Today I have the pleasure of introducing Baikong Mamid as guestblogger on Angry African on the Loose. We started talking a while back – when we were young bloggers with hope of changing the world. Today we are slightly dented bloggers still out to change the world. Out paths crossed many times in spirit and in virtual space. She is from the Philippines and I am from Africa – Mindanao and South Africa is what we call home. Thousands of miles away, but so the same. Baikong want to change this world of ours and she is every single day. We might be worlds apart, but we share a passion for our people – and all people. Baikong – keep on fighting. The world will catch up with you at some stage if it is lucky. This is Baikong – Life of a not-so Princess

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Just like life of a not-so Princess by Baikong Mamid

Baikong is my name. You haven’t heard it right? It sounds like Chinese? Or Thai? But no, no, no. It is a local dialect combined from the words “bai” meaning princess, and “ko” as “my.” When added with “-ng” it is an endearment, my princess.

But my life is a not-so Princess tale. 

Because a princess lives in a beautiful place, and an exalted palace. But I live in place where chronic and protracted armed conflict is a part of daily life. My homeland Mindanao is a very lovely place despite the conflict. That is why I keep on sheltering myself in a humble house with a lovely family that I call home. 

A princess is a daughter of a king. But I am not a king’s daughter. I am a daughter to a land aggressed by conflict, racial discrimination, prejudices, and misunderstanding. I am a daughter of history. I was born in the times when a ceasefire between the conflicting troops of government and revolutionary groups were enforced, and Philippines was set to liberty from dictatorship.  

That is why I was born and raised in an urban place, tasting and smelling Peace – reduced military presence, but still fear resides in each heart and mind. Just like a princess. She can have almost all the things money can buy. But could hardly touch what’s the real essence of life and happiness. Just like me, I am having a difficult time to touch and hug the real essence of peace in my land.  

I am a part of a family who has experienced so much suffering of the past – injustices, discrimination because of our identity, and severe conflict. It has rotten the good relationship of Muslims and non-Muslims in the place. That makes the colonizers laughed out loud seeing us fighting from each other, falling from the trap of divide and rule tactics. This made social harmony a ruined past. This past is hunting my life now. 

Whenever I sit over my prayer mat after performing prayer inside my small bedroom, my heart begins to beat faster, I breathe deeply, and my tears falling rush. I close my eyes and start wishing that Allah would give me enough courage to surpass obstacles coming in my way for the fight of my people, for the fight of my future, my love, my happiness.  

My society that I grew up with has great teachings with my thinking and perspective now. My goal is to be able to help others realize to abide from justice. That justice is not elusive. That even a not-so princess like me can grasp and feel it. I see people as equal breathing creature; men or women, poor or rich, tall or short, white or black.  

I want to correct things and put them in the right place. I want to see that discrimination will soon be over. Those women will not be perceived and judged as weak; men will not be perceived the greatest; that children will be perceived as an important role player in the society; and, finally, persons will not be judged according to his/her religion and race, ethnicity and gender. 

I am just one out of many who is suffering from the impact of the past. I was perceived weak, but I have proven them I am not. And the battle is not yet over. Mindanao is a hopeful land – strong, loving, sensitive, and optimistic – despite it’s past.  

It is not a land of terror, just like what others think. It is a rich land. But, inequalities have derailed its growth. I still see practices where voices of the poor and underprivileged are unheard. I still mingle with women who are really empowered, but don’t have venue to exercise their rights. Aside from armed conflict, food shortage, poor health, lack of access in quality education, and poor governance are included in the list to combat.  

What gladdens my heart is seeing my people driving change for the better, even without others to help them. And a woman like me who can’t give and buy any solutions to fight all the problems, will continue to be inspired to support them to achieve their dream of justice and to claim their rights. My dream, too, is to grasp justice in Mindanao, and see people especially the poor claiming their rights. Just like a life of a not-so princess. 

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