Saturday, January 29, 2011

Little Italy in the Philippines

A good article about Italy in the Philippines, bringing together two cultures that I know well. Not a community of Italian expatriates planting a small piece of home in the tropics mind you, but a community grown dependent on money remitted from Italy to the Philippines by Filipino contract workers abroad. As the Italian government tries to deal with its "problem" with its Chinese, Roma, African, and Arab immigrants, this is an interesting look at how immigration affects the place from where the foreigners originate. Not just a sob story about poverty and suffering, but a story of renewed prosperity and the resulting lack of productivity (I'm trying my best to find an alternative to laziness) by the community that has grown dependent on foreign money. It's not just a problem associated with workers who go to Italy, but it's quite interesting how bits of Italian culture get transplanted into a context which in retrospect isn't really much different from it at all. Filipinos go abroad, send foreign money, and come back with foreign ideas and ways--will such a system benefit the Philippines, or hurt it? We don't know yet, and frankly the country the inward flow of money is still too vigorous to be bothered by such questions.

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