how the world sees america

Child of a Filipina Prostitute: “The Dirt of the Americans”

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OLONGAPO, Philippines - Six-year-old Shiela Maria Daet used to watch her mother strip naked and gyrate on Red Rooster’s stage. African-American servicemen hooted in the dark and threw cash in the air.

“It was disgusting,” she says. But even back then, in 1986, Shiela knew her father, Samuel Gill Barber, had once been one of those American servicemen at the bar. She knew Sam had hired her mother for a night in 1979, fell in love with her, impregnated her, and then left for America a month before Shiela was born.

So for the next two decades Shiela looked for her father Sam. She found him in 2006, broken, serving time in a Georgia jail.

Olongapo is a seedy town a three-hour drive northwest of the capital, Manila. For much of the century before 1992, it serviced a vast American military base here that was closed in 1992 amid anti-American protests. Red Rooster Bar on Jungle Street catered to African American soldiers. Nearby Magsaysay Drive was home to numerous sex-bars where the white U.S. marines lounged.

As children, Shiela and her six siblings all slept together on the floor outside their mother’s bedroom. Up to four Americans per night would tiptoe over the dozing kids to take turns sleeping with their mother.

Shiela faced severe racism growing up. Classmates and some teachers called her “Beluga,” “Negra” and “the dirt of the Americans.” The prostitute kids with white American fathers were often considered beautiful: “They were popular; they won beauty contests.” But the children of black Americans were doubly cursed.

Shiela was never close to her mother, whom she says was "smart…[and] could have done better…but always thought her destiny was to find an American to bring her to paradise [in the U.S.].”

Shiela’s grandmother tried to bolster her self-esteem by telling her a bit about Sam: how he was kind, rarely talked, sipped beer, towered at 6 foot 7 inches, and loved basketball. As mementos, Shiela was given Sam’s marine basketball jersey along with some faded pictures of him.

Unlike many of her peers who turned to drugs and prostitution to avoid the shame or frustration of being castaways, Shiela focused her energies on her studies, and on finding her American dad.

Between ages eight to twelve, Shiela approached scores of tall black American men asking them if they were Samuel Barber. When she hit her teens and received a grant to study computer science from Preda, an organization that helps Amerasian youth with prostitute mothers and absent American fathers, she developed more high-tech ways of seeking her father.

She used the Internet to find hundreds of U.S. addresses under that name. Despite the high cost, she sent out five letters per week, eighty in total, hoping for a reply. Nothing came. Then she wrote to Oprah Winfrey asking for her help. “She is black, and helps black people,” Shiela explained.

Shiela identifies herself as a “Filipina-African-American” and asked me about the racial struggle in the U.S. “Is it as bad as here?” Oprah didn’t reply.

Then Shiela found Jennifer Williams, an Amerasian living in Georgia who founded AmerasianFamilyFinder.com. Searching through old marine databases, Shiela scanned the living, the dead, and finally considered those in jail. That’s when one more Samuel Barber appeared. He was serving five years' time in a Georgia jail for cocaine abuse.

Expecting nothing, Shiela wrote to the warden of the jail. Three weeks later, she got this letter back:

“I'm your long lost father. I feel so ashamed...How can you forgive me?”

Sam_Letter_2.jpg
Letter from Samuel Barber, September 24, 2006:

My Dearest Sheila Maria, I received your letter Sept 20 and I was overjoyed and very very happy to hear from you. I am so sorry I didn't get in contact with you. Yes, I'm your long lost father. I feel so ashamed...

Shiela didn’t know what to think. It was 2006. She’d been searching for eighteen years, since age eight. Her father’s response was desperate. He had no wife, no other kids, and no money. He claimed to have been tormented for years by the thought of his abandoned daughter. “How can you forgive me?” he asked at the end of his letter.

Her response was simple: “We should not live in the past.”

“Who’s to blame?" I ask. "Who should you forgive?”

“Nobody,” says Shiela immediately, but then says of her mother, “She always wanted quick money.” And of the army base, she says, “Once it closed, it forced [her mother] to find another job,” as domestic help in the Middle East, where she remains.

“The situation is terrible for everyone,” Shiela says.

In 2007 Sam got out of jail. He’s on probation now, making money from “painting fences for white people.” The two hope to meet. But Shiela only earns US$200 per month working for Preda, and takes care of her grandmother and siblings with that. Her father can barely afford his electricity.

But Shiela is hopeful they will meet. While many of her peers repeat her mother’s mistakes, she hopes her studies, and a newborn relationship with her lost father can help ground her in her roots, and free her from her past.

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Comments (143)

Vangard:

to Mr. Bakshi:

I just heard your interview on All things Considered on NPR and overheard this story. I am Black and and currently serve in the Navy. I have been to Subic Bay and Olongapo ,and first , I understand why they want to come to the US; I didn't know want poor was until I went to the Philipines. I find it kind of ironic that Filipinos treat Sheila badly for being half-black when the Filipinos in the southern part of the islands are just as black, and are discriminated againist just as bad(Long before we got there, the Spanish, Dutch,Japanese did the same thing). I know I'm being naive about this; while I half-expect some white people to be prejudiced, It hurts when I see non-whites do it. It just goes to show you that people are jacked up all over the world. I hope Sheila has gotten some closure, and I hope her father can do the right thing.

Christina:


To Mike M.: I don't think this is an example of how non-Americans are more racist than Americans. After all, the Pi really has hardly any interaction with those of African descent to be racist towards them, yet, the Pi is heavily influenced by American media & views; so where is this racism coming from?

To Jennifer: Thank you for your comment about your personal experience with the impression foriegners receive of African Americans from American media. It saddens me to think what general society hands to average people in the world & how it negatively affects their views.

I can't wait to continue my edu & start travelling so my view of the world & all people can expand. I only hope that people can do more to make more healthy balanced views to the average person.

It really makes me wonder where racism comes from (individually & in amongst societies). I've heard scholars say that RACISM AS WE KNOW TODAY didn't exsist in the ancient world. So what were it's beginnings in becoming such a common aspect of many societies in today's world? Does this mentality spring up whenever/wherever a society get's too powerful & starts think highly of itself to look down on others; &/or has this mentality spread by being impressed on peoples by the influence of other societies?

To JR4H: Good point you made in painting a different set of circumstances of the people in the article: it's so interesting how different the picture seems to the actual circumstances. The poverty & moral choices of the parents really do magnify the race issue; the fact that her own community in the Pi doesn't accept her is also a magnifying affect too, though.

Brian T.:

Thank you Dwain!

This is by far the most accurate description of the Filipino I've seen in this thread so far. Yes we are very resilient and we are very happy, that's one of the reasons why (customer service) jobs are being outsourced to the Philippines.

It seems that the so called "American Dream" isn't much of a dream for Sheila Maria since she's doing better than her father could ever do. It is comforting to know that she has found her father, this gives her some closure on who she really is.

Dwain:

I have been to the Philippines recently and have gotten to know the people of the Islands and their culture and living conditions.

After reading this story and all the comments, I only wish all of you could go there with an open heart and open mind and see for yourself.

If you watched the video that accompanied this article you saw something of the poverty that exists in the Philippines. What you can't see is that the areas around the former military bases are actually more affluent than the distant provinces where life truly is hard.

Although Filipinos live in dire conditions by western standards, they are some of the happiest, most loving people on the face of the earth. They lack many things by our standards, but you would be amazed that you always see them smiling or singing.

They live a simple life and are a simple people. Yes, there are some sad stories, but they are a proud and resilient people. Search ways to help them if you wish, but stop judging people by your own standards.

Racism after all is the by product of misunderstanding and fearing any one who is different than you.

Ingat (Tagalog for Take care.)

Dwain

December 19, 2007 1:49 PM | Report Offensive Comments

Gupse:

You go, girl!

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hi Westerner and O'Po, after reading both your comments I thought hard about the use of that word. It is certainly true Olongapo was seedy for decades, and there is still a substantial element of illicit sexual activity going on. What O'Po points correctly to is the turn-around of Subic Bay, the old military base, and the new jobs opening up there. I interviewed the former mayor and head of the political dynasty here, now Senator Dick Gordon (his brother is mayor now, and Dick may run for president) and he would have objected strongly to my choice of words. Yet father Shay Cullen would probably be more receptive. Compared to other places, this city still has a problem with sexual tourism; however, it is improving, and Subic is providing good, legitimate employment that brings up a lot of labor from Olongapo. All in all, I am going to leave the word, but your points are well taken. When I wrote this piece, I was planning to write a longer post on the renovation of Subic based on my interview with Senator Gordon and others but decided not to. I'll post some of that interview below though if you remind me so that you can see the ways in which Subic is improving Olongapo, and I'll post something from Cullen about the lengths Olongapo needs to go. It's certainly important to complicate the use of that term, and I appreciate your input to do so.

