|Subject: IMSCF Syndrome ("I'm Spanish-Chinese-Filipino" Syndrome) in America
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Date Posted: 01/16/02 8:55pm PST
This one's regarding Filipino identity crisis. You can detect IMSCF Syndrome when a Filipino with no Spanish and/or Chinese blood at all claims to be a mix of Spanish, Chinese and Pinoy. That person usually recites when asked his/her ethnicity: "I'm Spanish-Chinese-Filipino." This has been a common problem among Filipino-Americans. It would be interesting to know if Filipinos in places other than the USA are also afflicted with this. Filipino readers in other countries outside the Philippines, you can tell us your personal experiences on this. Is this syndrome widespread among Filipinos in your adopted country?
A Fil-American friend's view is that because of the negative international image of the Philippines and the lack or invisibility of Filipino role models in America, the Fil-Am youth deny their Filipinoness or fake it. This topic should be attractive. Speak your minds, Filipino-Canadians, Filipino-Australians, Filipino-British and other Pinoys/Pinays. And no, I don't have IMSCF syndrome.
Read Kalani Mondoy's enlightening web page, entitled "Filipino Identity," to understand what I'm talking about: http://home.earthlink.net/~motuahina/visaya/identity.html.
It says partially: You can see the Spanish surnames with the Filipino people. (This) was due to the Claveria decree implemented by Governor General Narciso Claveria in 1849. A Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos or "Book of Surnames" was created. This was done so that maintaining tax records could be easier since Filipinos initially did not have surnames and many of the early converts of Catholicism adopted names of saints and in turn duplication of the same surnames were numerous...Throughout the centuries, the fact that Filipinos looked upon the Spanish as the "elite" since it was they who held most of the positions in office, being "Spanish" would be looked upon as a high status. This has continued down until the present, and many Filipinos today still say that they have Spanish blood when in reality they might really have very little or in most cases, none at all...Many Filipinos are not comfortable calling themselves Filipinos alone and still use "Spanish" as part of their ethnic description...How Filipinos are looked upon by some societies and what happened with the early Filipino immigrants (in America) in the past give today's Filipinos more reason to use other terms when describing themselves...My paternal grandmother was from Cebu, so regional pride was important for her and she passed that unto us. Like many Filipinos today, my grandmother said the same thing to us that have been said for generations - that we are Spanish. I have traced my grandmother's genealogy going through records as far back as 1842, and traced ancestors who were probably born around the 1760s. None of them were Spaniards, and their baptism and death records did indicate that they were "indios" or native Filipinos.
Related to this is Filipinology's revealing article entitled "Pinoys in Hawaii": http://members.fortunecity.com/filipinology/hawaii.htm.
Parts of it state: Most local-born (Hawaii) Filipinos are even notorious for having no Filipino pride at all, and they readily classify themselves as Hispanic, Chinese and Filipino when, in fact, their parents are pure-blooded Pinoy from the Philippines. What's worse is, because they are looked down upon by non-Filipinos, sometimes they wish they weren't Filipino; they try to replace their true identity with Hawaiian and say, "I'm Spanish, Chinese and Hawaiian." But their facial features...are a dead giveaway. Filipino community leaders believe that the discrimination against them by other Asians in Hawaii is due to bad stereotypes perpetuated by famous Honolulu personalities like Lois Ann Yamanaka, Frank De Lima, etc. Somebody from West Covina, California wrote to Filipinas Magazine (January 1999) that in Hawaii, "teasing jokes and verbal cruelty by Japanese children and adults (against Filipinos)" are commonplace. Filipinos are "always degraded, constantly overlooked." Local Filipinos, as a consequence, grow up with low self-esteem...According to Augusto Espiritu, Ph.D., "In Hawaii, unlike the Mainland, Filipinos belong to the bottom of the racial and economic hierarchy next to Samoans and (indigenous) Hawaiians." The only best times to see happy Pinoy faces are during weekend parties and Sunday masses when Filipinos dress like billionaires and flock into those air-conditioned Catholic buildings of worship. On the positive side, many Filipinos have abandoned Hawaii and found the true meaning of paradise in California, Illinois, New York, Washington, Texas, New Jersey, Florida and other U.S. Mainland states.
"Living as an AJA - Ashamed to be Filipino?" by Geraldine Morales de Leon is worth your time, too: http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/neh/oct/gleon2.html.
It says in part: I sometimes also get upset when some people are not as proud of their Filipino heritage as they ought to be. I have a cousin who is half-Caucasian and half-Filipino who usually claims that he is Spanish. He hardly ever mentions that he has Filipino in him. I think it has more to do with how ignorant he is of his Filipino heritage. If he learned more about his cultural roots, I think he may have a different attitude about being Filipino.