The Unwritten Rules of Ph.D Research

Today, the wonderful world of Scribd ran me right across the book The Unwritten Rules of Ph.D Research.

Interesting, considering that going back to school is almost always on my mind. I'm usually not a fan of self-helppy-ish how-to books, but in this case, I think it's alright.

I've read before that going to grad school is like joining a cult.

For anyone who has been in graduate school, numerous portions of Hassan's outline of the mind-control practices of cults will seem weirdly familiar.

- Behavior control: "major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals"; "need to ask permission for major decisions"; "need to report thoughts, feelings, and activities to superiors."

- Information control: "access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged (keep members so busy they don't have time to think)" and "extensive use of cult-generated information (newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, videotapes, etc.)."

- Thought control: "need to internalize the group's doctrine as 'Truth' (black and white thinking; good vs. evil; us vs. them, inside vs. outside)" and "no critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate."

- Emotional control: "excessive use of guilt (identity guilt: not living up to your potential; social guilt; historical guilt)"; "phobia indoctrination (irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader's authority; cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group; shunning of leave takers; never a legitimate reason to leave"; and "from the group's perspective, people who leave are 'weak,' 'undisciplined.'"

Lot of professors, TAs I've been around have also remarked, "I wouldn't wish grad school on anyone." Graduate school has been described not as a learning process in terms of "bettering yourself" or "getting more knowledge", but more a "socialization" process where you learn conventions, ways of doings, pecking orders.

The book below speaks to a lot of that socialization process of grad school. Little stuff that you might overlook. They talk about "fitting in" within the culture of academia. They talk about a lot about how getting a Ph.D is like a rite of passage, an elaborate, drawn out hazing ritual you have to get through so you can become a 'peer.' In the end, what these authors seem to be saying is this: those hazing rituals imposed by the universities/institutions are in place to show that you could create, organize, and manage research in your area of discipline by yourself.

The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research (MJ Version)

The Hip-Hop Work-Shop

Once upon a time, not too long ago, PTSP had a hip-hop flow to it. We now refer to that year as 2006.

Ha, I kidz, I kidz, ya'll in 2007, 2008, 2009 are hip-hop too.

But I'm just saying, we did hold a hip-hop workshop this one time, and I'm glad it was something we did because it was fun. In our workshop that one fateful February or March day, we represented the 5 elements of hip-hop: breakdancing, MCing, beatboxing, DJing, and graffit-ing.

Why? Well, why the helfck not? We've got our Filipino dance crews up and down, left and right, we've got upcoming MCs on the underground, the l-o-r-d knows we got our DJs. Most of us grow up because it was just there for us and I imagine we relate a lot to its cultural norms and it's stars as opposed to the unspoken hegemonic dominance of white guy culture. I remember being at Disneyland celebrating my lil sister's birthday at around the time Gangsta's Paradise was ripping it, talking with this white teenager named Doug, the first thing I said to this guy was, "Rock music sucks."

I said in my intro post that PTSP had sort of an interrelation with the development of my hip-hop-headiness, let me explain.

One of the first classes I took was a class in ethnomusicology called the Cultural History of Rap. The Roots performed for free at Bruin Plaza and I got to see them live. Ugly Duckling was supposed to show up one time, but ended up flaking. The Blue Scholars represented when no one knew who they were. One of the best classes I ever took was a Hip-hop Linguistics class which was taught by a dude who went to school with John Legend.

PTSP was just a space that encouraged more of that. Freestyling/MCing was always at the PTSP parties thanks to the master MC, EZ, who'd strike up a SY-PHA/cipha/cipher where X-Tian would drop ridiculosity and Dom would flow. B.Saturday was a master beatboxer whose mic failed at the end of SEND 2006. Ivan was/is a poet inspired by Saul Williams and he knows it.

Anyhow, EZ is still busting lines

I knew this dude who went to Slugvilles with me and always thought he was on the verge of killing somebody. I was right. Dude named Tantrum.

