Thursday, August 03, 2006

Reading List or Lost in Translation*

It bothers me, that I'm not reading enough Filipino authors, not enough in Filipino, about Filipinos. In the past few weeks, only Bulosan's America is in the Heart, assorted blogs, articles in this year's Kule.

Somehow, other newspapers don't count.

Waiting in my bookshelf is a cheap copy of PSR, and a canon of the best Philippine short stories in English.

I tried to read Umbrella Country, but I couldn't stomach it. The country Realuyo describes exists only in his memories, while characters like Boy Spit come to life only as an awkward translation.

Huntington writes that after former colonies gained their independence, elites prized fluency in English, French or another Western language in order to distinguish them from the common people of their society.

"As a result, elites of non-Western societies are often better able to communicate with Westerners and with each other that with people of their own society (a situation like that in the West in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when aristocrats form different countries could easily communicate in French with each other but could not speak the vernacular of their own country)."

Reminds me of a lot of people. Far too may, in fact.

Ten years after we came back form the States, I still think, dream and write. In English.

I love the language, love the words, phrases and sentences that flow from my fingertips. I love it -- even as I revile what continues to set me apart.

*with apologies to Sofia Coppola

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