[Prints & Traces] Proud to be Pinoy

Aug. 23, 2013

By Don Pagusara
Davao Today

Murag komersiyal sa radyo ug telebisyon nga madungog nimo kanunay ang mga pulong “Proud to be Pinoy”.  Sagad ang mga personahe nga nagabungat  niini nahalakip nianang  pundok sa mga tawo nga ginatawag og mga celebrity o nailhan nag maayo sa atong katilingban. Kundili man mga artista,  nakabaton silag dungog sa pagka abilidaran nga maoy hinungdan sa ilang pagka popular.

Apan ang labing dakong hinungdan nga nahimutang sila dinha anang  kasinahang tungtunganan sa pagka dungganan mao nga  sila dunay dugo o kaliwat nga langyaw — mestizo Amerkano ba kaha o dili ba hinoon mestizo Katsila. O basta dunay dugong langyaw!   

[Like a commercial in the radio and TV  the phrase “Proud to be Pinoy” can be heard every so often uttered  by individuals who belong to that special group called celebrities.  If they are not movie artists, they are people who have  achieved extraordinary feats  in some  fields of endeavor which is the main reason for their popularity.

But what stands out as the most outstanding reason for having been placed in such enviable pedestal of distinction is the factor of their being in possession of an  alien blood or race —  perhaps a mestizo American or a mestizo Spanish.   Or just being of a half-alien-half-Filipino bloodline!]

The admirers — the vast majority of Filipino locals of unmixed bloodline — do not normally love to sing this self-gratifying phrase in their ordinary existential situation.  In their normal life, beset always by the necessity of striving for the next day-long survival, hardly do they experience an exulting feeling of racial pride as to raise their brows to the sky and sing “Proud to be Pinoy!”

Their real-life strivings for survival and their dreams for better life, alternately celebrated hourly by tele-serye soap operas, hardly allow them to have a jubilant overflow of pride for being a Filipino. On the contrary, their days are filled with disappointments and regrets they have been consigned by Fate into this lifelong state of deprivation.   Who can be proud of this state of affairs under a system that divides society into a realm of heavenly blessings for a very few and a domain of squalor for the very many?

Is this a cause for exultation? Or is this not one’s reason for desperation?  Even for self-contempt and self-deprecation?

But in the dark recess of one’s soul a light at the tunnel’s end serves as beacon as the poor Filipino strives for the realization of his/her dream.  The sweet relief from hardship, from suffering, from the daily scourges of impoverishment, in one in a million chance, may come as real as sunrise for an achiever.  Surmounting stormy weather and turbulent seas he reaches the shores of his long- dreamt goal.  He is the talentadong Pinoy, who has come up the stage of achievement in the strife for bettering one’s quality of existence.  He succeeds in fulfilling his dream, leaving all the rest behind.

All the rest who are left behind constitute the vast masses of the unfortunates — those whose dreams must fail — because only a handful among millions who aspire and scramble for fortune  shall be favored by the slim chances and circumstances of reality.  This is so in life’s striving to extricate oneself from the hellfire of penury.

Then, it befits him who is favored with life’s rewards to begin to sing Proud to be Pinoy!  Only then does he begin to feel proud as a Filipino.  Without the badge of distinction that he has earned out of his sweat, blood and tears, he wouldn’t have had this luxury of pride.

But this quality of pride emanates from the feeling that he is now in league with the idolized half-American or half-Spanish or half-Alien, minus the much envied white skin and “good looks” of the Caucasian.

Back in the squalor of his origins, he dreamt of wanting to become an American, or a German, or a Spanish, or a British, or a Japanese, or  anyone who comes from the First World known to be land of milk and honey!  But never — oh never! –never wanting to become like an Indonesian, or a Malaysian, or a Vietnamese, or an African, or anyone coming from the Third World.  And of course, wanting to be a Filipino is farthest from his cherished dream.

NOW. . .What makes the half-Alien — the  likes of Sam Milby, Billy Crawford, or Anne Curtis — sing Proud to be Pinoy,  after their success in getting into the glitters in the performing arena of Filipino showbiz?   Is it their desire to become a look-alike of such typical Pinoy as Manny Pacquiao?  Or Melay?  Or Ai-ai?  Or Viceganda?  Or is it the love of the limelight and the idolatry that ensues from the Filipino’s vainglorious adoration of the good looks of the Caucasians?

