Editor's corner/Over a cup of tea
Love and community
I have been covering a lot of festivities these days in the Asian communities with a focus on their religious beliefs and traditions. It’s been a wonderful
experience to understand how and why others celebrate theirs. My knowledge about other cultures is enriched each time I join different groups of Asian
people in Wisconsin. What is common, though, whether it’s Buddhist or Hindu, or Muslim or Christian, are the concepts of love and community in
action.
In this December issue, as we celebrate many holidays, we are featuring stories of love and community. The Cambodian School Project, led by Sarith
Ou, for instance, goes back and forth to Cambodia to build schools in poverty-stricken villages. The Philippine Cultural and Civic Center Foundation
has its Free Medical Clinic that provides medical services to uninsured and underinsured people in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Buddhist Society led a
march calling for peace and justice in Myanmar (Burma). The Hindus in Wisconsin held several gatherings, both religious and secular, in celebration
of the victory of good vs evil (Durga Puja, Navaratri and Dassera).
Surely, I have seen and felt the goodness in people, regardless of their religious beliefs./Most Filipinos are Christians, and while many may not consider
themselves “religious” (that include me), we believe in ONE God, and our faith also taught us the concepts of love and community. I am reminded of
the medical missions of the Rizal McArthur Memorial Foundation (Milwaukee) and PAG-ASA (Madison) of Dr. Felipe Manalo. Both projects provide free
medical services to poor Filipinos in the rural areas. For most Filipinos abroad, however, the
balikbayan box is the most visible symbol of their “sharing
of blessings” with relatives back home. The
balikbayan (literally “come home”) box is most anticipated during the holidays, or just before Christmas, the
most important festive occasion in the Philippines. It signifies the sender’s remembrance of the yearly rite when families come together and exchange
gifts. But more than the material value of its contents, the
balikbayan box has become a tradition of sending love in a box from someone away from
home.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all!
December 2007
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December 2007 Issue
(Left) Three of my
grandchildren with their
yaya (r) receive their
balikbayan boxes