This post is filed under Daily Write which means that it is raw and unedited. Just like this disclaimer. My intent is to write down my thoughts and quickly publish them. In a way, this serves as a public journal.
I feel like representation should be treated like food.
When bite into something our mouth and tongue experiences the distinct characteristic of the food. To make this discussion workable, let’s look into the adobo. The adobo is a quintessential Filipino food and is inarguably comes with a taste of soy be it chicken, pork, chicken-pork or even kangkong. On the other hand, pakbet which is a mixed of vegetables associated to the North, to the Ilocanos, is given life by bagoong. It’s fishy, tangy and salty.
These two dish have identity because some elements that make them are more dominant than the others. Adodo is tastes like soy. Pakbet tastes like bagoong.
Identity, though fraught with arguments on how to define it, boils down to association. Identity is a collective and dialectic relationship of sign. It is formed through interaction of sign. Being identified is having people learn the pattern of what makes an identity. In cooking, these are the ingridients. Pakbet of the Ilocanos is composed of eggplants, bitter melon, okra and fish paste. Substituting the fish paste for shrimp paste makes it the pakbet of the central or southern Philippines. (I need to verify this.)
Representation is a question of identity and how is a certain identity is communicated or if it is even communicated.
Different to the adobo pakbet, halo-halo is just distinctively mixed. It is milky, but milkshake is also milky. It has reached a point to where it’s ingredients doesn’t define it. It is however still made of it but the associated meaning by how they are combined transcended the individuality of the ingredients.