Oh yes, having satisfied the frivolity of the Filipino’s penchance for the good-looking Caucasian, these half-Aliens now feel extremely gratified and obligated to repay this conceit-bloating idolatry by identifying themselves with the Filipino.  And of course, by being grateful and sincerely proud for having been decorated a Filipino icon!

Back in their respective dwelling places in the Americas or in some alien lands, did they ever dream of wanting to become a Filipino?  Or of being proud as a half-Filipino?

For all we know, they might have suffered discrimination by the Whites and thus were forced to hide or were ashamed to make known their half-Filipino identity!

Dinhi sa Pilipinas,  halinon kaayo sila ug taas kaayo silag garbo sa ilang puting panit ug gwapo-gwapang hitsura.  Dugangan pa gyud sa ka larino nilang mo-iningles!  Busa, gara kaayo sila ug ganahan kaayo sila kay pinangga sila sa mga Pinoy nga mahigugmaon kaayog hitsuraang langyaw!  Pero sa ilang gigikanang lugar, duna bay milingi nila kaniadto sa dili pa sila hinugopang mga artista dinhi sa Pinas?  O tan-awa!  Si Ryan Bang ba nga dili Caucasian og hitsura, nakaani ba og pagdalayeg sama sa uban dinha nga Caucasian of dagway?

Here in the Philippines, they have become heartthrobs on account of their white complexion and good looks.  Plus they speak English the Western way! And so they are the favorites of Pinoy crowds who love the foreigner’s good looks.  But back in their places of origin in the First World before they became movie stars here in our country, were they adored the way they are idolized here?

Sa pagkatinuod, gihimo nilang tikanganan ang Pinoy showbiz sa ilang ambisyon nga makaadto sa Hollywood.  Pero kun dili gyud palaron nga makaabot og Hollywood, igo na kaayo nga ginasingba sila sa mga Pinoy isip mga artista.  Ug kontento na kaayo sila ini, bah!  Busa way katarungan nga dili sila mokantag Proud to be Pinoy sa tibuok nilang kinabuhi dinhi sa Pinas.

Ug ang atong mga Pinoy nga kahan-ay nila gumikan sa ilang abilidad, sama kang Jovit Baldivino, Arnel Pineda ug Charisse, bisag dili kaayo sila hitsuraan, sobra na kaayong garbo ug pasalamat nila nga nahimutang sila dinha sa tungtunganan sa mga gwapo’g gwapa.  Ug natural, mobirit gyud silag tiliis kaayo nga Proud to be Pinoy!     

Pero, ang pangutana, kun ikaw sa imong kaugalingon, kun wala ka makabaton og talagsaong talento o abilidad nga arang ikapasigarbo sa tibuok kalibotan [kanang gitawag og ‘world class’] makaingon ka bang ikaw Proud to be Pinoy?  Dil gyud!  Kay ang ordinaryong Pinoy walay ikapasigarbo sa iyang pagka Pilipino gawas tingali kun angay nang ikapasigarbo ang pagka mahiligon sa atong mga lider sa korapsyon!

O dili ba kaha, kun angay bang ipasigarbo ang pagkamahiligon natong mangopya sa mga langyaw, labina sa mga Amerikano.  Ug busa kun unsay tua didto sa America naa pud dayoy tugbang dinhi sa Pilipinas.    Elvis Presley of the Philippines!  Michael Jackson of the Philippines!  Lady Gaga of the Philippines!  Unsa pa ?  Obama of the Philippines?

Maybe we are also proud of our being exporters of human resources?  Are we proud that we have one of the largest number of overseas workers — the OFWs?  Which is a telling sign that we have an aberrant economic system?

Maybe we need to redirect our financial resources. The huge capital resources for the beverage industry should be rechanneled to strategic industries like steel and mining!    The manufacture of beer and liquor should be abolished along with the abolition of the Pork Barrel!

We cannot sing confidently to the key and tune of  Proud to be Pinoy if we have nothing to be proud of collectively —  not individually! — as a people.  We need to properly tune in our economic, political and cultural instruments in conformance with the short-term and long-term interests of our people.

Don J. Pagusara is a ative of Mindanao, a multi-awarded author and a Palanca-awardee.

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