Cultural Mapping

Posted: November 12, 2009 in All and Sundry

Again, for the nth time, I will try to record my daily observations, academic or otherwise, on this blog as part of this self-imposed dialogue with myself and how I make sense of experiences, events, ideas and other observations of all and sundry. In a way it is also my attempt at keeping a diary of my life here in New York, in the United States of America, a place which I used to call “empire”, land of one of my “colonizers” but now which I fondly call with a hint of irritation my post-colonial parent. After all, I am in no doubt a hybrid identity, seemingly culturally-rooted in the constructed nationalist identity of Filipino, legally identified as such by virtue of the Philippines as nation-state, but equally alienated within the boundaries of the paradigm of the ideal nationalist identity simply because I am Filipino.

Yes, this sounds confusing to any reader, perhaps. But as I am already in the midst of this juncture, being here and not really here, I am forced to converse with myself such issues of identity and cultural mappings.

In a sense my observations will be colored largely by how I was shaped by the variables surrounding me as a Filipino who lived for a long time in the Visayan and Mindanawon parts of the Philippines. I emphasize such places as they hold very different characteristics compared to that of the capital city Manila. In fact, I have realized that if I had stayed longer in Manila before moving to New York, I wouldn’t have experienced such unforgettable culture shock. All urban cities have similar characteristics I bet.

But since I chose to live in a laid-back, slightly urbanized city like Davao, then it is inevitable for me to experience such cultural divide not even reading American books, and being immersed in American popular culture and education for my entire life could have prepared me for the stark differences. Yet, there are similarities lest you complain about me constantly zeroing in on the differences. And I will be talking about those differences and similarities in the succeeding entries.

  1. Ted says:

    I fully understand the ambivalence of postcolonial identity. Despite my very western education and appetite for western culture, when I encounter the run-of-the-mill American, if there is one, there is a rupture of difference. Iba talaga sila. And this difference is on the gut level, i.e., feelings and perception about the world.

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