Via Bambu Rants

I always wondered how I had such trouble coming up with anything during the ciphas but these guys make it look easy.


On Community Colleges Recent Troubles and Transferring

As the economy is tanking and the job market is collapsing, community colleges are now getting swamped. In two different ways!

Swamped with newer students trying to make better on the job market, and two, swamped from actually acquiring resources to accomodate the new deluge of students.

The LA Times had an article about how the community college system is stretching their capacity in response to a garbage-load of problems: California's state budget cuts in K-16 education, dealing with an uptick in enrollment, and increasingly having trouble at getting students ready for transferring to 4-year universities.

Community colleges are being asked to do a lot. And they always have been asked to do a lot. But when things get to the point of 'overwhelming' and people are asked to do a lot, they go on a mission to cut the 'over' part to ease the passage to 'whelming.' That means, cut the 'inefficiencies!' Which means cut classes! Cut arts programs! Cut the humanities! And cut the crappy students from your classroom!

This guy, a college dean talks more about it.

By definition, though, the needy are inefficient. A student who shows up prepared for college-level work, passes everything the first time without tutoring, and has his personal life together is remarkably cheap to educate, especially in the liberal arts. A student who has academic skills deficits, who needs counseling, and who attends part-time for several years is much higher-maintenance, and therefore more expensive.

When times are relatively flush, we can do some justice to both efficiency and mission. Now, we're being forced to choose efficiency.

Essentially, the people losing out from all this effiency-making and cutting extravaganza are the students who are probably the ones who would benefit most from a college education.

The Public Policy Institute of California touched a bit on what demographic actually stands to benefit the most from a college education in a previous study.

The demographics are usually people of color, usually people from low-income families, usually people with few weak or strong social connections to a collegiate institution or people who've graduated from a collegiate institution.

One of the reasons we did PTSP Bayanihan in the first place was to reach those students.

While picking up a desirable education is getting rough in of itself, transferring is a whole other beast. The same students struggling to get the education struggle to transfer.

"Students who come to two-year colleges generally don't think they can make it," Trice said. "I dispel certain myths about transferring: 'UCLA is made for white people.' 'I'll never make it there.' 'I can't possibly pay for it.' It's a social ceiling."

Community college officials say that 40% of students who are serious about transferring manage to do it. But the Public Policy Institute of California, in a 2006 study, found that only about 25% of the students who are focused on transferring actually make it.

Is it me or does it seem like its getting harder and harder each and every year to transfer? Don't these (culturally-hegemonically-created, which don't seem to prove anything) standards seem like they are getting getting shot to the roof? And were learning and proving exactly, what?

The LA Times article made a quick note about how the community college environment facilitates transferring, something that we all tried to note in Bayanihan's first Academic Year Proposal:

It's no coincidence that Santa Monica College, which has the highest UC transfer rates of any community college, also has one of the biggest counseling staffs, with 60 full-time and 40 part-time advisors, said Dan Nannini, coordinator of the college's transfer center.

Compare that with the 5 or 6 counselors at El Camino or the 2 at Glendale and LACC. It seems like there's just a culture hardwired towards transferring. On the outside, Santa Monica is perceived as the preeminent place of transfer. I'd hypothesize that there's just more opportunity for people at those colleges to be connected to resources and networks that would facilitate transferring. But perhaps people who actually went to Santa Monica and/or El Camino, Glendale would know better than me.


Cognitive Abilities, Environment, PTSP Environment

PTSP was one place for me to think about my academic interest: our cognitive abilities and our environments.

Ever since Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, my Education 130 class about Race, Class, and Ethnicity with Tyrone Howard and spending time at the UCLA Bookstore peering through Mike Rose's book The Mind at Work, combined with my disposition towards anthropology, I've been interested in intelligences and cognitive abilities across different cultures.

Intelligences and cognitive abilities across different cultures is just a more compact, technical way of saying that I'm interested in how environment/context/social network influences many different individuals to become "smart", what they may choose to become "smart" in, or how they can become perceived as "smart" in doing it.

