (Excuse my bad grammar!). Sometimes at the New American theater, white people would move to different seats if we happened to sit near them.  My brother and I attended public school and were placed in a speech class to take the Filipino accent out of our English.

 

"Since we grew up in integrated areas (south of Market St., the Fillmore district), we were not aware of so much discrimination.  It wasn't until our family moved to the Haight-Ashbury district, an almost all-white area in the mid-50's, that I became more aware of it.  While growing up, my family attended the Filipino Community Center in S.F. which is today an old dilapidated Victorian house on Sacramento St.  Parties of every description were held there. We even learned a few Filipino dances and were in the Filipino Youth Dance Group.  We performed at big hotels such as the St. Francis or Sheraton Palace where Filipino dances, queen contests, etc., were held.

 

"Although I'm now retired, I am still active in the Pilipino American Social Work Association, a council of the National Association of Social Workers. I think all the members except me were born and raised in the Philippines. I've been taking Tagalog classes through the Filipino-American Association of Foster City, of which I am a member, and know a lot more now than words of endearment or scolding words heard from our parents. And I've been getting books written by Filipino authors from the Filipino room in the San Francisco Public Library to learn about my roots and the Philippines in general.

 

"At the hospital in South San Francisco where I was employed as a supervising social worker, I was active in the KPFA, Kaiser Permanente Filipino Assn., the only one throughout the Kaisers as far as I know, which was formed to promote the culture and help and encourage Filipino youth to attend college after high school.  My sister is active in NAAFTA, and I will be helping her to promote a San Mateo chapter.

 

"My children are mixed--Filipino/Mexican/Turkish, and one of my granddaughters is Filipino/Chinese/Mexican/Turkish--so they have more than one culture to embrace.  I do see a greater interest in learning about the Filipino culture among some young people than you allude to in your article but at the same time also see an indifference and lack of interest in others. I would appreciate your forwarding my comments to Mr. De Quiros.

 

"Salamat,

 

"Vivian Poblete”  (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net) # # #

 
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2009 15:02
 

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