Westerner:

Dred, you clarified my post well. Thank you. To all of you who thought the comment was racist...GET OVER YOURSELF YOU RACEBAITERS.

And for the rest of you, Merry Christmas!

Westerner:

Hey Amar, O'Po has a point. What made you describe Olongapo "seedy"? I'm picturing the whole town as one big red light district.

Ryan:

In response to "Joe" 's comment:

I find this very offensive. Should "people like Samual [be] forcefully deported, maybe be to an african country like Liberia, which was originally created for people like him," because he is black? And is this implying that since he is black, he should be deported to a country such as Liberia to become a slave? I am not African-American myself, but I find this comment extremely derogatory, small-minded, rude, and racist. Joe should keep his comments to himself. We're not living in the 18th century and discrimination and racism just aren't "cool" anymore.

Michael:

Oh please the African American is the most hated race in the world, I know this from experience the Indians (not the Native Americans) refer to us as Kafa's and dalet which is the term for the N word. Every race in the world has a derogatory term for the African American and what is really sad is they come to our country and berate us.

Amar C. Bakshi:

[This note is from Father Shay Cullen who is the founder of Preda]:

Reading the comments on the blog I see the respondents are not aware that Shiela is receiving a full scholarship at a Private College and a guaranteed Job at Preda as soon as she graduates. We have an immigration lawyer based in Washington who I am requesting for pro bono may try and get her Father to sign a sworn affidavit claiming her as his daughter.

Adrasteia:

The elephant in the room is the role of the military in the actions of its service members and the prostitution that inevitably grows around overseas military bases.

As a woman who was in the military I can tell you that assignments like the Phillipines and Korea are prized because service members are tacitly allowed to behave in any manner they wish. What goes TDY, stays TDY. Servicemen told me it was the fault of the people in those countries because they will do anything for a dollar or to get to the big BX in the States. You have no idea how many old bucks lament over the lost days of debauchery.

There is a move underway for commanders to make bars off limits that blatantly offer prostitutes. Servicemen are angry that the military would try to regulate their morality. But one poster wondered why the US didn't bring children of servicemembers to America. So we should be responsible for the actions of men who can't be responsible for themselves?

We all support our troops. We give them great responsiblity but apparently behaving like moral adult men and women is not one of them. Their actions are unacceptable. People make mistakes but this happens all too often and it's happening today. This is the play "Miss Saigon" with a slightly different ending.

O' Po:

For the author to state in his article that Olongapo is a "seedy town" shows his true ignorance of the real state of Olongapo.

This city may have have been considered "seedy" back when the US Navy base was open here and the city was run by USA back before 1991. After the Americans left the city in 1991 its residents have turned the former military base and the surrounding areas into a major tourist destination, with 5 star hotels and restaurants. (Here are some links to examples). The landing strip has been turned into an international airport and Fed Ex hub, and the docks have been turned into a major port for ocean going ships.

There are many high tech and also large industry firms locating in and around Olongapo. It is a progressive city with a bright future. Along with this growth has come opportunity for many good jobs and occupations for Shiela and others like her.

Speaking of seedy towns, have you driven around some of the poorer areas in Washington lately? (Or any other USA town for that matter.) Stopped in the many bars there? Noticed the hookers walking the streets, or seen the topless or all nude bars?

Visit the new Olongapo. Make your own judgement. Shame on you Amar. For you to show only the poor and the worst conditions behind this thriving city, and insinuate that the whole city is seedy is just bad journalism.

dred:

"Any person from Canada to Argentina could use the term "American" to describe their nationality but it wouldn't be correct."

Unless, of course, they are from the United States of America.

"There is no country named America."

No, but there is a country named the United States of America. It also happens that this is the only country in the world with "America" anywhere in its name. Seems fairly unambiguous which country the word "America" refers to.

Similarly, there are no countries named Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, etc., etc., etc. The list of countries that are actually named what everyone calls them is extremely short.

"For the US to claim it is egotistical and rightly raises the hackles of "Americans" from other countries."

And for others to demand that we rename our country 200+ years after the fact so that they can refer to themselves as "Americans" rather than "Latin Americans" or "South Americans" or whatever is ridiculous, insensitive and offensive. What's the point? Is there any reason at all why one would prefer to refer to one's self by continent rather than by nation?

dred:

"I have only one problem with your country. Why you call yourself America??"

It's short for United States of America. This name was selected because it indicates the federal nature of the republic ("United States") and its location ("America").

It always baffles me when people choose this, of all things, to pick a bone about. Is this REALLY the most offensive aspect of our nation? Wouldn't our time be better spent worrying about Guantanamo or waterboarding or CO2 emissions or something that actually matters?

"I´m from Argentina and from America and hate that people from United States thinks that America is a country."

America IS a country. You can hate us all you want for calling our country that, but it's silly to pretend that it's some kind of mistake on our part. Lots of words refer to different entities in different contexts; are you going to insist that these are all mistakes as well?

"With that actitude the rest of the habitants of these continent can think that you want to expand."

Well, that was the original idea. Back when the name was chosen, we were the only nation in the western hemisphere. Everybody else was a colony owned by one European empire or another. And, yeah, the idea was that the entirety of the continent would be liberated and join the new federation. But that idea went down in flames well over a century ago. Do you guys really stay up at night worrying about this? Or are you just prickly over the fact that we got independence first, and so got dibs on the name "America?"

"Please think about it and change the name of the country."

Riiiight... you know, if you said something like this to a citizen of any other country in the world, you'd be considered extremely rude. More importantly, though, I'd advise dropping the issue, lest we change the name to something itended to antagonize you. The Real America, perhaps, or the United States of Earth.

"America is a continent."

No, North America and South America are continents. "America" is a catch-all term that has many different meanings depending on the context and language.

Ken:

Congress screwed this mix kids by not allowing them to live in the US.

Ken:

Congress screwed this mix kids by not allowing them to live in the US.

dred:

"So many comments about how Filipinos cannot be racist, they are not white themselves. This is so stupid. Do you think only the ''lily white'' whites have the honor and high position to be racists? Cannot everyone be proud of his race--whatever it is? Are whites the only ones good enough to look down on others? "

____________________________________________

So many re-posts of this comment... anyway, the comment was apparently made in reference to the differences in treatment between Philipino-Americans with white fathers and Philipino-Americans with black fathers. Presumably, the author of the original comment thought it weird that Philipinos would display a preference for white people, since they aren't white themselves. The explanation for this phenomenon presumably lies in the history of colonization in the Phillipines at the hands of white people (first the Spanish, then America).

Bob:

I hope Sheila does the right thing.

RASTA OVERFLOW:

Let me help you to the review the facts as if you were the Judge! Blacks were rendering money to grown woman; over 18 but were prostitutes which is illegal because of the U.S.A's Uniform Code Of Military Justice or plainly stated laws that govern servicemen's conduct....... Now the whites were doing the same thing i.e. paying for sexual gratification or paying prostitutes. The difference presents itself as this, the girls the Whites hired for sexual favors were underage in America we call this child abuse, statutory rape, rape, child molestation etc. By military law the whites have two charges against them: one for the act, two is the act involved an underage girl. Now Black or White they both left children there but the children mixed with White were loved but children with black blood was hated. This shows how slavery scarred the World. Let's find all the Dads not just the Blacks please include the Whites....... In this rare occasion both Black and White servicemen were wrong based on our limited understanding and only the CREATOR can Judge them with DIVINE WISDOM!!!!!!!

Joe :

I see someone mentioned Obama. Interestingly, even his black dad did not stick around after his birth and he was raised by his white mother. If, and a big if, Obama becomes POTUS, you can bet Obama's deadbeat dad would be paying a visit to the white house soon, crying for forgiveness like the deadbeat loser Shiela has for a father.

Miss Audrey:

I believe in 2nd chances (or 3rd or 4th chances for that matter). Just because Sam made some mistakes and ended up in jail, doesn't mean that he doesn't deserve a chance to make amends with his daughter and/or any of the other people in his life that have an issue with him. Isn't that how a person builds character - by recognizing that they have made a mistake and trying to make it right? I find it ironic that some people in this forum have labeled Sam a "loser" or a "bottom feeder" without even knowing his circumstances. There are so many of our vets who are homeless, mentally ill, or disabled that have not been able to reintegrate into society. I believe our vets deserve better.

