The peculiar circumstance of being Chinoy

Celebrating the Chinese New Year. [Photo source: Rappler]

By JoeAm

Filipinos of Chinese ancestry are everywhere in the Philippines, making up an estimated 20% of the population. Each has a story to tell, of how he or she became Filipino. And each has a saga that is entering a new phase as China aggressively occupies Philippine seas and appears to be making inroads to conquer Philippine governance.

We don’t know exactly what is going on in the back rooms, but we can clearly see the pro-China line taken up by Alan Cayetano, Harry Roque, Bong Go, and President Duterte. We also know that House Speaker Arroyo is tight with China.

The pro-China line is so intense that it even puts Filipinos in the target sights, such as when Secretary Cayetano placed the blame for the loss of Panatag Shoal (Scarborough) on President Aquino, not on China. And anti-Americanism is used as a basis for getting close to China.

Chinoys are Chinese-Filipinos just as the FilAm tag is assigned to Americans of Filipino heritage. In a perfect world, we would not even see the racial or ethnic distinction. We would just talk about Filipinos and Americans and not even see the heritage.

But that is not the way things work. People notice differences in origin because they are often reflected in different foods or languages or lifestyles or looks. And insecure people, or ignorant people, attack others for not being like them. There seems to be a resurgence of this under America’s President Trump.

So now China, the thieving thug of Asia, has radiomen screaming threats at Filipino pilots in a demeaning tone, a tone very different than the one they use when speaking to American pilots.

The Chinese, I think, don’t consider if the pilot is Chinoy. They don’t consider they may be demeaning a brother. They see Chinoys as arrogant brown brothers testing the master’s patience.

It goes the other direction, too. We see Filipinos taking potshots at, not just China, but “the Chinese”. And the reason is clear. They know China is blocking Filipino fishermen from Filipino seas, they mix with the hordes of new-immigrant Chinese in Makati, they are suspicious of the role China plays at influencing President Duterte, and they dislike the Chinese scalpers who want to lend at high rates and take jobs that could be done by Filipinos.

That places Chinoys in a difficult spot.

One would think that Filipinos, who are a stew pot of ethnicity so mixed up that the only real race is “us”, would easily embrace any and all races.

But that is not the way of the human mind which, when facing ‘other’ people, easily morphs through a cycle from unknown to uncomfortable to fear to anger to demeaning acts.

I was enlightened on Twitter about how difficult it is for some Chinoys.

The incident was this. I had made a snide remark about Bong Go being a mouthpiece of China. A Chinoy wrote and expressed the wish that I would refrain from such remarks lest anti-Chinoy feelings rise up. We had a pushing match back and forth (me with the free speech tack) until she hit me over the head with this pearl of information and insight:

Then perhaps consider why people like me fear a narrative like that. I’ve been on the receiving end of anti-Chinese sentiments all my life. From being called “intsik beho” as a child to being told I should go back to where I came from. It may be just you pounding on a keyboard but it has, as it had before, real-life repercussions for those like me.

Well, I suddenly understood, felt rather small, and promised that I would be more sensitive in the future.

I am very aware of personal judgments. I get stared at a lot in the Philippines. The odd thing is that the judgment is almost never harsh. Indeed, it is often favorable for being a senior and, yes, for being white. My wife gets grief, I get respect. I can imagine if it suddenly became bad, or wrong, or threatening, to be an American in the Philippines. I do worry about that when I see the racial arrogance of China and the harsh words of President Duterte and a few of his trolls who have taken up the call. And if I imagine their ethnic hate getting transferred to the power class in the Philippines.

There are no easy solutions to this. We all are judgmental creatures who happened to arrive at the same place through very different paths.

But if we think about it, I suspect we can figure out some ways to get along better. Specifically, we can figure out some ways to criticize China or Bong Go while not attaching judgments about heritage or race.

Here are some ideas, and if you have more, please share them with readers in the discussion thread.

  • We have to distinguish clearly between China, the government, and Chinese, the people. We also have to understand that even Chinese immigrants flooding in are not the architects of racial tension.
  • We have to address Bong Go as a government official, not as Chinese or Chinoy.
  • Chinoys who are opinion leaders can help by being visible and up front defending Filipino sovereignty, rights, and fairness. (I don’t know who they are because I see everyone as Filipino. But the oligarchs, for instance, seem to remain quiet about Philippine sovereignty. I understand a number are Chinoy.)
  • We must take care that we are not needlessly and dangerously emotionalizing along racial lines.
  • We have to recognize that, to the extent we divide, within the Philippines, we are falling for China’s enduring strategy, divide and conquer.

If you wish to read further on the subject, here is an article Rappler ran a few years ago when the conflict over Scarborough was in the news: Scarborough in the eyes of Filipino-Chinese

And, for sure, I think President Duterte, Secretary Cayetano, Harry Roque, and Bong Go could do a lot if they represented Filipinos with strength, pride, and respect. If they steadfastly protected Filipino rights, their sovereignty, and their well-being. And stopped being agents of China. Cayetano’s criticism of President Aquino was very disturbing. The Admin’s failure to protest China’s occupation of Philippine seas, destruction of marine habitats, militarization of international seas, and banning of Filipino fishermen from Philippine waters is clear and striking. It will of course be a lightning rod for criticism against China because it is so anti-Filipino. If these leaders actually led and stood up for Filipinos, Filipinos themselves would not have to rage against China.

