Life between the ivory tower and a cardboard box

Petition

I am a Third Culture Kid and Advocate

I think I’ve always known I was a TCK.  I have always had some degree of awareness of how unique (not superior) my background is, and I have been lucky to be surrounded by supportive family and friends who accept me for who I am.  It is the best thing any person can ask for.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky.  Many TCKs get by without understanding their own emotions and experiences and with very little or no support from family and peers.  Unfortunately, many Adult TCKs (ATCKs) have told stories about discovering a name for their identity much later in life, after years of experiencing depression and isolation.   Many younger TCKs do not receive the support needed to weather the complex layers of change they encounter during their formative years.  Many TCKs feel lost and feel they do not belong anywhere.  More than anything, they need people who understand them and a support system that can address their needs and can help them find acceptance.

Since the use online social networks became more ubiquitous, more avenues for connecting people of similar interests and backgrounds have cropped up.  Among these were groups dedicated to third culture kids, connecting global nomads to one another regardless of physical distance.  As conversations unfolded, so did the rumblings of something larger: a shared dedication to realizing a world where there is an acceptance of a diversity that runs deeper than race, nationality, ethnicity, linguistic background, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation, and encompasses an infinite spectrum of experiences and identities.

TCKID Pledge Page blog size

From here, individuals in the TCK community began a more organized approach to fulfill this vision.  One of the organizations at the forefront of this movement is TCKID, a non-profit community organization founded by Brice Royer and dedicated to connecting TCKs to each other and to resources that address TCKs’ unique needs. Some of the projects that have been implemented include weekly chats with TCK volunteers, organizing local TCKID groups in numerous cities across North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, and a TCK research arm. Future projects are in the works.

As these plans are underway, TCKID faces many of the same challenges growing organizations face. Fundamentally, TCKID needs the support of its community members and allies to continue building on its vision and providing the support system that is so important to TCKs.

We are asking anyone who identifies as a TCK, who grew up feeling torn between cultures, who had to say goodbye too many times to loved ones who kept coming and going, who has friends no matter where they go, or anyone with a loved one who identifies this way, to pledge their support.  In doing so, TCKs everywhere will always have a resource to turn to and can be a step closer to building a diverse and understanding community.

I signed the pledge, because I believe that supporting third culture kids is a form of social justice and is tantamount to supporting all individuals with postmodern identities, beyond traditional definitions of identity. I want to work to build a community where all cultural identities and expressions are accepted. I also want to continue supporting others like myself. After living extensively in four countries through my formative and adult years, I understand how it feels to feel connected to different cultural contexts and still feel isolated. I want to provide an open mind and a listening ear and provide a sense of understanding. I am also very excited to see what the TCK community can accomplish together.

TCKs are a diverse and vibrant community, and I am proud to identify as one. I will continue advocating for TCKs and the vision they represent.

Read I am a Third Culture Kid: Being “The Foreigner”
Read am a Third Culture Kid: Introduction

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A Petition to Bring “The Colbert Report” to the Philippines

Stephen ColbertAdmit it, nation. You are hot for Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report. You love the way he pokes fun at TV pundits with his deadpan comedic delivery. You think there is absolutely nothing wrong with introducing a guest by watching shots of Stephen prance about on stage from several different camera angles. You may even think he could be the right father for your future children after watching him adopt a baby eagle. And, of course, watching him do tumbles and outsing Barry Manilow totally makes you want to touch yourself. (Don’t hate, I know some of you have at least thought about it.)

What’s that? Don’t know what I’m talking about, you say? Of course, you wouldn’t. Because, horror of horrors, The Colbert Report is not shown in the Philippines.

For the uninitiated: The Colbert Report is a U.S. satirical news program in the same vein as The Daily Show, from which it is a spin-off and counterpart. Like TDS, TCR discusses and critiques current events and the media using satire, parody, and caricature. Unlike TDS, TCR is character-driven, focusing on Colbert’s fictional character, Stephen Colbert, and parodying personality-focused pundit programs, most notably, The O’Reilly Factor. Since its debut in October 2005, it has become one of the highest-rated shows on Comedy Central and has managed to influence U.S. popular and political culture.

