On the occasion of the State Visit to the Philippines / 9 November 2012

ImageDear Mr. Harper,

As Filipino Canadians with strong ties to our home country, we follow closely and with much interest your visit to the Philippines. In your visit, we hope that as the Prime Minister of Canada that you will represent the Canada most Canadians want — the Canada that believes in justice, human rights, and peacekeeping.

You have declared that “Canada’s relations with the Philippines continue to grow and diversify, aided by an increasingly important Canada-Filipino community.”  The Filipino community in Canada is now the largest source country for migrants to Canada; it is the fourth largest visible immigrant community, and one of the top three sending countries of temporary foreign workers to Canada. Filipinos made up the largest group of Temporary Foreign Workers (2006 census) at 13.9 per cent nationally. As members and representatives of community groups and alliances, we would like to see relationships between Canada and the Philippines go beyond just the economic interests to include issues of human rights, sustainability, good governance and peace.   (more…)

Advertisements

Image

Another Halloween is past and you know what that means my POC friends.  Yup, we just did another round of muttering “that’s racist” over and over again to ourselves.

… and while I fear I might be (ok, am) a minority on this one (see what I did there?):  I don’t entirely get it.

Now ruling out the extremely obviously racist costumes like the buck toothed Asian (a la Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Jim Crow era Black caricatures, or Islamic “terrorists,” which clearly are unacceptable, I don’t particularly agree with the uproar and activism over “ethnic” costumes.

When I say I don’t ‘get it.’  I mean that I don’t accept the rationale behind why the outcry is focused on the costumes themselves.  I don’t understand why the call is basically for White people NOT to do it.  Full Stop.

I mean why is it that we see costumes based on traditional dress racist?  The usual refrain is:  “we are a culture, not a costume.”  But if this is the case, would it not also be proper for Whites to decry costumes based on horned Vikings (which are historically inaccurate btw) or medieval knights?

Now the answer to my question is obvious: It’s not the same because of the disparity in power relations, and the vicious history of colonization that has imbued on to these images a different connotation.

I get that.

What I don’t get, is why this translates simply into:  Don’t wear that Whitey!  (more…)

IMG_1370

It was wet, really wet, but I’m glad I was there to spend some time with some of my kababayans [countymen] at a campsite near Guelph, Ontario.

There were about fifty people there, caregivers on their one weekly day off, and members of Migrante-Ontario (and it’s member groups). It says alot about the Filipino people how high spirits were despite the weather and the difficult lives in which they live.

Filipina’s make up over 95% of the live-in caregivers in Canada, despite their struggles, most Canadians (including Canadian born Filipinos), know little about them. (more…)