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About Constancio Asumen, Jr.

Mr. Asumen has most recently assumed the responsibilities of Chairman-of-the-Board for ACE LILACS, a budding startup venture in the marketplace of ideas.  The list of previous vocations he had engaged in before this, includes being a farmer, fisherman, stevedore, national scholar, college professor, journeyman laborer, freelance scribe, typesetter, proofreader, systems analyst, software developer, cab driver, etc. He holds a masters degree in Mineral Science & Technology (1973, Kyoto University) with a major in Exploration Geophysics. Somewhat of the quintessential Ivy League under-achiever, he is an embodiment of the can-do attitude so prevalent amongst most first generation Americans. He is an ardent adherent to the tenet that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Mr. Asumen maintains a website here.

Past Articles
Assimilation Overkill Begets Bigotry

Constancio Asumen, Jr.
Assimilation Overkill Begets Bigotry
November 2, 2009

"We've become a very tolerant society, in which we don't judge people by their names any more than by the color of their skin. Assimilation still requires some accommodation by the newcomers...But it doesn't mean entirely giving up some attachment and affection for one's origins, even distant ones.” Linda Chavez

 

Roughly a quarter of a century ago, when the manager hired me to a much coveted job in the lowest echelons of management in a reputable corporation, I believed it was on the merits of my resume and real time presentation.  It was the easiest conclusion to make, having been endowed with a healthy dose of self-esteem by my farm boy upbringing, reinforced by a series of academic scholarships through college and graduate school.

 

Then picking an "Americanized” name was one of the top three issues he addressed in the job orientation.  He opined that most people would find pronouncing all three syllables of my first name, Constancio, as a project by itself, or in his words, "more than a mouthful.”

 

I was utterly flabbergasted.  Only the fact that I already resigned from my previous job, where I was affectionately called "Mr. C” by my manager, constrained me from kissing the new job goodbye.

 

Again my farm boy instinct for adaptation kicked in and I settled for a compromise.  During the first few years on the job I adopted the moniker "C.S.” This was conveniently consistent with the name on my driver’s license and the American Express card I carried at the time.

 

Moreover, the compromise did not involve any emotional stress.  I am the fifth of eight siblings and the fourth of six sons.  I have known for a fact that I was named after my father not because he had any special affection for me over his other sons.  Rather it was because the Catholic Almanac of Names was not available the year I was born, thanks to World War II.  So getting "CS” over "Constancio” did not bruise my ego in any way, shape or form.

 

I did not bring this up to suggest that the manager was a bigot by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, he was one of the finest human beings I was privileged to have encountered in my career meanderings.  To date I hold him in high esteem.  That I am no longer in contact with him may be blamed on what Spenser calls "The Ruins of Time.”  I have that strong tendency to be overwhelmed by the inertia of the banalities of day-to-day existence, to keep abreast with the demands of social networking.

 

The manager who succeeded him promptly sent me to an accent correction tutor to get rid of my ‘thick’ Filipino accent.  The premise being that speaking with a vernacular accent hindered my ability to communicate effectively.  It allegedly jeopardized my chances for advancement in the corporate bureaucracy, or so he noted in a subsequent job performance evaluation report.

 

I must confess that he was proved correct.  I subsequently resigned from the job shortly thereafter.  I simply could not muster enough patience and forbearance to endlessly indulge in what I deemed the celebration of irrelevance just to stoke some peoples’ ego.

The point that can never be overemphasized is that an obsession with form over substance, as seems to be the norm of late, especially in the age of Obama, produces unintended consequences.  One of them is a de facto appearance of bigotry, and its practice by default.  It is a fine line that divides the much needed effort at cultural assimilation and the despicable sacrifice of your soul in the altar of multiculturalism.

 

The former demands you galvanize all the useful aspects of your background to become viable tools to establish your role in the new cultural setting, thereby enhancing your chances at success.  The latter is wont to embellish some of the primitive and provincial reflexes of your background to mystify and mythologize so that they become worthy of worship and adoration.

 

This is an unmistakable prelude to an historical revisionism which can create an alternate universe or pseudo reality in the lives of the practitioners.  As a first generation American, I am always, and will ever be categorically against the mindset that promotes hyphenated-Americanism.  It is the ultimate promise of meritocracy, inter alia, which makes me unapologetically, uniquely, and unequivocally proud to be an American.

It is this sentiment that makes the POTUS’ practice and inclination to apologize for America unpardonably offensive, and un-American.  It is a practice definitely not worthy of his office.  America deserves better.

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