In much of popular discourse, people of color usually are considered "intellectually inferior." A meme passed down from the times of Charles Darwin --- brown people are the more primitive and less evolved. Their ways are backward! They are the sub-level between the chimpanzee and the ideal, fully-evolved, fully-capable white person. You could look thru the history of Western science and medicine, you'd be hardpressed to find people of color making "discoveries" and developments in technology, let alone being celebrated for doing so. Nobody really gives a flarping tuba player about Kitasato Shibasaburo or Percy Julian. If you buy into Western science and medicine is about individuals, virtually white folk from Europe are the only ones with all the rockstar, bro wisdom and genius in the world because they've come up with all the rational, objective, progressive solutions.

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond was one of the first books I read to overturn that type of thinking. He asked the question "how did it come to be that white people were the ones making all the technological innovation, the guns, and the steel, while brown peoples were not?

Did it have to do with white people's innate intelligence? Or was it merely, the work of their environment?

The work of environment. Here's a bit of a parable from H.A. Simon in his book The Sciences of the Artificial via the book Cognition in the Wild by Edwin Hutchins about how our intelligence is mostly environmentally-influenced:

As we watch the complicated movements of an ant on a beach, we may be tempted to attribute to the ant, some complicated program for constructing the path taken. In fact...that trajectory tells us more about the beach than about the ant...Rather than watch a single ant for a few minutes, as psychologists are wont to do, let us be anthropologists and move in and watch a community of ants over weeks and months. Let us assume that we arrive just after a storm, when the beach is a tabula rasa for the ants. Generations of ants comb the beach. They leave behind them short-lived chemcial trails, and whereever they go they inadvertently move grains of sand as they pass. Over months, paths to likely food sources develop as they are visited again and again by ants following first the short-lived chemical trails of their fellows and later the longer-lived roads produced by a history of heavy ant traffic. After months watching, we decide to follow a particular ant on an outing. We may be impressed by how cleverly it visits every high-likelihoood food location. This ant seems to work so much more efficiently than did its ancestors of weeks ago. Is this a smart ant? It Is it perhaps smarter than its ancestors? No, it is just the same dumb sort of ant, reacting to its environment in the same ways its ancestors did.

Were humans, were usually known to make our environments. At least, most of us have the freedom to make our environments.

That said, what kind of environments/contexts/social networks do we make ourselves as Filipinos in the Phillippines? What kind of environments/contexts/social networks did our parents, relatives, friends make for us in America? What kind of environments/contexts/social networks do we re-create as Filipinos in America? What kind of environments/contexts/social networks do we re-create as Pilipino Transfer students at UCLA? What kind of intelligences are we making? What are we becoming experts in?


Justice for Filipino American Veterans: Did We Settle and Is This Enough?

Apparently, the Filipino American Veterans of World War Mothereffin' II are just on the verge of receiving compensation they were originally promised by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and nullified by the Missouri Mule. Might I remind you that World War Mothereffin' II was over almost 64 mothereffin' years ago and that those were presidents of the United States in the 1940s and are long dead.

From the Mercury News

The stimulus bill approved by the U.S. Senate on Monday night authorized the release of $198 million to rectify Uncle Sam's postwar snub. About 18,000 Filipino vets who fought in the war under the American flag would now receive up to $15,000 for their service.

In case you don't know what the Filipino vets' struggle is about, here's a little legislative background:

The vets' quest for compensation stems from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision in July 1941 to draft 140,000 soldiers from the Philippines, then an American colony. A year later, Congress passed a law allowing Filipino soldiers to become U.S. citizens with full military benefits. But in 1946, after Filipino soldiers fought and died side by side with U.S. troops, President Harry S. Truman signed two bills denying them citizenship as well as most veterans' benefits. The bills were postwar cost-saving measures that Truman said he regretted.

Basically, the US government entered into a contract with people who sacrificed body, mind, and spirit. But because they weren't viewed as a colony anymore, nor were they regular white people, nor did they have any other leverage otherwise, the US pretty much just ignored the Philippines soldiers. Like...ahhh...you don't exist! Gollymee jeepers, isn't social exclusion fun?!

