It’s been a while….
Last Friday, we brought a small group of movers and shakers to the ABS-CBN Global Office in Earls Court for an informal networking drinks. These were second generation entrepreneurs and professionals who are making a difference within the community. Be it servicing, employing, promoting and inspiring our community – these are the heroes that our children should look to for role models. They came from the worlds of Food, Tech, Music, Jewellery, Finance, Grooming, Politics and Sport. And there was a lot to be proud of!
For Philippine Generations, the pride was apparent, many of those present have been very active in our growth and our projects. In 2007, at the very beginning, we brought nearly 80 second generation Filipinos to the old Philippine Embassy in Kensington. The Embassy were ill-prepared; we had the CHRP (campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines – yes human rights was a massive issue before Duterte was in office!) protesting the killing of priests and journalists with candles and banners outside the building while inside there were entrepreneurs, professionals and parents confused as to why the Embassy wanted to play student/parlour games encouraging people to set up yahoo groups. The Embassy realised then that the children of migrant Filipino workers were not just actual children or students, we were grown, we had our own children and we were under-represented and ignored. At that time, Barrio Fiesta was huge and in London and very much part of the Filipino community calendar! We were present representing our generation every year!
Fast forward 11 years and what has changed? As a community, we are less under-represented, Filipinos are everywhere! On TV, in Music, in Sports, in business, we are there. However, the Embassy are now not as interested in engaging with the children of their citizens and as a group we are still not engaged with. Barrio Fiesta sa London is now outside of London, you have to pay to get in and the focus seems to be more on Artistas and less on community. The Filipino migrant worker has changed slightly, from just services, domestic and nurses to now also more professional migrants as the world of business has become a lot more inclusive. The second generation has grown and some of the third generation have graduated from University already! There are more Filipinos creating businesses and community groups, more Filipinos in the professional world and more Filipinos on the streets and in the bars. The atmosphere has changed, the need for community is less strong when you’re less vulnerable.
However just as in 2007, the energy is building. In 2007, through a lack of knowledge and understanding of our culture and history, we asked why are you proud to be Filipino? Now in 2018, there is a growing feeling of why have we as a community not worked more closely together? We don’t even have our own centre for our old and young to visit! Some of us have continually collaborated and helped our kababayans, but why do we not have a visible Filipino community centre or business face as other communities have? The Jewish, Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Iranian, Somalian, the list goes on…communities seem to work better together to keep the support and money flowing within them. This is something we need to work on. Over the years we have spoken to these groups and even Filipino groups in the USA and all have told us they began with rich benefactors. Someone made their money and gave back, we do not have this. We have those who have enough but give their time, but it is not enough.
We need to support our fellow Filipino businesses, those set up by your friends, class mates, cousin’s god-sister, etc. We need to keep the energy, support and money flowing through our community. If it means going to that Filipino supperclub or food stall, or using that Filipino electrician or handyman, booking that Filipino DJ or Photographer or buying those products made by that Filipino your friend told you about, or even just listen to that business idea your little cousin has – so be it. We as a community need to support each other more.
On this vibe, Philippine Generations met with ABS-CBN Global, owners of TFC to expolore the issue. They wanted to see what issues the second generation had, what do we care about. The first step, just as in 2007, was showing them who we are and what we have in the UK community. If it means TFC getting more involved in the community, great! Where this leads, only time will tell but we are once again excited about where our community is heading!
[Philippine Generations still provides Language Classes, for more information, please visit: http://www.philippinegenerations.org/filipino-language-school]