My daughter will never have a childhood like mine.
No games of patintero in the middle of the street. No Chinese garter, no tumbang preso, no sipa takraw. She won’t be climbing a mansanitas tree or playing house using little clay kawali.
She will not be dancing the tinikling during school performances, nor will she know what tiniking is at school. There will be no lessons on Jose Rizal or stories like El Filibusterismo.
Her childhood is a universe of difference from mine. But it is also good.
She will grow up familiarising herself to more than just one culture. She will know Filipino, of course, from me. And Australian culture from her father. But more than that, she will learn other cultures because her school has kids from all over the world.
When I was growing up, I only knew about the Filipino culture, with a spattering of Spanish and American. But I only got to know them through books and the movies we watched.
But my daughter will know about Greece and learn Greek language from her language class at school. She will know about India and Italy, Lebanon and China, Indonesia and Algeria. Because she is surrounded everyday by kids from different backgrounds.
During their school Harmony Day, an annual celebration of the different cultures in Australia, she wore a Malong to school and brought Puto to share with everyone who were there. She was ecstatic to find out that the Puto disappeared quite quickly, proud to have others enjoy the Filipino food she enjoys herself. She saw cultural dances from different parts of the world and ate food that I never got the chance to eat until I was much older.
While watching the dance presentations, I wished dearly that one day someone would do the Filipino Tinikling. It is such an amazing dance that would awe the audience with its grace and captivating timing. Maybe one day when she visits the Philippines again, she will learn the dance.
My daughter will grow up in an environment where being different from each other is normal. She will learn about other cultures’ beliefs, other people’s religions, and learn to respect their differences.
She will be a multicultural girl.