Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This post is for Lauren

I am paying attention to your fb posts. I am taking notes of your smart questions. I appreciate the seriousness of your quest to have some good answers to wrestle with.

How can a young second-generation Fil Am who has never been to the homeland decolonize and re-indigenize? ...Whose connection with Filipino culture is tenuous and fraught with questions and the answers can only be glimpsed in fragments and very incoherent most times. . . How to appreciate or claim a culture vicariously?  How to ask permission to appropriate? Can we create our own culture with what is borrowed from the bits and pieces of the homeland culture that we are able to access?

These are the same questions I had when I started this journey.  The research methodology of pakapakapa (literally groping your way around for the answer) is quite ingenius (and indigenous!), you see. We are natural researchers in that we  know how to ask questions, we know who to ask, we know where to look, where to show up, who to listen to, who not to bother with.  We trust our instincts - our pakikiramdam - and we are intuitively guided from all directions by our dreams, signposts, metaphors, stories, and yes, tsismis. We know how to lean into or keen into something when our synesthesia kicks in. This fusion of the senses is a quality of Pakikipamdam - a very sophisticated sensing instrument that is honed by a participatory sense of self and a practice of radical presence.

So this is what I see you doing, Lauren. You are asking the right questions. You are showing up. You are building community. You are creating culture along with other kapwa on the same path.

What does this Land ask of us? those of us who are settlers? And how is this Land connected to the homeland across the Pacific Ocean? How do we stay connected? How does our life here impact the lives over there?

The Earth is alive and it is dreaming us. What are we to make of this dream...assuming we even know and feel that we are being dreamed?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tita. Thank you for your words.

    I too, see that you are paying attention to my updates, posts and shares. Last night as I read your blog, I tried to recall all the times we mentioned it was time for a Kapihan. What other topics/posts did they stem from?

    Even from one of my initial discussions about decolonizing (and inherent indigenizing), my views have changed. I have long and short answers to tack onto previous opinions. In looking for guidance, I draw upon the wisdom of my elders, just as any in the homelands would. It's all I have access to. For several years, I've studied from books about cousin Islander cultures; watching from the outside. Now, I get to be an active participant and contributor in our community. I get to be part of the discourse rather than a mere observer. I don't have many answers, but I at least have momentum now.

    Lately, the idea of us all creating a bridge and becoming transnational pillars to the homeland is a great start. Although it is not necessarily a new vision, I get a mixture of excitement and anxiety that we are generally working towards common goals, although the unity and holism in actually creating that bridge could be made much stronger. I love the kapwa community. I'm still learning and connecting with different communities. I'm still new to this. While I know there's much for me to learn, I still get the sense that there is a large disconnect where dialogue and exchange between the homelands and the diaspora are concerned. It's apparent in first generation and subsequent generation FilAms. If we all have different ideas of what bridges to connect between diaspora and homeland, how do we become effective pillars?

    Again, I have no answers, but my plan for now is to keep my head down, do my work, and hope that something will come of it. It's the best I can do, in terms of creating culture for us in the diaspora. Salamat po for offering me a space of refelction, tita. These conversations are both helpful and enlightening for myself.