You don’t mind me constantly sharing my homeworks in my blog, right? :)
Throughout the course of Philippine history, different types of social disputes have marred every possible action the country would have done in order to attain sustainable growth. Popular issues which have withstood the perils brought by the sands of time while living in tedious fray—with reference to civic dilemma—include the general thought of Muslims being terrorists, the rage of the puritan Catholic Church against the implementation of the RH Bill, and the struggle of the Low from the unjust trampling upon of the High. However, to assert my thoughts in blunt paradox, the country is home to a large population of people with various culture, faith, and moral upbringing. Thus, it’s barely qualified to achieve uniformity and equality in any way. Nevertheless, Filipinos aren’t easy to be rendered submissive. They remain profoundly dedicated to their creed and however profoundly dedicated to their creed and hence, continue to struggle for the belief they hold on to.
More and more people from the heterogeneous race choose to break the plebeian habit and stand up to declare their goals through intrepid upheavals. From scholarly debates to fearless street occupations, the options on how one would strive to defy the opposition seemed to appear in a continuum. Such sociological dispute can never be sincerely reconciled. The victor can only be decided by outranking the other, granting defeat to the less revered. Yet, the phase seemed to be spun in circles. Righteous and zealous Filipinos, those who veer away from malice caused by bribery, prove themselves to be undaunted individuals who defend their opinions by spurning the adversary’s tricky pledge for acquiescence. With a strong character and an oath that survives, the boldest ones struggle to be heard and shove away compliance, if it would mean to protect the least unalterable thing humankind has bequeathed them: identity.
Arts and literature are probably the most venerated devices people rely on when it comes to the need for something to quench their thirst for knowledge, entertainment, or just a nonsensical way to have fun. And among others, these can be considered as the most favored means to disseminate one’s thought—or should I say ‘advocacy’—to publicity. Different forms of arts provide certain importance to draw an observer into persuasion, or at least open his mind to whatever message they want to convey. But as long as humankind is still addressed to have a mind of his own and are wholly distinct from automatons, the observer himself still holds the right to see the work in a sense he opt to believe.
By watching two fruits of something that aims to deliver a similar implication, I’ve had a better grasp of the value of protecting one’s identity—or rather my identity. To have an unflinching pride for oneself despite the hindrances that surround is needed too. I have understood it through the lives of a group of OFWs who despite of the raging war and sociopolitical differences, chose to make their work-driven stay in Israel more joyful by taking night shifts at a resident bar and flaunt their true selves. Embrace their true identities.
By scanning some of the reviews posted on Paper Dolls’ page in rottentomatoes.com, I’ve been introduced to the catch they commonly share. They’ve interpreted the documentary as something that implores watchers to give recognition and acceptance to transgender males. And being a mortal creature as I am, who has tendencies to be aloof and semi-permeable at times, I managed to accept their views and claim to have the same as my own. To be honest, I never tried to meddle with my thoughts again or put more mind into it and left it as it is, arrested by the words given by movie buffs. Not that I choose to be fathomless though. Anyway, when I finally saw the prompt and read the guide questions, I knew I had better look back on it and drift into a fitter and less bigoted conclusion.
Reading it again with the immersion of the word “identity” in my mind, I inferred Paper Dolls as a film that doesn’t take the hoisting of colors as it only aim. Upon saying so, I should have already verified that what other people on rottentomatoes have said didn’t vilify the true purpose of the documentary. In fact, that was the most familiar brief idea everyone would have had the moment they see it. But by seeing the picture in a broader sense, one will perceive how the characters tried to let the light of their incandescent lamps survive amidst the harsh, humid winds of Israel. The faithful and more sensible thought could by observed not only from the characters themselves, but as well as how they cope with the foreign environment and lives as a whole. A group of transsexuals hit the stage in sky-high heels and fabulous drag outfits during the cold of the night, and then at day, they shed their colorful nocturne fashion into basic working clothes, ready to serve their old orthodox Jewish employers. Yes, the conversations they had and the interviews they’ve given didn’t have consistent comedic tone in them—which others might think to be vital for gay characters—but how they managed to keep a bright outlook while struggling in an outlandish land is somehow striking. That and seeing the smiles on their faces made me remember the general description known about us Filipinos. How, despite of all the troubles, challenges and wickedness of life we have experienced, we still have reasons to laugh as if the problem has already dissolved into oblivion.