And Chinoys would not be caught in the fall-out.

 

Comments
73 Responses to “The peculiar circumstance of being Chinoy”
  1. Grace Lim Reyes says:

    Hello! May I be one of the first to add to the discussion being a 4G Chinoy myself.

    The issue of race, meaning Pinoy and not Pinoy has been going on for many decades. I was born to two Chinese parents born here in the Philippines. My great grandfather migrated to the Philippines in the early 20th century to escape from the hardship and strife in China at that time. My ancestors were from Xiamen, China, the same origin as most Chinoys here. My ancestors were teachers when they came here.

    Some of my relatives settled in Singapore, but my great grandfather chose to settle in Jolo, Sulu. He was able to establish a business, which was passed on to my grandfather. Although, they were immigrants, they were able to establish good relations with Filipinos in the South. My maternal grandparents had prosperous trading business until the Japanese came.

    Growing up, my first language was Fookien, which was spoken at home. But my grandmother and mother spoke Tausug fluently like a native. I would later learn to speak Tagalog and English. The Tagalog was courtesy of my yaya and the English from my parents and school. We would all go to a Chinese school for our primary and secondary education.

    Yes, I led quite a sheltered life and moving only within Chinese circles. It was not until college when I entered UP as a newbie that my perspectives changed. I began to make friends who are not Chinoys. Oh,, what a spat we had, my mom, dad, and I. Like the natives, they also have negative views toward Filipinos in general. Then, I began bringing my friends home to show my parents that they are good people, quite contrary to the stereotypes they long believed about Pinoys in general.
    My parents were initially apprehensive about me entering a school that was considered a hotbed for militants, but my Auntie who was a college professor convinced them to allow me to enrol.

    I would say that while at UP, I had to deal with subtle stereotyping such as “you are Chinese so you must be rich” (which we are not) or ” you must be good in Math” (which I am, ha ha, but not always). I find Calculus a tad too complicated!

    Although I don’t have a drop of Filipino blood, I consider myself as Filipino as any other native. I am fortunate to have two cultures (Filipino and Chinese). I came by my Filipino citizenship by naturalization during the Marcos period. It was only then that I could fully claim that I am a citizen of this nation.

    I have much to share, but my comment might be too long already.

    • Space here is free, Grace, and I am enjoying your commentary. Wiki says 1.8% of the nation is full-blooded Chinese. I have a kind of opposite racial bias where I think cross-racial explorations are enriching. I find all-white is rather like the suburbs of many cities, cut out like from cookie cutters and lacking the exotic edges of difference. I am so proud of my son’s handling of being mixed American/Filipino. He is multi-lingual, loves steak and sisig, and asks question after question about the Philippines and America. Did the Philippines have dinosaurs? haha Does the US have tarsiers?

      I am awkward going to sports events in my home town of Denver because the crowd is so white. It seems unnatural. I love LA and the Philippines. They are stylin’. 🙂

      • Grace Lim Reyes says:

        I wrote this on my FB notes page about two years ago…

        Understanding China

        People may share their different opinions regarding the outcomes of the case filed by the Philippines in the Arbitral Tribunal, but only a few may have a genuine understanding about China as a proud and conservative nation. This short note may not entirely deconstruct the nature of China, but it is one small step to fully determine the next moves of the Philippines.

        The Chinese mindset is quite different from that of its Western counterparts. China thinks “in terms of concrete analogy, which somehow puts the situation in a form easily grasped in its entirety” (Xing 14+). China also approaches its problems using common sense and resolves them by using synthesis, intuition, concrete image, and proverbs (Xing 14+). Recall that China once used Chinese proverbs to ridicule or threaten the Philippines (See Louis Bacani article in Philippine Star http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/08/...)

        “The mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole waiting in the backdrop.”

        People are quite puzzled that China does not accept or recognize the findings of the Tribunal as legally binding and within the bounds of the law. Frederickson (614) suggested that this attitude might have originated from the Confucian concept of social order, which contradicted the Western context of the rule of law. Chinese philosopher Confucius believed that, “…a plethora of new laws, a proliferation of minute regulations, amendments, and amendments of amendments. . . . For a society, compulsive lawmaking and constant judicial interventions are a symptom of moral illness” (Frederickson 614).

        To understand China, one must be aware of the two most important Chinese behavioral patterns, namely, Guangxi and Mianxi. Guangxi has no exact English translation, but it similarly means as attending to relationships on mutuality. Such relationships should be based on goodwill and personal sympathy (Deresky 506). Meanwhile, Mianxi (face) pertains to the most “precious possession” of a person. Keeping face is important to the Chinese because it is the face that is first presented to society before anything else (506).

