Authenticity

Curiously silent in President Duterte’s post China visit are those who have been for so long ranted against US imperialism. Not even a Hooray! from their camp. Those that did speak up instead said “separation” from the US is the start of this country’s downfall; that the President clam up.

Then this US Elections. It has roused Filipinos so much more than say the President’s visits to our neighbors which sealed economic tie ups that will benefit this country. Apparently despite what comes out of our mouths about US imperialism, we’re still so enamored with America.

I was recently with a researcher from UK and we talked about our observations of Filipinos in the Metro’s streets, notably even those with university education, who went for extreme dye jobs – blonde (even platinum blonde) – and also the general obsession to have white skin. I joked that I will grow out my gray hair since it’s the trend and at least it’ll be natural. With white people, she said, tan is the color everybody wanted to have and that she had even been bullied in school for her pale coloring. I mentioned glutathione. What’s that? she asked. Apparently, here, this isn’t a prescription drug but a supplement. It’s everywhere. In everything, almost- soaps, lotions, drinks.  It’s even available as injectibles in any ordinary spa or salon! And thanks to celebrity endorsements, even lola from the most isolated barrio knows it (but doesn’t know about social services for the elderly)!

What does the Filipino obsession for white say about us? To me, it’s abandonment of who and what native Filipinos are fundamentally the instance altering products and services are available and accessible. The researcher offered that maybe brown is seen as poor, from farming families, people who do hard labor. And, I added, mestiza (mixed blood) and white the wealthy, the upper class, anything except poor. But white skin, blonde hair, blue or gray eyes as I mentioned to the researcher, are not what characterize native or pure Filipinos simply because of genes. Native or pure Filipinos simply are not white people!

So what if Trump or Clinton wins? What’s that to us as a nation? Nothing, fundamentally. They are who and what they are there. We are who we are and what we want for ourselves here. Regardless of who wins over there, we here are hounded by the same problems that our continuing inability to unite as a nation impedes us from ever solving.

The way I see it, one reason Trump won is because of the majority’s desire ie. the conservative South for more authenticity. I think that Americans have become increasingly aware that while national resources have helped other nations and governments to become more stable it has also sucked resources hence investments away from home. Well Trump is a businessman meaning his goals are less inclined toward babysitting errant countries (pay for your own solutions guys at least a big part of it!) and more toward consolidating home into a more profitable place where dreams can come true again, in short to make America into that country which has caught the imagination of many nations. That I think captured the imagination of the American masses during his campaign.

So yes a return to authenticity. This actually is what nations – the masses – these days want, what has ignited the Arab Spring that is still happening in the region. And yes in the Philippines as well in the election of President Duterte although here there is this curious case of educated native Filipinos desiring to ditch their own skin, heritage.

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