Because they have been disappointed before, Valdez and other Filipino vets say they won't celebrate until the allocation survives the committee now trying to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the $838.2 billion stimulus bill.

Ivan had been talking to me about his organizing work on behalf of those veterans, and the main thing that I got from him was that whatever they got was probably not enough. The Japanese who had been interned in the US had received more in terms of benefits and recognition. Don't know the exact numbers, they've been long since recognized, apologized to, and received their benefits. With Fil-Am vets, it's like a pittiance they've thrown at us just to shut us the fork up.

We have nice recognition parades in San Fran and Los Angeles on Veterans Day, and a nice monument in Historic Filipinotown. These are good, but it seems like there's a lot more missing.

Lots of people die in 64 mothereffin' years. What's happened to those veterans' families since then? Will their kids be able to reap any benefits?

My grandpa (RIP) back in the Philippines with my namesake was a veteran of World War II, but he wasn't able to come to the US, so he went out and made my dad and 8 other aunties and uncles. My dad wasn't able to come to the US till the mothereffin' 1980s and he wasn't able to finish architecture school because of the lack of money that perhaps my grandpa could've been compensated for.

Read full articles at Mercury News via the Angry Asian Man


Support a Local Community-Minded Filipino on National TV!

So tonight at the Grammys on CBS, they're going to air a bunch of Lincoln MKS Car commercials. I usually wouldn't give a flying mating ritual about the Grammys, CBS, or Lincoln MKS Cars, but in this case I'll make an exception.

One of the Lincoln MKS commercials will be from a local Filipino filmmaker named Patricio Ginelsa. I don't know the guy, but my godsister actually does; she says hes kind of a geek. You might not know him, but you might know his work: he was an associate producer for that Filipino-American classic the Debut, he made the APL Song's Video, and he made Bebot. So the dude is major with Fil-Am stuff.

Patricio recently turned in a proposal as part of this Lincoln MKS young filmmakers contest. Patricio's proposal got into the semi-final stages. The proposal then turned into this music video selling the Lincoln MKS and promoting this song.

As it turns out, there a few more people involved in the video's production.

One of them is this female named Francine whom I know from way back in high school. She's good folks and talks to me on occasion about environmental justice stuff. She was a production coordinator.

The other is Bambu. A Filipino community rap star from Watts and the Native Guns and the organizing group Kabataan-Maka-Bayan.

So basically, the video is basically us on National TV. Although within the context of promoting a luxury product that may upset the environmentally-conscious sensibilities, I think I prefer to just see us out there winning contests and accomplishing stuff. Brings my network of peoples up.

So, 2 Steps to Supporting Their Cause:

1) Go to this website.
2) Vote "Patricio Ginelsa."

Really, really easy, it takes a nanosecond.

Afterward, if you feel it, go to kidheroes.net and see the making of that particular music video. Bambu is the Filipino-Cholo-looking guy who plays the Cupid agent alongside the white guy, and my friend Francine is at the end of the video in a bandana holding up a toast after shooting.


From a "Non-Traditional" Student Mother

The first day of orientation to USC, I attended a seminar for “non-traditional” students defined primarily in terms older students, students with children, and married students. As I departed from the rest of the graduate students all in line to go to the same workshops, I departed from them walking alone into what was probably the smallest orientation I’ve been to all day with 10-13 graduate students...

I knew my experience as a “young” mother, graduate student, and professional worker would make my college experience a “little” different from other graduate students who did not bare the responsibilities of having a child and having to support a child. For the first time, I felt what it was like to be on the “other side” and experience graduate school with certain challenges.

Childcare. I went to an orientation for childcare at my institution to find out that childcare costs were $1800 per month, but wait, you get a subsidy for $800 per month.

Housing. I wanted to apply for family housing. However, costs still ranged from $800-$1300 per month with a few limited spots and all I remember hearing was “we don’t know how long the waiting list will be.”