        Works Cited
        Deresky, H. International management – managing across borders and cultures 4th Edition. NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2003.
        Frederickson, H. George. “Confucius and the Moral Basis of Bureaucracy.” Administration & Society 33.4 (January 2002): 610-628.
        Xing, Fan. “The Chinese Cultural System: Implications For Cross-Cultural Management.” SAM Advanced Management Journal 60.1(Winter 1995): 14+

        • karlgarcia says:

          Time for you to contribute a blog here in TSoH. 👍

        • Vicara says:

          Points well taken, Grace Lim Reyes. There are many good sources on how China has perceived this or that, whether in business, foreign policy, etc, in the last five thousand years. Whole shelves in Fully Booked alone. Unfortunately not enough print is devoted to the world view of Filipinos–and other Asians on those same topics–and on how Filipinos/Asians view bullying by China. Such inputs might be helpful to the people of the PRC, whose access to information is controlled by the Party, which feeds them xenophobic, ultranationalist propaganda in order to buttress its expansionist/imperialist agenda.

        • chemrock says:

          The first wave of foreign investors that went into the China when it opened up for business all went in armed with the idea about the importance of ‘guangxi’ and ‘mianxi’ and the majority of them got financially slaughtered by corrupt officialdom. Money-xi is the common determinator everywhere in the world. ‘Guangxi’ and ‘Mianxi’ is over-rated. It may be pertinent in low level closer-knitted relationships, like in far flung villages or provinces, not in a modern metropolitan environment and international dealings.

          Just for info I’m a Huáyì 華裔, a Chinese national of another country, just like you.

          • sonny says:

            I think this very educational. Thanks to Grace & chempo. Now when I think Chinese I include all three concepts to discern things related to the culture. Up till now, the stereotype of the Chinese being inscrutable has been the default principle. Of course all my formative education (elem & high school) were spent with Christian Chinese (Catholic schools). 🙂 In later years, I acquired keen interest on the historic interaction between the Jesuits (Mateo Ricci & companions with the imperial court of China (16th/17th century).

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matteo_Ricci

        • “Chinese use analogies” in general, I think Eastern thinking is more “analog”, like a vinyl record, while Western thinking is more “digital”, as in MP3, taking things apart to put them together again. Even Filipino thinking is highly pictorial, fond of Internet memes.

          One way sees the big picture better, the other way is better with details and more efficient. Chinese characters versus alphabet and decimal numbering, I would say.

          As for rules, I have read that Chinese view business contracts as a framework which changes situationally, while Westerners go by every letter. Here, the Chinese mindset and the Filipino “weder-weder” mindset are more similar, the Western mindset different.

        • Tweeto Wakatono says:

          Bloggers refer to and differentiate blogs pieces as threads to be on focus and to emphazise uniqueness and preciseness of human issues. This piece is not just a THREAD Mr. JoeAm. It is more than a rope made of Manila hemp (abaca fibres) that secures the ships of yore when ships stay put in ports. This piece more than the issues it will ransack and expose NO (nada) guro or Pontius Pilate can say and postulate as something FINISHED.

          To be gibberish, this piece is like one of the steel cables that held up Fuente Colgante which made early Pinoys and Chinoys cross the opposite river banks of the Pasig in Quiapo from the days no one remembers. Don’t Google cable-stayed bridges and be way laid by Golden Gate bridges all over China este the world. Suffice to say I cannot and never will say or write FINISH to this part and parcel of Philippine soul.

          I cannot look at it –like a Wantok Highlander of Papua New Guinea– who laughingly looks at his car petrol gauge and say MASKI (never mind) because when the needle points at F it means FINISHED and when it points at E it means ENOUGH and that’s why he never run out of gas. There I go again — glibness trying to put gibberish aside.

          When scattered in my neurons accumulated through decades are the likes of Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth (my China Basic), The Long March, The Cultural Revolution, The Red Book of Mao, swimming the Yangtse like the Mahondas skinny dipping in the Ganges, the Gang of Four, Tiananmen Square, Fallon Gong–and how in a masteral course on Management of Rural Development –I contrasted the Red Conflict Model of Rural Dev against the Western Harmony Model of Rural Development fueled by the IMF-World Bank – Oxfam – Peace Corps – JICA – Canada IDA unconnected consortium. China has showed Karl Marx’s scholarship as all wet — the dictatorship of the proletariat ‘s theses-anti-theses- syntheses really transpire in the countryside of the rural masses not in factories or city slums of urban working men. Ah, but I am getting more nauseous gibberish, so I must try to touch ground now.

          • Tweeto Wakatono says:

            As a student and as guro I have two heartfelt memorable tales. Months before graduation a Chinoy a frat brother senior cadet officer came to see me in my room. He confided he is in love and would like to marry a Filipina. But didn’t say who is the girl. There are very sticky problems against it. We talked at length and being young romantics we parted with the conclusion against culture and whatever, it is best to follow the heart, because it is one’s life to struggle and vanquish and no one else’s.

            Decades passed before I learned my brod married one of our lady Pinay professors. Why long decades? My brod comes from the south pole of the Philippines I never saw him again to this moment.

            About mid-point of Martial Law, I happened to direct (turned out a crisis solution) a Regional Seminar on Training of Trainors for SEARCA based in UPLB, funded by a German Foundation. All trainors ,we became a very happy group like we were all Martians landed in Mt. Makiling with Pinoys, Malaysians, Thais, Sri Lankans, etc. The Foundation Coordinator, Herr Karl Boehm corrected me: Max Weber is pronounced Max Beiber (Volkswagen [Pinoy’s bolswagen] is really folksvagen), and that in Germany to be mere Professor is better addressed than Dr of a PhD.

