Karaoke

Karaoke is made up form the Japanese words ‘kara’, meaning empty, and ‘okesutora’, orchestra. Together they translate as ‘empty orchestra’. Don’t let this fool you, Karaoke was very much a Filipino invention. In the 1960s Filipino entertainers arrived in Japan with their ‘minus-one’ tapes. These held recorded instrumental versions of popular songs by Frank Sinatra, The Beatles and other current celebrities, they would use these as backing music for their performances. While Karaoke has become popular around the world, it is nowhere as popular, surely, as in the Philippines.

 

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Most westerners dread the thought of a KTV bar opening up under their bedroom window. The music, always played at full distortion and volume, will barely drown out the too often atrocious singing that too many Red Horse beers and Tanduay rums produce. No matter where you go in the Pinas, there will be a KTV machine cranking it out. Most homes will have a KTV set-up of some degree with many rivaling commercial equipment in power and performance.

 

Filipinos Love To Sing… In Groups

Filipinos love to sing, especially in groups. In fact they prefer to do everything in company. There are many excellent singers in the country, natural talent is widespread, but there are also too many who should take up chess for their entertainment and the sanity of everyone else in the barangay.

Don’t get me wrong, I love karaoke. I recall one memorable night, among many, at the little spit and sawdust place at the back of Bogo market. Mike, the giant from New Jersey, Viv, my Kiwi mate and I, did a rendition of ‘YMCA’ that is still being talked about. We followed it up with ‘I Will Survive’ and ‘ Born To be Wild’ and brought the house down. Our loving asawas thought we were fantastic, as did everyone else in a three mile radius.

 

Anyone Can be A Diva For Five Pesos

The first time I went to Manila, back in 1988, I recall walking past a KTV Bar in Ermita and asking the pretty pinays on the door what went on inside. One told me it was for Japanese and not for Kanos. I went in anyway and found the place wall to wall with drunken Japanese salarymen, singing their hearts out and spending far too much money for my budget. Back then KTV wasn’t as all pervasive as it is today, but then technology has brought singing stardom within reach of even the poorest of pinoys. For five pesos anyone, anywhere, can sing a song.

Singing is huge in the Philippines. Every wannabe politician must be able to sing, otherwise what would they do to impress the crowds at political rallies? Every major public event can quickly turn into an impromptu singing performance by senators, congressmen and women, mayors and whoever else.

A final word of advice. Never, ever criticise a Filipino’s singing. Most Filipino men who sing badly will be drunk and possibly armed. Apart from it being bad manners, no matter how dreadful their rendition of ‘My Way’ may be, clap politely and compliment them on their great singing.

 

Perry Gamsby, D.Lit, MA(Writing), Dip.Bus, Dip. Mktg is a writer and lecturer who lives with his Cebuana wife and five Aus-Fil daughters in Western Sydney. The author of a series of best-selling ‘self-help’ books for expats and those married to Filipinas, he is also a Master of Filipino Martial Arts and a former World Stickfighting Champion who has lived, worked and vacationed in the Philippines since 1988. Perry and his family return to the Philippines on a yearly basis. You can read more of his writing on Philippines topics at www.streetwisephilippines.biz

 

This article and website sponsored by Down Under Visa, Australian Registered Migration Agents in Manila – The Australian Partner Visa Specialists

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Leadership, not control – in Australian Filipina marriages (Part 4)

When I was in the Army, back when you had to provide your own spear and your paybook was written in hieroglyphics, I was given the definition of leadership. I still remember it to this day, some nearly forty years on.

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“Leadership is the ability to have someone do what you want them to do even when they don’t want to do it.”

Keep in mind this didn’t include holding a gun to their heads as they had guns too, and there were more of them. I once spoke to a former POW of the Japanese one ANZAC Day. I asked this old Digger what it was like to be a captive, at the whim of your guards and with no freedom to do what you wanted to. He replied he had always been free, in his mind. “They can’t capture your thoughts, only break your spirit and they never broke mine!”

 

Do You Want To Break Her Spirit?

So, do you want to break the spirit of the woman you fell in love with? The woman who so captured your heart you decided she was the one. THE ONE above all the others and in the Philippines that’s a lot of ‘other ones’. She is your wife, your partner in life; not your prisoner of war, not a trophy, not a slave.

Too many men fail in their duty of care by substituting control for leadership. Even with the best of intentions, they dominate the one person they should be lifting up, not crushing under their insecurities and fears.

Make no mistake, marriage to anyone isn’t a walk in the park and when the couple come from such different cultures, there are bound to be issues, arguments and differences of opinion. Being a leader doesn’t mean giving in, or giving up. It means using your intellect, education and empathy to understand her side of the issue. To think about it and to try to come to a realistic solution. Sometimes you will have to give in or change, but sometimes you need to insist, firmly but with love and respect that your way is right.

 

When The Honeymoon Ends

My wife has changed a lot in the decade and a half we have been married. Our first four years were spent together in Cebu and that, I think, was a good thing. She was able to get to know me on familiar ground, with her family support group close by. Most marriages have a honeymoon period spent together when he is on holiday and flush with cash and she is flushed with the feeling that now her life will take that much hoped for turn for the better.

