Chaminade, the Fil-Am Question, and Jasmin Trias

I do not know her from Eve but I know her from Adam: she is the Filipino American insulted by Simon Cowell in that American Idol episode and he told her pointblank: You have got to tell all the Filipinos out there to vote for you so you will remain here in your spot which you do not deserve in the first place.

Of course, I am exaggerating--that is not exactly how the guy said it but the sarcasm must have been the same, at least the way I understood it at that time so that even in my misery and want, in that Los Angeles life that I had in my first years of US Mainland life of hungering for more of the American Dream that was elusive, I dialed the number flashed on the idiot box and sent in as many votes as I could.

It was my way of vengeance, this sending of my votes at something close to one dollar per vote just to spite the man and to show him as well that this Jasmin Trias had all it takes to be an American Idol.

I would have to tell this to my closest friends afterwards. And to my family as well, more to my first daughter who is always immutably enamored by the stars, starlets, and silver-screen wannabes.

And then she came, this Jasmin Trias.

She came to my presentation, to the presentation of Eva Lindstrom, and to the presentation of Kamu Kahua Theatre of the excerpts of "Who the Fil-Am I?"

I would not have known it was her, for heaven's sake, were it not for the courteous, respectful, and Chaminade hospitality of Eve Lindstrom, who, like me, talked about the aesthetic, theatrical, and socio-historical contexts and possibilities of the play.
Chaminade hospitality is that learned, acquired, second skin Catholic sensibility of kindess to strangers, aliens, immigrants, vagabonds, vagrants, infidels, prodigals, pretenders, and ex-communicants.

I am not prone to taking pictures, preferring to take in all the memory in the album of my mind, let the images lay there for a while and until then, let them hibernate for all time so that in there, they become accessible to my consciousness, handily recalled when the blogging bug hits me hard like this hour. In this way, I can write about them, these images of the memory that binds, these pictures of the past that makes me come to terms with my mind in its everydayness. So I did not ask for a photo op with Jasmin Trias afterwards. But she was there, listening and listening intently to all of us--or so I thought.

Eve said I talked with some authority, my voice projecting something with sense, my talk complementing hers in an ever-new light. Powerful voice, she said.

I said, Thank you.

I could have reminded her: That is always the way I deliver my lines. The performance level way. Da-da, da-da!

I do not know. But some people tell me that I talk with force, that I can have the ability to persuade when I want to, that my voice comes off solid, dramatic, bombastic, theatrical, stage-like.

The open forum/discussion came and I could have dominated the repartee were it not for the fact that I was on the premises of those Catholic brothers, the Marianists, and I would not want to be kicked out, not infront of every intellectual and artist in town.

So I restrained my critical comments, issuing out rebuttals about motherhood statements about the ancestral homeland and reminding each and everyone that the Philippines is not a special country as if 'a special child', that America has a hand in the making and performance of this country's history, and that the Filipino people will endure no matter what.

I thought that Jasmin Trias was listening when I said those indicting comments.

But I saw clearly all those intellectuals nodding their heads when I shifted to a lecturer's mode with illusions to a 'Tonite, I give the greatest performance of my life.'

I am thinking of becoming a stage actor now. For a change. I can probably beat those lousy actors down the road with the kind of bombast that I know.

And the empty boast of a bored playwright. That is me.

A Solver Agcaoili
U H Manoa, right after the Chaminade presentation
10 PM, Nov 21/06

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