The Oxford Dictionaries defines ethnicity or ethnic group as a socially defined category based on common culture or nationality. But it does not necessarily have to include common ancestry, appearance, cuisine, dressing style, heritage, history, language, religion, symbols, traditions, or other cultural factor. On the other hand, it is constantly reinforced through common characteristics which set the group apart from other groups. A geographical perspective of study done recently, there are at least five (5) factors seen that unite the Kapampangans as one people. These are: language, territory, culture, belief system and socio-politics.
These criteria add to the deepening definition of what is an ethnicity is all about. And speaking of this term, how do this one differ with terms like citizenship and nationalism?
Nationalism, ethnicity and citizenship lie at the sensitivity of many of the societal changes that are currently transforming countries across the world. Global migration has undermined old certainties provided by the established framework of nation-states, with inward migration, cultural diversity and transnational affiliations having become established facts of life in many countries. These observable facts raise significant challenges for traditional conceptions of citizenship.
To date several socio-political and economic development and changes continue to test these set of definitions. Globalization, massive population growth, information explosion, are just among the things that continue to redefine or even erode some of the traditionally accepted templates like patriotism, identity and idea of citizenship. Hence, how do we address these types of questions and challenges? How do the multiple identities and multiple levels of belonging experienced today interact with traditional nationalist ideology? Within multicultural societies, how far do representations of cultural others still play a role in nationalist constructions of the nation? How successfully has the welfare systems of nation-states responded to the influx of migrants? The Kapampangan-speaking region is now among the favorite destinations of not only business locators but as well as the influx of job-seekers and squatters.
How have national politicians responded to the cultural diversity of their own countries and have they moved beyond the traditional logic of nationalism within their thinking? What would be their platform or political program which addresses concerns on these issues? Why are extreme right-wing parties gaining increased levels of support? Remember, the region was the cradle of these movements even in the past i.e. socialism, communism, radical protest. What social and psychological resources do citizens require in order to function effectively at the political level within multicultural democratic societies? How can the educational systems of regions like Pampanga, which have traditionally been used for nationalist purposes, be harnessed to enhance the competences needed by our memalen for successful living in multicultural societies? Angeles City and the City of San Fernando are now becoming a hot melting pot like Tarlac City. What changes need to be made to educational policies in order to ensure the effective integration of minority citizens? Do we have a program (a better one) that safeguards the rights of the Aitas (Mag-Anchis and Mag-Indis)? How about the Kapamapngans? Do we have a genuine program that caters for the prioritized appreciation of culture and intellectualization of the Amanung Siswan?
At this time of election campaign, who among the candidates and parties carry a serious program that pushes for appreciation and salvaging reforms to preserve the Kapampangan heritage – its culture and language? Do they care to review the qualification in nominating candidates for the MOKA or TOFA? Are these cultural award-giving bodies truthful to their motives? Or just part of the political thing that tires the general public every now and then? Why we cannot legislate the use of Amanung Siswan in this Kapampangan-wide region just like what the Ilocanos and the Cebuanos are doing right now? It is already specified clearly in the present constitution, regional languages are the official auxillary languages of every region. Hence Kapampangan is the official language of this region.
When will be the time for our leaders to realize how important is to be part of a family that values ‘family value’ – the essence of a good citizen of these country by being a better Kapampangan first? Can we not include these noble motives in the plataporma de gubyerno of every aspiring leader and be duly implemented by concerned officials upon elected?
E baling tawli, basta atin programa. Mayap nemang palak ing mayagap kesa kng kabud na masipag.
Aldo mayaslag kabalen!