I obviously don’t need to tell you that this is one of my favorite shows. I will tell you, though, that it was definitely heartbreaking to come back here to the Philippines and find out that I would not be able to catch it on TV. Currently, you can catch clips from the show on iFilm, but I maintain that it does not compare to seeing the whole show in one go and logically following TDS.

So, if you live in the Philippines and are a fan of The Daily Show, or simply want to know what all the fuss is about, here are my top 5 reasons why Philippine TV must bring The Colbert Report this side of the Pacific.

  1. We can finally know who that Stephen dude at the end of The Daily Show is. Does it bother you that Jon Stewart sets you up for another 30 minutes of comedic bliss by having a hilarious conversation with one of his former correspondents, only to be disappointed when you see the opening credits for David Letterman (no disrespect to Letterman, of course)? It bothers me, too. If we had The Colbert Report here, we will finally understand what the hell is going on and stop being cheated by the cableNazis. I’m looking at you, JackTV.
  2. Stephen Colbert wants more Filipino friends. Fans of the show know about Stephen’s ongoing quest for a new Black friend. In Episode 123, Stephen reveals that, according to his Friends Exchange Rate, “one Black friend equals two Filipino friends.” He wants your friendship, nation! Get The Colbert Report here and give him some love!
  3. Stephen Colbert is a go-getter. What Stephen wants, the Colbert Nation gives. Stephen has managed to give his name to a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor, a junior ice hockey team in Michigan, and a bridge in Hungary, with the votes of the Colbert Nation. Stephen has also convinced his fans to vandalize Wikipedia entries and create YouTube videos with his image for the Green Screen Challenge. He has also just released his new book, I Am America (And So Can You!). The Colbert Report has managed to penetrate U.S. popular culture by engaging and utilizing people and their mass power to influence the show with technology. Kind of like our own People Power here in the Philippines. Coincidence? I think not.
  4. WikialityStephen Colbert is changing the English language. Anyone who can get millions of people to mispronounce “report” has got to be legit. One of the most popular segments on TCR is “The Wørd”, where Stephen discusses an issue using a key term or phrase. Often, Stephen will feature a neologism that ends up being used in everyday language. The words truthiness and Wikiality are two such words and, according to Wikipedia, have both been honored as the top television buzzwords of 2006 by the Global Language Monitor. Call center agents in the Philippines, take heed! You never know when these new words can come in handy when handling an irate customer, especially one that tells you to “Learn some damn English!”
  5. Stephen Colbert has guts. Perhaps one of the most defining moments for Stephen Colbert, the actor and the fictional character, was his speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, where, in the presence of celebrities, politicians, members of the White House Press Corps, and President George W. Bush himself, he (as Stephen Colbert the character) gave a biting satirical performance and indictment of President Bush’s administration and the media. To be able to do what he does every night in front of the big man himself takes a lot of balls and talent. Watch the entire thing here. Perhaps the Philippines can pick up a hint or two for how to address our own political troubles?
  6. Stephen Colbert is a fox. Yes, I know 6 is one more than 5. But let the record show that Stephen is not at all hard to look at. Jane Fonda and even feminist Gloria Steinem will agree with me here. Stephen Colbert can tip his hat and wag his finger for me anytime. Of course, it’s a little hard to do this when he is not being shown in the Philippines.

There you have it, nation. I encourage you to check out some clips and see if you are as rabid for The Colbert Report as I am. I also call on you to join me in my petition for more Stephen on our TVs. Whether by sending letters to our cable channels or getting the Catholic Church to intervene, if we can overthrow two presidents by coming together and blocking major roadways, we can definitely bring in a TV show that is more Filipino-friendly than Desperate Housewives.

Until then . . . Philippine TV, you are ON NOTICE.