pasaHERO by Jade Pangilinan
DENNIS SUN: GLOBAL PINOY
In this issue of the Jeepney Press, let me pay tribute to the man who started it all – Kuya Dennis Sun. Last September 2, SM City Pampanga organized the opening of the SM Global Pinoy Center and recognized top achievers among Kapampangan expatriates and overseas workers. One of the outstanding Global Pinoys is our very own Dennis Villanueva Sun, who was honored for his contributions in the fields of arts and journalism.
Kuya Dennis, our Jeepney Press Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director, is a native of Angeles City and spent his growing up years in Pampanga. He finished his Fine Arts degree from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, with honors. Today, he has a flourishing career in the arts in Japan as a widely recognized artist and a journalist.
SM Global Pinoy Centers are located in different SM branches all over the Philippines to cater to the expat Pinoy for their various needs. SM Global Pinoy highlighted, among kuya Dennis’ many achievements, Jeepney Press and UTAWIT as great contributions to upholding Filipino pride in Japan.
I had the opportunity to interview Kuya Dennis on his views on the award that he recently received and on the Global Pinoy experience.
Jeep Trips: How would you define a true Global Pinoy?
Dennis: For me, a true Global Pinoy is a Filipino who represents the best of being a Filipino to the world.
Jeep Trips: What inspires you to be proud as a pinoy in the Land of the Rising Sun?
Dennis: When I see successful Pinoys in Japan and the world, I tell my Japanese and foreign friends that they come from the Philippines. And why do I tell them that? Because most Japanese and foreigners think nothing good comes out of our country. It's always bad news in the papers and the news on TV. Kaya when good Pinoys come out in the media making waves, I tell my Japanese and foreign friends immediately. They deserve to know.
Jeep Trips: What does the Global Pinoy award mean to you and to your family?
Dennis: Of course, the Global Pinoy award means a lot to me. The award reminds me that what I have been doing is on the right track and it keeps me moving forward to my goal in helping other Pinoys. My family is proud of me. The award means so much to them as it is to me. So I would like to thank SM Global Pinoy for reaching out to our kababayans and give meaning to their global journey away from the Philippines.
Jeep Trips: Your art themes show a bright and happy side of life. Does your being Filipino contribute to that?
Dennis: My art presents only the good and positive in life. This is why, ever since, I have explored the theme of "inner child" to tell everyone that in order to enjoy life, one has to tap the child within oneself. I do use plenty of bright colors and perhaps the Filipino in me could have contributed to that.
Jeep Trips: How did you come up with Jeepney Press and Utawit? And how did our kababayans respond to this?
Dennis: Since I work in the media especially the publishing industry, I am very particular with the quality of publications which are out in the market especially the Filipino ones. I saw that most Filipino publications were too commercial. They only cater to tabloid news, showbiz gossips, and their company's needs in selling their services and products. Thus, Jeepney Press was born out of the need to help the vital needs of Filipinos in Japan. Jeepney Press is manned by a staff of volunteer Filipinos aiming to uplift the image of Filipinos.
Before Utawit was born, most of the contests held in Japan every year were beauty contests. When the entertainers were gone, they couldn't find anymore contestants. It was during this time that I thought of having a Filipino music festival and a singing competition. Have you realized that because of the entertainers pouring in Japan then, that most of the best singers from the Philippines came here? Those who didn't make it big in the Philippines came here. You go to one Philippine pub after another, you hear their singers sing. I would say Japan is so blessed with lots of great Filipino singers! After more than half a decade now, UTAWIT has become a yearly nationwide event helping the less fortunate children through Gawad Kalinga-Sibol.
According to Kuya Dennis, one of the barriers that may hamper the success of Pinoys in other countries is the language or cultural barrier. In Japan there are a number of Filipinos who have been staying for more than twenty years but still do not know how to speak, read or write in Japanese. Kuya Dennis stresses that Filipinos, wherever they go, should make an effort to study and know the culture of their host country. This could help break the negative image that Pinoys have in other countries, too.
For aspiring Global Pinoys, Kuya Dennis shares, “Put your heart in whatever you do, then just follow your heart. If there is no heart, it means nothing even if you accomplish something.”
Isang masigabong palakpakan para kay Kuya Dennis! You are a great pride of the Kapampa-ngans and Pinoys in Japan and a true-blue Global Pinoy!
I salute you!