Friday, January 23, 2004

The Real Man (Stalks in the Streets of New York)

Nick Carbo (1964- ) is a Filipino-American poet who was born in the Philippines and was adopted by Spanish and Greek parents. He migrated to America and wrote poems which were mostly influenced by his experiences and struggles in assimilating to the American culture. The poem speaks of such difficulty in the pretense of being able to adjust to the culture and reveals as an underlying statement, the hypocrisy of why pretense in the face of a certain level of discrimination exists. It poses a question to us Filipinos’ tendency of looking down upon ourselves.

In recent times, the Philippines is growing more and more westernized, patronizing imported goods over local ones (i.e. Hapee vs. Colgate). We can indeed expect no progress if the nation continues to go on like this. This poem serves as rhetoric for us to reflect on what should be done to avoid our “inferior” and “incapable” frame of mind, and instead recognize our “potential” as “innovative” individuals.

Wanda Madarang

Nick Carbo

The real man stalks in the streets of New York
Looking to harvest what makes him happy.
The AA meetings have thrown
him into iconoclastic jousts with Titans
and Gorgons with glowing snake eyes
and leather pants. This is life
without the Filipino bottle,
without the star fruit boogie,
without the "bomba" films. He wears black
Dr. Martens boots because slippers
would expose his "provinciano" feet
to the snow. He wants to ride
the back of a caribou and bolt
up Madison Avenue screaming
like Tandang Sora or shout
"hala-bira! hala-bira! hala-bira!"
like his Isneg cousins in Aklan.
"Ay, susmaryosep!" Such bad behavior
from the "true male" of Filipino
advertising. He looks at his reflectionon
a book store window, notices
that his hair has grown shoulder-length
like Tonto in the Lone Ranger
he would watch on TV. He turns to the right,
his profile now looks like the young Bruce Lee
as Kato in the Green Hornet. Yes,
he realizes it will always be the face
of a supporting character. Rejected
from the Absolut Vodka magazine ads,
he decides to change his name
for an upcoming afternoon audition
for a Preparation H commercial - "Al Moranas",
American but with a Filipino flare.



Anonymous said...

Sad to say, we are often ashamed of our nationality. Why? Because we are known to be corrupt and uncivilized. Because most of us live on less than 3 dollars a day. Because we send people abroad to become blue-collar workers. It's such a shame (and a pity) that we would much rather prefer to be second-class imitations of something that we're not. We all must recognize that WE are worth something and that WE as a people do not have to try to replicate anyone or anything to prove our worth. After all, why yield now when we have already gained independence from 3 colonizers?
--- maura rosario a. gregorio, r16

Sofia Ma. Isabel O. Mathay said...

Filipinos nowadays are like flies, they stick to people whom they think are more important and they suck the identity of people not of their own culture. Its sad how this menatlity is widespread because of how we look upon our nationality. We should be more confident and give ourselves some respect. We aren't that low to look up upon those countries who took us for granted before.

Anonymous said...

There was once a term "Born brown, raised white," In short, this would be called "Oreo" as coined by Dr. Pesigan once. I identify myself as one of those Filipinos who act like Westerners. Ironically, I am the one portraying the sad truth from the poem. I may think and talk like a white kid but at the end of the day, I'm still a Filipino.

-Joseph Padilla