I was going to name the latest novel I’m working on Generation Exile but I chose another working title so I can put this one out in cyberspace. GenerationX was a book by Douglas Coupland that, although entertaining and tolerably written, garnered more that its due attention—the title became the calling card of the then-20 somethings, my generation. Generation Xers were defined by the prospect that their standard of living would be less affluent than their parents and their itinerate disposition (a poor jet set that always travels on mileage programs). The book is about three lost souls, disconnected from history and things of consequence, filling the pages with trivial stories, like the TV show Seinfeld.
Generation Exile (since it is my would be book, I can define it) are the Philippine kids that coincidentally are contemporaries ofGeneration X. They grew up duringMarital Law, abroad and isolated, and also became 20-somethings in the early nineties. Because of the disconnection from our home country, physically and politically, they harbor upbringings outside the common experience and are therefore disconnected from their mother culture. For a longtime, I thought of these people as the Martial Law babies. Now I think the predicament describes the lot of many Filipino-Americans who grew up away from the mother country, have careers away from the mother country, and find themselves so well integrated with broader America that the Philippines is receding into a concept that may or may not have anything tangible attached to it.
What do we do about that, if anything at all?
Well, we could create support groups and bring Kleenex, talk about Game of Thrones and identity stories. Or we could party.
Now, this sounds more superficial than it actually is. A few cohorts, including me, are contemplating a membership wing to a large, well-established Philippine foundation that would allow Filipinos who are geographically displaced (usually by their jobs) to plug into a Philippine network. Of course, the membership is almost entirely social, except that the money raised with go to funding education initiatives in thePhilippines. Going to parties should always be this guilt free.
My team and I are in the early stages of fleshing out this membership drive. Remember, initial members are entitled to call themselves founders, will have access to the not to be discounted Filipino diaspora, party invite privileges, and the opportunity to volunteer for the main charity’s other activities.
It’s well past deadline here in New York so I’m signing off. This call for help is sincere. All emails that have a human behind them will be answered. Calling all Generation Exiles, come party for a cause.