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The Violation of Hospitality
Ang Mga Sugatang Kamay na Naghain sa Lamesa
(The Scarred Hands that Set the Table)
Abstract: Artifacts of postcolonialism are in the traditions, language, and economic realities of Filipino culture. The continuing effects from centuries of regime did not leave the Filipino mentality and behavior untouched, especially their self-identity in relation to the American people and their culture whom they feel viscerally inferior to. This cultural dynamic becomes exploitative when the Filipino’s self-inferiority is used by the American to maintain in a position of power and advantage. This work explores how this dynamic occurs in relationships between employers and employees, and interactions between caretakers and guests within hospitality industries. There are stories, oftentimes unreported or hidden by the industry, where the American employer and customer manipulate the subservient Filipino worker and take advantage of their tendency to not stand up for themselves while in the presence of authority—even in the event of being mistreated and unfairly waged by employers, and/or assaulted and discriminated by hotel occupants and customers. By exploring a Filipino hotel worker’s experience in the industry, this project will engage the complexities of how the Philippines’ postcolonial history, which does not exempt the development of Filipino spirituality, created continually damaging consequences seen in corrupt power dynamics, and the self-inferior mentality of Filipinos. The crisis in these industries compromises the integrity of their work by misunderstanding and violating the true meaning of hospitality, and exposes how oppression from colonization persists and took on a different form today.