The Filipinos are in the middle of a clash with China, yet, they seem to love everything Chinese. How can this love and hate relationship be clarified?
According to Teresita Ang-See (one of the main organizers of Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran (United for Prosperity, an NGO campaigning for the integration of ethnic Chinese into mainstream society), the ethnic Chinese is composed of a diminutive but prominent fraction of the national persona. They’re close to 1.2 million people out of the 105 million national population.
She described the local ethnic Chinese population as distinct in all of Southeast Asia due to their “uniformity” and came mainly from the port city of Quanzhou in Fujian.
In the 1990s, the word Tsinoy was promoted due to the escalating problems brought about by overstaying aliens who were charged with smuggling and engaged in illegal drugs. A combination of two Tagalog words – Tsino, for Chinese, and Pinoy, referring to the Philippines or everything Filipino. According to Ang-See, the word was coined not aiming to stir division but to isolate themselves from media racial labelling.
Even prior to Magellan’s discovery of the Philippines, the Chinese and Filipinos were already friends. Their ties have been reinforced over the years being next door neighbors living in one vast ocean. Many Filipinos and Chinese have inter-married. They have established Chinatown and numerous Chinese communities and obviously, thousands of Filipinos have Chinese blood.
Chinese food has always been a huge part of Filipino cuisine, the likes of siopao, siomai and pancit. Although most of the Filipinos are Catholic, they also commemorate Chinese festivals and strongly believe in Feng Shui and adhere to a number of Chinese customs.
Within the Philippines, numerous Chinese families have been contributors to its growth and development. They have good business acumen and have shown many Filipinos a sense of enterprise. They are scattered all over the country and seem to be the frontrunners (especially in business) in key cities like Cebu, Davao, Manila, and Zamboanga. While they work really hard and succeeded, the “new” rich Filipinos in these areas are mostly public officials who just became wealthy in “government service” and from the usual corruption practices many Filipino politicians are known of.
In recent years though, Chinese traders who previously have been sociable and who valued territorial restrictions, appear to be taken over by their government that has become heartless, roguish and seemingly untrustworthy. Gradually, China seems to desire in overpowering Philippine seas. All of a sudden, the Chinese government becomes so insatiable. How come, after just a few years of “embracing” the world from being a close-door communist nation, they appear to no longer recognize territorial boundaries?
Perhaps, this is the reason why Filipinos now hate the Chinese and everything else “made in China”?
Migration from China to the Philippines continues to baffle some Filipinos. One can see the illegal aliens saturating Divisoria in Manila selling goods from China, nobody’s even sure if their businesses are legal.
At present, it appears that China has re-assessed and “reshaped” its relationship with the Philippines. Can the Philippine government continue to be unswerving in its stand? With the way things are going, how can the Philippines establish trust with the Chinese?
Can the Filipinos ever like the Tsinoys ever again?