            Anyway, there was an attractive Pinay-Chinay participant who became it seemed to me the unelected muse of the group. During a break at mid-course, she approached me and said she is a next door neighbor in the dorm and heard me singing most breaktime when we were not having sessions. I said sorry to disturb her but that’s how my voice keeps and gives me company. She said she would like to consult me on a personal matter.

            In short and objective way she said she’s secretly engaged to a Filipino and would marry him. Being Chinese (in the truest sense) her parents are very much against it. What will she do, what do I think? The issue was not really new to me. So we ended the “consultation” with the cliché FOLLOW WHAT THE HEART SAYS, and MASKI (never mind) with the dangers of whatever.

            And there was another yarn this very Chinese girl who became our Research Assistant , ah MASKI, because that’s another long story.

            Anyway, I could be exposed as some kind (only) of a fake news — if that attractive Chinay happens to be Grace Lim. Contrary to common belief I trust the world is really NOT that small. Gibberish? NAH, just being Romeoic.

            I cannot say FINISHED to that dynamic part and parcel of the Philippine soul. The nitty-gritty, the bones and sinews and the muscles of the issues shall be tarred, feathered and quartered here in the pages of the Society till the issues become dead meat.

            • Tweeto Wakatono says:

              As a student and as guro I have two heartfelt memorable tales. Months before graduation a frat brother senior cadet officer came to see me in my room. He confided he is in love and would like to marry a Filipina. But didn’t say who is the girl. There are very sticky problems against it.

              We talked at length and being young romantics we parted with the conclusion against culture and whatever, it is best to follow the heart, because it is one’s life to struggle and vanquish and no one else’s. Decades passed before I learned my brod married one of our lady Pinay professors. Why long decades? My brod comes from the south pole of the Philippines I never saw him again to this moment.

              About mid-point of Martial Law, I happened to direct (turned out a crisis solution) a Regional Seminar on Training of Trainors for SEARCA based in UPLB, funded by a German Foundation. All trainors ,we became (allegedl to be contrary to expectations) a very happy group like we were all Martians landed in Mt. Makiling with Pinoys, Malaysians, Thais, Sri Lankans, etc. The Foundation Coordinator, Herr Karl Boehm corrected me: Max Weber is pronounced Max Beiber (Volkswagen [Pinoy’s bolswagen] is really folksvagen), and that in Germany to be mere Professor is better addressed than Dr of a PhD.

              Anyway, there was an attractive Chinay participant who became it seemed to me the unelected muse of the group. During a break at mid-course, she approached me and said she is a next door dorm neighbor and heard me singing most breaktime when we were not having sessions. I said sorry to disturb her but that’s how my out of tune voice keeps and gives me company. She said she would like to consult me on a personal matter.

              In short and objective way she said she’s secretly engaged to a Filipino and would marry him. Being Chinese (in the truest sense) her parents are very much against it. What will she do, what do I think? The issue was not really new to me. So we ended the “consultation” with the cliché FOLLOW WHAT THE HEART SAYS, and MASKI (never mind) with the dangers or consequences of whatever.

              And another yarn was this very Chinese girl who became our Research Assistant , ah MASKI, because that’s another long story.

              Anyway, I could be exposed as some kind (only) of a fake news — if that attractive Chinay happens to be Grace Lim. Contrary to common belief I trust the world is really NOT that small. Gibberish? NAH, just being Romeoic. I cannot say FINISHED to that dynamic part and parcel of the Philippine soul. The nitty-gritty, the bones and sinews and the muscles of the issues shall be tarred, feathered and quartered here in the pages of the Society till the issues become dead meat.

          • Ha, yes, it is a good thread, isn’t it? 🙂

    • Emmanuel J. says:

      Hello Ms. Grace Lim, please continue sharing your message. Your candor and humility are disarming, your prose flowing and clear.

      By the way, did you marry a Pinoy anyway?? (Reyes) ☺

      • Grace Lim Reyes says:

        Yes, I did marry a Pinoy, but there is a backstory on how we came to have a Filipino surname.

        Mr. Irineo did mention that some Chinese Filipinos changed the surnames to show they are “Filipinized” and worthy to be called Filipinos. The original surname of my father was “Ngo” or “Wu” in mandarin. Among his siblings, he was the only one with a Filipino surname “Reyes”.

        Reyes came from former SC Justice JB Reyes. He was a good friend of my paternal grandfather and ninong of my father. During their time, protectionism and nationalism sentiments were quite high that the Chinese in the Philippines had a bit of difficulty gaining jobs or establishing a business. A Chinese sounding surname would not get you a job at that time or be accepted in Filipino schools. So, my grandfather and Justice Reyes thought it was prudent to change the surname of my father to Reyes. Technically, he was adopted by Justice Reyes, hence the surname.

        As for marrying a Pinoy, conservative Chinese families frown on intermarriages. Until today, that is still being practiced. Exception to the rule is former President Cory, Heart Evangelista, to name a few. They were allowed to marry Filipinos because of business or political interests. They need to preserve whatever influence they have in the community and the country in general.

