In my previous post I described a little bit of what the town and/or New Zealand is in general but now, I would like to share to you some very important and “maybe/not” biased insights of why I am proud to be a Filipino.
As I have mentioned on that post, almost all their food here that I have tasted so far are conventional or easily-cooked food. I might not be the best cook. My mom is an average cook but her brothers are the greatest cooks in their family. During my younger days my mom taught me how to crush and peel garlic as well as how to chop onions. It became handy when I started cooking for my family now. So far I have already cooked chicken curry out of demand for 6 consecutive weeks (once a week) and they still don’t get sick of it. They also loved chicken adobo, chicken afritada, giniling (minced beef, tomato sauce, diced potatoes and carrots), and a whole lot of fried rice in different varieties, beef, chicken, ham, eggs, vegetables, etc.
I am so amazed as to how much more I can cook that would be new for them because there is just so many Filipino dishes that we have in our country. Whenever I picture myself going to a “karinderiya” opening covers of cooked viands on pots one by one, I realize that our Filipino food is so rich that there’s nothing else like it. I always feel proud whenever my children now would request me to cook Filipino food for tea (they call dinner “tea”).
I feel so secured and comfortable whenever I can talk to my “bossing” in Filipino because I know that they won’t understand what we are talking about. That fact made me understand why most of the Filipino families that have migrated abroad would still continue to talk in Filipino instead of adapting to the other countries’ language or accent. Being able to talk using another language is a gift and I would never want my “bossing” to lose it.
In New Zealand, a lot of effort by the government and community is being done to promote their Maori language because they are slowly losing it. Less and less people know how to speak it and parents sometimes do not emphasize to their children the need to learn it. I am so amazed that even if the Philippines is composed of different people speaking hundreds of dialects and languages, we are still able to become united through our national language which is Filipino. I am amazed how our little children are able to learn our language easily because everyone speaks it. I am amazed how we are still able to learn English even if our native language is Filipino. I am amazed by all the efforts of our teachers in teaching us different languages so we would be more literate and will be able to understand better wherever we go.
History & Culture
In New Zealand, the Maori people has a rich culture. In the Philippines, we have a lot of different people coming from different places who have different rich cultures. Ilocanos, Kapampangan, Tagalog, Waray, Cebuano, Ilonggo, etc (I’m sorry I can’t keep going. There’s just too many) and a whole lot of different ethnic tribes like Tiboli, Ifugao, Aeta, etc. Our history is so rich that it has to be added to our educational curriculum. It makes me proud to be able to say that just by listening to our History subjects since primary school years I can say that I have learned enough to be able to answer simple questions when asked by locals here in New Zealand.
You might say that this statement would be biased but so far with all the interactions I have had with locals I can say that they don’t value the importance of knowing their country’s history and culture that much. I would like to specifically exempt the Maori’s in this statement because I have heard that they try hard to keep their culture alive and passed on to their children. The only struggle they might have now is that the younger generations seem less interested in learning it or they might not have a lot of chance to learn it. For the record, I have a lot of friends and have met a lot of Maori people who can not speak Maori because they already grew up in an English-only-speaking Maori family.
Music, Dance, Television and Film
In our local television channels in the Philippines we would find hundreds of singers, artists, etc who find satisfying careers in entertainment. If you think of Sarah Geronimo (this special mention is for you Ms. Yvette haha), Regine Velasquez, Jovit Baldivino, Maynard Buzar, etc., you can imagine how much we have to offer in terms of music and television programs. The same goes for our local films (although I never really supported them a lot, I still value its importance). We have numberless Tagalog songs or songs from our different dialects. Whenever we turn the television or radio on, almost everything is proudly Filipino made. Even international programs or films are Tagalized! Haha..
Here in New Zealand they have a couple of local television channels which airs gazillions of American or anywhere else programs, millions of British and Australian programs, and just a couple of Kiwi made programs, which are mostly news, documentary and a little of, my kiwi children described it as, cheap drama series. Most of the SKY or other cable channels are international.
I heard that there are “some” Kiwi music artists too but their songs don’t get aired that much on television or the radio for it to become equally popular as the international songs. American music here is more popular and surprisingly, they air a lot of old or classic songs on the radio. I feel for their national artists because they don’t have a lot of opportunity to share their talents compared to what we have in the Philippines. I can say that maybe it is because of their too much emphasis on sports rather than developing “other” talents.
In New Zealand the most popular among few traditional dances is the “Haka” from the Maori origin which we always watch on any New Zealand All Blacks team match. There are a few more Maori dances like “kapakapa,” “poi” dance, and “titi torea”. The rest of the dances they have are from western origins. In this regard I take pride of the hundreds of Philippine folk dances that have been passed on from generations to generations and are continued to be taught from schools, churches, families or other institutions.
Respect to the Elderly and Women
Most Kiwi’s value egalitarianism, which means, they treat people equally despite racial, social, or any kind of diversity. Don’t get me wrong. This is indeed a strength of their country. What I don’t understand is if an old or any person with a disability uses crutches to be able to walk, even if he does it very slowly or might be having trouble walking with it, nobody needs to help him or her. A line from my son’s primary school “information to parents” article says “Do nothing for the children that they can do for themselves.” This is a actually a good thing but you can imagine that this is the kind of thought that they instill to the children. The custom that we have in the Philippines called “pag-alalay” which literally translates as “to support” or “to help” in English but has a deeper meaning and value than just that, is not really a big thing for them even if they get old.
In the Philippines we are accustomed to helping or supporting old or disabled people with whatever they need to do even if they are strangers. In New Zealand these disabled or old people might sometimes get offended if you try to help them and despite your sincere effort in trying to be a “good” person somehow they might look at it a different way. Trust me. We have a lot of experiences with this.
In the Philippines women get offended most of the time when men don’t offer their seats at the MRT or LRT. I miss those days when I would make myself pretty (this is true story hahahah) so I can guarantee myself a seat being offered by a gentleman at the MRT or LRT. In New Zealand you don’t have the right to get offended because everyone is treated equally. Women may stand on the bus for a couple of minutes to an hour travel while some men in formal business attire may relax on their seats listening to some music through their earphones. I’ve seen some instances where they let the pregnant women sit and those scenes bring joy to me.
They have excellent schools and universities here in New Zealand. It might just be the people I met but a couple if not most of my Kiwi friends graduated from high school but did not pursue a university degree. I heard that this is because they seem to treat life here as easy, they usually don’t need to earn a degree to get a good job that would sustain them and their family. They value sports and education as equal. Government support is available to children so usually when they have children, they don’t need to earn that much to be able to sustain them. One of my children who is finishing high school as one of the top of the classes believes that he doesn’t have to go to university to be able to get a good paying job. The other one of them wants to become a professional rugby player when he grows up, the youngest one, a rockstar.
These are just “a few” (I’m sorry if this has been a very long post haha) of the things that I can say about this topic but I’m so sure there’s a whole lot more. People might think that this post is way too biased but wait til you read my next post. —-> Why I Choose To Stay In New Zealand