Joe:

I think we should rewrite our immigration laws so that people like Shiela are let in, and people like Samual are forcefully deported, maybe be to an african country like Liberia, which was originally created for people like him. The less trash the better for all us Americans.

Dwain:

I have been to the Philippines recently and have gotten to know the people of the Islands and their culture and living conditions.

After reading this story and all the comments, I only wish all of you could go there with an open heart and open mind and see for yourself.

If you watched the video that accompanied this article you saw something of the poverty that exists in the Philippines. What you can't see is that the areas around the former military bases are actually more affluent than the distant provinces where life truly is hard.

Although Filipinos live in dire conditions by western standards, they are some of the happiest, most loving people on the face of the earth. They lack many things by our standards, but you would be amazed that you always see them smiling or singing.

They live a simple life and are a simple people. Yes, there are some sad stories, but they are a proud and resilient people. Search ways to help them if you wish, but stop judging people by your own standards.

Racism after all is the by product of misunderstanding and fearing any one who is different than you.

Ingat (Tagalog for Take care.)

Dwain

mrj:

BTW, Amar, what would be more interesting to write about would be how "Amerasians" experience racisim from two vastly different cultures. Some Asian cultures still don't like mixing with whites or blacks, and many, many Americans and other westerners continue to harbor stereotyped beliefs about, and hold derisive views, of Asians (especially women). They used to call us "Eurasians" but I suppose that doesn't pack the same punch. The ripple effect of America's presence around the world that has caused this blending of races could benefit societies in the long term, but meanwhile, many Eurasians feel they are fish out of water -- outcasts in Asia, and not quite fully American.

mrj:

Fingersfly, that is why I said "when in referring to a member of...". You have to read the whole sentence, not just seize on the part you want to react to. And I'll have to concur with you that we are now in a time when having pride in your country and military is considered impolite "superiority". Of course, if current media trends (and other factors) continue, that "superiority" and pride will soon be wiped out, no doubt pleasing a great many people such as yourself.

Larry:

As an American citizen Sheila has every right to come here any time she wants. Her Dad should help her to document her belonging. Good luck to them both. Maybe lifting yourself up by your bootstraps is easier if two work together.

walterrock:

One would only have to TRAVEL to the Philipines to see what real POVERTY and desperation looks like. Getting off the plane at CLARK AB and then going into the city was worse than Pattiya in Thailand. I'm glad we were kicked out, the people will be better for it. The story is not just about who her father is, what color he is, but how we SCREWED most of the countries we colonized. It is so smug for AMERICANS to always think that we hold a HIGH MORAL ground, or that at least it's US buying sex than the Japanses raping. It's mindless and stupid, period. The story is about a young girls search for her ex GI father (how many war babies were left in England)who encounters RACISM in here own culture because of the COLOR OF HER SKIN. Now anyone with any common sense can see the comparisions that are drawn. No maybe not in AMERICA, where the world is seen through WHITE ROSE COLORED glasses. I hope that we end up with a BLACK MALE PRESIDENT or a WHITE WOMAN that most WHITE MEN hate. I bet a mixed ticket would be even more "Hillary"ious. The racist minds will have a field day with the "BOY" now running the "BIG HOUSE" and "SERVICING" everyone along the way. Imagine that: two groups that have been screwded by the same people now representing the free world. Only in America...

Utpal Kanti Biswas:

Amar,

Thanks for writting such Asain and American terrific story.You unvailed the American guys habits and treatments with poor Asain needy girls.Try to focus more facts about American activities over Asian or poor or undervelopment countriesand or/people.

Channah:

So many comments about how Filipinos cannot be racist, they are not white themselves. This is so stupid. Do you think only the ''lily white'' whites have the honor and high position to be racists? Cannot everyone be proud of his race--whatever it is? Are whites the only ones good enough to look down on others?

I see both sides of this story----is this young woman lucky to have found her father, or will he use her, and have no real feelings?

But, the comments about race was what really made me stop and look at the stupidity of remarks-that I can only take came from white people. All races are beautiful.....each in their own way.

Channah:

So many comments about how Filipinos cannot be racist, they are not white themselves. This is so stupid. Do you think only the ''lily white'' whites have the honor and high position to be racists? Cannot everyone be proud of his race--whatever it is? Are whites the only ones good enough to look down on others?

I see both sides of this story----is this young woman lucky to have found her father, or will he use her, and have no real feelings?

But, the comments about race was what really made me stop and look at the stupidity of remarks-that I can only take came from white people. All races are beautiful.....each in their own way.

Channah:

So many comments about how Filipinos cannot be racist, they are not white themselves. This is so stupid. Do you think only the ''lily white'' whites have the honor and high position to be racists? Cannot everyone be proud of his race--whatever it is? Are whites the only ones good enough to look down on others?

I see both sides of this story----is this young woman lucky to have found her father, or will he use her, and have no real feelings?

But, the comments about race was what really made me stop and look at the stupidity of remarks-that I can only take came from white people. All races are beautiful.....each in their own way.

Channah:

So many comments about how Filipinos cannot be racist, they are not white themselves. This is so stupid. Do you think only the ''lily white'' whites have the honor and high position to be racists? Cannot everyone be proud of his race--whatever it is? Are whites the only ones good enough to look down on others?

I see both sides of this story----is this young woman lucky to have found her father, or will he use her, and have no real feelings?

But, the comments about race was what really made me stop and look at the stupidity of remarks-that I can only take came from white people. All races are beautiful.....each in their own way.

jps:

Mexican refer to their country as Mexico, not the United States of Mexico, which is the official name of the country. Apparently Argentines refer to their country as Argentina, not the Argentine Republic. Calling ourselves Americans is not any different.

Channah:

So many comments about how Filipinos cannot be racist, they are not white themselves. This is so stupid. Do you think only the ''lily white'' whites have the honor and high position to be racists? Cannot everyone be proud of his race--whatever it is? Are whites the only ones good enough to look down on others?

I see both sides of this story----is this young woman lucky to have found her father, or will he use her, and have no real feelings?

But, the comments about race was what really made me stop and look at the stupidity of remarks-that I can only take came from white people. All races are beautiful.....each in their own way.

Channah:

So many comments about how Filipinos cannot be racist, they are not white themselves. This is so stupid. Do you think only the ''lily white'' whites have the honor and high position to be racists? Cannot everyone be proud of his race--whatever it is? Are whites the only ones good enough to look down on others?

I see both sides of this story----is this young woman lucky to have found her father, or will he use her, and have no real feelings?

But, the comments about race was what really made me stop and look at the stupidity of remarks-that I can only take came from white people. All races are beautiful.....each in their own way.

Channah:

So many comments about how Filipinos cannot be racist, they are not white themselves. This is so stupid. Do you think only the ''lily white'' whites have the honor and high position to be racists? Cannot everyone be proud of his race--whatever it is? Are whites the only ones good enough to look down on others?

I see both sides of this story----is this young woman lucky to have found her father, or will he use her, and have no real feelings?

But, the comments about race was what really made me stop and look at the stupidity of remarks-that I can only take came from white people. All races are beautiful.....each in their own way.

USAF:

I am currently in the United States Air Force and, as one of the "bottom feeders" Nash refers to, felt obligated to respond with some basic information about your Air Force.

There are currently 329,094 individuals on active duty Air Force. Of those:

100% of the officers (65,722) have at least a 4 year college degree...many have masters or doctorates

99.96% of the enlisted (263,372) have a high school diploma, and 73% of those have some college credits as they work toward a college degree

We live all over world, sometimes in very austere places away from our families, to carry out the orders that your president, on your behalf, gives us. We are proud to be able to defend your freedom and advance democratic principles on your behalf all over the world.

We are not perfect, but as an institution we strive hard to address thousands of personal problems that human beings find themselves dealing with every day. Since your military is a reflection of the American society at large, we also have our share of those with less than honorable intentions and those who find themselves in difficult situations to which they don't know how to respond.

We offer support systems and counseling opportunities to those who may have a tough time dealing with life's problems to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the type situations identified in this article.

We'll never be perfect but rest assured we are always working to learn from our mistakes and improve our lot in life.

Just curious, though. What kind of work do you do? What is your education level? What have you done for your country lately?

Pecos 45:

What a moving, poignant and sad story.
I wish that everyone would read this, both to become aware of what the rest of the world has to endure while we sit here in relative comfort, and to be reminded that you CAN overcome a tough start in life.
I applaud the organizations that are helping this young girl. They demonstrate true Christian charity.

Q Diddy:


Mike:
(By the same token, people also want success. People with white skins have, over the course of the past few centuries, been more successful than others. So people generally prefer to be white.)

