During my teenage life here as a Filipino Living in Australia one of the topics my friends and I were talking about, was about the traditional Filipino ways and what is it like now. When our parents immigrated from Philippines to live a new life here in Australia, they carried with them what they knew about life in Philippines and brought them here in Australia and somewhat enforce it to their kids.
What I am talking about is traditions and culture. It is great to have traditions and culture, I give you that. But it too must blend into your current environment. Traditionally, as Filipinos, we are respectful towards our elders. We don’t talk back, we say yes, we call anybody older than us either “ate” or “kuya”, we pay respects by actions like “mano po” and those those culturally related traditional and cultural activities that we do.
As a Filipino living in Australia though, can we really carry all that and import them here in Australia? Will it work, or will it fail? Much of it of course is to do with your up bringing. Recently, I ran into such qualms. The old traditional Filipino ways, in the current Australian environment.
Respect, in particular talking back to your parents. This always comes back and haunts us kids here. I have met few parents, who grew up in Philippines and came to Australia during their working adult lives. Brought with them traditional values and expected their kids to behave like it. They expect us to bow our heads and listen to them and not say a word. It’s like what they have to say is always takes precedence on what is. It’s not really open for discussions, even though they would like one by asking you about it—but the minute you give them one, what you think, suddenly, you are being disrespectful and reminds you that you are a Filipino and start acting like one.
Well now, allow me to tell you how it is. We are Filipino-Australians. What worked with our parents back in Philippines will not totally work here in Australia. As parent you need to also adjust your training and attitude towards the kids here in Australia or else you’ll simply end up with a lot of headaches.
You’ll also need to be flexible. I love the idea of this Asian culture of respecting your elders. In fact, I still follow that. But in the sense that traditional folks do. I don’t go out of my way to pay homage, but if I do meet you, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Break it once and you will belong in what I called, you earn the trust box.
Really, all what I am trying to say is as Filipinos living here in Australia, is that, it is nice to carry ones culture abroad, but you can’t live one. If you want to live like Filipinos, stay in Philippines. Otherwise, you need to somehow assimilate to the Australian way of life. I don’t expect us, to be totally accepted as Australians—we are Asians after all, but at least, adopt some of the ways of your environment. This is how it’s always been. Likewise when I do visit Philippines, I too needed to adapt because it’s not Australia.