Firstly, the problem with the diaspora as an imagined community is that, unlike the traditional nation-state, the diasporic population often fails to constitute a viable body politic; more than just difficulty in imagining itself as possessing real political power, the Filipino diaspora also has a historical susceptibility to marginalization, either in the home country or the adopted one. This sense of liminality often creates dangerous slippages. The Flor Contemplacion episode is one such instance. Here, the Philippines’s attempts to secure mercy on one of its citizens (a domestic helper), accused of murder and sentenced to death, in Singapore in the mid-1990’s offers the grossest example of the discrepancy between the home country’s ability to extend ancillary support to its migrant population(s) and the material reality of dislocation that puts the OFW subject beyond the tentacles of the State. Similarly, the reports of employer abuse, sexual harassment, and discrimination puts the OFW in a curious, and dangerous, position — one in which the State is both responsible and helpless.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Stumbled on this essay. Some interesting propositions. An excerpt: