kathangpinay, Author at Pinay.com
The last time Leny wrote for me and my online publications was in 1999 when she wrote about pagbabalikloob. This week she writes about Bai Bibyaon, indigenous Filipinos, their plight and how they are our kapwa. At our essence, we “modernized” and global Filipinos are still connected to them, despite the differences (more…)
I went for a walk in the rain. I felt happy as childhood memories flooded in. How we always played outside and drenched ourselves in the warm rain. How we watched the flood waters rise until the road is covered and we would see the fish from the overflowing creek squiggling across the road. We caught these little creatures and put them in gallon jars - our makeshift aquarium. We didn't know that the fish do not eat rice so, of course, they died a few days after.
It was the end of a conference and I was in the process of checking out of the hotel. I was trying to decide whether I should spend another day to check out the town and do some sightseeing by taking the bus or a tourist bus. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Walked back to the hotel and was looking around. A young woman asked what I am doing next and I said I don't know. She said I should do some writing for the next generation.
Woke up wondering what it means...
As I made pancake breakfast and after eating, I felt my heart rate go faster. I took a dilthiazem and half a fleicanide. Then went to pilates.
It feels like a panic attack but I could tell my mind not to be afraid.
I just need to rest. The last three days have been full of people.
I lit a candle in my altar this morning in preparation to writing this letter to you both as co-facilitators, mentors, sisters - of my heart and soul. I went to bed last night reading your book, Rachel, and your powerful meditations about claiming our divinity as daughters emboldened me to write so thank you!
I've been observing the flow of emails in our cohort and I, too, have been careful (too careful) in responding. But this morning, I woke up with some thoughts that have crystallized over these past weeks and I want to share them.
I woke up with these questions: What would make me want to go back to another retreat? Do I want to go back to a gathering where the women of color express their trauma and pain under white supremacy, colonialism, and patriarchy and where that pain and trauma is then projected towards individual white women in the room? Do I want to go back to another retreat where I feel that the dialogue never gets deep enough to really address the elephant in the room?
Then the follow up question was: What would you like to see happen instead? And the answer was: I would like to see and hear white women talk about the impact of white supremacy and white privilege in their lives. I want to hear their stories of how they have healed from the violence of the civilizing/whitening process through their own deep ancestral work. I want to hear stories of how they resisted the temptation of cultural appropriation because it is what was easily available for the taking. I want to hear stories of how they are doing "reparation" work that leads to healing and reconciliation.
Family was renting a country home somewhere. Lots of people milling around, children playing. We were all getting ready to go to SSU graduation so we were preparing sandwiches -- which were quite messy to prepare - like using green salad to put in between two pieces of toast. it wasn't quite working and we were running late.
When we finally got to SSU we were an hour late and Miriam said we could still use our tickets but then we all just decided to skip it and said we'd just check out the campus.
The campus is in the heart of Manila - the Philippine Normal University -- and it was crowded and very quickly I got separated from my family. Wondering around Cal finally found me. He was riding a chariot but now i don't remember whether it was a horse or a big dog that was pulling him. I still had to walk along with him on the way back...and then i saw that there was an alternate way go down a path. Instead of the stairs, there were rollers so I took these rollers down and down...and soon I was in a basement and couldn't find my family. I wandered around and saw an alley thinking it was a short cut to get back to campus but it turned out to be an ancient obstacle course that has been abandoned. I had to go through each obstacle course and in one part of it, i got sucked by air that sent me flying and then abruptly ended on a cliff and then i had to thread my way around the chasm holding on to dry and brittle trunks of trees. When I finally got back on the main street I was still lost and i couldn't recognize anything. I didn't have my bag and cell phone and even if i could borrow a cell phone i didn't remember the cell phone numbers of Cal and Dustin. It was getting dark and I was getting worried.
I woke up tired and I kept telling myself it was just a dream and it's okay.
101 - highway that runs north to south
101 - name of boutique with rude white saleswoman
101 - title of basic courses such as Math 101
101 - can also mean one-on-one as in mentoring
woke up feeling refreshed after a day of tiredness.
but felt that i needed the extra hours of sleep and slow movement
the rain is soaking the ground
mamerto calls and says that he will do a death ritual for Harold Conkln, the Yale anthropologist who studied the Mangyan and the Ifugao. what do you think of that? the ethnographic subject doing ritual for the anthropologist! that is significant!!
on the homefront, the drama that keeps popping up has to do with "this is my home/kingdom and i am being manipulated by this other person in my home" -- this, too, will have to be deconstructed. the notion of village must become the new paradigm.
thinking of mom - why did you say you want us to rebuild the village unless you know or already trust us to do it? that this is the way forward to heal the family traumas...
Alex Tizon's article about Eudocia
theory of place and narrative and the place of IPs within postcolonial theories, queer, race theories
syllogistic tropes of participatory democracyborn out of violent occupatio of lands
how Indianness functions as a transit within empire
to read mnemonically is to connect the violence and genocides of colonization to cultural production and cultural movements
multicultural liberal democracy rationalize historical traumas thru inclusion
IPs must be central to any theorizations of the condition of postcoloniality, empire, and regimes that arise out of indigenous lands
transit - fluidity, noise, instability; to exist relationally, multiply
liberal multiculturalism invested in acknowledgements, recognition, equality, equivalences
US colonialism and imperialism coerces struggles for social justice for queers, racial minorities, immigrants into complicity with settler colonialism
"derealization of the other"
metropolitcan multiculturalism and dominant postcolonialism prose the US as a postracial asylum for the world, the diminishing return of that asylum meets at the point where diasporas collides with settler colonialism
US cultural and political preoccupations with indigeneity and reproduction of Indianness serve to facilitate, justify and maintain Anglo-Amerian hegemonic mastery over signifcation of justice, democracy, law and terror
how would debate change if the responsiblities of the real lived condition of colonialism were prioritized as a condition of possibility
sovereignty without rights to self government, territorial integrity, cultural autonomy
Indian as the ghost in the machine of empire
erasure of the sovereign - racialization of the Indian
colonization = racialization; where Indians become ethnic minorities
loss of intimacies on four continents - genocide, slavery, indenture, liberalism (lisa lowe)
conflation of territoriality with conquest by assigning colonization to the racialized body
multicultural liberalism aligns itself with settler colonialism
postcolonial studies have ignored indigenous struggles in the US
indigeneity can be too dangerous and xenophobic when combined with nationalism or anticolonial struggles in a world shaped by forced diaspora, migration, hybridity and movement
cultural studies...towards a joyous cacophony of multiplicities and away from the lived colonial conditions of indigeneity within postcolonial-settler society
how did the impulse to constellate the America into European colonial alignment come to depend upon the lamentable but ungrievable Indian? how do arrivals and other peoples forced to move thru empire use indigeneity as a transit to redress, grieve, and fill the fractures and ruptures created thru diaspora and exclusion?
what happens to indigenous peoples and the stakes of sovereignty, land, decolonization when conquest is reframed thru the global historicities of race?
how to discern how the noise of competing claims, recognitions, remediations function to naturalize possession at the site of postracial inclusion, transformative multiculturalism, and cruel optimism.
My mother, Esperanza Luna, is the daughter of Gerardo Luna and Teodorica Santos Ocampo. Gerardo Luna is the son of Joaquin Luna, the brother of Antonio and Juan ,and 4 other siblings (Manuel, Remedios, Numeriana, Jose). Joaquin is named after his father: Joaquin Posadas Luna de San Pedro and his mother is Laureana Ancheta Luna.
The information is scanty but there are fragments to go on with.
My older siblings who lived with our Ingkong and Impo in Mandaluyong said that Ingkong had mentioned that we are related to Antonio and Juan but that is where the stories end. Another cousin said that he remembers my mother's brother, Ben, often talked about his grandfather Joaquin as a frequent traveler between Baguio, Ilocos (La Union), and Manila. Well, it figures now since documents say that he was a government agent for the tobacco industry. Namacpacan, a town in La Union was renamed Luna in honor of Joaquin Luna.
The cousin who found the records on Joaquin Luna said that she saw the names of his children which includes Gerardo's name. But I asked her again to send me the link and she said she couldn't find it. Only that it was in a .gov.ph site.
Trolling around google, I found bits and pieces on the less-famous Luna brother, Joaquin. Before he became a Philippine Senator in 1916 for the 12th district in the first ever Philippine Legislature, he worked for the government in the tobacco industry. As a Senator, he introduced a bill that created the first state-owned school of music that would later become the UP Conservatory of Music.
Oh, did I say that my Ingkong was a violin teacher? Okay, so there is that musical connection.
Another fragment said that in 1903, he was also sent as an agent of the Philippines to the St Louis World Fair.
In 1917, he was appointed governor of Mt Province.
I haven't yet found anything about Joaquin's marriage to FIlomena Baltazar.
At least there is a trail now. Stories await.
Transitions: this one is for me.
Having recently filed for the faculty early retirement program, I am sensing the slow dissolution of attachment to a long stint in an academic institution. Although I feel that a part of me will always be doing academic work (based on my own definition of the term and on my own terms of engagement), still the feeling of transition is there. I suppose some of this is grief over the end of a stage of life. And on the other side of grief is the sense of gratitude for having had this grand adventure for three decades of my life on Turtle Island.
I remarked to someone the other day that all of this happened because I just wanted to feel good about myself. I wanted to be happy and I wasn't going to stop looking until I found a story that made me feel whole and worthy as a Filipina in the diaspora. This is how my work on decolonization began: as a journey of self-inquiry and discovery. It is a journey of descent into the underworld as the Jungians would say. It is a journey of going into the shadow world in order to retrieve its hidden jewels. I am grateful for the community of co-sojourners who have accompanied me, including my ancestors, who guided me thru dreams and visions.
I have shared those jewels through research and publications which, in turn, led to listserves and blogs discussing decolonization and indigenization, to conference organizing via the Center for Babaylan Studies. There is a growing decolonization and indigenization movement in the diaspora. Now I look around me and see so many seeds sprouting. Communities are dreaming again and we are making our way thru this difficult time of Transition as a civilization, as a planet.
Self-inquiry and exploration has been a great gift for this part of the journey. But this time I am becoming aware of a lesson that comes from the teachings of Vedanta: You are not your Mind; You are not your Body. You are not your Personality. All of the conditioning from our personal history that make up our egoic identity is not really who we are. To know your True Self, you must be willing to let these go.
As I try to learn this new way of Being I am constantly translating between different ways of knowing and I find resonances between various spiritual traditions that I've touched upon along my journey. How beautiful it is to see these connections and to actually experience in one's consciousness how they all make sense.
But "making sense" takes time. And the time has come for me to retreat again into the cave of silence and solitude. I am finding it difficult to retreat from the external world of Doing but it is what my spirit is asking me to do. I am struggling to say 'No' but I know if I don't I will not be honoring the persistent call to Silence at this time. The ego is gratified by the external demands from others who seek me out for guidance, leadership, and advice. But until that moment that the ego no longer interferes and is released from external expectations, I will not be free. Free to be a mentor and elder.
But the more I sat with that thought the more unconvinced I became that this is indeed the path for me now.
In this modern culture of hype, spectacle, social media, and super-everything, I've realized that I am not called to ride this wave.
I am called to Live Small.
For the past week, I have been nursing a painful stiff neck. Yesterday, I tried to cheer myself up by working in the garden sweeping autumn leaves and then I sat under the apricot tree to delight in the sweetness of my surroundings. But I was also thinking that my neck is my throat chakra and maybe there is something to that.
