Just Think About It: Filipino Appreciation This Christmas

christmas

Yesterday morning at work, I was listening online to 90.7 FM Love Radio from Manila through my phone. Sometimes music just isn’t enough for me and so I turn to radio. Usually Filipino radio for some interesting banter and funny ads.

Aside from the super corny jokes that I have a love-hate relationship with, something the presenters said really resonated with me. DJ Nicole Hyala, who has an endless amount of quirk and sass, began talking about the struggles Filipinos face during Christmas.

At first it seems as if she was talking about more superficial struggles, such as feeling frustrated when you’re eating the same meat in meals that you’re tired of, feeling cold at the back when you’re sleeping, Christmas shopping crowds and whatnot. A lot of these are annoyances the typical Filipino encounters during this time of year.

However, Nicole had a much deeper point to drive home, she tells listeners to think before they even complain.

There are many unfortunate Filipinos trying to survive in poverty, whose lives are no better during Christmas time. They would be seeing all the cheer, gifts and families around them, while still worrying about whether they will have something to eat or a proper place to live. Nicole relays this so tactfully, stern yet considerate at the same time. Translated loosely, these are her wise words.

Before you complain about eating the same meat in Christmas meals, think about those who may not even have meals to eat.
Before you complain about having a cold back, think about those who have to sleep being cold all over because they are living on the streets.
This is the season of giving, think more about giving to the less fortunate rather than your own complaints.

Her co-host, Chris Tsuper agreed with her wholeheartedly and this really struck me. We have two hosts preaching against irritable behaviour, encouraging Filipinos to think of others before themselves this Christmas. Emphasising the importance of being grateful and extending a hand to help those in need.

I have never, ever heard such a message (to this heavy, emotional extent) on Australian radio.

Ever.

Of course, plenty of hosts and radio stations in Australia would mention giving and being charitable during Christmas. Unfortunately, this is only sometimes and only usually when they’re endorsing a charity such as Red Cross or Caritas. But to actually direct our attention to the less fortunate, describe in detail their hardships and even discourage complaining behaviour just for the sake of it? Unheard of for me.

Maybe in the past, people would discuss this in Australian radio stations such as Fox FM or Triple J. However I have not heard any message of this sort on the radio since I first arrived here in 2005.

It just goes to show the cultural differences in attitude between the West and the Philippines. I think it is a great message overall to promote, it would be great to hear this from an Australian radio host.

We all need to have a big think about generosity and kindness this Christmas, beyond how it actually benefits ourselves.

 

PS. Happy 15th b-day, Love Radio! #kinsenalove

Filipina Ka Ba?: Hell Yeah, I’m Fully Filipina!

Me

Since I love going on and on about cultural and social differences that I notice around me, I thought I’d try focusing on myself in this regard. As far as I’ve known, I’m fully Filipino- as in both sides of my family up until the third degree (people I know) are all Filipino. Therefore both my parents are fully Filipino.

But there is this constant thing in my life when it comes to how people perceive my heritage: they usually get it wrong!

a) Half-Filipino/Half-Asian

b) Korean

c) Japanese

d) Spanish

e) Malaysian

What you see before you is the list of guesses most people take at my race. With a) being the most common and e) being the least common. Now I understand that definitely there is a general look for most races (oh no, politically incorrect!) and it’s because there are common features in people who belong to a certain country or region and have had endless generations there. With Filipinos it’s usually tanned skin, rounder eyes and dark hair. Medium height or short.

Funny enough I actually fit into all those categories save for one- skin color. I mean, this whole blog is called The Musing Mestiza for goodness sake! It is a word play on my skin color, which has been commented on by others, especially Filipinos most of my life. Let me be honest, I do like my skin color and I love it the way it is. When it came to my blog title, it was a matter of rhyming and having similar sounding words, I came up with Musing first. Mestiza sounded similar and that’s how the title came to be.

But the point is- simply because of my skin color many people mistake my race, not because of other physical characteristics.

The oddest thing though, is that there is one specific type of people that always see right through me and know my race: older Filipina women. Usually the ones in their 30s or older. Whenever I walk past them on the street, they shoot me that piercing up-and-down-look or a suspicious slight quirking of the brow. As if to say, ‘A-ha! I know you’re Filipina, give it up now!’ They had me completely, and the thing is- I can’t figure out how they know! It’s a mystery to me.

Of course, there’s an exception though, which is when I talk. Filipinos are well-known for a Filipino-American accent. An accent that is all about stressing every letter in every word. Really. House becomes hawss. Door becomes Do–or. As for me though, I have lost the Filipino accent and the American part is left, mixed with Australian accent I’ve also developed. But a lot of Aussies will catch onto the American accent mixed into it and if they happen to know Filipinos they put two and two together. Asian and speaks like an American? Probably Filipino.

