Saturday, October 26, 2013

New digs

So guess what? I let the domain name expire out of a bout of laziness so I registered the .ca instead. Reader, hie thee to from now on.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The return

After years of silence, Sarapen has returned. By which I mean that I’ve started blogging again, and at a completely new site. It’s honestly taken me too long to get back into blogging, but by gum, I’m back and I’m not going anywhere.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I've moved bloghosts

Actually, I changed bloghosts two months ago, but I'm only now putting up the news. I've already finished recruiting and interviewing informants, so I'm not worried that I might have missed people to talk to, but just in case someone out there wants to know more, I'm announcing my new digs. I know, I doubt too many people will be interested, but a couple of anthropologists and blog researchers have tracked me down before, so for their benefit I'm doing this again. Anyway, my new blog is over here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A preview of the real Sarapen (please stand up)

Penpen de sarapen
de kutsilyo de almasen.
Haw haw de carabao

Sayang pula, walang pera.
Sayang puti, walang salapi.

That is a children’s rhyming chant from the Philippines. Specifically, it’s a Tagalog rhyming chant. There are different versions, but I suspect mine is slightly wrong. What can I say, it’s been years since I learned all this stuff. My brother says it’s “Sayang pula, tatlong pera” and so on, and my uncle adds the verse:

Sipit namimilipit
Gintong Pilak
Sa tabi ng DAGAT!

He also says that there are more verses that he can’t remember. But what does the rhyme mean? You got me, I only have a Grade 4 education in Tagalog. I think it’s a nonsense rhyme anyway. “Kutsilyo” is knife, “almasen” is warehouse (in Spanish), and “carabao” is water buffalo. The “sayang pula” verse makes no sense to me at all: Too bad it’s red, there’s no money, too bad it’s white, there’s no money? What is that supposed to mean? I originally remembered this as “oras pula” and “oras puti” or “red time” and “white time”, but no one else in my family remembers this version, so perhaps I just made it up.

My uncle’s verse is more intelligible. I don’t know what the first line means, the Tagalog is too deep for my pitiful Taglish to decode. “Gintong pilak” should probably be “Ginto’t pilak” or “gold and silver”. Then it would be, “gold and silver flower beside the sea” for the rest of the verse.

I know, this is really muddled. Still, this confusion helps to illustrate several points I’d like to make about migration, diasporas, and identity. First, my admittedly poor Tagalog language skills are not unusual for second generation Filipinos or for 1.5 generation people like me. This probably has to do with the fact that 1st generation Filipinos are already relatively proficient at English compared to other immigrants, and therefore their children have less incentive to learn Tagalog. The reason so many Filipinos are already fluent in English, though, is that the Philippines was once a colony of the United States. Even though the Philippines was officially granted independence in 1946, the colonial period still exerts a strong influence on events today. It’s common for ex-colonies to supply immigrants to the former colonial master — look, for example, at France, where Algerians are a significant minority, or look at the United Kingdom, where people from the Caribbean can be found in abundance. In other words, even today colonizers still profit from their former empires. In order to understand the present, one must turn to the past.

Read more?

It begins

I started this blog merely as a way for me to post comments on Blogger.

My real blog is Sarapen, which is a research blog I write for my Master's research on Filipino bloggers. Briefly, the project examines transnational identity among Filipino bloggers. I'm a social anthropology grad student, so expect things to get theoretical at times. I'm also a 1.5 generation Filipino Canadian, so this research has a certain personal meaning to me. (If you're wondering what 1.5 generation means, then feel free to go to Sarapen and see for yourself)

I put Sarapen at because first, it's free and has absolutely no ads (it started as a philanthropic project by some Australian millionaire -- $9000/year for hosting fees is peanuts to the mega-rich). Second, it's powered by WordPress, which is a very flexible piece of software. Third, it lets you build wikis. And finally, it's neutral territory -- it's not Livejournal, it's not Myspace, it's not Xanga or Blogspot or MSN Spaces or TypePad or whatever.

And that, dear reader, is that.