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Documentary on Filipino teachers

| filipino, philippines

Via School Librarian in Action (eruannie): Tals Diaz will make a documentary on Filipino teachers going to the US to work and teach. More info

I watched a documentary about the difficulties domestic helpers face
when they reunite with their families after years apart. “When
Strangers Meet” – it’s available at the Canadian Film Board.

I want to watch a documentary on techie migration, too. I’d love to
help make that happen.

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Philippine fashion

| clothing, philippines

What would it take to convince, say, someone like
Pitoy Moreno to transform Filipino clothing from formal wear to everyday wear?

He dresses the First Ladies in fabulous ternos. What about the common tao?

I wonder what can I do to get in touch with him and to convince him to give it a try. Hmm. Something to work on every now and then…

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E-Mail from Richi’s server

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The malong and other fragments of Philippine culture

| clothing, philippines

Red malong, style 2

One of the good things about Canada is that I can wear funky ethnic
outfits. I invariably get complimented whether I’m at a geek
get-together or a fashion boutique. I stand out in a crowd. It gives
people something to talk to me about, which has led to quite a few
interesting conversations. This is great when I’m among strangers, as
I don’t have to chat people up – people come to me!

My favorite ethnic outfit is the malong, a tubular piece of cloth
frequently embellished with batik designs or embroidery. I love it for
its versatility. Not only can it go from casual to formal and back
again, but I can also make it a skirt or a dress or a bag with just
the strategic repositioning of safety pins.

This malong:

  1. Slip into the malong’s tube and hold it so that the extra part is to your right.
  2. Loop the extra part behind and over your right arm.
  3. Fasten the part to both sides of the tube using a safety pin.
  4. Pin the fold to the opposite side.

Granted, I’m making things up as I go along. I don’t even have the
vocabulary to describe what I’m doing. <laugh> I’ll just have to
record a video sometime.

I’ve seen only one other person wear a malong regularly, and she was
one of the hippest dressers in Ateneo de Manila University. I have
three full malongs and two skirt-type malongs, which could probably
double as short dresses in a pinch. I want more!

Promoting traditional Filipino costumes is one of my little crusades.
I think we don’t give our culture enough credit, and we don’t have
nearly as much fun wearing traditional outfits as we could. I love
wearing my terno, and wish I had a more casual version that I could
wear during summer. I’d wear a Maria Clara if I had one, full skirt
and all. I would love to wear the Ifugao belt with the cute pompoms
and the tapis with intricate weaving. And I want to discover all the
other costumes that have sprung out of the multifaceted culture of an
archipelago.

I’d also love to have suits with ethnic accents, whether it’s in terms
of materials (I miss my barong dress!) or embellishments such as
weaving or embroidery. Does anyone know a fashion designer in touch
with the Filipina soul? I can’t afford an entire wardrobe of
custom-made suits, but I don’t mind slowly accumulating pieces of
quality. (Very slowly, given my graduate student budget!) I want to
promote Philippine culture, and this will be a lifelong endeavor.

I’m Filipina, and I want people to know it. I want people to think of
Filipinas as not just domestic helpers or nurses or potential wives. I
want them to think of Philippine culture as not just Western-aping
blandness but rather something richly textured. My body is my
billboard, and I want to be a walking advertisement for what is
beautiful about my home.

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Batik and ethnic clothes

| clothing, filipino, philippines

Wearing a batik malong

I love wearing ethnic clothes. Traditional outfits are hip enough to
pass off as casual but dignified enough to go formal, possible with a
little creative re-pinning. I love wearing batik-dyed or embroidered
malongs, the simple tubular skirts that can be turned into dresses and
sashes and sleeping bags depending on need. I love wearing my
butterfly-sleeved terno and wish I had one that looked less formal.
The gold-threaded cream blouse makes it too dressy, but I wear it
anyway!

Of all the costumes I wear—from hacked computer T-shirts to flowing
skirts to jeans and a tee—I like the traditional ones the most.

Thanks, Mom, for sending me two more malongs and a few black tops!
Thanks to Pavel and Emily for bringing them from the Philippines!
I want more outfits…

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More thoughts on Barcamp, no answers

| barcamp, philippines, purpose, sad

Dominique helpfully offered suggestions on adapting
BarCamp to the Philippines. He said that
it was doable, but challenging. He asked me the top five people I’d
like to be there. He suggested having interdisciplinary talks by
invited speakers on entrepreneurship, physics, biology, etc. Many of
the Linux geeks who regularly speak at events would no doubt turn up,
too.

I had such a strong reaction against his ideas that I had to stop
myself from being frustrated. I recognized that I felt he didn’t
understand what unconferences were about. I also recognized that I
couldn’t yet articulate the differences between unconferences and
conferences in a way that would make the changes and benefits clear. I
was frustrated, yes, but I was frustrated with myself for being unable
to figure out how to hack unconferences into Filipino culture without
turning the event into yet another thing that divides speakers from
audience instead of creating a community of participants.

