Thursday, 20 December 2007

More Holiday Imperialism

I wrote this some weeks ago for our company. I was planning to wait 'til they publish it but it's been too long. I can't wait; Christmas is nearing.


People here in this country have come to love this largely American event. It's a license to do all sorts of things that Filipinos are too shy to do. Cos-play; pig out on candy; throw loud parties. Bleep our program, or bleep our company for that matter, is no exception. After all we are an American company, aren't we? Yet this is where I put down my smile. While I find nothing wrong with us celebrating Halloween despite a lack of inherent connection with it (chokes on 'nothing wrong'), I just find it sad that none of our programs have ever celebrated the holidays that are native to us. Has anyone raised a Philippine flag during June 12th? Put up pictures of Dr José Rizál during his death anniversary (does anybody even know the date by heart)? Has anyone ever raised a toast to the heroism of Andr
és Bonifacio? We invest hours for Halloween parties; have we ever aired a short prayer for our dearly departed? It's shameful if you ask me.

We work for an American company; we converse with an American audience; we are probably paid by their money. But we are not Americans (and I must thank the Gods for that, no offence). Halloween parties and Easter egg-hunts may seem fun, but those traditions are alien to us. But what's new, eh? We've been raking in foreign utterly useless customs since the first G.I. Joe set foot here. It's been a tradition. And it's alright (chokes some more). As long as we don't throw away the traditions that really matter, that is.

This December, I am willing to bet my left nut arm that at least one person will be decorating his/her station with a "White Christmas" theme - oblivious to the fact that we have neither snow nor intimate knowledge of the significance of plastic evergreen trees. (I'm half-European and I've never don my Yule tree with fake snow. It's ridiculous in a tropical climate!)

I'm not asking any of you anything. I'm not asking that we start putting up flowers for Flores de Mayo or flags on Independence Day (but lechon for Araw ng Maynila would be excellent). We don't need to if we don't want to. I am simply airing my sentiments. What I believe matters.

Advanced Happy Bonifacio Day, everyone!

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