Long time ago, in another universe, I dreamed of the Filipino people getting closer to Asia. I grew up in an American-dominated religious community and I felt I needed to get to know the Asian in me. So, I went to the Asian Center at the University of the Philippines and completed a master’s degree in Asian Studies. My research interest was on Post-Mao China when Deng Xiaoping adopted a more pragmatic approach towards building the People’s Republic of China.
However, my family and I ended up living in Vancouver. We were immersed in a Chinese community and I studied TaiChi under a local ‘sifu’ (teacher). I took the discipline seriously and enjoyed harmonious connection with nature.
I continued searching for the Asian in me, philosophically and theologically, at the Vancouver School of Theology, University of British Columbia. I started integrating the Western and the Eastern aspects of my understanding of Reality.
With the new development happening in our foreign policy, I guess I have to review my Mandarin and update my academic interest on East Asian Studies, particularly China.
My youthful dream to become a part of a generation to reconnect our people to our Asian roots is still alive and kicking. And at 60, it seems I’ll have the opportunity to watch and see our people embrace our own history, minimizing, if not eliminating, the imposition of the American lenses through which we were trained to understand reality. For most of our people, this is like going through a withdrawal syndrome from a long addictive Western cultural and historical comfort zone. We will be facing much uncertainty and discomfort as we go back home to Asia.
So help us, Lord of History and God of Justice!