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parent almost always Caucasian. I must admit that Filipinos in general, still have that colonial mentality of sorts, that a whiter skin makes one
appear more superior, similar to a Spanish conquistador or a Euro-American soldier regardless of rank. This would explain why our candidates for
local beauty queens and those for international competitions are always biracial. We just don’t think our “native-looking” girls can make it to any
man-made thrones in the universe!
This would also explain why our lead actors and actresses in the movie and television industry are often biracial, with the fairest skin and faces that
copy Hollywood stars, even if they cannot really act, sing or dance (as required by some musical shows!) As a musician myself, I hate to see on
television, for instance, a movie star belting out a song with a voice that only her/his mother could love. Of course, there are exceptions, particularly
those with natural talent or those who try hard at undergoing voice lessons. But it pains me to listen at celebrities trying so hard to reach a note or
perform with the right emotions and a much deeper interpretation of a song.
Let me tell you a personal story that happened to me twice; once while I was in Namibia, Africa as secretary to a delegation of legislators in the
Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference in 1998, and most recently, while attending a local party of former high-school acquaintances who, in 1964,
formed a community-based social organization aimed at providing scholarships and service to the poor. In the first incident, I was introduced by the
Philippine Consul General (our host in Namibia that time) to a former high school teacher who hailed from Sta. Cruz, Laguna, my hometown.
Immediately I recognized the former high school teacher, Mr. Barrion. He used to teach a Philippine Military Training course to my town high school’
s boys. Mr. Barrion did not recognize me at all so I told him: “Mr. Barrion, I am Heidi Manabat, a student of Pedro Guevara Memorial High School,
Batch ’68.” He looked surprised as he smiled and answered: “Heidi Manabat? Of course I remember your name. I am very sorry I didn’t recognize
you. You’re so pretty now. When you were in high school, you were darker!” I was appalled that one of a former high school teacher equated beauty
with skin color. What a jerk! (But I have forgiven him; I heard that Mr. Barrion passed away a few years ago.)
Then in the second instance, my friends and I were joined in our table by a member of the social club hosting the party. Right away, my group
noticed that the guy was interested in me. He talked to me for a while but later said the magic words that made him look so bad in my eyes: “I didn’t
notice you in high school because at that time, you were darker.” I didn’t respond, but the guy definitely noticed I wasn’t interested in talking to him
again. I wanted to say: “Well, I didn’t notice you in high school either, because you were never an honor student and more importantly, your
appearance didn’t call my attention.” The guy was another jerk, and every time I see him in town, I show him he’s not a thing to bother me at all.
I am frustrated that up to now, I still hear some friends express admiration and amazement whenever they see a man or a woman with fair skin.
“Ang puti!!Ang kinis ng kutis! Ang ganda ganda!” (“So white; very smooth skin; very beautiful!) Most times, these objects of admiration (and
sometimes, affection) flaunt their assets by wearing very short shorts and sleeveless/tank tops for emphasis. They very well know that all eyes are
on them and that they exude an attraction that many darker species envy.
I truly wish my countrymen would be aware of what Martin Luther King Jr. said in his “I Have a Dream” speech: "I have a dream that my four little
children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
That is also my dream, that people, regardless of where they come from, will not be judged by their skin color, but what they do for the good of the
society they choose to belong to.
Editor's Corner/Over a Cup of Tea
Skin color as standard of beauty in a former colony
I love my original country, the Philippines, and everything it represents, all its sceneries and beautiful islands, its
people and its cultural traditions even if they are a mixture of influences from former colonizers—Spain and the
United States. There is just one thing I dislike which is still a very strong legacy left by them: skin color as a
measure of one’s beauty. While not as strong as it was in the ‘60s, the belief persists to this day that a fairer skin
is more beautiful, more acceptable, more alluring, and an added plus, especially among women of all ages.
I have written about this issue in the past, but it still irks me each time I notice the huge billboards advertising
skin whiteners, modelled by movie stars and society celebrities who are more often than not, biracial, with one
Heidi M. Pascual
Publisher & Editor
2006 Journalist of the year
for the State of Wisconsin
Conservation voters issue statement
on U.S. Senate vote to reauthorize
Land and Water Conservation Fund
MADISON – In response to U.S. Senate passage of S.
47, the public lands package, which would
permanently reauthorize the Land and Water
Conservation Fund (LWCF), among other provisions,
Wisconsin Conservation Voters Executive Director
Kerry Schumann issued this statement:
“From the soaring mountaintops of the Rockies to your
local Lion’s Park, the Land and Water Conservation
Fund (LWCF) has been improving our country and
communities since 1964. Be it Janesville or Racine,
Dodgeville or Bayfield, the Ice Age Trail or the Apostle
Islands – the LWCF has had a profound and lasting
impact on our state. Congress should have never let
LWCF expire as it did last September. -- READ MORE
|Raj Shukla, candidate for
By Jonathan Gramling
Raj Shukla, candidate for Madison
mayor, is a first generation Indian
American — his parents are from the
subcontinent of India — who learned
early in life that he would have to work hard and actively influence
the environment around him to create a space where he could
grow and prosper.--READ MORE
Stemming the Tide of Hate
By Sharyl Kato
How do we stem the tide of hatred
in our national political discourse?
I can only really answer for myself
— and perhaps this can help others — but we all need to find our
own way in countering negativity. I believe in hope and I believe in
positive action to counter negativity.--READ MORE
Paul Kusuda's Column (Repost)
March is kind of nice because it means that we’re almost
through with Wisconsin’s annual cold winter months
with all the snow and ice we have to face not only in the
morning but throughout the entire day. Atsuko and I
have been in Madison since Spring 1951. -- READ
IT'S ASIAN WISCONZINE'S