Sunday, January 04, 2004


While in Los Angeles, one of the people I met is Mary Talusan. Nope, she does not have a blog, but she should. Talk about talented and talk about brains. Mary is one example of the new Pin@ys who will be heralding the golden age of Filipino-Americans.

There is a generation of Pin@ys who grew up or were born in the United States and who are educated in the American colleges. These Pin@ys are now in their 20's and 30's and are making the move to become the new intellectuals for the opening of the 21st century. They are intelligent and capable of placing into context the migratory experience of Pilipinos. They are confident enough to withstand the hidden sexist and often submerged racist overtones of academia. The new Pin@ys are also courageous enough to understand that being in the forefront of anything, there is a tremendous price. Sometimes, being the avant in avant-garde means loneliness. This is a situation which happens to everyone pursuing doctorates, poetry, literature, and music.

But I digress. I was speaking about Mary when I got into the philosophy of being avant. Mary's finishing her Ph.D. and on her way to that, she managed to go through two(!) Master's. I ended up talking to her somewhat on my experiences about being Filipino-American. I'm sorry I manipulated the conversation, because she is an interesting person who sees the world through sound. One of the things that struck my mind was the concept of mimicry which was brought up in our conversation.

I have heard it often that mimicry is a Filipino talent. I define mimicry as imitation. For example, when Pin@y singers sing just like Mariah Carey or another foreign singer, that is mimicry. For some reason, I am reserved when I define mimicry or imitation as a foundation of Pin@y culture. I suppose it has to do with the lack of extension of said mimicry. That is, I always thought that yes, there can be some time when Pin@ys mimic Hollywood. But eventually, the Filipinos will make the music their own.

Carolina San Juan who is another graduate student in UCLA gave me the term subversion for the situation when Pin@ys make something their own. I don't know if I want to say subversion as much as say the creation of culture. However, in my conversation with Mary, I probably did not let her finish her thoughts on the concept of mimicry and subversion. She really should start a blog even though she is trying to finish her thesis. What do you think Mary?

If you are in the Southern California region, Mary performs the music of kulintang in Los Angeles. Check out her website to determine peformances. And if you are a college student lucky enough to take a class from her, take a chance to savor the moment.

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