I knew Dominique wanted to help me think things through, but the
strength and irrationality of my reaction made me realize that I
needed to first think things over with people who know the
unconference culture and who may have insights into helping a new
community adapt.

I need more insight from people like Chris Messina and David Crow. How
does one hack unconferences into a society’s culture? How can I help
people go from a strongly hierarchical culture to a flatter one? Must
ask Don Marti, too…

I don’t have answers. I don’t even know where to start. One good thing
is that I can recognize when I’m hitting a wall, though. When I heard
Dominique repeat his suggestion for inviting talks from outside
disciplines and I knew I just couldn’t listen well enough to do him
credit, I thanked Dominique for sharing his thoughts and confessed my
inability to discuss things further at this time. I need to talk to
the others first. I need to figure things out.

You know, it’s just _so_ tempting to not think about how to hack
something like unconferences into Philippine society. It would be so
easy to just enjoy the fruits of other people’s labor in a tech
culture that’s starting to take off. But I want to bring these ideas
home…

And you know what? Maybe I don’t need to figure out how to get people
out of their chairs and into the conversation. Maybe I can focus on
just meeting the Web 2.0 entrepreneurs, the connectors who are
reaching out to me and to each other. I’d like to meet them in person
and get them to talk to each other. Maybe I don’t have to think about
doing that this August. Maybe I can do that this December, if I can
afford to go home.

I don’t feel bad about being asked tough questions. I feel bad about
not knowing the answers and not even being able to explain why
something doesn’t feel right. I just need to talk to more people and
try more things in order to figure out what to do.

And I seriously need hot chocolate and a hug, but that’s just because
I’m feeling all lost again… I’ll try to postpone thinking about it
until Friday, as I’m booked until then.

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Random Japanese sentence: うちの猫って甘えん坊で、どこでも私のあと着いて来るのよね。 My cat is such a baby, she follows me around wherever I go.

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Philippines 2.0

| entrepreneurship, geek, philippines

Joey de Villa posted a very interesting article on how to be Silicon Valley. Geeks at home: read this and let’s make it happen. We don’t need to be Silicon Valley, but we can still do something really cool.

(Incidentally, Joey’s from Manila, and he now works at Tucows in Toronto.)

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Random Japanese sentence: 猫がネズミを嗅ぎつけたようですね。 Seems like the cat had the wind of a rat.

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Team of Filipino Students Win MIT Entrepreneurship

| business, entrepreneurship, philippines

From: “Santamaria, Samuel” SSantamaria AT aicpa.org

Here’s another victory we can be proud of. Tell your friends about it.
A team of Filipino MIT students headed by Illac Diaz won the Grand Prize for
the US$ 100K MIT Entrepreneurship Competition’s development track for their
business, CentroMigrante, Inc. Read on.

Their project, focused on a business model for social entrepreneurship in the
Philippines, beat out several other amazing ideas. Impoverished people in
developing countries leave their rural hometowns and flock to urban areas to
seek employment but are usually unable to afford decent lodging while
searching and waiting for jobs. In the Philippines, as many as 1 million
Filipinos a year spend up to 3 months away from their home provinces and in
Manila’s port areas looking for jobs as seafarers, most of them living in
shanties under depressed and undignified living conditions. CentroMigrante
Inc. combines developmental architecture with a self-help business model to
offer a sustainable solution that provides clean, safe and affordable urban
housing for such indigent, transient job seekers.

The MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition is designed to encourage students
and researchers in the MIT community to act on their talent, ideas and energy
to produce tomorrow’s leading firms. Now in its 16th year, the Competition
has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and business startup
services to outstanding teams of student entrepreneurs who submitted business
plans for new ventures showing significant business potential. The refinement
process of the Competition, its network of mentors, investors and potential
partners, and the cash prizes awarded have helped many of these teams to act
on their dreams and build their own companies and fortunes.

The MIT Entrepreneurship Competition provides teams who enter with valuable
resources in the following areas crucial to successful entrepreneurship:

  • Networks of world-class entrepreneurs, investors, and potential partners
  • Mentorship by successful and seasoned professionals
  • Content rich feedback on their business model from world class entrepreneurs, investors, and professional service providers on our Judging [panel?]
  • Teambuilding opportunities to create a winning team of founders
  • Broad media exposure and PR buzz

See attached photo or at:

http://mit100k.net

Way cool!

E-Mail from Harvey V. Chua

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Random Japanese sentence: 休暇中、近所の人がうちの猫の世話をしてくれた。 While we were on holiday, a neighbor took care of our cat.

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