Healthcare. I am fortunately covered through healthcare at my school and through wishful thinking, I asked my institution if they possibly had an affordable plan for students with children and the answer is “no.”

On top of everything else, I had to worry about the baring the costs of extended childcare, just so I can study later. My daily routine included going to school, going work, picking my child up, cooking for my child, taking him and bath, and putting him to sleep with a book. At about 10pm, I was able to study.

It’s hard enough to bare these responsibilities and it really is such a downer that the university that you go may not offer the aforementioned above. One must question how supportive universities are in general, because this applies across the university system.

What a supportive academic environment looks like is a university is one that:
1. Waives childcare cost.
2. Has guaranteed family housing or more spaces available for students with children.
3. Offers an affordable healthcare plan for students with children.
4. Offers more grants and scholarships for students with children.

These are basic needs that are not addressed and do not hold priority. Hence, I see how one may be adamant to continue higher education because they face real challenges that makes them choose one over the other-- Education or Family? A supportive academic environment would help students with families, not make it a challenge for them.

BUT there are ways and there are resources. With patience, knowledge and time, it’s about knowing and finding what’s out there. If you should ever question whether continuing higher education is worth it, it is. THERE IS HELP, maybe not from your particular academic institution, but THERE ARE RESOURCES. I work with immigrant parents and children and I could honestly say that my experiences and/or attempts to seek resources whether failed or succeed, I know where to direct them. My life experiences have been the most resourceful, first hand experience is powerful and beautiful thing. It’s one thing to read it, but to experience it is something that feel so different.

I’ve come to the conclusion that these issues are not met simply because there are not enough of us to voice the particular concerns. Whether it be at the transfer, undergraduate, or graduate student, our universities are in dyer need of a diversity to voice particular concerns.

Remember what you all represent. You bring something unique to the university. Embrace it, challenge it and make it your greatest strength.


Aileen Malig

Grad School Musings: USC Rules the World Around Me and Filipinos in Grad School in General

These days somehow its USC this and USC that.

My mom works at an elementary school near there.

I am more likely to go there when there's something happening, including this concert they had with that myspace phenomena Passion, and Bambu, this one-woman act show about multiracialism that my co-wager dragged me, to and the latest, a screening of the Linguist with much apologies to the Queen of El Monte.

Almost all the people I know in grad school somehow end up at USC, despite that place costing a bunch of money.

There are quite a few folks I know earning Master of Social Work like Aileen.

There are future nonprofiteers like this one dude who works where I work named Mike.

There is a Ph.D candidate like Chiara in Education who will be doing research on Pinays.

There is one other dude named George at the School of Communications, who helped named Historic Filipinotown, and is looking to bring his research project to the wider Fil-Am community.

Meanwhile at the UC's, all I know is one guy named Paolo in education, who incidentally was a Pilipino UCLA transfer student but not a PTSPer but nonetheless helped us out at PTSP.

I'm curious as to what that's driven by. You'd think by virtue of UC being the public school, they would have more of us. Are they just that more disengaged from the LA community? Do they have impossible standards?

But there's a world beyond USC and UCLA.

Thinking more broadly about peer Filipinos in grad school, in my collection of 460 friends not going to SC or LA, I could almost count the number of people on one hand, (that is assuming I'm not counting finger joints and what not and just the typical phalange digits with the Arabic base-10 system.) Here's whom I know:

-An Economics M.A.
-An Asian Am M.A. going Ph.D
-An English M.A.
-Two Law Students
-A Counseling M.A.
-Two TFA people

I'm also struck by the fact that no one in my circle (with the notable exception of a friend Char knows) at Private Creme-de-la-creme high school where 99% of the graduating class goes to 4-year universities, is even in grad school. Mind you, Creme-de-la-creme High has a garbageload of its students in Grad School, mostly a bunch of law students. But as far as my circle of Filipinos at Creme-de-la Creme goes, were still at nil.

Perhaps that's driven by us being cheap, practical-minded Filipinos.


