Love is not a topic most Chinoys are comfortable talking about.
And that is why the upcoming episode of 1CH1NOY: Chinese by Blood, Filipino By Heart is set to be the most controversial yet. Here, we tackle the many facets of love: from fighting for love or the infamous “Great Wall” (no not the physical wonder of the world, but the wall that supposedly prevents Filipinos from intermarrying with Chinese or Chinoys), to finding love in the form of kay shiao or matchmaking, to forbidden or unmentionable types of love and their (eventual) acceptance.
Fighting for Love
Beauty queen Nicole Cordoves recounts, “Our manliligaws always asked, may ‘great wall’ ba yung pamilya ninyo?” She laughs, “I’m lucky na in my family wala namang great wall. But, growing up also I thought ano ba ‘to ang racist naman ng family ko. But it’s more of ano pala, like they just want you to marry into the same culture as them. So it’s entirely understandable. The same way that other cultures would also prefer their kids to find a partner who has the same belief systems and culture as them.”
Cordoves shares, “My boyfriend and I are going to be together for 6 years na this year. And I’m gonna tell you he had to work for it. Like, I appreciated the strictness of my family more now that I’m actually considering him to be my lifetime partner because they would know your value more kasi pinaghirapan ka niya. And he had to learn the traditions and rituals also in our family and also the language we speak because both my grandfathers baling bali sobra yung Tagalog and English nila so there was a time I had to translate from him pa. But now he actually understands them.”
To Cordoves, The Great Wall is manifested out of protectiveness and love. She is quite lucky in that regard though. For others, it can really be a double-edged sword. In one recent article in CHiNOY TV’s website, chinoy.tv, one Chinoy confesses on the ensuing 7-year pains he and his fiancé continue to fight, to gain his family’s respect and acceptance.
One other peculiarity about the Chinoy community is the practice of kay shiao.
One might say that this follows the Great Wall. With families wanting their children to intermarry within the community, it has become almost a regular progression to do kay shiao.
Glenda Cura, knows all about this as the founder of kaysiao.com. Cura explains, “Kayshiao technically means to refer so when you say Kayshiao in the Chinese language we refer business owners to individuals who need help. And especially in the love department we use matchmakers to Kayshiao, to refer. The traditional way of Kayshiao is that there’s a matchmaker. And the matchmaker goes to the family and both families have an arranged proposal to meet.” Astrological charts are also consulted and a whole list of variables and preparations accurately depicted in that famous Mulan in makeup in scene.
What Cura has done is to modernize this tradition with her online platform. But some things remain the same. Cura relents, “Technically with regards to very rich families they want the same level of financial stability. They also want their children to be physically compatible, financially compatible, and spiritually compatible.”
Admittedly there is a lot of pressure, but Cura gets a great deal of fulfillment from her line of work, “I feel blessed and happy that I get to help a lot of people because it’s really a challenge to find a right partner. Marriage is not a simple paper that you can just sign and say that I get married with you and then we’re done.”
This episode comes at the heels of CHiNOY TV reaching a week-on-week increasing peak of up to 1.6 million accumulated views.
Eventologist and influencer Tim Yap returns also in this episode, to talk about his marriage to director Javi Martinez. Yap reminisces, “I was always known to be a flamboyant dresser. So I would always be in the most shocking color. I will always wear Filipino designers or international designers that were like, a ‘Hey, look at me’ thing. But to my parents, and to my mom actually, I was just creative, right. So, she never asked, and we never talked about it.”
And when it came time to tell her, it went in the most Chinoy way, Yap recollects,
“I told her, ‘Ma, before you find out from the whole world, I wanna let you know that I proposed’. I said, ‘I proposed to Javi.’
“And she goes “Oh, who’s Javi?”
Sabi ko, “Ma! She, he’s the guy that I would have lunch and dinner with at home!”
“Oh, but he’s a guy”.
I go, ‘Oh okay’. So okay, mahabang kwentuhan ‘to. Sabi ko, ‘Ma!’ I said ‘Mom. Okay, I’m boarding. Bye!’.
So then she got shocked because she saw it on CNN, it was in the news at that time. And it came as a shock to her, still. Because we have never talked about it.”
Eventually though, after asking her to walk him down the aisle, Yap’s mother cried and relented, “Whatever makes you happy is what I will want for you.”
It is a story that created a ripple effect to other Chinoys seeking acceptance. And to hear Yap tell the story, one other creative was able to come out because of Yap’s precedence. It didn’t go quite as smoothly as Yap’s but it was still a source of peace.
Yap concludes, “You can’t please everyone. But you know, the Chinoy value that I can attach to that is basically love. Because at the end love conquers all. No matter what happens, your love for family, your love for the people in your life, that love will always win. And you want the people that you love to be their happiest selves right? So part of that is accepting them for who they are, what’s and all. Accepting them and their mistakes. Accepting them for imperfections, that’s part of it. You just embrace the wholeness of the person.”
Find out more tonight on “Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart 1CH1NOY.” Catch it only on CNN Philippines via Free TV Channel 9, Sky Cable Channel 14, Cignal Channel 10. It will also simultaneously air on CNN Philippines’ webpage www.cnnphilippines.com.