A few weeks ago, channelAPA.com wrote about the documentary film Within Every Women about comfort women during WWII. Here’s another documentary “Left By The Ship” about a similar topic, but from the children’s perspective:
In the 1970s and 80s, the world was touched by the stories of the abandoned Amerasians children, the offspring of the US military stationed in the East, and Asian women, often impoverished prostitutes. In 1982, the US Congress voted to grant US Citizenship to Amerasians from Vietnam, Korea, Thailand and other Asian countries, in what is known as the Amerasians Act. Though the Philippines has been a United States ally for more than a century, Filipino Amerasians were not included in the Act: they alone must be claimed by their American fathers.
Robert, Jr, Charlene and Margarita are Amerasians: the sons and daughters of Filipina sex workers and American servicemen stationed at the Subic Bay US Naval Base, once the largest outside mainland USA. When the Base closed about 20 years ago, thousands of Amerasian children were left behind. Unlike Amerasian children from other countries, Filipino Amerasians were never recognized by the US government. Now those children have grown up. Over the course of two years, they followed the lives of four Amerasian (age 13 to 30), as they struggle with discrimination, family problems and identity related issues, trying to overcome a past they are in no way responsible for.
It is estimated that there are at least 50,000 Amerasians are living in the Philippines today. As in other Asian countries, Amerasians here suffer a great amount of discrimination. Abandoned in early life, living with the stigma of being illegitimate children, unable to escape prejudice due to their physical features, they are teased with the names of “Iniwan ng Barko” (left by the ship). The children of African American soldiers are particularly victims of racism and prejudice.
What is it like to be an Amerasian in the Philippines today, 18 years after the pull out of the Bases? When your basic birthrights have been denied, what kind of future can you build for yourself? How do perceive yourself when everyone can see, by just looking at you, that your mother was a prostitute and your father has abandoned you?
Look for the documentary playing at a film festival near you.
Left By The Ship documentary trailer