Chula Vista to UCLA and back

This is attempt no. 2. My previous post was saved and then I erased it because I was quite informal on it and was being overly nostalgic.

My name is Ivan, PTSP alumni 2006 fall (History/English). I was formely a PTSP Bayanihan peer advisor (High School Specialist, 6 months), but a vacancy opened up for the Assistant Director. I officially took the position in November 2005, but before all that during the summer and the fall I think I was already unofficially filling that position.

In my first year at UCLA I went out to a few Samahang meetings and participated as a script writer for PCN, it was a learning experience. However, I didn't really feel in the right place. Aside from cultural performance, I wanted to get more involved with the Pilipino community on campus. Luckily I knew Theresa (through PCN) and JP (my SPEAR counselor). They coerced me into doing PTSP, jk.

I felt that working with transfer students was something I can do, because I remember how difficult it was for me to transfer. So I stepped up and became a peer advisor, then an Assistant Director. It wasn't easy handling internal direction for an outreach project, nor was it easy to relate the needs of the project to Executive Board. It was challenge to be apart of leadership, but it was an experience I am completely grateful for. So thanks goes out to JP and Theresa, for pulling me outta the weeds into student/community organizing.

Of course I cannot speak favorably about PTSP without mentioning the bonds that I have built from my time with the org. Of course it also did help that I lived on Kelton Ave in close (and I mean close) proximity to other PTSPers.

Being a few years out of UCLA, I now understand the opportunity that I had in front of me while I was there. I am currently a community organizer here in the San Diego area, mainly working out of Mira Mesa area (aka 'Manila Mesa'). Without putting down San Diego, I tip my hat off to Los Angeles for what they have. San Diego is in catch-up mode with respect to community organizing in the Pilipino community. We got a different flavor down here (as we should). Each city is different. I am happy that I can I apply what I learned here in my own community.

Currently I am apart of three organizations:

FAVE (Filipino/a Americans for Veterans Equity) - In FAVE we organize youth around the demand for recognition and benefits for Filipno Veterans and their families.

Anakbayan - Anakbayan is a youth organization oriented around social justice issues of Filipinos across the diaspora. Our concerns lie mainly with the National Democratic movement in the Philippines.

KAMP (Kuya Ate Mentorship Program) - KAMP is a collective of Filipino/a youth teaching Philippine History and Culture to High School students (most in Filipino language class), with the intent of establishing Filipino Studies as an elective.

The interesting thing is that my gateway into KAMP and the rest of the orgs I am apart of came from my connections with PTSP alumni. So I currently organize in the San Diego area with PTSP alumni Ana Bravo and Eugene Gambol.

Furthermore, KAMP intially takes it's cues from PEP (Pinoy Educational Partnerships) in SF State. PEP is ran by Professor Allyson Cubales. If I am not mistaken, she is one of PTSPs founding mothers. So imagine my surprise when I join up and I am doing the unity clap again and talking about doing "Sala Talks". Moreover, we base our methodology on Frierean Critical Pedagogy. In short, these connections matter.

If anybody has any questions about my orgs, please feel free to ask me.

In Solidarity,



It All Falls Down

The summer before my first year on Executive Board, we had a meeting with SPACE and PREP. I think we were trying to discuss how we could all work together. PREP and SPACE were doing the outreach thing to high school students, and PTSP had plans of starting up Bayanihan. We were supposed to present what the "transfer experience" was like. At the time, I didnt really understand the significance of being a Pilipino/community college/transfer student, but at this meeting I began to understand my experience.

