HEADLINES

Alumna talks about culture clash among Fil-Am families

Jameela I. Mendoza & Francis Ryan B. Pabiania | News Writers

Listening is important to prevent culture clash in a Filipino-American (Fil-Am) family from worsening, said a US-based Silliman University (SU) alumna.

“[It is important that] we know the triggers of a culture clash [between parents and their Fil-Am children] so that we can prevent its escalation,” Lutie Orteza -Lee said at a forum about her book last Feb. 8 at the American Studies Resource Center, Silliman Library.

Lee said her experience in raising her daughter as a Filipino immigrant in the U.S. led her to write a book on culture clash that was published in 2006.

The book entitled, “Culture Clash: The Americanized Teenagers,” aims to help Filipino parents and their Americanized children establish open communication to avoid tension or problems caused by differences in values and beliefs.

“Listening [is] very important…for both immigrant parents and Americanized young adults and vice versa, and those who are in field of ethnic studies, cultural studies, teachers…even [for] other cultures, they can also apply it to their own contexts,” said Lee.

An example of a situation wherein tension or conflict may arise, said Lee, is when Filipino-American teens express their opinion, which might be misunderstood by their Filipino parents as being disrespectful.

“Because it is [an] opinion, (Americanized youth) have the ability to detach their feelings…Unfortunately, [Filipino] parents have no idea about opinion because we grew up not being trained to express our opinion until we are in college,” she explained.

Moses Joshua Atega, international student adviser, said that there are about 18 students in SU officially enrolled with American citizenship.

However, Atega said that since the dual citizenship of Filipino-Americans allows them to enroll either as Filipino or American, this number does not include all Filipino-American students in SU.

Lee graduated from SU in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education degree. She continues to help Filipino-American families cope with issues at home caused by culture clash. She is set to publish her second book “Culture Clash: an Immigrant Filipino Parents ‘Guide on Their Teenagers and Young Adults in 2019.

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