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Showing posts from 2014

Jose Antonio Vargas at Rutgers University

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Last Friday I had the opportunity to go the Newark campus of Rutgers University to see Jose Antonio Vargas speak. Prior to showing his movie Documented, the moderator asked us to keep our cell phones on since the purpose of the movie was to encourage conversation on Twitter or Facebook. Quite honestly, I didn’t think anyone was on social media since there were so many of us brought to tears by the film. Although I have seen this film I cried at the point in the narrative when Jose realizes that he does not quality for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA (which allows those that were brought here as children to legally work) because of his age. I also cried seeing his mother react to him not acknowledging her as his mother on FB. He did this to ensure that nobody would ask too many questions and delve into his history. I have employed such tactics before and understand where he was coming from. If we are not “out”, we undocumenteds (or formerly undocumenteds) don’t want to t…

Ghost of Jose Rizal

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The reclamation of my Filipino identity has naturally led me to Jose Rizal and his works. I have completed his two novels, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo. The words Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) comes from the Latin version of words spoken, according to John 20:17 (King James Version), by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognized him after his resurrection. He said “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” Historians have also noted that the title is a reference to cancer of the eyelids as Jose Rizal was also an ophthalmologist.

The novel opens with a letter of a patriot to his country. It is an awareness that something has gone wrong with the health of the nation. The patriot viewed it as a cancer and that in his writing, he would attempt to “lift the veil hiding your ills, and sacrifice everything to truth, even my own pride, since, as your son, I, too, suffer your defects and shortcomings.”
The main character, Crisóstomo Ibarra is much like its …

Meet Dr. Beth McCoy

In 2010 a distinguished professor addressed the graduating class of 2010 in my Alma mater. Of course, I don't find out until 4 years later (yesterday) when I decide to troll around her Facebook page. She was amazing then as a teacher. The convocation address below reminds me of why I will always be her student despite 14 years away from the institution.

Dr. McCoy is an English professor specializing in African American literature. She has taught at Wichita State University and currently teaches at the State University of New York, College at Geneseo. Please have yourself a fantastic read, be inspired and do the work.

“I live my life in hiding. My survival depends on it.” – Dexter

(most recent post on Balloon-Juice) My Facebook feed tells me that the film Documented has been honored at the Cinemalaya Film Festival in Manila. I watched it on CNN the Sunday night we arrived at our Outer Banks vacation last month. I watched it alone while the rest of the family was either playing Monopoly with one dice or grocery shopping for the week. I would normally opt to go grocery shopping since I am selective about my diet but stayed in knowing the film was premiering.  It was 2 hours long and I found myself mesmerized by the images of Manila streets. It looked like a modern day Wild West with its dusty streets and a lone rickshaw pulled by a motor bike. I identify with Mr. Vargas for many reasons. We are both Filipino, similar in age. We are both writers. He is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist that has covered Presidential elections. I am newly minted on the Balloon-Juice front page having graduated from my audience of 10 with the other other (a little bit neglected) b…

Balloon Juice

Hi Everyone,

So its finally happened. My writing has been read outside of my circle of few. I have been asked to be a guest blogger on Balloon-Juice. I have written 3 posts so far and the response has been overwhelming.

I am still working on pieces for this blog - although I can't seem to keep up with the reading, the general mental churning and the expunging from the soul type of activity right before I press "publish". I did learn how to do the "read more" cuts on this interface and Wordpress so you don't get overwhelmed right off the bat when the posts are 5 to 10 pages long on a word document.

So just an update, I am still fully immersed in Dr. Jose Rizal's works. I have completed "the Noli" and currently reading "The Fili". I wrote the review above for BJ and I'm honestly not done writing about the Noli so stay tuned. I will say that the "Fili" is a really exciting read now that I am use to Dr. Rizal's writing …

Meet Carolina Valdivia

In September of 2013, I did a brief search on "undocumented bloggers" curious about what other people were writing on the topic. I found the blog below and also reached out to the writer on Facebook. She was kind (welcoming me into our undocumented community) and said she was there for me. She was true to her word as I have begun this writing journey. She also encouraged me to hit the "publish" button on this blogger interface. I have been in touch with her for almost a year now. I wanted to share her most recent blog post below. I feel such a sense of reverence and  pride in all her activities as an activist, researcher and educator. Please check her out!

“My Un(DACA)mented Life: Experiences of Undocumented Immigrant Young Adults Growing Up and Resisting Through Activism"

Meet Ju Hong

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I am sharing a blog post from an activist rock star, Mr. Ju Hong. When the typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) destroyed South East Asia, particularly the Philippines on November 8, 2013, I had local news on my Facebook feed for storm relief updates. I wanted to know what the Philippine government, as well as other governments, was doing to help.  Later that month President Obama held a news conference in San Francisco’s Chinatown on immigration reform. Undocumented youth were invited on stage with him while he spoke. During the speech he got "heckled". 
I didn't see too much coverage on this in the US (most likely because my news is limited to NPR during the morning commute and the treadmill at the YMCA in the evenings) but news on the other side of the world was buzzing, particularly ABS-CBN news (a Philippine network) about a DREAMer that dared to speak out against the most powerful man in the world. Undocumented activists, DREAMERs and allies were afi…

Dark Passenger Part II

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Once I became acquainted with my dark passenger, I wish I could say I outgrew her but I didn’t.  Unlike Dexter, I didn’t have a foster father or a therapist (yet) that could discern her signs. She was everywhere in me and I didn’t know what to do with her. At first I wished that the passage of time would rid me of her but she was more than just a “gift”. While I assimilated with my American peers, her form took shape and breathed life in the space inside me.  She lived in the space between my parents and me as we adjusted to our new lives, eventually leaving the safety of my Aunt and Uncle’s home.   She haunted my mother and father and lived in their frustrations. She was in the language unspoken with the people with whom they interacted in their new found jobs.  She was in the language unspoken with my American peers that called me stupid because my focus was elsewhere and I had

Dark Passenger Part I

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I’ve been watching Dexter with my husband.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, Dexter is a clinical psychopath. I think this might be a loose interpretation since Dexter exhibits signs in his thoughts and actions that he not completely unemotional. In Dexter’s own words, he was “born in blood” when his mother was murdered in front of him when he was 3 years old. Dexter, like his foster father, identifies this moment as the day his darkness was born. Afterwards, Dexter was found in a pool of blood by a young policeman that would eventually be his foster father. At first Dexter was like any other boy but as time went on there were signs of Dexter’s new nature. Such signs might have been missed had his foster father not been a seasoned policeman. At first, his foster father thought his urges might be curbed if Dexter took the lives of animals. When it was evident that animals would not slake his urges, his father trained him to be stealthy, efficient and eventually to take the lives of…

Book Review - The Edge of Terror - Scott Walker

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I finished a book this past holiday season entitled the Edge of Terror by Dr. Scott Walker. This is the third book I have read this year on Philippine history. I was intrigued by the topic knowing my mother’s birth records were destroyed during the war. Also, in speaking with my grandmother before she died, I learned she was a war bride while the Japanese occupied the Philippines. She was married in secret on top of a mountain.  She told me in Tagalog (pronounced tah-gah-lawg, tuh-) it was a scary time. After having read this book, I understood more about “scary”.


(book cover courtesy of Google Images)
I have to preface this post by saying that I am a product of the New York State public school system. I was a fine student having taken the Global Studies Regents exam. During that time, I do not remember this topic being covered. There is so much to cover with regard to World War II that I might have missed it.  I might have been more concerned about everything else that went on durin…