Before she knows it she is saying goodbye to her family and friends and the culture she is familiar with and finding herself in a foreign country, often knowing nobody but her new husband. His family may not be the friendliest at first for a variety of reasons and she will find herself feeling very alone and like the proverbial fish out of water. You are her entire world. How are you going to lead her into happiness and adjustment to her new life? Give it some thought, some serious thought.

 

 

Perry Gamsby, D.Lit, MA(Writing), Dip.Bus, Dip. Mktg is a writer and lecturer who lives with his Cebuana wife and five Aus-Fil daughters in Western Sydney. The author of a series of best-selling ‘self-help’ books for expats and those married to Filipinas, he is also a Master of Filipino Martial Arts and a former World Stickfighting Champion who has lived, worked and vacationed in the Philippines since 1988. Perry and his family return to the Philippines on a yearly basis. You can read more of his writing on Philippines topics at www.streetwisephilippines.biz

 

This article and website sponsored by Down Under Visa, Australian Registered Migration Agents in Manila – The Australian Partner Visa Specialists

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Leadership, not control – in Australian Filipina marriages (Part 3)

There are horror stories of Aussie men marrying a Filipina, often half their age or more, who find themselves shackled to a gold digger who bleeds them dry and then tosses them onto the scrap heap. There are genuine cases of men who have been murdered by their Filipina wives after moving to the Philippines ot spend their retirement years in ‘paradise’. It does happen and yet it is still very much the exception rather than the rule.

I would think there are more Filipinas who move to Australia to be with their new husbands who find themselves on the receiving end of his drunken anger and physical expressions of his feelings of failure in life. By far, though, are the many marriages that are loving and productive; but that doesn’t mean it is always plain sailing. Continue reading

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Understanding The Filipino Psyche – Part II

One thing that stood out when I was researching the Filipino Psyche was how the researcher considered him or herself on a par with the subjects/respondents. To include yourself within the study group is not the usual accepted practise for western scientific studies. Where we believe in maintaining a distance to achieve objectivity, Filipino researchers feel that is not ideal and include themselves.

filipinofamily Continue reading

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Understanding The Filipino Psyche – Part I

I was reading up on Filipino psychology the other day and found myself fascinated by this very interesting race once again. I try to not limit myself to the world view I hold, which is based on my society, culture and upbringing. It is one world view and valid, yet not the only one and other’s world views are just as valid as mine, surely? If you are planning on spending the rest of your life with a Filipina, either there or even more challenging, in Australia or any other western country, it would make sense, surely, to try and gain as much of an education about your life partner as possible.

bayanihan Continue reading

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Hiya! That’s Hee-Ya, Not High-ya!

A word you may come across when interacting with Filipinos is ‘hiya’, pronounced hee-ya. It translates literally as ‘a sense of shame’. A common interpretation is to use hiya as ‘face’, as in ‘losing face’, although this is not strictly accurate. What is accurate is that it is vital that when you are interacting with a Filipino, you don’t do or say anything that would invoke a sense of shame.

hiya Continue reading

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Leadership, not control – in Australian Filipina marriages (Part 2)

How do you lead without controlling? As we read in Part 1 of ‘Leadership, Not Control’, the Filipina respects her man if he leads her, but will only suffer and be unhappy if he controls her. Let’s look at control first.

she has true devotion to him until he comes here and puts a ring on her finger

Control is often subtle as much as it is blatant. I have known Aussie husbands to control their new Filipina wife’s eating habits. Food is important for more than just giving us the nutrition we need to stay alive. It is an emotional support in many cases. Anyone who has lived overseas understands how a simple thing like finding a favourite food at the local supermarket can make an otherwise dull day something to rejoice. Vegemite, Tim tams and a great lamb chop are some Aussie items many miss when living in the Philippines. Imagine then how your Filipina feels when she discovers the Asian supermarket with her favourite dried fish, Bagoong and those tiny tins of sardines! Continue reading

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Leadership, not control – in Australian Filipina marriages (Part 1)

Western men are attracted to Philippine women is their attention to keep their family and marriage going. Children to mixed relationships are often happier and live a life envied by many

There is a stereotype out there that Asian women are subservient to their husbands. They treat him like a king and do everything for him, are great mothers, loyal partners and hot in the cot. Stereotypes, good or bad, have to come from somewhere and there is a lot of truth in that opening sentence. There is, however, a lot of ‘not so true’ in there also. Continue reading

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What the Filipina wife thinks

What the Filipina wife thinks:

Filipinas usually make friends easily. They are warm and hospitable. They smile a lot, which makes it easier for strangers or foreigners to feel at ease with them. They can easily strike up a conversation with the person seated next to them, for example. Filipinas can communicate with people of other nations with ease because the majority of the population can fluently converse in English. Continue reading

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A few Mistakes to Avoid Before Marrying a Filipina

Single men marry the wrong Filipina women because they expect her to change after marriage. If you don’t feel that you can be happy with the Filipina woman as they are now, then don’t get married.

If you can find a really happy Filipina bride, someone who is just basically content with life, who enjoys life, and who is emotionally stable

If you can find a really happy Filipina bride, someone who is just basically content with life, who enjoys life, and who is emotionally stable

Now, remember this: Love is NOT enough and can NEVER be the reason for getting married. This may sound devoid of sense and logic but the truth is that knowing one’s character and being perfectly aware of whether you can live with it is of prime importance when taking the decision of getting married. Here are four very important characteristics that you should look for in a Filipina marriage: Continue reading

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