Sunday, August 29, 2010

Philippines: Eyewitness Report

Beautiful Beaches. Creepy post-colonial feeling to the whole thing. I could live without ever hearing another “Yes sir. Thank you sir. Please, could I do anything else for you, sir? I will be there for you sir, just tell me what you want, sir.” It made me feel like the narrator of Gunga Din.

That said, the beaches are fantastic. Snorkeling is a whole lot of fun. And the one museum I went to was very interesting. Very nationalizing…”We are Philipinos” not just “We are from ___ island or ___ island.” And I wish their nationalist front in the 1800s was NOT called the KKK. And I wish when I was in school I was told about the US’s presence there in any way shape or form. Sure, our AP US teacher gave us a few little quotes, but that was mainly because his wife was Philipino. The US did a whole lot of funky – some would say terrible and be pretty accurate – things down there. It’s too bad they’re not owned up to.

That said, what is up with the whole “Filipino girl and White guy” sort of thing? It’s definitely a trend, and I’m not nearly enough of an anthropologist or sociologist to know anything about it. So I’ll do some googling to find something out, but I find the whole thing a bit weird. Maybe because there’s a navy base or something on the island(s)? And geeze, I sure got to learn a lot about the whitefolk in Korea. I have to say that my law school friend who did That Sort of Thing said it best, “It is just like summer camp, where you only have a few hours of work in a day. Except in this summer camp, you can drink. You can go out until 6am. You can really do whatever you want without anybody stopping you. Including forcing the locals to interact with you on your terms! And the whole fact that all of the whitefolk are either English teachers or military folk, that is, two different stereotypes, is also fairly entertaining. Someone can easily write a sitcom about that.

So that is my month-late Philippines recap. Sorry for the delay, but I have about 10 different things up in the air now, and I had a friend visit, and I love making excuses. Leave it to the Sarajevo airport, with their utter lack of activity at the Customs/Passport Control desk, to give me a reason to finally write this down. My Bosnia report will be far more involved, far more interesting, and far more recent.

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