“Silent Sacrifices: Voices of the Filipino American Family” by Dr. Patricia Heras is a research that was made to help the Filipino Americans family end the relationship gap between the parents and the children. This documentary encourages Filipino-American parents and their teen-aged children to talk so that suicidal attempts can be thwarted. It also talks about the cultural conflicts and the struggles of the Filipino immigrant and their children on a daily basis encounter.
The video begins by showing articles about the increasing numbers of suicide cases by young Filipino-Americans. The Filipino-Americans teenagers were asked what it means to be a Filipino-American. Someone said it is more of a struggle. Every day they have to adjust to be able to fit in with a group that has a different values and culture. They can’t be their selves because if they try to be real they will be rejected. Every single day of their lives they have to live with fear and insecurities.
Guilt-torn children who feel they need to repay their hard-working parents by excelling in school and choosing career paths their parents want for them. They can’t even share their problems with their parents. One of them said: “I can’t tell my parents. How can I compete with my dad when he works two jobs and had open-heart surgery. How am I supposed to come home and tell him … I’m ready to quit school? ” They don’t want to add burdens to their parents who works two jobs to be able to feed his family.
Someone said they have no right to feel sad or to feel self-pity because their parents say so. The parents were asked “What makes you sad raising your children? ” The parents explained that it’s difficult and stressful because they don’t have enough time to be with their children because they work for two jobs. They also feel pressure and, at the same time, worries for their children. Since they are often working, they seldom see or talk to their children. They become oblivious to the activities or problems their children are getting into.
The parents are also having difficulties in saying “I love you” because they grew up in the Philippines where saying I love you is not that frequent compare to America. “I was raised the old way. What I say goes – no ifs or buts,” Someone said in the documentary. “My wife and kids say, ‘I never hear you say I love you. ‘ They express their feeling only when something wrong is done. The Filipino-American children were aware of the sacrifices they and their parents have to undergo just to survive in US.
Parents are working for seventeen hours a day to be able to give a comfortable life for their family but in return their relationship with their children would be strain. Children have to struggle every day just to have their own identity or just to fit in with a crowd that has a different culture and values. They have to control their frustration from their parents who push them to work hard in school but were never satisfied. They always feel lonely, unloved, and unwanted in spite of living with their parents in one roof.