On the other hand, the musical adaptation of Paper Dolls, Care Divas, contrived to duplicate the esteemed thought in a more jocund mood. While the documentary kind of affects in a more serious tone, the play has put rich extravagance to reach out the story to the watchers in the most splendid way it can. The cast were all very amiable and charming in their own acts of portrayal. It has been successful in presenting the vivid context of drama, comedy, and a bit of romance in the characters’ lives, while accentuating another precious part of the story—the unbreakable bond of friendship the Divas are blessed with. How the lives of the characters under their employers differ from one another would be noticed too, and therefore judged accordingly. Among them all, Chelsea seemed to have the most fortunate life in Israel—a kind employer, a steady job, and even a potential lover—but the tables have made an abrupt turn when his beau crossed the border-line of intifada trouble and has dragged Chelsea’s to a tragic fate in the end. Shai, the fastidious leader of the group, Kaila, the caregiver on the run, Joni, the seldom noticed entertainer, and Thalia, the gorgeous airhead—all of them knew that there was no use in grieving too much for the death of a beloved friend. So, using Chelsea’s advices and radiance as their guide, the bereaved Divas didn’t take life to a full stop but continue writing it down with a bunch of ellipsis. All in all, the musical play was a feat. Care Divas retained its wistful aim to bring the viewers to a confluence of open-mindedness.
It is not necessary that you have to be part of the LGBT community in order to understand whole-heartedly the message advocated by Paper Dolls and Care Divas. To OFWs for instance, an important lesson in life could be learned from viewing the aforementioned works. The transgender male characters, despite a multitude of concerns—their job, family, and the watchful eyes of a foreign environment—have pursued their dreams of performing as drag queens inside a bar. It would only be during those times that they can flaunt all together their homosexuality to its fullness. Protect your identity. Do not let yourself be trampled upon. To have the littlest chance to prove yourself as unique is the most wonderful thing an estranged overseas worker could do in a foreign land.
One frequent reason that hinders an individual from revealing his natural identity is the powerful trend of stereotyping, wherein one prejudices another person through a general image that he will conclude from the subject’s prevailing features. For me, this preconceived judgment is an appalling misdemeanor of personhood. It tries to consistently constrain someone until he withdraws from his appeals or defining an identity opposing the forthcoming. It’s one of the major faux pas society has crafted and endured, for after it came a surge of other disputes followed suit. People start to think it’s kindness to rectify someone out of a certain personality, deed, or ideal, and coerce him to align himself on what the majority thinks is correct. Shouts of protests are deafened, defenses are abashed. Those who are less in count have their thoughts decried by the ruling power of the mass. The dominant society of today is seemingly afraid of the revision of the ever so editable philosophies of man and stick to their belief no matter right or wrong. And it was never a good thing. A dull, confined conscience will never be good. There is a plethora of things people should be aware of. Most of them can’t be appeased by a wand of hand. Although, for example, the case of same-sex marriage aims—if put in better light—to make available the true hedonistic and partly humanist happiness of man, leaving the cost of gender aside. Shouldn’t the opinionative be the ones more worthy to be tormented by the malign things they impose without credible testimony?
However, a hasty revolution for tolerance can’t be completed in a short time, and it may not even be after several years. Because demand for tolerance may be approved, laws be made and early statements apologized. But if the dominant agency chooses to be hard-headed and there would, laws will just be words to keep wary of, and tolerance is an act of deceit. Human perception can’t be obliterated and people would still have the option to keep their beliefs. Yet, no matter how blurry the image of a better society would become, strong defenses will never be shaken. I, along with the people who wanted to extricate themselves from the manacles of simpleton prejudices, will continue to fight even when the only weapon left in hand is the strength of soul and price of identity.