Mike, you are seriously misinformed and delusional. By what measure have white skin people have been more successful than others. Do you realize that the Babylonian empire was created through advance Eastern African (Middle East) cultures? African American forced servitude (slavery) was responsible for emergence of America's power and might. My point is that all people have done something of importance and success of mankind. So spare me your eurocentric dismal view

Amar C. Bakshi:

If you want to donate, you can do it through Preda (www.preda.org) which is a group doing good work in Olongapo with the children of prostitutes. Shiela works there and the organization is run by Father Shay Cullen.

To donate, send a check to:

Columban Fathers,
St.Columban's Box 10, Omaha, NE 68056 0010
and make sure to write it for Shiela c/o Fr.Shay Cullen at Preda

OR:

Preda Foundation/Shiela
Account 171-2-17100011-9
Metro Bank, Subic Bay Freeport.Olongapo City
Philippines

Anonymous:

Abandoned children are not African Americans only and bastards have all colors. The problem is that in non African communities they are the most victimized by racism. There is no secret about why. The standards in a world dominated culturally and economically by the west are that the more you are white the more beautful and smarter.
African civil right activists should think about those kids instead of demonstrating for the liberation of criminals. Hines Ward (a Steelers receiver) was born in a similar situation in Korea and had similars problems.
I think Africans need to do better than they are doing. They have the highest percentage of kids with no fathers at home. They should know that they are the most disliked people everywhere in the whole world even by people who call themselves members of religions of love and peace.
A people facing such situation need to stick together and act smarter. Many young Africans act angrily, carelessly, desperately or hopelessly which solve nothing.

USian:

Any person from Canada to Argentina could use the term "American" to describe their nationality but it wouldn't be correct. There is no country named America. For the US to claim it is egotistical and rightly raises the hackles of "Americans" from other countries. Probably why so many prefer to call us Yanks or gringos.

Anonymous:

"I have only one problem with your country. Why you call yourself America?? I´m from Argentina and from America and hate that people from United States thinks that America is a country.
With that actitude the rest of the habitants of these continent can think that you want to expand.
Please think about it and change the name of the country. America is a continent.
Thank you please give me a opinion. "

The name of our country is the United States of America. People also say they are from the US, or from the USA, but ask us our nationality and we'll tell you they are 'American'. A word like 'Statesian' or 'Uniteder' doesn't roll off the tongue quite as smoothly as 'Argentinian' or 'American'. What would you suggest we use?

W. Jonathan McCoy:

I am a former US Service member of African descent and I may have fathered a child in the Philippines. I am horrified at the thought of the life my child may have had to live. I have made an abortive (and unsuccessful) attempt to ascertain wether I, in fact, did father said child and to find the whereabouts of the mother.

I will try the link supplied in the blog, but I can be reached at buttermilk02@yahoo.com , if anyone can help.

No Where To Go !!!:

As an American from the deep south, I really enjoy reading stories such as Sheila and Sam's. Those of you whom I see every day at work and in public. Those of you who are so self righteous lilly white and pure without shame or sin (political left and right). It gives the whole world a true picture of the hypocrites who live in the US. How do any of you know that Sam will not find the means to better himself as a result of his daughter finding him. Where is the redemption?

Remember it is the government you elect that create WAR and aggression around the world! As a result of your excess consumption, greed and war mongering ways, your children are now turning the guns on you! Shooting up your malls, your churches and your schools.

African Americans (AA) did not invent sex and they are not the only ones who have enjoyed it for pay for free or thru force. Also AA males are not the only ones through out history who have breed and abandon their children. Think of the millions mixed breed AA who were sold into slavery by their White slave owner fathers. Think of the rape that took place on those plantations for centuries. Anyway, what would one expect? Many of the founders of this country were released from the prisons of Europe by King Henry VIII and placed of ships with individuals persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Many of you need to point that high powered receptacle at yourselves. Learn your own history, American and otherwise. Remember, Rome was never truly conquered but, it eventually imploded under the weight of its own corruption and greed. Before any of you can truly condemn AA males particularly, you need to consider the character of you selves and your political leaders. Some of whom in the past have soiled the integrity of the White House Oval Office thru sexual adventures, rendezvous in bath room stalls and many of them just can't keep their hands off those young naive male congressional page interns.

Best of luck Sheila and Sam! Sheila you would be better off getting your life together and finding some where else to go besides the New Babylon !!!

Bl:

Blacks take no responsibility for the kids they Father here in the USA. So it is not surprising they take none for other counties and other children. But it is very sad and i hope it works out!

No Where To Go !!!:

As an American from the deep south, I really enjoy reading stories such as Sheila and Sam's. Those of you whom I see every day at work and in public. Those of you who are so self righteous lilly white and pure without shame or sin (political left and right). It gives the whole world a true picture of the hypocrites who live in the US. How do any of you know that Sam will not find the means to better himself as a result of his daughter finding him. Where is the redemption?

Remember it is the government you elect that create WAR and aggression around the world! As a result of your excess consumption, greed and war mongering ways, your children are now turning the guns on you! Shooting up your malls, your churches and your schools.

African Americans (AA) did not invent sex and they are not the only ones who have enjoyed it for pay for free or thru force. Also AA males are not the only ones through out history who have breed and abandon their children. Think of the millions mixed breed AA who were sold into slavery by their White slave owner fathers. Think of the rape that took place on those plantations for centuries. Anyway, what would one expect? Many of the founders of this country were released from the prisons of Europe by King Henry VIII and placed of ships with individuals persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Many of you need to point that high powered receptacle at yourselves. Learn your own history, American and otherwise. Remember, Rome was never truly conquered but, it eventually imploded under the weight of its own corruption and greed. Before any of you can truly condemn AA males particularly, you need to consider the character of you selves and your political leaders. Some of whom in the past have soiled the integrity of the White House Oval Office thru sexual adventures, rendezvous in bath room stalls and many of them just can't keep their hands off those young naive male congressional page interns.

Best of luck Sheila and Sam! Sheila you would be better off getting your life together and finding some where else to go besides the New Babylon !!!

Fingersfly:

The word "marine" is only capitalized when used as a proper noun as in United States Marine. It is not a proper noun when used alone.

Your view as to how the world SHOULD see the US is not necessarily how the world DOES see the US which is why articles like this are so educational. Your superior attitude is undoubtedly shared by many of your colleagues and is another reason why the US is viewed so negatively by the rest of the world.

Ian:

I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard this story. While it's sad, it's also extremely common. When I worked in the Philippines, I handled the cases of several of these stories a day. Many times, the father was simply unknown -- this story above is rare because the mother knew the father's name.

Which also leads me to wonder whether he is indeed the father. I've had cases in which the mother (and the child, and even the man) thought that fatherhood was established, and DNA proved them wrong. For a child that, like this girl, longed to move to America, it was crushing. In a second, she loses her 'father' and her dream. It's not a speech I'd want to give again.

Cherri:

To Apostrophe: You didn't read very carefully. The American base that was closed near her town in 1992 wasn't Clark it was Subic, as you would have seen if you had bothered to check the links provided in the story about Olongapo. You should be more careful not to make factual errors when accusing others of doing so.

mrj:

This regular column purports to show how the world sees America. So..."the world", if Amar Bakshi is to be believed, sees this serviceman as a metaphor for what the U.S. has done to other countries? Is that your point, Mr. Amar Bakshi?

No, the rest of the world knows full well that without U.S. servicemen, there would have been no tsunami rescue, no stopping the Serbian genocide against the Muslims, no liberating Kuwaiti Muslims from Saddam, no liberating of the P.I. from the Japanese, no saving South Korea from North Korea, no wrenching of Europe away from Hitler.

The term "Amerasian" is itself a politicized comment. It conflates race with nationality. See what Tiger Woods has said about his own background to see how ridiculous this can get.

Hillary Brown may see only the happy wonders and possibilities of this story, but viewing this story as the smear it was intended to be is also valid. That does not take away from the positive aspects of this girl's journey.

Mr. Bakshi, perhaps one day you could do a story on the untold heroics Americans have accomplished overseas instead of picking out anything that puts the U.S. and the military in the worst possible light, especially seeing as your column is titled "How the World Sees America".

Finally, when you refer to a member of America's fine Corps, the word "marine" is always capitalized. Semper Fi.

j4hr:

Interesting story. It has to be difficult growing up under such conditions. The race issue seems to be magnified by the moral choices of the parents and subsequent poverty. I'm sure the story wouldn't be the same if the father were an African American UN diplomat who met at Filipino diplomat at a wine and cheese and they sent her to some posh international school.

