Karaoke Machine

In Fun
Relationship: Child of im/migrant

There is one thing understood amongst Filipinos around the world: it is not a true Filipino party until someone breaks out the karaoke machine. A shared love for music and singing has allowed me to grow closer to my Filipino culture. Karaoke is an important part of the Filipino way of life. Filipinos sing all the time, whether they are good at it or not, and almost every Filipino household has a karaoke machine so that family and friends can belt out their favorite songs and old classics.

Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and having a white father, I never really had the opportunity to fully submerge myself into my mother’s Filipino background. I do not speak Tagalog, the Filipino language, and I am not particularly close with my relatives in the Philippines. For this reason, I usually felt awkward whenever I would visit the Philippines or go to one of my mom’s Filipino friends’ parties in the US. Being only half Asian, I have been hesitant in claiming that I am a “true Filipino” and have questioned my Filipino validity. However, once someone sets up the karaoke machine, all of that uncertainty melts away. Singing karaoke has been a great bonding exercise and has definitely brought me closer to my Filipino relatives. It doesn’t matter that I do not speak Tagalog. All Filipinos know the English hits and classics. Filipinos always welcome and encourage everyone to sing, no matter who you are. Karaoke has certainly been a defining aspect of my Filipino culture.

Place(s): New York, Philippines
Year: 1992

– Gilda

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant