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“Liham ni Pinay mula sa Japan” by Ruth Mabanglos

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Ruth Mabanglos’s poem “Liham ni Pinay mula sa Japan” exposes a distinct point of view of an ambitious and enthusiastic Filipina who wishes to earn a living using her talents and her strong-willed guts.

A typical girl who loves to sing at karaokes and a frustrated dancer who dances at discos and in the bathroom, this is what the author describes the Pinay in the poem who wrote the letter who was driven by her passion and guts, strives her way to earn a living using her said skills.

According to the author, she went to numerous auditions, tried entering so many television game shows with the thought of having that shot which would make her dreams come true. But the more she tried, the more she failed. Her family and her neighbors would laugh at her who made her more depressed and ashamed.

The author then showed that just as she was about to give up, someone stood up for her and acknowledge her skills. This someone even offered her a job abroad and invested her trainings and tests. By the time she passed, her ego reached the summit. She felt so proud of herself especially when her foot stepped on the land of the cherry blossoms, Japan.

The author shared how the writer became discreet and remained silent for a while for cutting off her communication from her family back in the Philippines. And when she finally sent a letter to her sister, she confessed how that one, sweet, blossoming dream of hers dried up bitterly.

She stated what kind of work she actually has in Japan, something like a geisha but much lesser that a geisha which is a prostitute. She told her sister not to be angry and reminded her not to tell anyone about her job which earns good for she was scared of what the people would say and so that she could return back with her head up and without any shame.

As the character current situation in the poem, Mabanglo also shows the proliferation of sex slavery and prostitution in the foreign countries like Japan where most of the victims are the women who just wanted their lives to get better. Women like most of the Filipinas who are experiencing poverty and wanted to get rid from all of the suffering they have, they will take all the opportunities that come their way without considering all the consequences it might bring to their lives.

The essence of the poem is that when the moral principles are low, people choose any means for achieving success and they are only interested in the result. The right process of achieving one’s dream is lost by the character in this poem and by this Mabanglo shows that there is no need to chase this dream like this if this could only take someone into the wrong path. Everyone should achieve their goals with pride and dignity.

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