I’ve been asked this question on occasion in the six years that I was managing editor of a major Filipino American newspaper. It’s a question I always found awkward dealing with. How do you say ‘sorry’ to a friend who calls with the question. The feeling is not any easier when a stranger is the one asking.
I read Pulitzer Award winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’s New York Times essay, where he confessed to being an undocumented immigrant. I wondered if he ever uttered that question to any of his prospective editors. I’ve been told, it takes enormous guts and a thick face to ask it. Nakakahiya (‘It’s embarrassing’)."