Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Foreigner

Amado V. Hernandez is a poet, playwright, and novelist who "acted as the conscience of society in the face of inequity and oppression". His novel ‘Mga Ibong Mandaragit’, exposed the many ills of society in the 1950s. This poem reveals the common penchant of Filipinos to always glorify the Americans.
Last year, the Philippine government decided to withdraw its support for the U.S. and pull out its troops in Iraq in order to save the Filipino hostage Anghelito Dela Cruz. Such action greatly risked the country’s ties with the U.S. Many believe that this decision is actually a reflection of how the Filipinos are still capable of favoring themselves above the Americans. This gives us the hope that we, after all, have not completely turned out to be the kind of Filipinos that this poem describes.

Melissa Santiago
Foreigner
Amado V. Hernandez
(translated from the Tagalog by Cirilo F. Bautista)
Specialized in English: yes, yes, yes,
Poor in Tagalog and stranger to English;
"Allergic" to things that are his own
for whom nothing is better than "state-side."
Finds fault with things that are native
—Customs and living, food and dress—
where it not for his brown skin you’d think
he was foreign and born somewhere else.
Filipino but not Filipino,
Foreign in thought and in ways foreign:
For him loving his own was bad and wrong,
Good and right is the American.
While the nation is a poor and helpless chick,
To be independent is sheer madness;
When asked: "What must be done?" He said, "Turn
This country into an American base."
Source: An Anthology of Poems 1965/1974
(Bureau of National & Foreign Information, Manila, 1975)

7 comments:

Gelowish said...

The poem poses a sad reality. Yes it is true that Filipinos now a days think that State side is the best. We used to be a country filled with nationalistic people. Where have they gone to? Has the shifting of sands buried them along with our history? Or are they too, blinded by the glitter of the Americans? What would our great grandfathers, the heroes of our times, say? I could hear them crying. It is a sad, sad reality.

Anonymous said...

Although our country is a free nation, I cant help but think that we are still under the power of the americans. We let ourselves think that America is the best and we think that everything "state-side" is better than our own. Further more, it is sad to think that the people who have power here in the Philippines are also under the colonial mentality.

Anonymous said...

Although our country is a free nation, I cant help but think that we are still under the power of the americans. We let ourselves think that America is the best and we think that everything "state-side" is better than our own. Further more, it is sad to think that the people who have power here in the Philippines are also under the colonial mentality.

jEn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jEn said...

We often take forgranted what our forefathers have done for us -- how they fought until their very last breath for us to have this supposedly freedom we have today. It's sad how Filipinos turn their back on their own country, from which they actually owe much...

I think the only reason this country is not progressing the way it should is not only because we have such a corrupt government, but more so because we lack true Filipinos. We lack the nationalism we used to have...the nationalism, which once made us who we are right now.

People complain about so many things, not realizing that helping and cooperating would be much better thing to do.

But then again, it's never too late.

Jen Vidanes
BS MIS
Mel's friend

Dennis, DLSU (friend of Melissa) said...

how can one live and not love his mother?

Anonymous said...

Sad to say but it is true that Filipinos are under the spell of colonial mentality. Until now, we are dominated by our thinking that local products and/or services are less than or not even equal to the products and/or services of other countries. Honestly speaking, we are also a factor of this outcome because we are tolerating this kind of attitude. Maybe it is better that before we comment on the doing of others, we should look at our self, checking whether we also partake in the acceptance of colonial mentality. Maybe we can change how things are going if we are to start change with ourselves now, not later.
--enrikfort villanueva
--friend of james sta. isabel