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Love Letters
Feature by: Tiffany Limsico

Replying Alexis, and to all my Filipino friends
From Tan Chui Mui

On Sat, Sep 26, 2009 at 7:07 PM, chuimui TAN wrote:

Dearest Alexis,

I am sorry Iím always bad at replying to email. Iím sorry I took so long to reply to your email. Some friends think I am nice and sensitive, but I think I must be a very cold person, to not write a few nice words to you, after you lost your father.

And you are probably the only person in the world who could write something like this, ďIt has been a very very difficult week for me this past week. My father has just passed away. I am certain that what I am going through is nowhere nearly as difficult as what you had to, but it hurts and is very difficult all the same.Ē

You are too nice.

And I couldnít comfort you. Because I didnít want to talk about how painful it was to lose someone so dear.

I just couldnít. I think I am still in denial, about the death of my younger brother. I could tell my new friends, my father passed away in a car accident, but I couldnít tell them, my younger brother died in the same accident too. He was 25.

Even after so many years, I still talk about my younger brother, as if he is still alive, living in my hometown.

He was young, good looking, with a nice girlfriend, and the family business.

It is always sad to lose someone young.

And now you.

And of course one doesnít get used to a thing like this.

I canít imagine I will not see you anymore. And I canít imagine how I could gather the courage to go to Cinemanila. You are my first Filipino friend. And it was you who showed me around, the first time when I went to Manila.

We were closest in year 2005, in the SIFF workshop. But we donít talk that much about films. We were quite childish. Once we were in a Ramen restaurant, you and Khavn challenged me to take the spiciest Ramen. it turned out to be no problem to me at all. You were impressed; or we skip some screenings and spent time in the Starbucks. Talking nonsense and taking silly photos. You complain the photo I took of you, about your nose; and you took a funny photo of me holding a water bottle, like I was holding a light saber; The worst photo was in Rotterdam 2007, I was in the Brockas futsal team. And you ask me to make a stupid pose, to my regret.

all those silly photographs you took of me, can I have them back?

And how you always greet me, ĒTan Chui Mui, ni zhi dao shen me?". And how I always joke to you, Ē I donít like Filipino. But I like you Alexis, you are not Filipino.Ē Which you were of course offended by. Yes, how I liked to tease at you and your ĎFilipinonessí.

because I donít see you fitting into the Filipino characteristic I get to know later, from Khavn, Lav Diaz, John Torres, Arleen, Raya, Tikoy and others. I think, they are romantic, fun, unorganized, wild and crazy. Or to put it this way, I could not imagine how you can fit into the Brockas Band. No offence, but can you really play drums?

You are gentle, polite, and too nice. You are sort of a Singaporean.

Yes, Iím full of prejudice.

Indeed I was really surprised by your open love letter to Nika. I should realize earlier you can be romantic too.

I want to let you know I will take back my words. (Yes, like Raya did.) I am sorry my reply comes so late, and it comes in this way.

You are Filipino! And I like Filipino.



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