        Chinese girls are not permitted to date Pinoys, but the rule is a bit relaxed for males. My uncles had Pinays for wives. My brother also married a Pinay. You could say I am the exception to the rule. The rebel in me did not want to remain conservative and chose my own path, to the grief of my parents of course.

        Chinese matchmaking is still being practiced today. We call it “Kai Xiao” here. A Chinese girl is introduced to a Chinese boy hoping to make a successful match. Prior to the match, the parents have been given a “dossier” of sort on what kind of family each has to give their consent. Upon a successful match, the matchmaker would be given “ang pao” or compensation for services. I resisted such matchmaking to the dismay of my conservative relatives and stayed single until my mid-30s.

        But there is always a happy ending. My husband has endeared himself to my late mother. He showed that he was as good as a Chinese match would have been.

  2. ylbnoel says:

    I like what you said in your last paragraph, Jo Am. Steadfastly protecting Filipino rights, sovereignty and well being, AND not being agents of China (so obvious!) will be more than enough. This administration has been so underwhelming and disappointing, and yet we have no choice but to buy into the idea that for now until 2022, we have no other option. Thanks for your blog!

    • And thank you for stopping by, ylbnoel. I often wonder if Duterte hates Filipinos. His lack of empathy and his brutality are astounding. And the unfairness to Filipinos of giving away sovereign seas to China. Incredible.

      • ylbnoel says:

        A decision of his that will have repercussions far beyond the end of his term. It’s also remarkable that the lack of empathy (your very accurate term), I think the new usage is “malignant narcissism”, parallels that of another president with a huge mass base but little regard for the consequences of his actions. Kudos!

  3. karlgarcia says:

    I remember when Bong V stated the anti pinoy website he had this essay of who really is the anti pinoy.
    Some people who objected said so it is anybody but you.
    Later people just dismissed them as anti-Pnoy.

    MRP called it discrimination amongst Filipinos, and maybe reverse discrimination.

    Before Twitter bashing was even a thing, we were already bashers of dark people, as nog nog or even a negro, those with different shaped nosed as pango or sarat ang ilong, and pandas, and the laundry list goes on.
    We are pintaseros and ingiteros and we are harsh.

    We even say only in the Philippines, even if we have not observed other countries.

    Now as to the Chinese, they too bash fellow Chinese,they do harm to fellow Chinese, but that is not the point Joe wants conveyed.

    I guess it is back to knowing how to respect, saying I salute you or respect you without meaning it is very cheap, so that makes it sincerely respecting each other and learning to love yourself as the greatest love of all.

  4. Andres 2018. says:

    “We have to distinguish clearly between China, the government, and Chinese, the people. We also have to understand that even Chinese immigrants flooding in are not the architects of racial tension.”

    – this! Holds true also with USA/Americans.

  5. andrewlim8 says:

    AFTER LICKING CHINA’S ASS , THE PHILIPPINES SMELLS LIKE POOP

    1. What made the NAIA situation much worse after the Xiamen jet skidded was the unauthorized, uncoordinated, balasubas recovery flights Xiamen airlines sent to NAIA to retrieve their passengers. That is how it is to be regarded a Chinese province.

    2. Duterte makes a show of slamming China for warning our pilots to stay away from the West Phil Sea but it’s all for nothing. ” We are your friends, why treat us that way?” The dumbest, most naive question in the world of geopolitics and foreign policy.

    3. Philippine fish catch has dropped, and everyone is gingerly avoiding the issue of how much China has stolen from our fish supply – reason cited is always weather disturbance,but ask the fishermen in affected areas.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      (cont)

      4. Hope is not a strategy! Our foreign affairs people have been quoted as saying ” we hope China keeps its word on the West Phil Sea” What leverage do you have left after spurning the Hague ruling and our alliances?

      5. We are eagerly tying ourselves up in China’s economic bondage, unmindful and too ignorant to learn the lessons of other countries now suffering after taking on too much Chinese debt.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        1. Clearly, China is the aggressor.

        2. And the Duterte administration has allowed the predator nation to land her dragon paws on the nation’s seas and territory and sink her claws into the greedy hearts of officialdom.

        2.1. Allowed? Perhaps encouraged is the right word.

        3. China, in certain respects, is a neo-colonizing power. Not administratively, not militarily, but economically. It’s about power, resources, and money.

        3.1. China is not yet a suzerain, and we are not yet a vassal state. But our officials are tributary servants.

        4. What is dangerous is that China, as a neo-colonizer, espouses no humanistic ideals. Grace mentioned social order. The antithesis of social order is not the rule of law. Indeed, the rule of law leads to social order. No, the antithesis of China’s concept of social order is the loss of individual freedom.

        4.1. China is all about crass materialism.

        4.2. There is nothing wrong with seeking a level of comfortable material existence. But material progress should not be at the expense of human freedom. Nor should the ascendancy be accomplished by treading on others.

        4.2. It is this vision of superior status and comfort that China is selling and, apparently, there are many buyers.

        4.3. Chinoys, drug addicts, and the polity are caught up in this maelstrom of rampant desires.

        4.4. Caveat emptor.
        *****

        • 4.1 I don’t think it is wholly crass materialsm. That is more the US. China’s materialism is but one more way to catch up, surpass, and dominate to work her way to her proper place atop the world. The center of the earth strategy . . . to make up for all the historical abuse she has taken from richer, more powerful states over history. If it takes riches to conquer, she’ll do riches.