Why is it so hard to believe that other groups/countries in the world have issues of racial discrimination i.e. that one group can hate another over skin color? I think that is a reflection of our own ethnocentrism. It's ironic that in a country of immigrants, that we know so little about the rest of the world.

Penny:

The blood of many peoples runs in my veins. Sheila is my sister, Sam is my brother.

I belong to Pax Christi,a worldwide organization that strives and prays for an end to violence and a rebirth of peace. Sheila and Sam, for so many years, have experienced varying degrees and many forms of violence at the hands of their fellowmen and women. I will tell their story to others, and we will pray that Christ's peace will fill their lives during this season and for all the years ahead of them.

God bless you for telling us their story.

transformed:


This article is really about this woman that I have compassion for. But the author was successful in getting across his own views, that we all fell prey too.
Is it me or can you see how the article has somehow brainwashed us into believing that the mother( a prostitute) as a saint?
The woman here even has a few issues with her mom.
Neither person was on their best behavior, so the result is a difficult situation.
I think that the article is racist and that the author is getting out some anger,and placing blame.
There are many stories like this around the world.
African-Americans are here because they were enslaved and most of my peers are a product of white married men, having relationships with African women slaves.
No one wants to be associated with dark skin because it is associated with low class, i.e slavery and that has been perpetuated by Europeans.
I agree with the posters that if she can meet her father it would be great!

A. Grammatarian:

Good story, but you misused the word "whom" in the sentence "Shiela was never close to her mother, whom she says was . . . ." The pronoun is not the object of the word "says" but is rather the subject of the verb "was." Your use of "whom" here would be like writing "She says her was" rather than "She says she was." You need to change "whom" to "who."

Kia 730:

This truly is a beautiful story... And this also goes to show how the European (white) standard of beauty has affected the rest of the world - not just African Americans. Throughout history Europeans have invaded other parts of the world and left many scars. (The lighter that someone is the better and more beautiful they are....Usually because they have more white blood. Historically speaking, this meant that theses people recieved "better" treatment, and jobs and/or pay from whites, which gave them more affluence.)

It is very sad because white people usually don't get it, and you really can't expect them to. This is because many of them do not think in the same manner as their fore-fathers did, but are ignorant to the effects that they have embedded in the minds of communities over hundreds of years. This standard of beauty has been engraved in or heads for hundreds of years. Recent studies still show that darker skinned African-Americans with equal or better education and experience of lighter skinned African-American still have to work harder at being successful in the career world. To this day you have some blacks who will not date dark skinned blacks or black people at all in order to prevent their children from coming out dark skinned. Although the problem is getting better it will take generations before we are truly healed.

jack morris:

well, well, so everyones heart is bleeding out, well isn't that nice.

lest we forget what happens here in north america after a 'divorce'.

jack morris:

well, well, so everyones heart is bleeding out, well isn't that nice.

lest we forget what happens here in north america after a 'divorce'.

Rock:

Its not just about African Americans having kids while overseas. How about the white soldiers who do the same, impregnat the women and roll out never to see them again. All service men need to held accountable for their actions while overseas. Many already have wives back home but yet, go dipping in the honey pot while sationed over there. So, this is not merely about an African American solider leaving his un-born child, this should be about American soliders as a whole, who do this.

Anonymous:

I hope he wasn't fabricating and owning up to being the father, but knowing he really wasn't just to have someone to use. Think if you were jail with no one to ever contact you, write you, send you a couple of bucks now and then, and here a great opportunity arises - someone thinks I'm their father. Um - if they think I'm their father what would be the problem if I said I was the father. They would be happy, and I would have some contact with someone, and maybe someone to help me in the future. - But neither can afford the DNA. I'm just playing the devils advocate. Hope that's not the case. I'm not sure which is worse. Wondering who and where your father is, or knowing your father is a loser. Either way, God Bless them both. And I'll say a prayer that they both can have strength and some wisdom.
gll

American:

After serving my country for eight years and serving two of them in a foreign country, this story is not that unfamiliar. In Australia, when the US carriers port, women of all ages rush to the piers in hopes of "catching a big fish". Women and men in other countries view marrying an American as a way of "saving" them from their current status. There is an assumption that all Americans are rich. So, they make themselves accessible to American men and women no matter what the consequences are. I applaud Sheila for finding her father but caution her not to see her father as a way to "save" her. It is obvious that he is in no position to save anyone...not even himself.

No answer warranted:

"I have only one problem with your country. Why you call yourself America?? I´m from Argentina and from America and hate that people from United States thinks that America is a country.
With that actitude the rest of the habitants of these continent can think that you want to expand.
Please think about it and change the name of the country. America is a continent.
Thank you please give me a opinion."

Wow, I'm an American and that's the least of my problems with America. We can't change now, because all of our "God Bless America" bumper stickers would have to change. That would drain our economy severely. Besides, Argentina is just jealous that it didn't take the name first.

Keith:

I hope both daughter and father find the peace they seek!

jennifer:

To the person who posted about US citizens calling this country "America" while ignoring the other countries on this continent--I agree with you.

As for servicemen who pay for sex while abroad, what do you expect from young men who would basically be considered "kids" where they not serving in the armed forces? They are young, still developing their sense of morality and self, and away from home. They are bound to make mistakes and probably don't even think about the extent of them. I'm not saying that we excuse them--but we should not be so harsh in our judgement.

As a black woman who has travelled--I have seen what is on foreign television, and no wonder people around the world have such a negative view of African-Americans. It is only the truly educated and well traveled who know the truth about the diversity of black people around the world.

Murl Swaggard:

"Hopefully Americans will see that most non-Americans are far more racist than your average American. Even though you are bombarded with the opposite and inaccurate notion by the media here in the States."

Yes, American racism is fine as long as we beat the world median. Get that "above average" in race relations status, America. Wear that medal of mediocrity proudly. Libruls ain't give us no credit fer nuttin.

puddlescited:

I find this story very touching, however; there are children right here in America facing the same dilemma. It is very unfortunate. What makes this story exceptional is the fact that this young lady has been and is determine to not repeat the mistakes of her parents. She has opted to have a successful, productive life. When someone of this caliber reaches out, your soul wants to reach back at them to help in some way. I find it very hard to believe that the producers who read through Oprah's mail... did not find this situation appealing enough to at least write her back. I wish I had the resources to help her.

puddlescited:

I find this story very touching, however; there are children right here in America facing the same dilemma. It is very unfortunate. What makes this story exceptional is the fact that this young lady has been and is determine to not repeat the mistakes of her parents. She has opted to have a successful, productive life. When someone of this caliber reaches out, your soul wants to reach back at them to help in some way. I find it very hard to believe that the producers who read through Oprah's mail... did not find this situation appealing enough to at least write her back. I wish I had the resources to help her.

r butler:

It's not an African-American success story; it's a Filipino success story. Sheila was a VICTIM of an African-American man who thought nothing of leaving the prospective mother of his unborn FILIPINO child when she was eight-months pregnant. Sheila overcame poverty, shame, abuse and discrimination with absolutely no help from her useless mother and absentee father. All this in a third-world country with few resources outside the human spirit and the aid of a few kind foreigners.

chicagoreader:

There has been numerous postings on this topic of Sheila and her dad Sam. The one thing I would like to know is WHAT ARE SHEILA'S PLANS FOR HER FUTURE? The article implies that Sheila is an intelligent individual, and still a student. What her career plans, how are her numerous siblings fairing...and are they all Ameriasians? If they are, they all need to work at proving their American citizenship by virtue of their American fathers, and getting out of that squalor we saw in the 2 minute video attachment.

As an African-American, the postings on this article brought forth a lot of feelings about the great humanity in people and the ignorance\cruelty of people, as well.

It wouldn't matter, in my opinion, if Sheila's dad Sam was a PURPLE American; Sheila deserves to know her dad. Period.

And please be intelligent enough to know that children are fathered and abandoned all over our planet by all types of men. These men are wealthy, middle class, poor, military, politicians, educators, doctors, lawyers, construction workers, writers, priests, white, black, native american, asian, jewish, christian, muslim, atheist - hell, some have even been founding fathers of this country! But you get the picture. All type of men have been "Sam".

Let's not be neanderthals in our thinking of sex and it's results.

I just hope Sheila uses the same determination to plot her future as she used to find her dad.


Dave:

Too bad. Could have been worse. She could have been Filipinese i.e. taking orders from the Japanese. The Japanese were harsh occupiers. I think Filipinos preferred the Americans there to the Japanese. In any occupying military, there will be native women hooking up with the military that is there. That is a historical fact. Too bad about this girl but she herself could have been a prostitute with the Japanese there forcing her to be one. The Germans and the Russians would rape the native populations too. Not the Americans. Europeans knew Americans were just. Quit crying already and be thankful we liberated your countries.

dwight:

1. Americans should stop thinking our way of life is universal, it isn't.

2. in this case in her country it's not racism it's bigotry. and everyopne's a bigot to some extent.

