29 August 2010

selective hearing? FilAm reactions to the hostage crisis

It's been close to a week now since a former PNP officer took control of a tour bus, holding over twenty hostage and ultimately ending with eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

Throughout this past week the reaction to the crisis, the police, media and government response have been many.  While it happened, I caught the news via a number of internet feeds, with the most current updates popping up on my twitter feed from folks I follow in the Philippines.  This isn’t unheard of – you’ll rarely see any Philippine news on broadcast stations here, and when you do it’s typically an article originating from an AP feed. 

So it wasn’t a complete surprise to me when I started asking around and no one had knowledge about it while it was happening.  What was more surprising to me was that by the end of the week there still wasn’t any discussion popping up from Filipino folks I knew here.  In most cases, the ones that were aware didn’t have much more to say than “That was sad.”

Not that I was expecting some deep discussion surrounding the minute details of events, but we did hear about this right?  Somewhere in between Pacquiao and Venus Raj updates this did pass through…right? 

Look, this world isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m all for promoting the positive things, and anyone who tags themselves as a FilAm should do so.  (I’m keeping my personal feelings about the whole ‘Miss Universe’ thing to myself for now, though.)  At the same time, don’t we have to at least acknowledge the not-so-perfect parts of what we want to be proud of?  It’s only fair. 

As FilAms, can we admit that the Philippines isn’t only about boxers, beauty queens and happy insects selling food?  Immigration in the US isn’t only about Mexico…just ask that TNT auntie of yours about that. 


Ben Efsaneyim said...

Hi, I found your blog through the Minority Militant site.

It's weird that there wasn't much coverage in the U.S (I'm presuming that's where you are). I'm living in Europe and the events were covered live for most of the day by all four English language news channels.

Anyway, it was interesting to notice my reactions (2nd generation) compared to my Filipino immigrant friends here. I noticed the incompetence of the police unit, whilst my friends seemed to feel a sense of understanding of the desperation of the hostage taker - something that many Filipinos seem to share.

Gene said...

I was thinking about this as I was asking around. I don't know if the lack of coverage or overall awareness here was due to the time difference, the segmented Filipino population here in the Midwest (Chicago specifically - a topic for another day), or possibly that I just need different friends.

I'm curious how the coverage was on either of the coasts here in the US. California obviously has a huge Filipino population. (Tagalog classes in schools there seem to be 'normal' but if you brought that up here in Chicago you'd be met with crickets chirping.)

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