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When I picture the word “domain” I invariably associate it with my own private corner of the world, similar to the feel of being accorded your first bedroom.  All to yourself as opposed to a bunk bed or a bed space among the many in a dormitory.  The space was your very own. You earned it.

Today, I suppose, none of the above applies. What the word ”domain” does connote is cyberspace turf. Imagine our surprise when informed in cold type that our domain was expiring and in fact had expired! Editor goes into rampage mode.  Some irresponsible host did us in. No forewarning, no professional 45-day notice. And unbelievably, in trying to locate our host, the notice on the page indicated that our host expired. They up and died and took us with them.  “Expire”. . .  what a lovely term connoting the last sigh when in reality while you are still breathing, you are trying to resuscitate a zero entity.

Reality check: When you are erased from cyberspace, you don’t exist. The world cannot verify your existence via a search engine.  When you are not in Facebook, you are a non-persona. I elect to be the latter, but give me back my Voice!

The best part about being labeled “expired” is that there are alternatives:  one can take a giant lightning step towards a more responsible host and recoup a vestige of one’s domain.
But you found us.  Thank you for searching and finding us again. Thank you for the foresight of our astute web director, we had a back up domain in www.oovrag.com and now our new domain, our restored castle in the air, is www.ourownvoiceonline.com.

This virtual experience of losing hearth, home and haven is a shock to one’s system. It gives you pause. It sets you aside to think of how isolation can sink you. You can withdraw further or find precious society around you by touch, by look and especially by word. You can only give and see where the giving takes you. Watch out! There will be strange surprises sprung on you affirming your Collective Being.

Mine came on a sleepy Saturday afternoon, at a vigil Mass when I heard the familiar opening piano chords of Kordero ng Diyos with the church choir breaking into song and leading the congregation in Tagalog . . . I looked around me to see brown, blond, blue-eyed Caucasian and black faces, children and adults, bleary-eyed teens—their voices soaring in

Kordero ng Diyos
na nag-aalis
ng mga kasalanan ng mundo
Maawa ka, maawa ka sa amin.”

No better word, pledge, congressional mandate, assimilation law, or census survey can erase the divide in racial communities.  No covenant on earth can best spell out “acceptance.”  How humbling to hear the tradition of my homeland in the voices of my neighbors.

I live in the Diaspora but I am home.

Reme-Antonia Grefalda
April 2010
our.own.voice@gmail.com



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EDITOR
Remé-Antonia Grefalda

ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Aileen Ibardaloza-Cassinetto

EDITORIAL BOARD
Victoria Paz Cruz
Seb Koh
Yolanda Palis

ART DIRECTOR AND WEB DESIGNER
Geejay Arriola

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR FOR THE ARTS and
OOV 2010 RESIDENT POET
Eileen Tabios

copyright 2010

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