3. this girl is doing well considering where she lives and what she does, get togeather with her father while nice would upset her world since he has nothing to offer and he should not drag her down.

dwight:

1. Americans should stop thinking our way of life is universal, it isn't.

2. in this case it's not racism it's bigotry. and everyopne's a bigot to some extent.

3. this girl is doing well considering where she lives and what she does, get togeather with her father while nice would upset her world since he has noting to offer and he should not drag her down.

Answer please:

I have only one problem with your country. Why you call yourself America?? I´m from Argentina and from America and hate that people from United States thinks that America is a country.
With that actitude the rest of the habitants of these continent can think that you want to expand.
Please think about it and change the name of the country. America is a continent.
Thank you please give me a opinion.

Hillary Brown:

I was blessed enough to meet Shiela and she is truely an amazing young woman. I know that her dedication to herself and her studies will bring her to her dreams. I think that it's wonderful that she is brave enough to tell her story and I believe that her story will encourage others to not give up and to follow their dreams as well. She is really an inspiration to me and all that know her.

Q Diddy:

Mike:
(By the same token, people also want success. People with white skins have, over the course of the past few centuries, been more successful than others. So people generally prefer to be white.)

Mike, you are seriously misinformed and delusional. By what measure have white skin people have been more successful than others. Do you realize that the Babylonian empire was created through advance Eastern African (Middle East) cultures? African American forced servitude (slavery) was responsible for emergence of America's power and might. My point is that all people have done something of importance and success of mankind. So spare me your eurocentric dismal view

Rob G:

I'm disgusted by some of the responses posted here. Nash and Playa, refrain from ever expressing your opinion again if you ever want to have half a chance at masking your stupidity.

lovforchrist:

Good story, I pray blessings into both of their lives!

SEO:

This young woman does not need to be sponsored, nor does she need a visa. If she can prove that her father is an American citizen, then she is an American citizen. She should get a passport, not a green card.
I hope that one of the readers on this link does come up with a way for people to offer some money to help her. I'll contribute to it.
I'm fairly conservative on the illegal immigration issue, but this is an entirely different question. The woman is a citizen. That's enough to give her the right to come here if she wants to. Her story shows that she's an intelligent person with integrity, which makes me want to help her.
As for all the racist blather, oh well. This is America, after all, the land where God's chosen live in splendor. By their big cars ye shall know them...

thedefendant:

The story of Sheila and her father brings to mind the refusal of the Japanese Government to acknowledge its debt to Filipino and Dutch "Comfort women" during WWII. The Japanese attitude reflects the tendency of powerful governments, such as our own American one, to suppress the awful sexual consequences of military occupations in poor countries. And the reluctance of the Japanese government to compensate WW II foreign "comfort women" or their mixed nationality bastard offspring is in part because Japanese women suffered similar kinds of debasement and sexual exploitation from American military occupation troops. American military bases in the Philipines have unwritten rules for military men relating to Filipino women. And the acronym "LBFM" (translation: "Little Brown F.....g Machines") was a reference invented by white soldiers on R & R for Filipino sexual workers. Newsweek Magazine reported on the Philipines many years ago. Not much has changed since then. Perhaps we forget that the term "Rape" once was synonymous with the military abduction and subjugation of one people's women by foreign soldiers (see the paintings "The Rape of the Sabine Women" by Nicolas Poussin, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacques-Louis David,Pablo Picasso,etc.). And for those who reflect a form of cruelty reflected in the villains that Charles Dickens depicts, amended, of course, in racist values, they ought to study the history of American occupation troops up to WW II when the American combat troops were racially segregated and the American soldiers fathering bastard children were nearly all whites, from the Civil War (where the expression "I like my coffee and my women black" was common among white Union troops, to the Spanish American War in Cuba and the Philipines, and our Asian expeditions in Japan, the Koreas, the South Seas, and the Philipines). For modern day American troop sexual holidays, visit R & R military sites in Berlin, Dubai, Cypress, Greece, and Thailand. Read also Colin Powell's autobiography, My American Journey, in which he describes counseling white soldiers who fathered bastard children with German women and their daughters at the same time.

ksteve:

This story reminds me of my distant past. Over fifty years ago, I served in the military on Clark Air Force Base. (A lot of us were then only members of the Air Force because the draft existed and enlistment in something other than the infantry during the Korean War was a ready escape. At least, it wasn't hit or miss service in the National Guard.) Right next door and easily available by jitney (popular local transportation) was the town/city of Angeles, most of whose residents surely lived off the revenue provided by us relatively rich Americans. They made clothes for sale to us. They worked on base. They shined our shoes. And some of them, in Angeles, worked in a good number of bars as waitresses. There were the bars in which prostitution was routine and expected and there were the so-called "good girl" bars where it was not. And, yes, based, I think, on Filipino notions about American GI preferences in those bad old days of a segregated US society, there were bars that catered to GIs on the basis of their skin color. These were also pre-AIDS days and few GIs seemed scared by the routine tales by NCOs of health risks caused by sex. My best buddy at the time, Jim from Oklahoma, and I would likely have been typecast as fitting in with the light-skinned majority. We would often visit both "good girl" and other bars to at least chat with the "girls." Jim met Mela at a "good girl" bar. They genuinely, I think, fell in love and she eventually became pregnant. Unfortunately for Mela, who, I have reason to believe, would have loved to have married Jim and accompany him to the USA, it was not to be. Jim got so scared at the prospect that he arranged a transfer to Okinawa and Mela was left to raise their child. It didn't take long for me to lose contact with both. If Jim and Mela are both still alive, they'd be in their mid 70s (as am I). I wish them both well, especially Mela (who deserved far better than she got). The love child, somewhere alive I hope, would be a little over 50.
What memories this does bring back.

talldarkbald:

this is an awesome story of courage and determination and shows you do not have to be a product of your enviroment. I pray God's blessing for the both of them!

berlin:

There was a similar problem after WWII for German women who had babies with black American soldiers - besatzungskinder (occupation babies) had a tough time integrating into German culture in the following years.

panman:

I was in the Philipines in the seventies. I loved it there as a 20 year old Marine on liberty. There were more hostesses than there were military members on liberty. Unfortunately these type situations occurred while I was there. I may have left a child behind myself. Before the age of 25 we all take risks we normally would not take after 25. There are many poor people in the world and many people who have been handed a raw deal by their parents that would effect them mentally for the rest of their lives if they dwell on them and the wrongs done to them while youths. At some point in your life you have to accept the truth that no one but you is ultimately responsible for how you live your life and what you make of it. There is no such thing as a normal life. There's just life. Live yours.
An after thought:

No society made of only one race excepts another race as one of their own. All races are bigots in their own society no matter what their skin color.

Mike:

People everywhere, and in all times, have generally liked both money and sex. Yet both money and sex are limited resources. Thus we have the basis for a very ancient and widespread business.

By the same token, people also want success. People with white skins have, over the course of the past few centuries, been more successful than others. So people generally prefer to be white.

Like any sex, paid sex often results in children.
Children resulting from paid sex generally have a more difficult situation in life than children of married couples, especially when one of the parents is not white.

That's the simple socio-economic story.

The other story is the moral one.

In our Christian society, we have some wonderful basic values, best expressed by the Golden Rule (treat others as you would like to be treated), the adultress who was about to be stoned (Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone.), the Good Samaritan (the one who actually helped someone in need) and the welcome of the returning wayward son.

In the specific case at hand, the easiest thing for us to do would be to send a little money to both of the unfortunate people involved. How can we do this, and who will guarantee that (all) the money remitted will actually get into the their hands?

Merry Christmas.

cybclimb:

Whieyward:
the imagration laws in the USA will keep them apart. The law will require that the father make a very large amount of money before he can sponsor the daughter to come to the USA. The money angle is just the start. There are years of hoops she must get past to come here. I wanted to marry a Phillipina but the new rules make it very difficult if you are not rich.

------------------------------------------------
What are you talking about? American citizenship can be obtained if your mother OR father is an american citizen. So by virtue of jus sanguinis, Sheila is in fact an american citizen. She just have to prove that her dad is really Samuel Barber.

