Wednesday, November 10, 2010

stop overthinking and just enjoy

i apparently have theory on the brain...yesterday, cultural capital, today, orientalism.

you may have gathered that i love the philippines. the warmth and genuineness of the people, the food, their creative use of vinegar, the climate, the shopping. i love it all. but in my tendency to overthink and over-analyze, i wonder if i end up, in my deep and abiding affection, in fetishizing a whole nation?

nearly every time i've been to the philippines (and last week was my 17th trip), i have had the opportunity to see a performance like the one depicted here...magically lovely young girls enacting traditional dances from one of the philippines' 7000 islands. hotels almost always have such a show - and i wonder if such shows feed an expected stereotype...a taste of the exotic, served up to hungry tourists.

taal volcano - batangas, philippines
this show, on a friday afternoon, at a lovely hotel overlooking the taal volcano, was performed in a restaurant full of filipinos. looking around, i think myself and my colleagues were the only tourists in the place. which makes me feel a bit less like i'm orientalizing, as i'm sure they hadn't put on the show just for our sake.

maybe sometimes i need to stop over analyzing and just enjoy, because the girls were graceful and lovely and their silhouettes exquisite. and it's undoubtedly perfectly ok to simply enjoy that and not worry too much about it.  when i go back in a couple of weeks, i'll think i'll just sit back and enjoy the show.


Elizabeth said...

Another trip to the Philippines? Are you thinking about creating a home away from home there?!?

The girls look really elegant.

Lisa-Marie said...

You should remember that a stereotypical display like this has only become a stereotype because it's also a tradition.

In Scotland, the wearing of a kilt has become am mass event and stereotype, but it is also a big part of Scottish history.

So don't worry too much!

will said...

What happens in hotels in front of tourists is a form of Disneyland.

In the early pages of "Imperial Cruise" author James Bradley talks about visiting Zamboanga (Philippines) in 2002 and officials, "feared for my safety because I was an American and would not allow me to venture out of my hotel without and armed police escort."

He goes on to say there were several powerful and deadly bomb attacks in the days following his visit.

Char said...

beautiful and lovely. and how do you know the others weren't tourist too - there are many tourist in our own country - why not theirs?

SH -ic said...

so beautifull enjoy your travelling and tks for sharing

Barb said...

wow. just beautiful. I agree, just enjoy. Life is short. :)