I have JP Bareng Schumacher to thank for that. He came up with a very unique, very relevant activity to help put the transfer experience into perspective. He played this song:

Listen to the first verse:

Man I promise, she's so self conscious/She has no idea what she's doing in college/That major that she majored in don't make no money/But she won't drop out, her parents will look at her funny/Now, tell me that ain't insecurrreThe concept of school seems so securrre/Sophmore three yearrrs aint picked a careerrr/She like fuck it, I'll just stay down herre and do hair/Cause that's enough money to buy her a few pairs of new Airs/Cause her baby daddy don't really careShe's so precious with the peer pressure/Couldn't afford a car so she named her daughter Alexus (a Lexus)/She had hair so long that it looked like weave/Then she cut it all off now she look like Eve/And she be dealing with some issues that you can't believe/Single black female addicted to retail and well

Doesn't it sound like a situation someone would be facing at the community college? "Sophmore 3 years ain't picked a career," "she has no idea what she doing in college," "won't drop out her parents'll look at her funny," and more. When I heard this I could relate. I didn't go through exactly the same thing, but a lot of the issues were similar.

I think we ended up labeling "All Falls Down" the "PTSP Song" for that year. I continued using this activity in future retreats, as I thought it seemed fitting and helped get across the issues PTSP looked to address. This activity was so relevant and effective for me, I implemented it into the Orientation program at the community college I worked at. It was an excellent way to engage new students and have them think about why they were going to college and obstacles they may face.

On that note, I think this would be an excellent activity to use at the focus groups that will be taking place next month. I will see if I can make it, and if so, I'm down to do this activity.


Being Pilipino/Filipino/Fil-Am Ain't Always Easy...Theresa's Intro

I guess since is my first entry in this blog, I should introduce myself. This could take forever, so I'll keep this short for now. =P

My PTSP stats include:
-Co-Founder AKA Mom of PTSP Bayanihan with JP
-PTSP Bayanihan's first official Director (and all the titles before Director)
-One of two of the first Alumni Advisors to PTSP (at least as far as I know)
-Co-author of the PTSP Bayanihan handbook (which I've still never seen the final version of, but -I bet probably needs some major revising), again with JP

All this is not to mention my many hats in Pilipino organizations and clubs and whatnot during my 2.5 years at UCLA, being that I am a transfer student. I graduated in 2005 to find myself pretty much unemployed, in debt, back at home, bored with life, car-less, newly-single--so pretty much in a terrible, terrible rut. Maybe this wasn't the best idea, but I thought med school (and more financial aid) would solve all these problems in one fantastic hit. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen...and I'm in my 3rd year, currently residing in Guadalajara, Mexico, to boot.

So I'm supposed to be studying, but I'll leave you with this story and question, and feel free to comment on this.

This weekend, I went to 2 super bowl parties. The first one, during the first half of the game, had tons of traditional football party food, drinks, yelling, and I was the only non-Mexican girl to boot, not to mention that there were only 5 girls there total. It was nice to be the only girl there that understood Futbol Americano as well. Anyway, that was one party. I went to another in the second half that was quite the opposite. It was quieter, less drinking, fast food, people studying in the other rooms, and I was literally the only person jumping around during plays and screaming at the TV. Perhaps one would think it was the 2 beers and tequila shot at the other party getting to me...but no. If you know me at all, you'll know that I'm like that during sports events as long as I feel I'm with people I'm comfortable with. After the game ended, we were just sitting around, sipping on beer and talking as people started to leave. About 2 more beers in, I couldn't drive anywhere just yet and stuck around.

Conversation went around...we were all joking around and such, when, to make a long story short, one of my friends started talking about race. I threw in my usual quip about myself: in Mexico, before I can say a word of my awful Spanish which completely lacks an accent, most people look at me and I am almost certain they think one of the following:
-She's Mexican.
-She's Asian...I think.
-I have no idea where this girl is from.
I swear most people think the third of the above the most often, as people constantly ask me where I'm from, especially after I talk. Usually I say California, but sometimes people ask for a more...in-depth answer. And some of those people have no idea where the Philippines is anyway, so I've just learned to let this go. This all is no longer weird to me, and that's where the story turns ugly.

You tell me--how would you respond to this statement:
Pilipinos are the Mexicans of Asian. Your last names are all Spanish like the Mexicans.

