EASHA is a 19-year-old New Jersey-based pop artist. She was a finalist at the World Cafe Live Yearly Showcase in Philadelphia and is a regular performer at the Bluebird Cafe.

The Filipino Transactions

Being part of a higher socioeconomic class means you have more access to resources. This is a well-known fact that we may have become desensitized to. When considering this notion, there’s a divide between Asian as the upper-class are afforded more privileges and independence than lower-class Asians.

There is the misconception that Asians are a model minority. In other words, many assume that Asians are well off. This is not always the case.

Countless new Asian immigrants in Western countries are living in unpredictable financial circumstances. Lower-class Asian immigrants in these countries may be unable to afford an education in which they can develop their abilities to speak English fluently. This leaves many immigrant families with children that speak on behalf of their parents, curtailing the independence of both the parent and the child.

I grew up in an interdependent household. In the Philippines, it’s quite common for families to financially support one another. My parents look after my grandparents and a few cousins, and I know I’ll be doing the same. Everyone inherits a list of people that they will be taking care of.

The definition of “independence” is the state of “freedom from outside control.” For me, attaining this freedom comes as nearly unattainable. How does a child of an immigrant earn enough money to meet both their own needs and their family’s needs? Western ideals tell me that I want the freedom to make my own decisions, but it has not unshackled me from the duties I have inherited.

 If I prioritize meeting my own desires first, I feel selfish.

Numerous Filipino immigrants around me are stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty. The Filipino diaspora itself was born out of the need to be freed from the shackles of financial needs. Many Filipino parents work abroad in developed countries to earn money to ensure their children can afford an education, food, and a roof over their heads. Then, the children of those immigrants do the same for their cousins. In fact, some Asian children are hesitant to move out because they fear that their immigrant parents will no longer let them help with the household’s bills. If you live with your parents, you can use the excuse that you’re just “paying them rent.” Many Asian parents seek to save face, but as their child, you want to help save them from bills.

Women from developing countries often leave their children to take care of the Global North’s children. The outsourcing of mothers entails that a large number of children are left behind motherless. My mother left me when I was five years old to work abroad in Canada. She definitely did her best to raise us with phone calls and emails, but it was not the same as having my mother there. Her sacrifice is not unique to our family, as over 8 million Filipinos live outside of the Philippines, with more Filipino women leaving to work abroad as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and registered emigrants. According to statistics, the gender ratio of Filipino emigrants in 2010 was 73 males for every 100 females.

I find myself growing up to be like my mother; we have many similar traits. We smile the same, we love to dress in the same clothes, and we’re both affectionate. Additionally, I know that I’ll be financially supporting my parents and my cousins in the future. Although this is a privilege, being privy to this reality is a place of anxiety for me. It leaves me with less room for error in my career.

I will not withdraw from living life as fully as I can, but my parameters limit me to a smaller budget. My freedom as a Filipina can’t come without knowing that my family members are financially taken care of. 

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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