Don’t you dare call me “old”.
Some music just reminds me of life back in the day, when Filipinos didn’t really have our own pop music, we just listened to good American music. And then someone would come along and cover a great song, but with an “ock-sent”.
Back when you thought coming to the U.S. meant you were going to be rich.
Back when you envied all your pinsan (cousins) who lived “stateside”, because they smelled good and spoke good english, knew all the slang, celebrities, and had all the coolest toys. And you secretly disliked them too.
When you could just run up to GIs and beg for quarters for an hour and have spending money for the next two weeks.
Back when you were poor as hell, but you just didn’t realize it yet…
So, this song brought all that up. I was just telling my little ones today that complaining how they didn’t have the latest video games is an insult to where their father came from and how I lived so that my younger siblings could go to college and live American lives. My kids have no idea how good they have it. I have actually considered sending them to the PI to spend a year with my mother, but then I remember that even my mom now has a bigger house than me.
So why is this on a martial arts blog? Because for me, this art is not just a past time, or a form of income. It has enabled several branches of my family to live good. It has put kids through college, turned some kids away from a life of in and out of prison. It has taken some of my students, who were parolees fresh out of prison, and allowed them to reinvent themselves. One of my cousins, who is a federal employee in the DC area, she use to complain about my grandfather’s “sadistic” teaching style but will never know the fear of being a victim of domestic violence because of it. Where we come from is often buried under the busy lives we live today: bills, pursuit of income, children, personal goals, relationships. But who we are is well explained in who we were. As i’m talking to my children about why I struggle while teaching martial arts–instead of being a nurse like my sister, or building houses or computer networks like my younger brothers–I realized that I am just a country boy who enjoyed life just as much when I didn’t have anything. I was shaped by my life in the small town, not by this 5 bedroom house, or my cars, or the money I have in the bank.
And it’s the reason why my martial arts will always be very different from the stuff you buy on DVD or learn in a two-hour seminar. I do not treat my art as a business. My art is my life, and not many teachers can truly say that.
So, anyway, I don’t remember where I was when I first heard this. But I remember hearing it when going to Angeles City, right outside of Clarkfield Air Base. And it reminds me more of life in the Philippines than any other memories. I hope you like it!
Thanks for visiting my blog!