I texted Mamerto and asked for long distance healing. I was surprised when he said "maybe retiring in using your voice to impart knowledge may have created imbalance". He also wrote about the need to access a higher level of energy...maybe through sound healing. Ahh...so true! I've been chanting the gayatri mantra every morning for about 10min and sometimes I can still sing in the shower. I am listening to Uyayi and trying to learn to sing our beautiful lullabies.
At the altar, as soon as I lit the candle and sat and looked at the pictures of my Ma and Tang I started to cry; heaving on my chest with dry tears, I let myself go. Surrendering to the mixed feelings of sadness and joy, longing and belonging. It all felt good.
And then as the emotions settled, Quiet set in and I began to Listen.
Listen to the one you call God
Listen to the one you call Great Spirit
Listen to the one you call Oneness
Listen to the one you call Emptiness
One by one, they spoke.
I am the Sky.
I am the Moon.
I am the Sun.
I am the Ocean.
I am the Mountain.
I am the Wind.
I am the Lake.
I am the Rain.
We are your ancestors. We cradle You.
You is your body.
You is your mind.
You is your emotion.
You is your spirit.
I AM YOU. WE ARE YOU.
You are beyond Time.
Then I opened my eyes.
I am Whole. I am Here. And Not Here.
In high school, I was told that my Dad was not a pharmacist; not a college graduate. In fact, he only had a fourth grade education. But how could he have known so many things? In my young mind, I couldn't yet apprehend his passion and will to learn; he read voraciously! I couldn't yet apprehend his passion to serve God and serve community, his adherence to John Wesley's teachings, his obedience and faith in the Methodist God.
As a teenager, I preferred hearing the story of how he almost became a movie star alongside Rogelio de la Rosa. He was after all a very good looking man. Street children used to call him Rock Hudson! I thought that if he had chosen to become a movie star, we'll be rich and I'll be happier. I would have preferred telling my friends that my Dad is a pharmacist or that my Dad is a movie star rather than saying "My Dad sells Bibles."
Notice the shift from Tatang to Dad? That's how I was in my teens. I wanted to be hip like the other kids who spoke English and called their father "Dad" instead of "Tatang".
In hindsight, I realize that my Tatang is a Healer. No wonder we had a constant stream of visitors at home. People were always wanting to talk to him about their problems: from how to raise pigs and chickens or how to solve church politics or how to mediate between parties in disagreement. He prayed for them or quoted Bible passages, or offered a mini-sermon. Later on he also became a lover of birds and orchids, fruit trees and whatever plants he could grow in his small piece of land.
Tang already knew about sustainability even before it became a buzzword. He was into recycling and composting before everyone else was. He hated wasting water or wasting anything for that matter. Ever the disciplinarian and prudent one, I learned my habits of thrift and neatness from him.
His busy-ness in helping other people became a source of tension later on between him and my Mom. As each of the kids flew the coop, he became busier in tending to the people that came to our house for his counsel while my Mom felt lonelier without us kids. She longed for his attention and affection.
As I think of my Tang today, I see a Wounded Healer. His father died when he was only seven years old. Thanks to my courageous and strong Apu Sinang, her sons learned how to fend for themselves at an early age. The boys learned how to shine shoes and sell cigarettes on the street.
I am grateful now that he became a serious Methodist later on and lived a life of faith and service to the God he came to know through the lens of his American-patterned education. I am grateful that he chose this life rather than the movie star life. It is the straight and narrow life that served his family well. It is what he knew best.
Even though I came to eventually decolonize this history and how it came to shape my own life, I am coming full circle yet again. This time with Grief and Praise, I honor my Dad's life and legacy.
In his woundedness, I saw mine. And I can see how important it is now to share these stories about him from the place of Praise and Love because Grief has brought us healing.
May all that we Remember and Re-member bless us.