‘Tsinoys’ in Filipino society-A A +A
Saturday, February 9, 2013
IF THERE is anything that Filipinos must accept by now is the fact that the Chinese Filipinos are already deeply embedded in our Filipino society, and sharing much effort in our nation building.
Although there are still some discriminatory attitudes towards the Chinese Filipinos who preferred to be called "Tsinoys" whether refugees, immigrants or mestizos, Filipinos in general have already learned to embrace them as part of our society while a growing number of our government and private institutions have even encouraged them to take active part in charting our common national identity.
This ethnic group estimated at 1.7 percent only or up to 20 percent if we included the mestizos and refugees, of our country's population, are fast adopting Filipino cultural norms while maintaining their own culture of origin and language.
Everywhere, they are present. They form their own distinct cultural community. The "Tsinoy" community, characterized by reverberating enclave mentality, strong economic activities, dominance of Chinese products and wares, and yet keeping everything low profile.
They have also succeeded in putting their own Chinese cultural centers, such schools, worship temples and museums.
The "Tsinoy" strong rootedness in indigenous agriculture has also made them famous in preparing highly nutritious, delicious, stylish food. Many of our Filipino food favorites like the batchoy, lomi, sotanghon, chopsuey, lumpia, hopia, tikoy, siopao, are of said to be of Chinese origin.
Personally, I will rate the "Tsinoy" food as one of the best in the world.
The Chinese are also famous in introducing Oriental medicines and health care system, which are cheaper and yet quite effective. The Tsinoys in the country have also popularized the use of traditional herbs, acupuncture and acupressure as alternative to common illnesses compared to the more expensive and sometimes ineffective Western medicines and treatments.
Some Filipino stereotyped views of the Chinese to have natural affinity to business is dismissed by most Tsinoys as a poor appreciation of the global historical journey of the Chinese coming from a highly troubled nation long before the Philippines became as a nation.
In some studies by Tsinoy scholars, they argued that Chinese who left China from 15th century onward to neighboring Asia countries to as far as North America belong to a generation with little education thus survival depended on engagement in small trading. This later gave them advantage to cope with the different conditions and culture.
To me, the Chinese are known today for their business acumen because the harsh realities of life outside their country have forced them to learn the ways of survival. Today's generation are enjoying the fruits of the adaptability of their earlier generations.
The younger "Tsinoys" however are fast assimilating the Filipino culture and way of life as seen in increasing cases of intermarriages with ethnic Filipinos, preference for Tagalog and English as their main social languages, and attraction to north American culture that have captured a significant number of Filipinos in the country's big cities and urban centers.
Studies have yet to be made though regarding the cultural and economic impact of this growing assimilation in both the "Tsinoys" community and the mainstream Filipino society.
For now, let's give the "Tsinoys" big cheers and salute not only for it is their new year, but above all, for making our Filipino society a colorful and dynamic multicultural community.
If I may add, the "Tsinoys" in the country have done more good to our nation building than the American government and their local cohorts that have treated us as nothing more than colonial captives and stray dogs good as shooting targets of US troops and CIA operatives now sprawling in Mindanao, Luzon and other provinces.
I really look forward to seeing more "Tsinoys" involved in our political governance and social development programs, new fields where they can also demonstrate their creativity and resilience as a people with rich tradition of democratic struggles and developing societies.
Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 09, 2013.