Ken:

Seriously, are this still people out there who think ANYBODY isn't racist? Haven't you seen Avenue Q....? :-) The Chinese will only accept white English teachers, whom they are recruiting heavily -- yup, Asian-Americans need not apply. The Japanese look down on Koreans...who look down on Chinese people. Last I remember, a few hundred thousand Hutus were killed in the 90's by Tutsis who looked down on them. Light-skinned blacks have historically discriminated against dark-skinned blacks in America. Russians look down on Poles. So do Germans. British people look down on Irish people. Seriously people, get real. This is a one of many millions of sad stories in the world.

AB Kwik:

It's a shame for American Soldiers. It's a misfortune for the daughter who should forgive her guilty father because of the blood ,but never forgive the dirt of the Americans.

Bob Portland USA:

Nice story. Too bad the Post doesn't require some sort of IQ and decency tests before they allow people to post comments or offer advice.

Sierra:

The article gives no facts to establish that Mr. Barber is Shiela's father. If anything, the mother's circumstances in 1979, as described in the article, make it uncertain. The article describes "up to four Americans per night" in her home. It does not seem likely that a woman in a situation that one poster aptly described as "slavery" would be able to just take off and spend time with one man.

It is understandable why Oprah Winfrey did not respond. The writer has much explaining to do before he solicits any more money from the public. The type and amount of inaccuracies and conjecture presented in this article is potentially grist for a criminal investigation.

paul from australia:

The worst thing about life is not knowing who your parents are, where you came from.At least she now knows what her father looks like and some family history.It can give a person closure, even if you've found the person to be horrible. Best of luck. Life is what you make it. Espically in Australia

Scott:

"Why do the service men have to be "African-American Servicemen" ...."

Because it stirs the pot of racism. What this male did is nothing different than has been done by millions of other males from any country who were in another country on business or in military service etc. The story, once you peel away the US Military association, African American identity etc. is just another sad story of the results of people with money in a poor country taking advantage of other humans. The young girls situation is sad but from the sound of things, she should keep her distance from her biological father and seek to move on with her life.

By the way folks, the military does educate servicemen and women when they are sent to other countries about the entire gamut of 'sex ed' issues but when a young male with raging hormones is stuck someplace where female companionship can be bought for a few dollars, many succumb to the temptation despite the risks to all involved.

PaulPaulPaul:

"I can't believe that Filipinos are that racist, they are not white themselves."

The result of a liberal American education.

Q Diddy:

First Excellent Story. But unfortunately people commented on another aspect that is alive today as it was 400 years ago, Racism! I myself serve in the US Military, and let me say the Military is a reflection of the American society which we represent. America has had a long history with sex and explotation and must be addressed someday. I am also not surprised that Filipina's are racist against African Americans. My time spent in the Pacific Northwest has lead me to believe that with the warm reception I recieve sometimes. I am glad she found her father, but these little reminders about the world I live in are no surprise. Our day of judgement will come soon and people including me must be responsible for their actions before the Only Rightous one.

Diane, from Las Vegas:

Everyone is entitled to know there family history, however unprotected sex in the sex industry is a severe concern.HIV and STD's exist in every country
and in growing numbers, there is no excuse, protect humanity.

Richard Howell:

Beyond Racisim is Recociliation. Christmas is a good reminder of that.
Richard Howell
India

Richard Howell:

Thanks for sharing the pain of Sheila.
Beyond racism is reconciliation. This Christmas season reminds us once again the babe in the manger Christ Jesus is the forgiver and reconciler.
I pray God will reconcile the family with the help of well wishers.
Richard Howell
India

Whieyward:

the imagration laws in the USA will keep them apart. The law will require that the father make a very large amount of money before he can sponsor the daughter to come to the USA. The money angle is just the start. There are years of hoops she must get past to come here. I wanted to marry a Phillipina but the new rules make it very difficult if you are not rich.

DC Dave:

i see two major issues at play here. this story illustrates how widespread (1a) light skin versus dark skin and (1b) anti african-american racism -are prevalent, even in countries with non-white populations. (2) how the concentration of capital negatively impacts behavior, career options and ultimately health and life. it was a remarkable story, but one has to ask, how does what I prefer to call "Darwinian Capitalism," jibe with the neighborly dictums of high christian thought??? does anyone disagree?

by the way, i spent 18 months in The PI: there was no "Jungle Street" in Olongapo. the street in question was/is Rizal Avenue. Rizal was IN "The Jungle," which was the section of town (adjacent to Magsaysay Avenue) where black servicemen were welcomed and found recreation. the prostitutes there (and in Angeles City outside Clark Air Force Base) were organized by the Filipino Police Force, with the explicit assent of the base commanders. MANY, many Filipinas found american husbands, black and white. one more thing: this columnist refers Olongapo as being "seedy." just exactly what kinds of neighborhoods do WE think american bases in 3rd World countries are sited? they are definitely NOT on the Champs Elysees.

Jeff:

Best wishes Sheila!

You are a wonderful person and very courageous. Your life can be one of great inspiration to others.

May God Bless You. I hope your Dad truly gets his life together and becomes a better person because of You.

sweet carla b:

I agree with Playa, I hope that Sheila is careful, there are too many crazy people in the world, heck he may not even be her father. I would suggest a DNA test just to be sure. I hate to sound so negative, I sincerely hope the best for her.

yusof:

i'll pledge. lets start a fund for shelia..must be at a legimate bank. no hanky panky. this is for real. how much do i hear from u guys? come on and give. its christmas

Retired Military:

This is sickening.

Alby:

This story is racist. Why do the service men have to be "African-American Servicemen" instead of just "American Servicemen"? Is their some reason their race needs to be identified?

Amar C. Bakshi:

If you're interested in helping Shiela, follow the link below and send me an email. I'll put you two in touch.

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/01/stay_in_touch_with_amar.html

Also, PREDA is a very worthy organization, and I can put you in touch with its founder Shay Cullen who works with many youth like Shiela.

Thanks Maria,
Amar

Anonymous:

What can I say. There but by the Grace of God go I.
My mother was German, well educated and without a job in Germany in 1948. My father was African American from a poor family but still well educated. They married in 1948. Lived 41 years till she passed away with cancer. He never beat her or fooled around.

Like I said-There but by the Grace of God go I.

Maria Rodriguez:

Is there a way to help Sheila?

FIM:

It is just another sad american story. Sad as always hapenned when this people go overseas and meet people with other culture.

QuietStormX:

I know this story. I was in the Philippines during the Revolution in 1985. I was on Vacation from the U.S. Airforce, Okinawa AFB. I saw what was written in this story outside of Clark Airforce Base. This was the first time I saw an Amerasian. It was strange seeing someone with my skin complexion and some features. I hope this story turns out nice and she meets her Father.

Robert James:

The comments give rise to a gulf. On the one hand we have those who see a beautiful and compassionate story. On the other, we hear vicious and denigrating comments from those who cannot see the importance of this reconciliation for father and child.

I am perplexed as to why some ugly assumptions are made about two people who are not known to those who are so very nasty.

I hope that all goes well for the father and his daughter.

SomeOneWhoCares:

I apologize for the need of some Afro-American Men that feel they can travel to other countries and leave off-springs. This is a sad situation especially for someone who is as beautiful as Shiela Maria Daet please if anyway I could help please let the commentors know. I'm sure a lot of sensable people would like to help one of many i'm sure.

v/r
SomeOneWhoCares

Earl:

Joe and Nash, you both should be ashamed of yourselves. And Jabrealoo how do you know that Samuel, the father, is a loser? Have you walked in his shoes? He is, after all, a Veteran, so he has had his good days. It's pretty easy for a black man in Georgia to fall on bad times. He is out and working. Painting fences was an honorable way to make a living, if not the best way, the last time I looked. There are plenty of half-asians in Korea and Vietnam who are half white, just the same as half-black. No race has a lease on the ability to leave a child overseas while serving in the military. I've read about these children, treated the same way in Vietnam. And the worse thing I see here, of all, are the comments of racists, supposedly religious people, cowards, and people who simply feel no compassion. I still hope the girl can get to America and meet her father. She certainly shows the intelligence and determination to somehow make it happen. Maybe somebody out there has a decent job in or out of Georgia for her father, and maybe even a way to help her become a foreign student in America.

Melvin Wood:

The purpose of the girl is clear that she was taking great efforts to attain a visa to US,Finally she will succeed...

dave:

Filipinos are racists

Whites are racists

Blacks are racists

Everyone is a racist in some way...and f they deny it, they are lying through their teeth.

Jabreal00:

What a courageous girl. If she can make it in that environment and situation, she will succeed anywhere. The dad is a loser. The mom is trash. Her treatment in Thailand is not surprising.

