pinay confrontations of war and paradise

Posted: November 12, 2009 in All and Sundry, commentary, Musings, Random Observations
Tags: , , ,

“Oh you’re from the Philippines! I heard it’s like paradise. My grandfather served there during the war…. Let’s see… in Suhmer…”

This is just one of those  statements I often get when meeting Americans here and which have never failed to make me feel very uncomfortable. I’ve heard it thrice already spoken by different people, male and female, and of different ethnic backgrounds. One memorable one was a white American male who was too drunk to keep a decent conversation on an Octoberfest night in Brooklyn.

You might wonder how I usually respond to this statement. I wonder too. Often, I’d feel lightheaded and believe me, I would for a few seconds black-out. I know I would give a person a polite smile. But really, I am usually too uncomfortable to even give an intelligent humane response.

How can one respond to that? If you know your Philippine history, you are fully aware that during the Fil-Am war, American soldiers razed villages in Samar and Leyte to the ground, and committed all these atrocities. Of course perhaps not all, maybe the grandfathers of those who spoke to me didn’t, but if you come to think of it, war always brings out these unimaginable acts to the fore. And when these people continue to say:

“and my grandfather said the place was like paradise. lots of beautiful women.”

I already know what they are talking about. Then a surge of images about US interventions throughout my country’s history comes rushing in like surf engulfing me in drunken madness. Only then after the fact, would I realize that truthfully, truthfully, all I really wanted to say after the person asks me one last time:

“i bet it’s no longer  paradise now, huh?”

I really want to respond by saying:

“Yes, it’s no longer a paradise after your grandfather left.”

Comments
  1. johnnypanic says:

    my gosh, remember the guy now he was soooooo drunk! i thought JAA, the birthday boy, was starting to get scared for us because the guy looked like he was about to either fall or puke on us. it was strange talking to him and he even said, “God, your English is awesome.” like he really couldn’t believe we were conversing with him. to which we again only smiled blandly. love this entry mam!

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