Perhaps fueled by the alcohol, I was pissed. My friend tried to play it off like we were all making fun of each other, that I was being too emotional in response to this, and that is was just 'cause I was drinking (by the way, I wasn't drunk either). He and my other friend walked off for a bit, and I stayed lying on the couch, trying not to explode. I left shortly after that, for more reasons than stayed here, but we haven't really talked since then (I'm hoping to soon) and I'm still kinda pissed.
Never mind we're on a different continent.
Never mind we have roots and history that go well past the time when Spain colonized us.
Never mind we've been colonized by countries other than Spain that have altered our nation's history and culture.
Never mind we don't speak Spanish in the Philippines as a primary language, definitely not as our national language.
Never mind I've personally struggled with my Pilipino-American identity before UCLA and afterwards still.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not insulted by the idea that we're like Mexicans. I have learned that we do have things in common with them for sure, and things that are different. I have nothing against Mexicans.
It's just that...his statement is moot, and makes light of all the ways that the Pilipino culture is one of its own. It hit me right in the gut. I'm still pissed just thinking about it.

I just wanted to know how you all feel about that, especially seeing as how I'm so detached from the world of Cali, where we Pilipinos/Filipinos/Fil-Ams are pretty much everywhere.

That's all for now.


En Fotografias: Traveling Thru My First Job

Few months out of college, I got quite a few boos and nos left and right from potential employers. I did have this very odd and awkward hang-up with this boys home who'd offered me a job as a youth counselor, but told me that they lost my fingerprints so that pissed away 2 months of my time. It was just clank city as far as job-landing was concerned.

Keep in mind that I applied almost exclusively to nonprofit organizations cause I'm apparently not interested in making any kind of money and sort of had an impractical, natural aversion for corporate America, which is now officially ironic considering that my jobs to date have been centered on finding different ways of making money. And the different ways of making money often involve making nice with corporate America's various giving programs in support of my organization(s) and their work.

Give or take about 7 months of pondering my life goals, and thru strings of volunteering at various Los Angeles organizations, in February 2007, someone finally decided to say to me, why the hell not, come join us!

I felt a good vibe kick in when I kept emphasizing how much I loved writing, how I did that ish in my sleep, whether I was arguing on a basketball message board or whether a 66-page Academic Year Proposal for Bayanihan.

So...I worked as a Resource Development Specialist in support of LA County's Public Housing programs.

Basically I was someone who wrote proposals to people with money and did some other marketing stuff. A type of salesman who writes stuff to people with money. One of my cousins called that "intellectual/white-collar hustling."

Implicit in that job description was a whole lot of researching and pattern-finding while at a desk for 8 hours straight in a typical office building structure thing. I would call people, interview them, and occasionally travel to different sites. This was all quite alright for me, I did the best I could with it.

What really made the job however was becoming acquainted with the different subcultures and populations: the "work" subculture packed with office politics and gossip, the East Los subculture, the Long Beach subculture, the public housing population, the volunteer population.

This was in August during USC's first week of school hanging out at one of the housing sites. What USC does is have this kind of volunteer week where people sign up to volunteer at a place in the community. Was kinda alright, lot of kiddie kid 1st years though.

When you work in nonprofit development, you do a lot of schmoozing and networking. It's part of the work, which is relatively alright, especially after spending all your time up to the event making signs, setting up stuff, and cold calling lots of people.

The funnest Thanksgiving celebration ever. We had a Souljah Boy Contest at one of the sites.

I always gave her a smile when she peeked into the lunch room. I didn't know she had a lot to say about immigrants. Sorry, but I was hella disappointed when I learned that she already had a kid and a husband.

Three Mexican ladies that ate with me almost every other lunch, and took me out to a place during my last week. They're Mexican so they knew Mexican and gave me Mexican.

Other people threw me a party, sort of, like these Asian women here! Actually, there was some kind of baby shower or something as the cause of celebration.

The place was pretty much female-dominated. Women of color, too. Something they made mention of at orientation. I was the only guy who worked in my department at the office, which might've made the dynamic a little weird at times, but I was just content to be there and listen to whatever they said.