The US is one of the most, if not the most tolerant place on Earth despite it's past. South Asians are viciously racist towards blacks and that includes Indians. Blacks should stay away from central or south america. Japanese/Koreans are xenophobes. Blacks soccer players are routinely jeered and scornfully mocked during soccer games in western Europe. Neo-nazism and fascism is vibrant in East Europe. Africa is an intolerable mess.

Despite what Al and Jessie say, a black person has the best opportunities to shoot for the sky in the US.

Wolf Vorkian:

An unusually accurate depiction of aspects of the Filipino culture which aren't normally written about. Why values like described in the column are glossed over in the American press, I don't know. Probably mostly due to ignorance I suspect plus the PC factor.

I lived there for several years and I learned quick that you don't suggest that brown is beautiful, they look at you like you're an idiot if you do.

Pero gusto ko sa Philipinas. A wonderful country with fantastic people.

ALJ:

Shiela's story is very inspirational. I pray that one day she meets her father Samuel and that the Lord blesses their relationship to a level that Shiela would have never imagined possible.

Mike:

"nash:
Further proof that only bottom feeders join the military"

Yeah, cause real winners make cowardly, anonymous slanders on boards. Tell you what, coward. Next time you see a serviceman, go up and tell him that he is a bottom feeder. My guess is that you will stay in your mommy's basement and be an anoymous coward.

Becky:

Joe: "her father is no different than the millions of black men we have here"
Where to start? Her father is in jail for the same offense our president has admitted to: cocaine. Does he, as a Black former cocaine user, deserve worse than our president, a White former cocaine user? Even more so, if you think that the black men "we have here" (where do you keep yours, your closet?) all act the same, you must not know any. Frankly, I hope you're not of my race, because people read your comments and assume all White people think like you do.

letsbehonest..:

hahahaha.. naive.. racism is everywhere or Should I bring up the infamous failed Immigration Law?..

=]]:

tear... that story was in my words
"uber greatness"... another great accomplishment =D
<33 Me

iece:

Good luck for both.. she is a very good daughter

dred:

" I can't believe that Filipinos are that racist, they are not white themselves."

_________________________________________

Wow, what a dumbfounding comment. Supposing it wasn't tongue-in-cheek, it sounds like you need to get out a little more.

Earl:

The guy had to leave the Phillipines. Could he have married the woman, probably, but then again did he want to bring her home to momma, friends and family. Could he afford to take the child, or even could he without her mother and probably other siblings. The real crime here is that the U.S. doesn't bring these children home to America rather then just abandon them. Is the father any more guilty then the US Immigration policy? No, and too, which of those two had the money to see it was done? In Europe, Vietnam, Korea, the Phillipines, on and on, a single private should have had the right to offer their child for adoption or received help to bring the child home. I see in this column a lot of figure pointing by religious fanatics too; perhaps a base reason for many of the problems here and around the world, equal to racism and all the rest. In Georgia this girl might be just what her father needs to pull himself up out of the morass he finds himself, and at the same time she might find a father who cares. Let's all give them both the benefit of the doubt here, and in the season of Christmas wish them both able to find each other and happiness.

john:

I find some of the assumptions people make about US servicemen quite astounding. Particularly, those made by DJD. All military personnel do have their DNA on file. It helps identify them if their corpses are disfigured while fighting for their country! The idea that this database should be tested against out-of-wedlock births is offensive and displays ignorance. Are soldiers the only people who have unprotected sex with prostitutes? Should we test all men who have left the country? Can we have your DNA and a list of everyone you've had sex with? Can we garnish your wages?

The myth that soldiers, marines, etc. are oversexed neanderthals who spread their seed wherever they deploy is just that, a myth. This is a sad story, but it is ridiculous to condemn the vast majority of military personnel who are at least as morally upstanding as the rest of us.

Apostrophe:

It's a heart-touching story that might have more impact if not for the factual errors, which cast doubt on the rest of the author's assertions. Look up "Mount Pinatubo" for one, and "Clark Air Base" for the other.

Ron:

People often talk about how racist other countries are. What they fail to talk about is how American media, which is the largest in the world transplanted denigration of blacks through its racist movies going back to the 1930's. Aunt Jemimah, black-faced bug eyed coon caricatures have been spread throughout the planet earth. During WWI and WWII white Americans would tell the locals black people were monkeys with tales. Many people in these countries hate themselves as they have adopted the beauty standards of hollywood. Skin bleaching creams, eye surgery, hair coloring and straightening products proliferate the developed and developing world.

al:

Sheila just discovered her visa to the U.S. She should get her father to bring her to the U.S. to complete her mother's dream.

JK:

This is a story that is repeated all over Asia and the world. Shiela is not only a child but a symbol of foreign occupation on another souvereign nation by a more powerful nation. US is different than the Spaniards of the past or the Japanese but Shiela does present their own weakness as a people and as a country. For this reason alone, Shiela will be rejected by her own people.

As US increases it presence around the world, US should adopt more pro-active approach in managing soldiers's behaviors against the locals.

If the case such as Shiela occurred in Iraq, one can only imagine the horrific results though the innocent child bears no responsibility.

Patrick:

After reading some of these posters saying other countries are racist, should read their own words here first.

Playa & Fred.
I know of many American Politicians; e.g. Larry Craig; that pay for sex from prostitutes, as well as Black men whom did time that are not losers, nor are they attempting to take advantage of anyone.


I hope this lady gets a father, something everyone deserves, no matter their color.

Patrick

dennis dean:

Westerner:
"This is a really said situation. I can't believe that Filipinos are that racist, they are not white themselves."
--------------------------

Don't tell me if you haven't heard about or met Michelle with-the-unpronunciable-surname-before-she-became Malkin, formerly of fox noise and bill o'reilly's factor infamity.

If there ever were a combination of lou dobbs and tancredo in a non-white female mind, michelle is your perfect candidate. Won't surprise me if she was one of Sheila's bigot tormenters before she moved to the states to become a rabid reichwinger and first class racist....Read her book on the Japenese internment. After that, come back and tell me non-whites like Filippinos cannot be racists!

Jonathan :

Whatever you think of Shiela's father, I admire her drive to find him, and to find Her own truth.

Is anyone taking donations for this trip?

JBE:

See what amazing good can be started with forgiveness, love, and determination?

Now these two are together forever!

Cor:

Interesting how the story ends "Sam got out of jail. He’s on probation now, making money from painting fences for white people."
Racism still exists, but articles that only highlight race exacerbate the problem. People should be encouraged to recognize their similarities instead of emphasizing their differences.
Also, something must be done about sex trafficking, and the exploitation of women in the above-stated deplorable conditions. This is essentially slavery and it should not be tolerated.

Mapuel:

Let avoid any judments, she has long Strugled to find her father, let them be happy and find a common gound. I am happy for her

DJD:

This is a very sad story and I wish Shiela success and good fortune - she has the drive and determination to achieve much. I think she should keep her distance from her father. And I think the Armed Forces should do a better job discussing birth control with its soldiers. With DNA testing now, all soldiers should have their DNA on file and all out-of-wedlock kids tested for a match. Then the soldiers pay should be garnished for these children.

Fred:

What a LOSER. What do you expect from a man who pays for sex? This guy would be totally useless as any kind of father figure. Shiela would do well to drop all contact with him.

John D:

Let us live honorably as in daylight; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy.

Nevertheless, may we have mercy on these poor fellow mortals. May someone with clout befriend them (instead of condemn them with all this "righteous" scorn).

Westerner:

This is a really said situation. I can't believe that Filipinos are that racist, they are not white themselves. Was there no way to shield the young children from the mother's sordid occupation? All in all Shiela sounds like a good, solid soul despite her circumstances and I wish her well.

Mike M:

Hopefully Americans will see that most non-Americans are far more racist than your average American. Even though you are bombarded with the opposite and inaccurate notion by the media here in the States.

JG in Herndon:

It is worrisome that Barber immediately writes about his many problems and how he has no one to help him. It is easy to see that he is laying the groundwork for taking advantage of his daughter’s generosity.

Lgaloci:

Amar, thank you for bringing us Shiela and Samuel's story. I admire Shiela's determination, persistence and wisdom. I hope her new-found relationship with her father brings them both strength and hope. No one chooses one's parents - we must accept them as we find them - but we have more control than we realize over our responses to them. I wish all concerned well, and am very glad to hear that the base is closed.

sri-jaggu-gandhi:

Amar,
This story was so compelling, so sad and I am afraid that it has affected be bit. I am so glad you decided to write this story and I thank you for sharing this with us.

-sri-jaggu-gandhi

g:

this is a beautiful story, it touched my heart and made me cry

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