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How apt, that while I am preparing for a lengthy trip back to the Philippines, Amir calls me with news that he produced an abridged version of the film we made four years ago, “my break ups into a million pieces.” (He directed/edited/produced, I wrote/produced/was in it.)

Parts of it — stuff I said and thought, my clothes, my hair, who I was with, what I felt about race relations — make me cringe now. I feel so far removed from it, and yet at the same time it kind of feels like I’m watching my high school diary. I always did maintain that moving to the U.S. induced a second (cultural?) adolescence for me.

Other parts — the music, shots of the Bassland studio, the memory of shooting it with a group of people who’ve since then gone crazy, killed themselves, stopped talking to each other or fought drug addictions — make me nostalgic. And proud, at the same time. Like, I lived through this.

Like a high school diary, the short is a flashback of what my life in Orange County was like when my life was 180 degrees different from my life today. I had a band, I lived with a group of musicians, I lived in California, I lived in a community where the minority was the majority, surrounded by art and music. I had never owned a coat, barely drank beer, and had no idea what it was like to work in a newspaper. And now that my life is changing again, maybe I should say I’m 270 degrees different — I’m already on my way back to a full circle.

Anyway, the abridged version is every bit as good as the original. Please watch it, then vote for it.

This is a Bubble Gang video about a kid and her nanny. Yes, I could relate, and the actors are FRIKKIN spot on, but I don’t know what it says about me and all of Philippine culture that this is considered hilarious.

It perfectly illustrates the power struggle between a nanny and her ward. A yaya, or nanny, is someone who is supposed to be able to control and discipline a child, but at the same time, the child knows that her parents employ the nanny and ultimately, the child knows she has power over the nanny.

My cousin said, “maids are the ultimate punchline in the Philippines.” That makes me sad for obvious reasons. At the same time, the layers of socio-economic stratification are so deeply embedded that I think the psyche makes up ways to differentiate between the master/servant so that even when you know its wrong, you still allow yourself to perpetuate/participate in the system.