Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Tribes have spoken


Three years is all you need to become a Dutch national if you are, a. married to a Dutch citizen and b. partner of a Dutch citizen [living together]. If I am not mistaken, most countries, if not all, require a five year stretch uninterrupted stay and hey catchy-catchy, you must be married. Well not in good ole liberal Netherlands.

Anyway, my time has come. I now have to face the music and hand in the Dutch certificates that I have labored and realized in the past years to get this alleged Dutch citizenship. But complacency has struck me and it’s been long overdue for months already. On the other hand, there were experiences told and responses received about this plan of action. They were quite varied, some fascinating and others, well hilarious.

On one camp, they shout gleefully, “Freedom!” without guilt. Oh is that so?

On the next, all you hear are grumbles with downcast foreheads and eyebrows meeting together. I suppose someone just died.

On the other camp was a mix of both but chanting a persuasive rationale of “I have no choice?” A few had remorse, others not and some pretended.

Then you have another camp, which felt they are larger than life and simply didn’t care. Giving up your citizenship or not, it doesn’t matter.




OPPORTUNISTIC Camp

The justification to let go was freedom to travel, freedom to equal opportunities and freedom to suffrage within their host country. Fine, those are valid arguments indeed.

For one, banging on the doors of embassies to beg for that shouldn’t-have-been-coveted tourist visa whilst showing off your financial meaning as an individual, e.g. bank statements, credit card certification, latest income tax return, etcetera can be tasking, annoying and humiliating. It is distressful; I would feel naked up to my last peso. It’s like being a hesitant stripper, but stripped anyway. The protocol was to sell who you are in order to get that approval which in the first place is absolute bigotry.

Two, equal opportunities; true some job breaks do require local citizenship, or say it gives you the advantage and equips you to soar high to greater heights. It looks like concealed discrimination, and upon careful analysis, *frowns* it really is. It’s just coated and institutionalized with legal sanction. You just have to either, take it or leave it.

Suffrage is a different story however, to which for most, will only affect them when they are too engrossed in their host country, that they want to join the fray and meddle with the local affairs. Fair enough.

There is also the unpopular other side of the coin… where opportunism was never laid easy in front of these group of people; they have to, with blood and sweat search for it and once found, grab and hold the chance like their life depends on it, even if what they are holding on to resembles a dagger... which incidentally brings me to this occasion, the leeway to rant ---

Why are people acting like little heathen elitists? Mandela has been freed but alas apartheid is still alive, not in the black and white guise but through colored genres of economic estrangement. Why the bloodthirsty mentality in casting segregation treatments and biases on Filipinos wanting out... especially to those who went through desperate and creative measures such as working abroad marginally or say marrying that hideous foreigner?

Aren’t they just like each one of us, opportunists [the term is really not that awful for we all have to be opportunists to feed ourselves], but they just happen to fall under the poverty level group?

Some would argue; it is not our place and right to cast such judgments. But ah, man is weak. Gossip is certainly stimulating if it’s NOT US unless of course we have some masochist tendencies or we are aspiring to be the next celebrity icon thus the desperate need for that gossip endorsement.

I do acknowledge that these are crucial societal issues that must be addressed [in the Philippines]. As the saying goes, “If there is smoke, there must be a fire”, and usually there are reasons why the fire was started. I guess life is that hard for them that they must resort to such drastic procedures and close their eyes to an unhappy or painful future.

There is one thing though that I know, our unanimous human instinct is SURVIVAL and this transcends passports, nationalities and borders of this world. That is the naked truth.

PATRIOTIC Camp

The patriotic camp steps forward with their right hand covering their heart, “I am a Filipino and will stay as a Filipino… forever”. How idealistic and admirable… zeg.

I think nationalists are great commendable people for they provide the spirit and mores of a country. But please MY EXCUSES... what really unnerves me with this patriotism talk is when it is applied and taken to great extremes. That for me is not only embarrassing but it also displays utter arrogance. Why the unwanted zeal of, “Hey look at me, I am a [insert any citizenship here] citizen!” Really, calm down, there is no need to vindicate yourself that you are a citizen of this so-called country or you’re a damn Filipino. If you check thesaurus, nationalistic has synonyms such as patriotic, jingoistic, chauvinistic and xenophobic. So be normal please.

