Filipino Men and their invisibility.

How are Filipino men different from other men? Is it ‘useful’ in exploring how Filipino men/Pinoys differ from other men, from women, from Filipina women/Pinays?

It is difficult to answer this question because it is easy to overgeneralize the experiences of individuals based on only part of their identity, although race/ethnicity, plays a big role in our perception of self. But it is not enough to simply say that we are all different in some ways and similar in others…Part of the difficulty in thinking and writing about this is not knowing the level of specificity I want to tackle. Do I only want to talk about those who identify themselves as Filipino men? How should I go about the differences between Filipino-American men to Philippine-born men, or to those Filipino men who live in the Philippines, or how about those who work overseas?

The importance in exploring this topic is to be able to better empathize and understand Filipino men in order for me to be much more responsible in building with them. I have to be mindful in not ‘doing the work’ for men because this can be easily be perceived as that. 

The most glaringly apparent difference that I notice that is unique to the experience of Pinoys is their invisibility. 

Family Secrets: an emotional transnationalism

What would I say to someone who wants to commit suicide?

To answer this question, I have to think back on when I was in the deepest state of my depression and how coming out of it was a gradual, protracted process. The nature of state of depression inhibits us from reaching out to our people. It takes courage to admit that we are unhappy because unhappiness is considered failure. I have had a couple of friends that confined in me their suicide ideations and only then was I able to talk a little bit about mine. I had conflicting feelings and mixed reactions when I had these conversations with my friends and it was almost debilitating at times. I think It would be the same if ever someone confides in me again. One of the most important things that I have learned is to appreciate the fact that someone trusts me enough to relay that information. It  means that they are looking for a flicker of hope but saving them is not my sole responsibility but a community responsibility that includes both of us. 

Four Lives. Two Worlds. One Dream. The Learning.

Reflection:

Rhea’s story about her husband being sent to jail because of his addiction to drugs reminded me a lot of the stories that I would hear about my father when I was growing up.

I never really heard good things about my dad. The only things that my relatives would mention about him is his drug addiction and how he would be missing for days at a time. It was always a mystery where he would be for those days that he was gone. Who was he with? Where did he sleep? He would only come back to my grandparents house to refuel, clean-up and possibly steal things from my grandparents that he could sell to have money to buy more drugs. He never had a real job and he relies on his grandparents second-hand business and his siblings hard-earned money in the States.

It was always so confusing for me as a kid to process all of these things about my dad. Everyone around me made sure that I knew how horrible these things were but no one ever talked about the root of these problems. I grew up trying to figure out who was to blame for dad’s inability to be a father. Was he just a bad person? Was it his parents fault for enabling him? Was it the pressure of being the youngest of four sons? Was it because he didn’t want kids?

It was difficult to watch Rhea blame herself for her husband’s situation because it is unfair for her to carry that burden on top of already having to provide for her whole family. I have felt similarly to Rhea of feeling guilty for my father’s addiction.