Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Going back to the Philippines, attending my grandmother's funeral, seeing long-lost family, talking to my friends here in Japan has got me, and having too much time in my hands during my two-week trip has got me thinking a lot.

First off, it has gotten me thinking about what I want in life and how I am living it. My brother mentioned that once, someone asked him why our family isn't living together (I live in Kagoshima now; my mom is in Taipei; my brother is in Manila; and my dad is in Baguio, Philippines) and that he didn't had an answer to that question. I told my brother then that it was all because of work and money. But then I thought: if I were to win the lottery and no longer have to worry about finances, what would I do? In that case, I probably would still not settle in the Philippines, but would instead try to convince my family to relocate to another country with me. The reason being that I cannot put up with the heat, pollution, corruption, and overall chaos that has worsen through the years.

On that note, while talking to Tienchi today, it also dawned on me that I don't really feel like I truly belong anywhere, that I don't truly call anyplace home. I feel like a foreigner in all three places I've lived in: the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan. (And it doesn't help that I hold alien registration cards for all three countries)

Any thoughts?


nani said...

me, i dont think i have to belong to anywhere. but my native language makes i feel the sense of belonging. so maybe its because you have not just one native language..? are you thinking about where to buy a house or sth...

Booyah! said...

well, i just think that one of these days i should pick a place that i enjoy living and working in the most :P

Thunderthud said...

I've discovered from alternating between Taiwan and the US that no matter which place I'm at, I sometimes find myself wanting to be at the other. But I feel more at home in my own country and in my own culture. My guess is that you are culturally more comfortable in Taiwan than in Japan or the PI, but not quite satisfied with being there. I think you might be a better fit in the US or Canada, or possibly another English speaking country because you have adapted yourself to the American culture so successfully that you seem (to me) more American than Chinese.

Booyah! said...

i was just thinking of the same thing these few weeks! i also found myself wanting to be at another place wherever i was.

and you're right about the culture thing, too. although i haven't been to the US or Canada, culture-wise, my input comes mainly from the US or Canada (in the form of movies, music, TV shows, and books, etc), and like nani (^) once said, i'm much more an "English" than a "Chinese" person

Donican said...

I can sort of understand how you feel, but probably not the degree you must. You are truly a unique mix of cultures, and that's something that I find impressive.

For me, I feel a sense of belonging to Australia greater than anywhere else, and because there's a fairly large community of ABCs there, I've always had friends who can relate. It's like we form our own race. So I've never really felt alien while in Australia. But at the same time, because I'm in the minority and not white there are times when I do feel people don't regard me as a "true blue Aussie". (In general, Australians are really good and accepting people, so this isn't really a problem, but there's always the occasional racist person.)

I definitely do not feel I belong in Singapore; While visiting is fun, I don't think I could even ever live there. I'm just so not used to the people and don't like the lifestyle there.

And Japan...let's not even go there. xD As much as I love Japan, this country is known for simply just being unable to accept non-Japanese as one of their own, no matter how long you stay here.

But the fact that you honestly don't have an alliance to any country is kind of liberating in a way, don't you think? ;) You can choose without bias, with nothing holding you back.

Faiz said...

European colonialism pretty much ruined any chance of full acceptance - i.e. the "true-blue" kind referenced by Donican - for non-European peoples who were either born, raised, or immigrated to Anglophone (U.K. U.S. Aus. or Can.) or European countries.

The positive side to that equation is that it may have laid the groundwork for internationalism, the kind where European and non-European people are able to adapt to and embody multiple cultures.

Sadly, this element of unity has yet to be fully realised.

Booyah! said...

in a way, i agree with what donican said about feeling liberated because i need not identify myself with a certain group. sometimes it does work to my favor cuz i can work my way into several groups, but the sense of belonging stops after the initial stages. oh well, it doesn't really bother me that much.

and something faiz wrote has reminded me of the fact that these days, few people can say that they truly belong to one group/culture and one group/culture alone. in fact, all of you guys who left comments to this post can claim affiliation in two or more groups/cultures lol :D

kinda cool in a way, huh?

Booyah! said...

btw, great discussion, guys. :D