Monday, June 27, 2011

REDEFINING THE ROLE OF A FAMILY

I've been very busy for the past days. Yes, my brain is about to explode. I can't nail this case. I demand a Recess. Sounds familiar? It is! That famous line was delivered by Tuesday Vargas, who played a role as a Nanny and possessed with the soul of an Attorney in the movie Here comes the Bride. Seriously, thesis writing is just bringing in some stress in my life right now.

If only I have my family with me here, I won't be stressed this much.




Umaarte lang ako. Yes, I am stressed but not that much. In the first place, when I proposed my research, I knew the consequences that I had to conquer. Good thing, I've already started my research prior to the approval of my proposal. Actually, we're not suppose to start on our research if the MA Thesis Adviser hasn't given the approval. Relying and hoping purely on my instincts, I've jumped in gathering information for my study.

When I had my vacation last April in the Philippines, I got some insightful interviews with Professor Danilo Arao on Blogging and Ethics. Plus, through Dr. Arminda Santiago's assistance, I was able to access UP CMC Library and gathered books on blogging which I've now started to read, mark and incorporate in my study.  This July, I am coming back again to the Philippines to do my research. I need to. I have to. The resources that I need to substantiate my research are found in UP CMC Library.

It's not easy to work and earn a Master's Degree as I live alone in a foreign land. As you all know, I don't have my family with me here. The only channel that connects me to my family is the Internet, which sometimes (actually most of the time) runs like a turtle. But at least, thanks to a group of families and friends that I have in the Abode of Peace, I'm able to find a second family to keep me moving.

As I venture into overseas life, I've meet different individuals and I've encountered instances that have helped me to not only combat the stresses that work or grad school brings. As I reflect further, I've came to wonder on the changing image of a family and each members play in the society's smallest unit.

There is not doubt that the great Filipino diaspora has changed the image and role of the Filipino family. As I remember, during my undegrad years at UP Diliman, my thesis focused on Filipino Family and its changing image as reflected in select Television commercials of Jollibee. In my study, I used a postmodern theory to articulate the problematique on how TV commercials depict the traditional image of a Filipino Family (Father, Mother, Daughter, and Son set-up) in relation to selling products and its impact on values formation. Bottom line, my study delved on the capitalistic ventures that disregard social realities and conceal it with popular, traditional and sugarcoated imagery.

As I see the complexity in Philippine society, even in other societies, that are constrained by political, economic, cultural and even religious constructs, I realize how the image of the family has been changed over and over. It has been mutated to different forms and setup. By merely looking at my situation and the experiences of my family, I know now how globalization has molded a different imagery for everyone.

Today, the image of a family has been altered to its many faces. We have single moms and their kids. We have single dads and their chikitings. We have same-sex couples who adopt a child. We have children who stay with their grandparents as their parents strive to earn money and may support an education. And in terms of pairing, a Filipino marries a foreigner and gives birth to mixed races. Indeed, there has been a lot of changes for the Filipino and in the families around the world. And in the phase of changes, a web of factors trap realities and concoct hybrids.

Recently, the Philippines have been bombarded with the RH Bill. Everyone is discussing on its rationality and impacts to Philippine Society. I tell you, I am PRO RH Bill. I am super duper PRO RH BILL! Apart from rooting RH bill to combat poverty,  I am PRO RH Bill because I want to support the fight against sexually transmitted diseases and take action in ensuring health for women.

I grew up in a devoted catholic family. My mom was an active church goer and a leader in most church activity. My dad, is up to now, actively serves our church as a Lay Minister. I grew up going to a Catholic school and a part of my childhood was spent in singing in a church choir. I even attended those Youth Seminars to enrich my catholic faith. But despite these influences, I came to ponder and made a stand on supporting the RH Bill. Looking deeply, the population boom impacts to the Filipino family in unprecedented ways.

Seriously, the population of us, the Filipinos, has just phenomenal for the past years. To date, we're now 94 billion. No wonder, despite the road widening, the expansion of malls, the building of new tourism spots, and the increased importation of rice, there's just no space or food to feed everyone! In the basic concept of Supply and Demand in economics, you'll get to know that if there's a high demand, you increase supply. However, in a ballooning population, when a demand is greater than the supply, then there's scarcity which may lead to a pile of problems!

There are ways in looking at the RH Bill. Should you look at using contraceptives or condoms as immoral because it is against God's plan on creation, well, you must reflect further. In my opinion, if we just give condoms and contraceptives without explaining its use, then, there's something wrong with that. But, if we try to educate the people on its use and stop the culture of hypocrisy, then we could advance our society in bringing the right quantity.

Poverty is one of main reasons why the face of the family has been drastically changed all over the world in the past years. You may say that it's because of the opportunistic traits of the capitalist. Yes, it is true. However, poverty impacts differently especially on a social scale.

Because of poverty, we have the great migration. Because of poverty, some people opt not to marry and simply adopt when they enough money to do so. Because of poverty, some parents and children resort to prostitution. And because of poverty, some would marry a foreigner because of money. Bottomline, poverty is a domino case on feeding more mouths with insufficient income. What's the point? Poverty may be the problem, but sometimes, the solutions and changes depend on the person. If a person is only educated on the impacts of a ballooning family that can't be fed properly, then poverty could be slowly controlled. Poverty is about the lack of resources to share and distribute, which is even aggravated by corruption and other social ills.

In one of a posts by my professors at UP, he discussed how the church could help the Philippines in fighting poverty. Apart from a complete separation of governance and religion, which I totally agree, he suggested that churches should pay taxes. And these taxes should be used to feed the poor or support programs for the destitute. Putting in context, I believe that the church cannot separate its teachings from the reality. It should be realistic and grounded in addressing social and economic changes.

Recently, same-sex marriage is now legalized in New York. In deeper analysis, this is another social changes that may not only impact the borders of US. It will also create waves to other countries. In the context of the Philippines, I doubt that this could be legalized. It's not that I'm against it, but looking at the tightness of the Catholic church, which have always joined any brouhaha in Philippine politics, discussions on same-sex marriage will take longer threads of abhorrence. For wherever discussion on same-sex marriage brings, my two-cents go on hoping for providing equal treatment.

The face of the family has definitely changed over the past years.  Be it on the compartments of poverty, the great diaspora or the rigors of globalization, there's just much transformations that the world should be open and ready to take.

The times are changing. And for me, the concept of a family should not be boxed on its physical attributes such as the presence of a Father, Mother, and kids. The family should be realized on its role in upbringing citizens of a society. In that role of upbringing, it is best to inculcate the importance of respect and sensitivity on race, gender and more. Indeed, education does not only happen in schools or universities. Responsible citizens are made at home.

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