But away from this patriotism fracas, isn’t life supposed to be just simple? We didn’t choose to be born with XYZ citizenship in ABC country. We didn’t choose to have white, brown, black and yellow parents.

So as simple as it is, being a Filipino is my [or your] BIRTH RIGHT. That also means; no one can take that away from me and you, not our parents, not our partners nor a government, powerful or not. Doing the act of allegiance is a OK but it will just be quite superficial since in reality you and I will never be Dutch or [insert another nationality here]. In man’s view, this is the ideal and legal way but the laws of nature are always above the ideals and legalities of man. If the powerful laws of man can crumble and fall down just like what happened during the World War I and II, then everyone can say, be a citizen of QRST country or die! Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I am encouraging everyone to go out there and commit insurrection.

I have told the Dutchman, “I will never become a Dutch woman even if I have a Dutch passport, dye my hair blonde, wear blue contact lenses, bleach my skin pale, speak flawless Dutch, carry the secular mentality and bike everyday, I will always remain a Filipino because that is my BIRTH RIGHT”. And I don’t even think that’s nearly being patriotic nor should I make a rah-rah out of it, that is just the unblemished simple truth.

Although, I do believe that if you were born in an intercultural relationship or say you are a Filipino born outside the Philippines; then is the BIRTH RIGHT line of reasoning could be flawed and will not apply. There would have to be an additional theory.

I HAVE NO CHOICE Camp

I have no choice, it was just really the best thing to do” -I know, so stop yelping.

This logic is shall I say, weak, because realistically we all have a choice, perhaps not in certain things, such as we didn’t choose our parents and where we were born, but we do have a choice whether to retain our citizenship and not.

So why is it so hard to just say the simple truth of “Having ABC citizenship will give me better vantage”, “I don’t like it, but I am doing it anyway”, or “I feel like a traitor but it’s the best thing to do” or better yet “I’ve always hated feeling like a second rated citizen that’s why…”.

Those were more honest answers than saying -I have no choice?-

Nevertheless, I would like to also highlight that some people really do feel that they have no choice because they have weak personalities. Others I supposed were suffering from identity crisis, many in fact do, until now. And as previously said, some were pretending; pretending to have remorse, pretending to have no choice and pretending to feel bad when it’s the other way around. Hey it’s like TV! Quit it, nothing is real with TV.

When you woke up, took a shower and brushed your teeth – it was your choice. When you picked that blue outfit with the orange shoe and stepped out of that door – it was your choice. When you went in that municipal office and asked for that form to fill up your change of citizenship – it was your choice. When you pledged your oath in front of your new flag – it was your choice.

So don’t bullshit around. Be honest. It was your choice.

LET IT BE Camp

This is the unorthodox of all camps.

I have met several people who actually belong to this type of reasoning. Most of them have the uninhibited attitude of “Bahala na” [Let it be]. The Beatles were almost right when they created that song. But must it always be that we let things and events let gone, just let it be? Not quite I suspect since everyone doesn’t always feel and think as abandoned and free spirited like a bird.

It also seem that this group doesn’t have the “I will die for my country”, “I am ashamed of my country” and the “I am torn apart which country” hung-ups.

I am not really sure if this standpoint deserves respect? It’s like, I am gone with the wind, wherever it takes me, there I will go, Amen. Up to some point, it speaks of escaping from responsibility. Why will you let it be when you actually have a choice?

Although on second thought, it also suggests valor and adventure; to explore, to uncover, to try, to risk, to let go.

Hmm, I actually like spontaneous people but not all the time.

But all ends well, I’ll have to say that after growling too much in this entry, I am still the lucky bastard because the Netherlands and Philippines are willing to give me DUAL CITIZENSHIP with my original untarnished Filipino name on it.

Life is good, I am going to have the best of both worlds.

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