Your Filipina Pen Pal!

But seriously, folks: it's all about dialogue...

Thursday, February 23, 2006


--for the husband who penned the essay “Filipina ladies, Asian penpals and my Philippines penpal experience”

When I first started writing Asian Filipina ladies,
I did not know what it meant to have a penpal.

I happened to see pictures of beautiful Filipina ladies
on a website, and I just got this overwhelming desire

to contact them. There is something about a Filipina,
and Asian lady in general, that is so appealing yet hard

to explain at the same time. Is it the traditional values
of a Filipina, or perhaps their beautiful smiles? Or

maybe it is the beautiful long black hair and sweet
disposition that can only be found in an Asian lady

from the Philippines. Whatever it is, once I saw
this website of Asian penpals looking for partners in life

I knew my destiny.

Is this really about my desire to be with an Asian Filipina
penpal, or is it about my dislike for American women?

This is a sore spot for many ladies in this country and I realize
this. Some of my closest and dearest friends are American women.

If you do not believe me, I am sorry but it is true. It is also not
about likes and dislikes. For me it is about compatibility

as a married couple. I just happen to find Asian women more
traditional and less competitive, and that is what I desire.

I know, the old stereotype that I need someone to push around
comes up all the time. Let’s face it, finding a lady to push

around in the USA is not that difficult. I do not need to travel
10,000 miles to find a Filipina for that. What it is about for me

is being able to admit that men and women are different. I know
there are certain things my wife can do better than me, and that

is just the way it will always be. My wife also realizes that I am
better at handling some things. Filipina ladies understand this,

which means there is no need for this constant 50/50 power struggle.

When I went to the Philippines for the first time I saw traditional
values first hand. Asian women as a general rule are very loyal

to their family, so if you want to make it work you better be nice
to her parents, and especially her father. Your pen pal bond

will evaporate into thin air if you make her choose between you
and her family. If a Filipina is forced to choose, you will lose

95% of the time. And even if you win, your life together might be
a living hell.

Notes on Form:
1) The text is almost directly lifted from this earnestly-written drivel as to why Filipinas should be preferred for pen pals from the site “Melinda’s Pen Pals” at
2) At one point, during multiculturalism’s earlier stages, it was common to see conservative critics dismiss much free verse by poets of color as mere prose chopped up into verse via line breaks. So, I took this prose drivel and chopped it up into a poem. Isn’t it interesting, though, how the form of a poem vs prose can facilitate a second look at a text to emphasize just how drivel-ish it is?
3) I wanna belabor the obvious because though I know my collaborators can get it, the occasional Peep who comes here via Google may not “get” how the couplet form fails at the end of each section (by lapsing into one line only or how, in 3rd section, it becomes truncated). Obviously -- it’s a metaphor.
4) Wink.


  • At 2/23/2006 8:14 AM, Blogger EILEEN said…

    The source text for the poem is the first link in prior post about preferring Filipinas. Thanks for the links, Gura -- though I didn't see authors' names which is why I just called it "husband" (unless I missed the reference to the identity?)

    Cheers -- nothing like appropriating the approriators!

  • At 2/23/2006 10:08 AM, Blogger Jean said…


    This is great! And I'd like to remind everybody that there are SO MANY WAYS for us to address these issues, and one of them (actually about 1,234 of them) are through poetry. How about images, audio, video, letters, postcards...? We can be serious AND have fun with this.

  • At 2/23/2006 10:42 AM, Blogger EILEEN said…

    HMMMMMMMMM......! You know, I'd always assumed that this site will sooner or later go beyond being a blog. An anthology was an obvious goal. But maybe an exhibit/performance thingie someday. With associated panel/readings etc etc.

    This project writes itself. This enacts itself. Almost effortlessly...

  • At 2/23/2006 10:59 AM, Blogger Jean said…

    And actually I'm amazed at the way this blog has enacted itself ever since Leny suggested it. I'm really liking the multiple ways that this blog is addressing the issues. The Filipina Pen Pal phenomenon strikes up strong emotional and sometimes oppositional responses (obviously some have been mine), but the chemistry on this blog is opening these issues up in some interesting ways. Examining and deconstructing the language of M.O.B. and PenPal phenomena on various websites is one way of approaching it.

    Some interesting comments from readers are also trickling in (the latest from Aimee Nezhukumatathil responding to an earlier blogpost), and I'm looking forward to more interaction...

  • At 2/23/2006 9:17 PM, Blogger Ernesto said…

    I've enjoyed very much this blog since its inception. Congratulations to all involved.

    I was wondering, has any of you read Mark Kalesniko's graphic novel, Mail Order Bride? Even though the "M.O.B." in the novel is Korean, I thought you might find it, at least, interesting...

  • At 2/23/2006 10:26 PM, Blogger EILEEN said…

    Hadn't heard of this novel before; I'll cutnpaste book description here just because it's ... telling:

    "Canadian toy shop owner, full-time geek and longtime virgin Monty Wheeler finds the guts to obtain for himself Kyeug Seo, the Korean mail order bride of the title. Monty is physically weak. He prefers the company of old people and children because there is no competition in their presence. He practically withers when faced with his boisterous, disappointed family. Emotionally, he's barely there. He is a coward. But he's not the only one. And this story is as much about Kyeug, straining at the boundaries of the oppressive toy-filled house, the oppressive small Canadian town, and the oppressive pre-planned life she finds herself locked in. She never wanted to be a small man's fantasy. She wanted to live and breathe and blossom, to become someone else...
    "...because everyone asks what kind of man gets a mail order bride, but no-one ever asks what kind of woman becomes one.

    "Kalesniko is sharp, in any definition of the word: the dialogue is incisive, razored, and the illustrations slash across the page, cutting deep into two people whose lives are sliding out of view. Brilliantly vicious."

  • At 2/24/2006 7:35 AM, Blogger Ernesto said…

    I agree it's quite telling; that's why I chose that Warren Ellis review to link. I have never known what to think of him. And he is one of the first mainstream comic book industry types to have a very successful blog, so he is quite influential...

    I am wondering what Sequential Tart thought of it...

  • At 2/24/2006 4:13 PM, Blogger Natalia said…

    This is excellent.

  • At 2/26/2006 11:57 AM, Blogger rcloenen-ruiz said…

    Been reading through this blog. I browsed through the graphic novel Ernesto was talking about when I was in one of the big city bookstores last time.

    After reading through this...I think I'll have to go and get that book next time.

    I do understand how a good number of women will enter marriages in this way, without love but for the sake of economics. The truth is, even if a man says he doesn't care about economics and all that...the dependency does create this athmosphere and a lot of men will take advantage of that.

    Then, there are husbands who tend to become intimidated at the prospect of wives developing their own minds and their own careers.

    Okay, I won't rattle on about that right now... this was just to say keep up the blogging :)

  • At 4/24/2006 8:03 PM, Blogger filipinaladies said…

    i like how you take a website like that one and leave out important sentences in order to promote an agenda... at least be honest with everyone.. here is part of the text you left out.. typical

    "I do not need to travel 10,000 miles to find a Filipina
    for that. What it is about for me is being able to admit that men and women are different. I know there are certain things
    my wife can do better than me, and that is just the way it will always be.
    My wife also realizes that I am better at handling
    some things. I find that Filipina ladies understand this, which means there is no need for this constant 50/50 power


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