Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Pinoy Penman: Filipino-ness In Fiction

As he promised, Sir Butch Dalisay has written about the ongoing discussion. The title of his column is "Filipino-ness In Fiction". You can check it out on his blog, or you can read it in his column on page G-1 in the October 1, 2007 issue of The Philippine Star. Here are some quotes that struck me:

"What connects us as Filipinos is the land we came from and some experiences we’ve shared. Many writers will focus on those commonalities, and even raise them up as national traits or virtues—hospitality, resilience, religiosity, the whole Social-Studies shtick. But just as—if not more—interesting are the things that divide and differentiate us as a people and as individuals."

I suppose what I’m saying is, the “Filipino” in what we write is practically inescapable; it’s hardwired into our imaginations, and it’ll almost surely come out in whatever we put on paper."

"Whatever is perceptibly Filipino in our literature should be an asset and not a liability, especially in this age of creeping homogenization"

"This Filipino element doesn’t mean that your story has to be set in Payatas or Negros, or depend on the exoticism of tropic foliage. We can and should write about the world; it’s about time we did, given that we’re everywhere."

"...this Filipino element doesn’t have to be another kapre or tikbalang (although one of the stories in the first issue of Kenneth Yu’s magazine did a great job with this idea); clichés of any kind degrade the writing,..."*

"I think that writers who know what they’re doing—whether they’re realists or fantasists—don’t worry about Filipino-ness and such, leaving that to readers and critics to discern and to sort out, if it’s all that important to them."

I have also scanned his column, which you can read here: part 1, 2, 3, 4.

If you want to share what you think, feel free to leave a comment here or on his blog. Or you can email him privately at penmanila(at)yahoo(dot)com. Thank you, Sir Butch!

*I mention this quote only because it thrills me that Sir Butch found Beneath The Acacia (the story with the kapre and the tikbalang) by Celestine Marie G. Trinidad "a great job". Celestine, I hope that, despite your heavy study-load at med-school, you continue to find the time to read and write! Consider Sir Butch's words as encouragement!

This, by the way, is the second time Sir Butch has given column space to something PGS-related. The first one can be found here.


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