director@kapisanan: behind the office door

at the centre, Kapisanan executive director, Caroline Mangosing, flanked on the left by krystel pasignasigna, bea palanca, and on the right, by kristen Sison and Alyssa Ramos. All participants of the pilot round of Kapisanan's Clutch Program for young women. In the last two years I would say, people who come to the K have seen my desk move in and out of the back office/boardroom area. Making me at once so accessible/available and cloistered/untouchable.

We like to keep it loose at Kapisanan. You may call it "organic" but not like a vegetable that I don't know how to cook. I think what we are doing at the K is more like on-going lab work. Like a social experiment. I got into this "experiment" because this "work" had not been done the way we are doing it at Kapisanan... because I always say if I had a "Kapisanan" to go to when I was 21 years old, I would be a millionaire by now. That's such a trite analogy, I know. But for the purpose of this entry, I will leave it.

Sometimes people refer to trying to do work that hadn't existed before as "innovation". Truthfully, sometimes I wish there was another Filipino-Canadian arts and cultural organization focused on youth out there who I can compare notes with... you know jam it out. I am gonna try to just put it out there by writing bits here and there. Because this work is so much more complicated than what you see on our blog and on our FaceBook group, and Twitter. Check out this article from the NY Times that a great friend and colleague shared with me about "emerging adults."

It gives some insight on how untested the work we do at Kapisanan is. In Canada we call our target "youth"-- but personally, like, for me when I was being called a youth, back when I was one... I felt condescended. But the term stuck. Whatever it's called, the time between when you are 18 and 30 years old, it's a crucial time. And when you are negotiating a hybrid identity, some cultural gaps, it's even more crucial, i.e. being Filipino but not feeling Filipino enough, because you don't speak your mother's tongue, and you don't really understand why they don't get you.

I am writing to put it out there-- I feel the kind of work we are doing at Kapisanan is still misunderstood regardless of the progressive terminology created to address it (it, being the work and 'youth')-- I write this in while taking a breather from working on the biggest grant of my career, to fight for this crazy thing I call my life work.

So yeah, life work... in progress.

-caroline mangosing