I have a problem that should not even be a problem: Ever since I was in college, somebody often greets me “Happy Chinese New Year!”
You would probably reply, “So, what?”
The problem is how do you exactly respond to such question properly?
You see, it is true that I have Chinese blood. I think it is obvious with my physical traits: almond eyes, round face, sallow complexion and thin lips. But to how much am I Chinese, the answer is I don’t know. My grandparents from both side of the family are all mestizos or mixed blooded.
That is why I could say “Thank you very much! Same to you!” However, that would also feel so wrong. The reason: I grew up not practicing any Chinese tradition except eating tikoy or nian gao in Chinese New Year. I think all Filipinos are now doing it now, though. Worst, I do not know of any relative who could actually speak and read Chinese.
However, if I said, “No, I’m not a Chinese.” A part of me feels like I’m lying. It is like I’m denying my Chinese ancestors who probably braved through the stormy seas on the West Philippine Sea from China just to be here. Also, how can I explain my physical Chinese traits? How would I also explain my surname which sounds like a decent from the Chinese.
But of course, my body has some other stories to tell because of my other bloodline coming from Spain. First, I am considered a tall girl in the Philippines. I am only 5’5 but you see, most girls here are only 5’0. Also, my body frame is unusually large if you compare my bone structure to other girls. However, the weird thing about having a large frame is having unproportioned hands and feet. People I know wouldn’t believe that my shoe size is only 7! My face is round but you could also notice how prominent my cheekbones are. I have this wavy hair that has a mind of its own. I colored my hair into creamy, light brown now but my original hair color is chestnut brown, another unusual trait for a Filipina. Also, my eye color is almost in the shade of honey; however, regular Filipinas have black to very dark brown eyes.
So who am I?
I am a Filipina.
I don’t think that we are still living in an era where the true Filipina beauty are solely confined to those ladies who are brown-skinned and large expressive eyes. The Philippines now are considered one of the biggest melting pots in the world. We can now see people that are seemingly from different parts of the world in our school or neighborhood.
Also, we must not discriminate others. Nobody now has the right to look down on others just because one looks different from the others. We must embrace our uniqueness. We are the colors of the rainbow if only we could be one.
I am indeed happy living in an era where we are having this openness in the subcultures of our society. We no longer have classes during the end of Ramadan to give respect to our Muslim brothers and sisters. And now, we are also in vacation for Chinese New Year for us to join them in their most joyous occasion.
Yes, it doesn’t bother me any more being called Chinese or looking like a foreigner in general. I am like a product of the Philippine history by my mixed genes. I am a Filipina purely under these unique traits. And I’ll forever be proud as one.
Happy 2014, everyone! Sorry this greeting and post are weeks late. Life has been complicated for me this 2014 and this is just the thirtieth day.
How are your resolutions going? This year, I did not make any concrete resolutions, only guidelines. Nonetheless, I am sharing these because I believe that it is beneficial for everybody. Also, tomorrow is Chinese New Year. I do not consider myself as Chinoyor Chinese-Filipino though I have Chinese blood. Then again, this is a great day to do some changes in your life.
WHAT WE DO EVERY DAY MATTERS MORE THAN WE DO EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE
Face it. We think that our lives are a bore or some people live better lives than ours. This is especially true now when a lot of us record happy aspects of our lives in the social networks. But you see, those are the highlights of our lives. We do not usually post things that make us upset or our argument with our parents or our significant other or days where we practically did not do anything special at all.
That’s why if you’re a law student or medical student or taking up other courses which requires a long period of staying in school and feel that you are missing out so much in your lives, stop feeling that way. “Living to the fullest” does not mean frequent travels or having romantic relationships or giving in to that pressure of having a family by mid-twenties. Living to the fullest is giving your best every day in the path you choose so that someday you will be able to fully share the world your purpose. Besides, you can never be overdressed or over-educated.
Then again, it doesn’t hurt to reward yourself every once in a while. There is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 reminds us that,
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
INVEST IN YOURSELF
Well, of course, we could all agree that vanity is a sin. I seriously started giving in to makeup and skincare products on about the last quarter of 2012. I’m practically broke every single week because I spend them mostly in Korean beauty products. I also do not return the changes in the bills of my parents because I malverse them as extra money for the said products. Yes, do not dare do this, ladies. The rule of thumb is act your wage or in my case, act according to my allowance.
