Editor's corner/ Over a cup of tea
Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the Year for the State
of Wisconsin (U.S.-SBA)
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Things, places, and people I really miss
beautiful Filipino tradition. I guess the West has conquered many aspects of our colonized selves.
*Music is a tradition in our family. My late mother was a soprano coloratura, and all of us her children, either sing or play a musical instrument. I miss
those days when we siblings get together and create music. The happiness of those moments is irreplaceable. We now live away from each other,
and getting together sometimes seems remotely possible.
*I miss get-togethers with my own family when my children were growing up. They’re just not the same as nowadays when my kids are older and
they have their own families to take care of. The innocence of childhood is completely gone, and the ugly shadows of sibling rivalries lurk in the
backdrop, most times too obvious that I don’t even want to be there.
*Working in the legislatures of the Philippines and the USA had its perks, indeed. I miss the attention, the good pay, and the free travels that went
with it. Those days were definitely happy career days!
*When I immigrated to the USA in the late 1990s, I became a media person and was exposed to communities of color. I miss the challenges of
being a journalist in a foreign land where color of the skin determines where one is ought to be placed in society. While they’re gone now, I realize I
miss the company of true friends I used to work with.
*I miss the love of someone who really cares. Well, we just can’t have everything.
*Cailles Street, Sta. Cruz, Laguna—this is where I grew up. My mom sold this property when she broke up with my dad in the early ‘60s. I miss the
simple beauty and the loving caress of this home by the river. Whenever I pass by this home now, it feels strange. It is not what it used to be.
*College, Los Banos, Laguna—my first taste of College life, having been granted a four-year full scholarship in the University of the Philippines. My
freshman year was beautiful! I was the star of the batch, being in the Dean’s List for two semesters and the first recipient of a top Philippine
scholarship in that college.
*Caloocan City, Metro Manila—Bagong Barrio in Caloocan City used to be a squatters’ district, and I was one of its residents for more than 20 years.
This was the area were I landed after getting married and losing my college scholarship as a result. People were poor, but they were close friends
and neighbors who cared. I raised my three children here while I struggled to complete my college education in the big city. I really miss the
closeness of my neighbors and the beauty of their hearts.
*Madison, Wisconsin, USA – 12 years of my life spent in a foreign land I consider my second home. Perhaps had no recession happened in 2008
and years thereafter, I would have stayed. I loved the community work and service as a journalist of color in Madison. I miss the people I worked with
and the community friendships I successfully built through the years.
*I truly miss Jon Gramling, my best friend and soul mate. He has always been there for me through thick and thin, when I was adjusting in Madison
as an immigrant, a journalist, and someone away from family. There has been no other best friend like him. The Madison community is truly
blessed having Jon as its number one writer of relevant news & features, and top analyst on main issues of the day. He taught me what a good
writer really is, someone not there for the money, but someone who works for others, especially the needy, the underrepresented and the
downgraded. While we communicate often through emails, I miss his personal touch and care.
*I miss Paul Kusuda, my “father in Madison” and number one supporter of Asian Wisconzine. When he passed away in November last year, I felt as
though I lost my real father. I cried for days, something I never did, even when some closest relatives died. Paul did great things for me, personally
and professionally. He taught me values through his example, his life, and way of thinking. I miss the kind of activism he was well known for, and I
am pretty sure Asian Americans in the Madison area who know him well miss him, too. We lost a strong voice in our community, one that doesn’t
bend to please others, one that speaks truth and genuine feelings, one that participates in no passive way to add color to our city’s outstanding
*I miss Lang Kenneth Haynes, or simply ‘Brother Ken’, a giant of mind and spirit, whose writing under his column “Simple Things” made me think of
complicated matters that pose challenges to our lives. I miss his kind of poetry, for I always have to read the verses many times before I fully
understand the meaning thereof. How he played with words simply amazed me no end. Brother Ken is surely missed big time.
“There are places I remember, all my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better, some have gone and some remain,
All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living,
In my life, I’ve loved them all...”—The Beatles
Above lines of a beautiful song by my ever favourite band, The Beatles, resonate strong in our lives, I am
sure. And I have to thank my number one best friend in this world, Jon Gramling, for introducing this
particular song to me long time ago. I paid no particular attention to this song when I was younger, maybe
because I was more into the band’s disco and rock & roll pieces then. Nowadays, the song’s lyrics really
hit on target older people’s feelings, especially when one is nostalgic or alone. As I am today.
Things I miss
*Traditions are important in every culture. As a Filipino, I grew up in a Christian household where respect
for the elders is paramount. We use “po” and “opo” when we address older people. There is no English
translation for such words of respect and courtesy. We greet our elders with a “Mano po” gesture, reaching
for the elder’s right hand and placing it on our forehead while saying, “Mano po.” While some young people
still do this, I don’t see it often. Hugs and handshakes are now more accepted, replacing what I consider a
*The very active Asian American friends of mine in Madison area like
Sharyl Kato, Agnes Cammer, the Sridharans, Beth Reyes, the late
Manong Rufino and Charlotte Deleste are also missed a lot. They
showed me that not all Asians in Wisconsin are silent.
*Lastly, I miss my late mother and late aunt Onor. They were the two
strongest women I have ever known in my whole life. They influenced
my being and they shaped my life the way I am today.
In my life, there are important things, places and people I will always
remember. I know that you, too, feel the same way I do.