Appendix

Primary Research 1: Interview with Melanie McFarland

Primary Research 2: Interview with Katherine Medina

 

 

 

 

Appendix A: Interview Transcripts

Interviewee: Melanie McFarland

Interviewee Date: 26 April 2019

On April 26, I scheduled an in-person interview with Melanie McFarland. Find that transcript from the interview below:

 

Q: How did it feel to be an FCA debutante? Is it anything like you’ve experienced before?

A: I never really had big birthday parties growing up, so being the freshman debutante for FCA was a totally new experience.

Q: How do you think a debut is representative of Filipino Culture, if at all?

A: Even though I was part of FCA’s debut, I don’t really have a connection with the tradition otherwise. I’ve never been to a “real” one and didn’t grow up knowing about them, so I never grew up with the notion that they were important. So I would say that they’re not representative of my perception of Filipino culture, but I know they’re really important to other Filipinos who grew up with the tradition. Almost all of my friends at FCA have had one, and having planned FCA’s debut this year, I would say they are a very important part of FIlipino culture. I would say the event is unique to Filipino culture as shown through the traditions of the 18 roses and candles. Also, I think the event embodies Filipino values of appreciation and togetherness.

Q: Why do you think that FCA chose to have debut as one of their main cultural events? What makes it special?

A: I think FCA includes debut as one of its main cultural events because it is an opportunity for us to appreciate our general body members in a way that honors Filipino culture. I think debuts in general are special because of the 18 roses and candles tradition. This is a tradition where special men in the debutante’s life give her roses and dance with her, and special women in her life give her candles and give a special speech about the debutante. This speech can include memories, encouragement, and affirmations for the recipient to make them feel special. I think this opportunity to selflessly recognize the debutante in front of the entire audience is what makes it special.

Q: What effect do you think FCA’s debut has on general body members’ awareness of Filipino Culture?

A: I think this depends on how FCA’s debut is presented and who attends. I think most of the people who attend debut are Filipino or Filipino-American. Because of this, they tend to know what a debut is already, and since those in charge of making the program for debut know who typically comes, they don’t usually feel the need to include a lot of cultural commentary during the event. In other words, I don’t think that debut significantly increases general body members’ awareness of Filipino culture. However, if debut was approached in more of an educational intention where the individual parts of the event were explained or people were given the opportunity to share their own experiences with debuts during the promotion of the event, I think it would be a great platform to encourage more awareness of Filipino culture.

 

 

Interviewee: Katherine Medina

Interviewee Date: 26 April 2019

On April 26, I scheduled an in-person interview with Katherine Medina. Find that transcript from the interview below:

 

Q: How did having your own debut make you feel?

A: Having a debut was the first major Filipino tradition that I participated in so it was the first to make me feel connected to my roots. This was extremely important to me as I felt very disconnected from my Filipino culture being the first generation of my family to be born in America (second-generation Filipina American). This was also a growing point between my mother and I as I rarely saw her growing up due to her multiple jobs. It was the opportunity for her to tell me about her debut in the Philippines, share her favorite memories, and all the work she put into it.

Q: How do you think a debut is representative of Filipino Culture, if at all?

A: I think having a coming of age party at the age of 18 years of age rather than 16 or 15 years of age is very particular towards Filipino Culture. The 18 roses and 18 candles has traditionally always been very close relatives and has been reflective of the importance of family and community in the Filipino culture.

Q: Did you feel different after having your debut?

A: Having a debut was the first major Filipino tradition that I participated in so it was the first to make me feel connected to my roots. This was extremely important to me as I felt very disconnected from my Filipino culture being the first generation of my family to be born in America, since I am a second-generation Filipina-American. My debut felt like the first step of me connecting to the Filipino generation before me. It was one of the first experiences in which we shared and allowed us to bond over. It also allowed me to spend more time with my family members through preparation and naturally brought me closer to a handful of them.

Q: Do you believe it affected your awareness of Filipino culture?

A: Since it was the first major tradition I participated in, it truly opened by eyes and kept me wondering what other traditions I could participate in.

Q: Why do you think that FCA chose to have debut as one of their main cultural events? What makes it special?

A: I think one of the main reasons is to bring light to the debut tradition in general. Not everyone in FCA is Filipino and not all Filipinos know about debuts so it's the perfect opportunity for many people to learn about debuts and the traditions that occur through the event. Another reason is to provide the opportunity to their general body members to have their debuts. While debuts are a Filipino tradition, it typically requires financials to fund, time to plan, and family/friends to participate in - all of which are a privilege that not everyone has access to. Lastly, it is FCA’s way to honor and highlight a general body member that has contributed and created the FCA we love and see and a family.

Q: What effect do you think FCA’s debut has on general body members’ awareness of Filipino Culture?

A: I think that this event, since it is more social, has the effect of giving general body members a better chance of getting to know each other, and allowing them to be part of our FCA family. In terms of raising awareness of Filipino culture, I think that the event does introduce general body members to some of the ideas I think surround Filipino culture, including family and togetherness.

 

 

 

 

 

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