I was sitting in a Barnes and Nobel using the free WiFi and having a chocolate cupcake when I read the news (so shallow, right?). Of course, I had to stop and wipe a few tears away. It’s hard to take stock of the power of her life and her death. Cory Aquino helped change a nation, leading a peaceful revolution that brought the Philippines into a new era. Corazon Aquino was a symbol for the Filipinos around the world. She was hope.
I only have condolances for her family. Since my parents watch TFC (The Filipino Channel) every day, I know she’s been suffering from cancer for a long time.
I’ve never known what it would mean to live under Marcos. I was born in the Philippines in the late 70′s, but I honestly don’t remember much about living there. My parents were both US Citizens; my dad was in the US Navy. But I do remember the color yellow and the People Power Revolution as a vauge image in my mind. Even a child could not help feel moved by the sight.
I’m not saying that the Philippine government is perfect now. In fact, when I visited a few years ago for my grandmother’s funeral, there were instances where police officers would pull us over just to graft some money off of us because we were returning home to visit and obviosuly had some money. (Keep in mind that at the time, I think that $1 was about 200 pesos and $6 was quite a bribe for a traffic cop.)
The Philippines IS a democracy and as a developing nation. My parents speak several languages, as do many Filipinos who live around the world. Millions of us around the world, blending into the local culture because that’s how Filipinos are.
But I think it must be hard to grow and change the country at any quick pace. So many Filipinos have to work overseas. It’s an intellectual drain on the resources of the Philippines when so many educated and/or ambitious people leave a country because working outside is more profitiable. And while many people of my parents generation are thinking of going home to retire there, many younger Filipinos seek work in the US, Middle East, and other countries to send much needed funds home to their families.
I’m grateful to my parents sacrifice and hardwork. We live a comfortable life because of them. I can sit here after work, drinking coffee, eating a chocolate muffin and being shallow.
And it’s because of the influence of Cory Aquino my cousins in the Philippines have the power to express their minds, freedom of religion, and the ability to use the internet to keep up with what’s going on in the world without bounderies (in comparision to countries like China).
It’s so strange. Our world is so sci-fi compared to what she saw growing up. We call my relatives there via Skype and Yahoo Messenger. I asked my mother what she thought of the world when she was a child. She said she only knew that there was the US and the Philippines when she was little. Even the Chinese citizens who lived in the Philippines just seemed like part of the culture. Now I can send an email from my phone to a relative on the other side of the world.
Perhaps more of us first and second generation overseas pinoy will return to the Philippines to start businesses and help grow that economy much like Chinese, Hong Kong, and Indian offspring ar returning now. I’m not sure about myself, but I hope that is happening more and more. After all, we do have the skills and the ability to change the world, right?