Wednesday, June 26, 2002


There are several ways to look for one's own identity. One of them is by their nationality. Historians have believed that a nation has a collective identity with which its citizens identify with. It can be something as simple as taking a bath everyday, which is something most Filipinos try to do. Of course I happen to have my roots planted in two identities: that of the Chinese and that of the Filipino. Which am I?

My father says that I should be proud to be Chinese. In his own biased view, he thinks that Chinese are the most hardworking race in Asia. According to him, the only reason why Japan scaled the economic ladder is because they were united. And that is why I should learn to speak Chinese, visit China, and follow all these Chinese customs.

My grade school teachers, on the other hand, have lectured to me that I was raised in the Philippines and so I am a Filipino. It is my environment rather than my blood that has shaped who I am. I allegedly owe that to my country. It is the soil I am currently standing on that has sheltered me over these years and raised me since I was a babe. At leas that's what they say from their point of view.

I beg to differ from these people who claim to "know it all". Like most things in life, matters aren't just black and white. The perfect compromise was what I heard from my Economics teacher in high school who also happened to be an alumni from Xavier, Mr. Ang. "You are not just Chinese nor just Filipinos. You are Filipino-Chinese, no matter what other people may say." I think that best sums up how I feel.

On one hand, I have characteristics that of a Chinese aside from my physical features. I follow certain beliefs and practice certain traditions. I pay respect to my elders and so far, follow the patriarchal practice in the family. I even have a Chinese name. On the other hand, I am also Filipino. I am more comfortable with Pilipino than I am with Chinese. When I get hurt, I scream "array", not "ouch" or some other exclamation. I am more at home with this country than any other.

Identities are a strange thing. They're not only rooted from your source but also from your present. Your own personal history is being written and you are taking part in it. Is the real me the me from before or the me tomorrow? Somewhere down along the line is a compromise and it is one you decide on your own. No matter what other people might call me, I determine my own faith. And so while I am not Chinese nor Filipino, I am proud to say I am a combination of both: I am Filipino-Chinese. Nothing more, nothing less.

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