          4.2 Human freedom as far as I can tell is absolutely not in China’s gameplan as tracking and even grading of individuals is put in place.

          4.32 I don’t think Chinoys are caught up in rampant desires any more than others, but their discipline and commitment to education and success are more rigorous and exclusive. I have a hard time connecting Chinoys with drug addicts so perhaps I am not getting your point.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            4.1. “It’s all about power, resources, and money.”

            4.32. I was criticizing the philosophy of materialism. I meant we are all victims because of our materialistic desires.
            *****

            • 4.1 Ummm, still misses the emotional aspect, the need for redemption and finding the rightful place China has been denied for so long as whole and superior to all the pretenders in history who oppressed and abused ‘us/me’, and caused us such huge loss of face.

              4.32 Ok, got it, thanks.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Thank you.

                1. I said it’s all about power, resources, and money — the elements of materialism — because I was mainly thinking of China’s government. Broadly, the “emotional aspect” has to do with the Chinese people.

                1.1. This article is, in fact, about the emotional aspect and that aspect is racism. The article and the comments are now more than 8,000 words and yet the term “racism” has only been mentioned twice — by Irineo.

                1.2. Yes, the Chinese people consider themselves to be superior beings to other races. This is apparent in the Chinese people’s social prejudices — in their search for high economic status, the many displays of arrogance and inconsiderate behavior, and in the refusal to intermarry. It is also reflected in the government’s moves — the Hanization of Tibet, the secret internment camp of Uighurs, and the radio warnings to Philippine aircraft.

                1.3. I noted that China’s government does not have humanistic ideals and I mentioned the ideal of freedom. I will now note that the Chinese people — and Filipinos — do not hold high the ideal of equality. Racism is one of the antithetical forms of equality. And so is statusism (or classism.)

                1.4. I could say that racial prejudice against Bong Go and of Chinoys as being of Chinese blood is a blowback against the Chinese people’s and the government’s racism. But racism is universal.

                1.5. We have to see and understand — mentally and emotionally — the truth of human equality. And be aware of inequality in all its forms.

                4.3. When I wrote the original statement, I had this image of fish “caught up” in the net of materialism. That the statement could be interpreted as fish “caught up” in the net of their own desires escaped me. I think I like the ambiguity.
                *****

              • ‘caught up in the net of their own desires’ Perfect, brilliant. We think that racism is learned, but it is natural. The concept of equality is not natural. It is learned and stands as an aspiration of high intellectual and moral order . . . for the West.

                Equality will always be a work in progress.

              • The following article comments on China’s disregard for laws. This point was made elsewhere in this discussion.

                https://www.manilatimes.net/china-confirms-it-will-never-play-by-the-rules/432285/

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Good one. Thanks.
                *****

              • edgar lores says:

                ******
                Children are not born racist, I don’t think. Nor are they born selfish — or selfless.

                There’s some literature on the subject. Conflicting literature, I might add.

                There seems to be a “natural” fear of, and aversion, to the dark. That fear “naturally” extends to dark people.

                I would like to say that we are not born racist but, honestly, I find in myself racial tendencies — both negative and positive (yes, positive meaning admiration) — whose origins I don’t know.

                I think we are born with the seeds of racism and equality, as well as selfishness and selflessness, and it depends on which trait gets watered in the nurturing environment.

                The thing to remember is that “natural” bias is not destiny.
                *****

  6. Joe, many thanks. There are a number of points that I see:

    1) Authoritarian regimes try to influence those of similar origin abroad, especially via social media.
    1a) Putin’s Russia in Eastern Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Germany (lots of ethnic Germans from Russia are targets) – tries to project itself as protector of all Russians, worldwide
    1b) Erdogan’s Turkey has a conflict with Germany for influencing the sizable Turkish-German group over here, including posing with (now former) German national team player Mesut Özil
    1c) Duterte of course with his crazy “Mission Impossible” in Kuwait and his OFW/migrant base

    2) Hitler’s Germany manipulated people of German origin abroad (“Volksdeutsche”) starting with Sudeten Germans and up to Volga Germans who were later deported to Kazakhstan by Stalin for helping Germany. Although I know stories of families where one part was Communist (pro-Russian) and the other part raised their right arm (without clenched fist and somewhat more diagonally, you know) to welcome the invaders – and now you have their grandchildren back in the Reich, I mean in Germany, insisting on how their ancestors were German farmers who moved to Russia around 300 years ago – while many eagerly share “Russia Today” on their timelines. Those who still learned German from their parents inspite of Stalin know a quaint, old-school dialect from centuries ago.

    3) There is a Chinese saying that “when grass is pulled up, it sticks together at the roots”. Meaning that blood does count especially in times of crisis, in their world view. Don’t agree fully but..

    next comment will continue with this, as too long comments get eaten up..

