Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Question

This is the confusion from the Singapore work permit form
Here is the question of all questions
Of all history and diversity

Am I Chinese, Indian, Malay
Am I Caucasian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander
What stories and specimens run through these veins?

Here’s to my Chinese ancestry
Killed in a war by Japanese soldiers
Here’s to my Malay genealogy
Erased from the record by Spanish friars

Here’s to my Spanish city
Obliterated by American bombs
Here’s to my Pilipino language
Corrupted by the conquistador then the Thomasite

Here’s to my Spanish great-grandfather
Exiled in Shanghai for reasons unknown to me
Here’s to my Muslim great-grandmother
Buried in the catacombs of a catholic church

Here’s to my Ilongga great-grandmother
Abandoned by a gambling Spaniard
Here’s to my GI great-grandfather
Who smoked Lucky’s and raised fighting cocks

Here’s to my Moreno grandfather
Handpicked CIA golden boy military man
Here’s to my Spanish grandmother
Pioneer ladies golfer in Asia

Here’s to my Spanish grandfather
Dream-maker self starter businessman
Here’s to my Filipina grandmother
Baseball team captain then mother of eight

Here’s to my Mestizo father
Gone to find root in the land of forefathers
Here’s to my Filipina mother
Internationally acclaimed educator from Manila

Here’s to the Spanish and the Filipino
That fire up my blood and make my skin brown
Here’s to the Spanish and the Filipino
That give my hips rhythm and make me cariñosa

Here is the answer of all answers
Of my past, present and future
As I sit and ponder this Singaporean inquisition

I am all of the above, none of the above
And everything in between
Next question, please.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

My First American Independence Day

Yesterday was the fourth of July, and since it's the first year that I am living in the US it's truly my first Independent Independence day. As I caught the fireworks on the drive home that evening, I found myself quite emotional.

I suppose independence means different things to different people, but this independence day was particularly meaningful for me. Until recently, I lived a rather 'attached' life. I worked for the same company for fourteen years, am very close and connected to my family, and even though I am open to new friends, I keep a close knit group of friends in my core circle. Being in America sometimes makes me feel a bit disconnected from my nearest and dearest, and the things that I had built a stable, secure life around. But I had to leave all that because somehow the comfort zone started feeling static, was time for something different.

As I sat in Navé's car last night, fireworks overhead and tears down my cheeks I had the wonderful feeling that this Indie life is exactly what I need to be doing right now. It is quite unfamiliar and sometimes feels overwhelming, but it is also expansive and empowering to be tracking my destiny and seizing the day this way.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Magical, Musical Eloquence

At the Taos Solar Festival this weekend, I found eloquence at its finest in Michael Franti and Spearhead. The positive energy and vibes of the performance were only matched by the profound hopefulness espoused in their lyrics.

I did not expect such a strong and unflinching message of hope, and this is exactly what I got from the performance. Perhaps performers like these are the relevant religion of the times. And we are all better for it. Open-heart optimism, so generously shared is quite hard to find in these times. And to find it in magical Taos, NM on the first Sunday of the second half of 2007 was a grace beyond my wildest expectation.

Perhpas Michael Franti and Spearhead represent America's soul in the present, and its voices of the future. Perhaps we are at the dawn of a new America. Perhaps my quest for Eloquence will be far more rewarding than I ever imagined.