OUR cuisine includes some of their table staples and many of the words we call our very own actually began life as part of their language. Some of our past and present government officials, business tycoons, and media and entertainment celebrities have also come from their community. Indeed, it’s sometimes easy to forget the fact that it took several generations of acting and being treated as “overstaying guests” in the Philippines before the ethnic Chinese among us finally morphed into being Chinese-Filipinos.
But as writer Clinton Palanca observes in his essay for i Report, the Chinese-Filipinos’ journey toward integration was not without mishaps — and it is far from being over. As he points out, “A fragile coexistence and acceptance exists now, but may not continue to do so.”
Complicating the situation is the entry of new Chinese migrants, from whom Chinese-Filipinos are now seeking to distinguish themselves. Palanca even says that the concept of “Tsinoy” arose from the effort to create a clear delineation of boundaries between the “older” migrants and the newcomers.
“Apart from the encroachment of competition,” he writes, “the fear of the older generation? is that the Filipino mainstream population will be unable to distinguish between the newer migrants and the ethnic Chinese who have struggled to integrate into Philippine society, and that they, the more established and integrated groups, whose acceptance in Philippine society is fragile as it is, will be penalized by the behavior, or even the very presence, of the new migrants.”
We hope the piece, which is part of our Alien Nation series for July, will give readers a fresh perspective on our “guests” who have now become part of our society.
Read on at pcij.org.