    • 4) Two different concepts of nation in Europe: “nation” (French) and “Volk” (German)
      4a) nation comes from natus, where you are born. French had ius solis from the time of the Republic or even earlier. Even in royal times, loyalty was the the French King. Later that loyalty was abstracted into loyalty to the French nation. As brothers in revolution the USA followed a similar definition of nation, born in the USA was American. Of course the USA transcended the European definition of ethnicity by Americanizing everyone, while places like Switzerland will still define you by the valley your great-grandfather came from, at times.
      4b) Volk is related to “folks” and “flock”. It is at its core ethnic and tribal. In the Holy Roman Empire there was always a latent conflict between the German majority and the Latin people towards the West and South, as well as the Slavs to the East. There is also a bit of a cultural aspect to Volk, meaning that Slavs who (eventually) adopted the majority language in the Eastern areas (Brandenburg and Carinthia for example) became part of the Volk. In its extreme form, folkish thinking can take mein Kampf forms, or “our folks” with a MAGA cap.

      5) Questions of allegiance. “Grass pulled up”. Is it towards the nation and its institutions, or towards the culture one grows up with, or towards those who have the same blood.
      5a) most advanced level: nation and institutions. The more the nation is serious about not discriminating those who come from different family backgrounds (culture) or with different color or origin (blood), the stronger the loyalty to it. Of course it will demand a very clear statement from newcomers – the “Grace Poe oath” in the USA for example which clearly states that all allegiance to other nations and kings (that is the context of old Europe which many Americans left) is broken. French will inculcate, via the school system, a very strong patriotism with strong separation of Church and State. Still a bit of 1789 in that country.
      5b) Culturalism. Even advanced nations will demand, I think, a bit of integration, meaning the language and knowledge of history and institutions. There will be a bit of suspicion towards “parallel subcultures” that can switch allegiance, a certain insistence towards melting pot. Chinoys in the 19th century often became “true Filipinos” by becoming Catholics – Ongpin, many made their names into family names (Tee Han Kee = Teehankee) or totally changed their family names (Domingo Lam Co’s children Mercado, his great-grandson was Rizal).
      5c) Racism/tribalism. Of course parallel subcultures that insist on marrying only their own tend to be exclusive, suspicious of the surrounding majority and suspected by them. There are totally German-origin villages in the cold south of Brazil (look up Blumenau, or Gisele Bündchen), there were the same along the Volga and later Kazakhstan, Pennsylvania has the Amish people who are Southwestern Germans. Suspicion of parallel subcultures can have effects like the US closing German-language schools from 1916 onward, or Stalin exiling Volga Germans to far away Kazakhstan. There were also pragmatists like Nicolae Ceaucescu who had West Germany pay for German schools in Romania. As most left after 1990 to get German citizenship, the German schools are usually places were aspiring Romanians send the kids to due to the higher quality. The present President of Romania – Klaus Iohannis – has relatives in Germany, but he chose to stay. His being anti-corruption is helped by ethnic stereotypes that “Germans” are “not as corrupt as real Romanians are”.

      Third part follows..

      • Grace Poe, to me, has no national loyalty anywhere. Chinoys do. Two of my FB posts have been hot in generating discussion on this point. The most meaningful to me was one that pointed out, even within China, Chinese dislike Chinese. Why in the world would Chinoys feel any association at all with Mainland Chinese? So I think that “roots” lesson may prove to have some exceptions.

        • The “roots” thing is how Mainland China would like to see it, I think. But yes, you are right, it is luckily not that simple. Even if a group maintains some old traditions, their “old home” will drift in one direction while they drift to another, until you have distinct groups.

          Amish may have German roots, but have little to do with Germans of today. Godfather 2 shows how different Michael Corleone already was from his own folks back in.. Corleone. Specifically how much of a bond you will have to the “old country” is a probably a matter of whether you left it with good or bad memories, whether you romanticize it a bit abroad, what your folks taught you about it, how much the (often imperceptible, creeping) influence of the mainstream culture in the new country is, how much direct contact you still have to relatives and friends back “home”, do you still speak the language at all, has the country changed a lot from what you left, can you still identify with what it stands for. So – “it’s complicated”.

      • 6) Chinoys. It’s complicated. Not so easy to piece together that part of history.

        6a) 19th century and before are clearly Filipinos, barely a trace of even Chinese culture left as there was the pressure to become Catholic and find a new surname. The United States defined all who were Spanish subjects on a certain date in 1899 or 1902 and did not declare allegiance to Spain as Filipino citizens. An American, highly inclusive definition.

        6b) The 1935 Constitution defined citizenship via “Ius solis”. There was the partly unspoken, parly clear goal to limit Chinese migration into the Philippines. Especially after the war many did come in via corrupt politicians, but citizenship still remained elusive for them.

        6c) Mass naturalization in 1975 via Marcos decree. Simultaneously, Marcos forced Chinese schools to “Filipinize” their curriculum, i.e. teach in English, teach Filipino and teach Chinese only as a subject, not teach IN Chinese anymore.

        6d) The richest Filipinos are mainly of Chinese origin nowadays. Mostly their families came after 1946 from what I have read. The only names on the top lists nowadays that are still of Spanish origin are Ayala and Razon – a stark difference to the 1960s mestizo oligarchy.

        6e) Allegiance. The Philippines of the pre-Marcos era definitely had more of a culture dominated by Spanish mestizos, more creoles, but a lot of them left during Marcos’ time. Quezon (a mestizo himself) was clearly for keeping the Philippines anchored to the West. Cory Aquino still spoke Hokkien, in fact she addressed a crowd in that Chinese dialect when she took Kris to China to “see our roots”. Filipino taipans like Sy have invested in China.