I’m wiser now. I do not buy new makeup until I almost fully consumed it. I also stopped shopping for skincare products and this act rewarded me. When I went back to the simple cleanse-tone-moisturize routine, my skin became visibly healthier. I hardly had any new zits.
Yes, I will still continue in investing myself. After all, I only have one body and I need to maintain my health because I have so many dreams to concretize. By the way, this is the year I’ve been waiting for all of my life. I’ll take the bar this year. Nevertheless, I will keep it simpler this year. Cleanse-Tone-Moisturize. Add some makeup. Do not forget some sun protection to prevent wrinkles. That’s it. Also, do not forget…
MEDIA CALL US UGLY TO SELL US SOME SHIT
There are so many ways of media that tells us we are not pretty and that we are not good enough. They tell petite people to wear higher heels. They make fun of every acne and scars we have. They convince everyone that they are fat by keeping their models unhealthily thin. They also tell us that we do not have enough clothes, shoes and makeup. But the truth and in fact, every one of us is made uniquely beautiful in our own ways. We do not need any validation from others. Feel free to express yourself. Do not wear shoes and clothes that do not feel comfortable to you.
You do not need to be in the trend. You just have to be you.
LISTEN TO OTHERS…AND DO NOT FORGET TO LISTEN TO YOUR OWN WORDS, TOO.
True, the ‘selfie’ generation had become a part of us. I love how it made some people in a way empowered to face the camera and share a part of them in the world. Honestly, this wasn’t easy for me in puberty years and pretty much the whole high school. I have looked at myself as a very, very, very ugly person. I hardly look at the mirror and when a person brings a camera with them, I immediately volunteer myself to take the picture. That is how disgusted I am with myself.
However, this ‘selfie’ generation also made some people too self-centered. I hate people who always begin speaking with “I” and end their paragraphs with “me”. Sometimes, I hate reunions or meet ups with some people I know who are so self-centered. They often complained about how stressing their work are, how their bosses bully them, how their co-workers gang up on them, how their family suck and basically how they play as the victim to every aspect of their lives. It’s almost they are implying that the people who are listening to them have no problems of their own. On the other hand, if we are not talking about how life ‘victimizes’ them, they are starting to badmouth some people we know and often gossip on their matters which details they do not know firsthand themselves.
I admit that sometimes I am guilty of saying those things, too. And when I started hearing myself saying nothing but complaints about my life or badmouthing some persons, I know that something is so wrong with me. It’s either I am tired of my life or I am very insecure or jealous of some people I know. That’s why I learned to listen to myself in order to assess the person I am becoming into. Always reassess your words to reassess the person that you are evolving into.
No matter how hurt you are, do not turn into a person you hate.
Always remember the wise words of my favorite Chinese philosopher, Lao Tze:
Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habit.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
WHEN YOU ARE LOST, REMEMBER YOUR CHILDHOOD DREAMS
It’s generally easier being a child. We have adults to take care of our money and ourselves. We have our innocence to easily identify the right from wrong. We are beginning our lives that is why it is easy to build a dream.
However, when adulthood creeps in, we realize that the world is not that huge playground that we first thought it was. We get frustrated. We are told we are not good enough. We are told that we are not talented enough or smart enough. Then, we just see ourselves just battling every day to exist and not anymore to live.
I am not saying that you cannot change your dreams. You can. But the beauty of childhood dreams is that they give a mission and vision right away in our heads because back then our innocence is there and our intention for the world is always pure and good. For example, a lot of children want to be a doctor in order to help people. Maybe you have thought that you are not suited to become a doctor but the reason why you feel so empty now is because you are spending everything you own to yourself and not in helping people which you initially perceived as you mission here on earth. Or as a child, you could dream that you want to become rich in order to buy a house for your parents because you were living on the streets before. But now that you achieve your dream to be materially rich, where are your parents? Did you fulfill your promise or are you wasting your life in vices and practically isolating yourself from everyone you know?
When I want to give up on law, I remember my first year high school math teacher who defended me from the person who bullied me. I always thought that for thirteen years, I’ve been battling my bullies alone. It feels so good to be defended by someone that is why when I grow up I will do everything in my power to protect the suppressed through the power of their rights vested in them. Unfortunately, my math teacher died in 2012 at a tender age of thirty-five because of esophageal cancer. But I will offer to him my license to practice law as soon as I get it next year.
Well, there you have it. Have a great 2014 and life ahead. Feel free to share some life guidelines to me as well!