A lot of people tend to take offense or get frustrated when people mislabel their race but as for me? I don’t really mind. Being a mistisa/mestiza makes my life experiences quite interesting and a little funny. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit different.

 

 

What’s your experiences being labelled/mislabelled due to your looks?

 

Like It Or Love It: Why Filipinos Give Social Media A Run For Its Money

Filipinos And Social MediaIt is no secret that Filipinos love to share. We are among one of the most social cultures in the world, and when the internet and eventually social media came we clamoured to start socialising there. In 2014, a study revealed that Filipinos use social media up to 11 hours more a week than the global average (which is 42 hours). It is no surprise Philippines has been referred to as the ‘Social Media Capital Of The World’!

I could end this whole post with that, simply say that we are very social people and so we become deeply involved with social media, which makes sense. End of story. Or is it?

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A Whole New World For A Little Girl: Melbourne

Melbourne Schools

My first few days in Melbourne, Australia were definitely the most awkward days of my life.

It was definitely one thing to meet a Caucasian person for the first time. Now I was surrounded by them everywhere, all the time. From being in a place where everyone had similar features to me- medium height, dark hair and dark eyes to somewhere where everyone was tall, fair-haired and had coloured eyes instead. I am sure not all the people around me were like that, but to my eleven year old brain, all the differences were probably more exaggerated in memory.

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5 Crucial Ways To Be Prepared For The Next ‘Lawin’ Typhoon

Lawin Typhoon Survival

Lawin has just passed and even all the way here from Australia, it is all I hear about from Bandila and TV Patrol. The fear levels are high and all the more justified. It is almost as devastating, if not just as horrible as Yolanda from 2013. While there are already a rising amount of deaths and destroyed homes, the Filipinos of North Luzon are still trying to gather their spirits. Waiting, persisting and worrying in various overcrowded shelters.

Just to see the photos of this natural disaster’s wreckage is heartbreaking. Such a powerful typhoon doesn’t even discriminate- if your home is in its path, there will probably be damage coming. While the power of nature itself is a difficult opponent to counteract and is impossible to prevent, the best that can be done is to prepare as efficiently and early as possible. In Australia there are much less natural disasters, especially in Victoria. Our main concerns are bushfires (usually started by disturbed people) during the blistering summer and constantly-changing weather.

From early on in school, there were classes and manuals here regarding preparation for natural disasters that I’ve encountered. As such, whether bushfire or a terrible typhoon, it is best to be prepared and usually the same measures apply.

Have you thought about doing these things? Mas mabuti nang i-handa mo ang sarili mo at ang iyong pamilya. (It’s always better to prepare yourself and your family properly).

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My 5 Fave Filipino Shows I Still Watch From Australia

I notice that I’ve been diving off the deep end lately and handling a lot of serious topics (though I think Chocolate Mousse cake is quite serious too in a different way).

So I thought to myself that I would tread on the light side today and talk a little more about my interests, especially my Filipino guilty pleasures.

To be honest I find many international shows quite interesting, especially American ones, but I cannot understand the appeal of local Australian shows. Though of course, there are Filipino shows that always hold a special place in my heart. I will try almost anything just to be able to watch them. Go to my Lola’s and watch TLC. Scour Youtube and odd sites to find streams. Even the dubious ones that look fake. Visit many Filipino shops for old DVDs. Anything.

Here are my five favourite Filipino shows that I will always strive hard to catch an episode of.

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Throw It All Away: Why Do Filipinos Litter So Much?

philippine garbage

If you are foreign to the Philippines and from a Western country, one of the first big differences you may notice aside from the culture is the abundance of rubbish or basura in Filipino streets.

They’re everywhere, unfortunately. At the side of the road, against the canals, on the actual road and even as piles, especially in Metro Manila. Even more sad, the Manila bay. A once beautiful body of water sullied by garbage. Unless you go to a place that is specifically maintained or cared for privately, then most public streets would have plenty of trash like empty cans, wrappers, containers, plastic bags and the lot.

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Remembering Miriam Defensor Santiago: The Lady With Iron Flowing Through Her Veins

Miriam Defensor Santiago

There is a common belief among people about celebrating those that have passed and being happy that they are moving on, rather than concentrating on grief.

For me, when it comes to Sen. Miriam Palma Defensor Santiago, that is difficult. Because she is the best president we never had, as the media rightly calls her.
And along with the title, are so many unfortunate ‘what-if’s.

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5 Things You Absolutely Need In The Philippines But Not In Australia

5 Things You Need In The Philippines

Thinking of visiting the Philippines soon? Take it from a Filipina, there are simply some essentials that you need when you go over or if you’re going back home. You could have been born overseas and it’s your first time visiting or it may have been a while since the last time.
Or you’re one of the super homesick ones who go home every year.

You may know of these things anyway, but let me explain why they are completely necessary. In Australia, especially Victoria you will probably never need this stuff.

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