        6f) Discrimination. A lot of kidnapping for ransom of rich Chinese-Filipinos in the 1990s, maybe even after. I have read this led some to prefer a somewhat authoritarian approach.

        6g) Chinatowns. Davao seems to have the biggest Chinatown in the Philippines, and they seem to have been happy about Chinese ships coming to visit in Sasa port. Probably not the same sentiment among a lot of Manila Chinese. Cebu is another major “cluster”.

        6h) Bernard Ong is one example of a clearly Chinese-origin Filipino who is anti-China.

        6i) Grace Lim’s story is quite interesting, one aspect of the broad spectrum of Chinoy stories. I have also heard of Chinoys who learned Tagalog as their first language from their Filipina nannies, mingled more with “other Filipinos”, only to be “othered” when in Ateneo. Probably that was in a time when Ateneo was more distinctly Spanish mestizo dominated than today. Originally I did not take Andrew Lim for a UP graduate, as people with Chinese names are linked to Ateneo or even more to La Salle. So we all have our prejudices.

        6j) “Fifth column” attempts. The planned Binondo bridge has propagandistic significance. Not only would it be an additional bridge to between the old Chinese “Parian” quarter which was within the range of Spanish cannons to the old Spanish city of Intramuros, it would probably mean demolishing a statue of the conquistador Goiti if I am not mistaken. This would be like a signal that “we are in charge now” from the mainland. China building a city of its own in the bay also has a touch of New Intramuros, this time Chinese-dominated.

        6k) Conflicts. Just like the Korean-Philippine relationship was full of tensions some years ago due to differences in culture, Mainland Chinese and Filipinos often seem to get into conflicts recently. A certain imperiousness is what Mainland Chinese are known for and Filipinos don’t really like that. Seems that Xiamen airlines simply sent in four planes to evacuate its passengers, ignoring NAIA and disrupting the other airlines, just after Xiamen itself caused the delays with its plane. It would be easier if the Filipino side were more like Malaysia which clearly puts its own people (of whatever origin, Malay or Chinese) first. But Filipinos have learned to bow for so long and some bow too much to Mainland interests. Meaning it will be complicated, and Filipino unity will be even more of a balancing act.

        • Correction, the 1935 Constitution is clearly ius sanguinis not solis. Even naturalization of young foreigners who grew up in the Philippines nowadays demands that they socialize mainly in Filipino circles, clearly a measure against any kind of parallel society. But then again, Chinoys are not a parallel society for the most part, as Grace Lim’s story shows even the refusal of some to mingle usually melts after some generations.

        • Wonderful brief on the history of Chinese in the Philippines, brought current up to today with the airport problem. Mainland Chinese seem to segregate themselves from Filipino housing and work (the 3 million recent immigrants). That’s a certain path to trouble, reflecting the imperiousness you cite.

  7. Gemino H. Abad says:

    THANKS, Joe, for always opening a channel for sober discussion. I can only hope against hope our government is truthful and courageous in defending our sovereignty against China. Sadly, so far, there is no solid proof of that strength and integrity of character among our national leaders (with a few exceptions, of course).

    • Yes, what you say is true, but I think there is definitely a shrinking presidency, which I will write about Wednesday. Also, it was interesting to read Vice President Robredo’s statement about the recent PNP arrest of three lawyers. Perhaps her strongest, most determined words to date.

  8. A look at the infographics on the PCIJ article about dynastic clans in PH politics tells us that many Chinoys had assimilated well into the Filipino mainstream culture. The Tans, Lims, Uys, Gos and many other Chinoy surnames dominate regional politics, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao area. Probably many more with Filipinized surnames like Grace Lim Reyes.

    We should remember that most Chinoys in PH were fleeing from China’s poverty, communism and repressive governance. To that effect, I will deduce that the fear of PH being a part of China is very real for the Chinoys as intergenerational fear could be passed on through oral history.

    Countries like Australia are sending warnings that China had been using soft power to spread Communism to naturalized Chinese immigrants and overseas Chinese students. There are various reports from credible media about the hows and whys.

    We should be not be judgmental of every Chinoys, least we bring back the McCarthyism mindset. Most of them are probably more patriotic to PH than the regular Juan deal Cruzes because of their escape from China. Let us learn some of the lessons from the U.S.’s Japanese Internment Camp fiasco during World War II.

    http://pcij.org/stories/stats-on-the-state-of-the-regions-who-will-rule-send-in-the-clans/

  9. karlgarcia says:

    It has been a long time since I heard from the Chinoy advocate and champion Teresita Ang See.
    Her advocacy started when the Presidential Management Staff of then president Cory Aquino submitted a negative report about the Chinoy and she went to Malacañang to counter that report.

    http://pcij.org/stories/teresita-ang-see/

    https://www.philstar.com/other-sections/starweek-magazine/2002/07/21/169107/who146s-afraid-teresita-ang-see

  10. madlanglupa says:

    His aunt was of Filipino-Chinese extraction, that some of her relatives have collaborated with the Marcoses, just around today Bam pondered on the words that his uncle ever said.

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