Sunday, December 11, 2011

Diaspora of the Young and the Restless

i love this word diaspora!  it seems so exotic!  

they are not exactly your typical OFW.  they don't have the sad stories of a hard life in the rural areas, of cows sold off, of dreams that couldnt be fulfilled if they continued as teachers, engineers, nurses in the philippines.

they are young, mid20s - 30s, tertiary level of education or higher, from manila's better schools - up, ateneo, la salle.  from mostly upper C families which have provided them with good Catholic private education.

they can earn decently in the philippines.  corporate types they were when they started their careers here, usually with the multinationals.  but they were lured by the prospects of overseas.

probably for the pay, but most usually, a chance to be truly independent, to experience the world, to learn from usually first world economies.  so these are largely male, adventurous.  not yet an expat but definitely beyond rank and file.  

they leave the country with eyes wide open.  and are excited about their prospects.  they earn big. and since they dont have to remit to any famiy member, they end up with huge disposable incomes.  and they indulge voraciously in either luxury brands, travel, gadgets, or nightlife.  

being filipino allows them to assimilate quite easily to the culture.  and they are proud that they see and experience the more upscale living of the locals.  very far from the ofws they would bump into, going to church, or at the mall.  

they probably avoid them, avoid the association.  they certainly feel and know that they are different from them.  and though they respect them, they belong to different worlds.

they can go home anytime, should their schedules permit.  and most of them do that.  besides, they are soooo wired that their friends back home hardly miss them.

with all that money they could use to entertain them, with their excellent assimilation skills, do they ever get lonely like their kababayans?

i suspect they'd tell you that they dont feel it as often.  again, part of that answer is to differentiate themselves from the ofw, constrained to save every penny earned.  and surely, the twitter and fb links, and the magic jack and skype are within reach.  but my guess is that most of it is denial of loneliness.  that they can't and shouldn't be lonely.  because this is their choice.  because they wanted this.  and feeling lonely is almost like regretting.  no way. 

i have been seeing so many of them in the networks.  and i suspect some of my raiders are in their lot.  and as i am proud of them, for im sure they make their bosses and firms proud of the way they work, their intelligence, their creativity, they have also left that gap here in the phils.

we could certainly use their talent and skills.  unfortunately, who could afford them when they are done with their social experiment and are ready to go home?  they may have priced themselves out of the market.

the good rumours flying about.  manny pangilinan is luring them back to the philippines with pay that match their current salary levels.  i hope they are attracted enough to come back and contribute.  we have much to learn and gain from them.  it would be a pity if their stint there ends with a citizenship application


Thumper Art said...

they may have priced themselves out of the market.

--- aie, so true. i couldn't agree with that statement more as it is also true with the art industry. young filipino visual artists are getting their fair share (it's high time too) of recognition in other countries, as can be seen in auction houses in the asian region. works of living contemporary young visual artists have auction bids that are eclipsing those of the old (and many dead) masters. these same artists are not even in their mid-forties and are laughing themselves to the bank.

however, a common and known effect of this is, local art collectors are finding it more difficult to afford their works as their prices are being set on standards of these auction houses and international collectors of art. though we would want our culture and products of our creative pool be exchanged within our borders, thus enriching our own local art experience, one cannot deny that there is a greener pasture out there for the creative mind.

i cannot speak of the corporate world experience, for i am far removed from it. but in the art world, the good (talent-wise) visual artists are slowly adapting to this reality of higher market-driven, auction-house prices for their works. we've adapted to different schemes to make local collectors still be able to afford our cultural outputs, ensuring the best of our works remain within our own borders. galleries are doing 'buy-now, pay later schemes', artists have developed 'dual price schemes' which is basically having different rates for foreigners and locals; and the more recently practiced one - socialized pricing (pay as you can afford) which only happens between the artist and his/her confidant.

luckily, it does work. in the art industry, many artists are flourishing because of this manner of adapting to the times. it also ensures that artists, the cornerstone of our cultural identity, stay where it is most important... within our own land. it would certainly be sad indeed for us, if the diaspora would also include the best and brightest of the artistic mind. once that happens, not only will we lose our economic strength but we would be left as a country losing its soul.

Anonymous said...

You just described me! I shot you an email. :)