Sunday, October 17, 2010

Greg Brillantes' Speech At The 60th Palanca Awards

Here's an article by writer Krip Yuson about another writer, Greg Brillantes, who was the honoree at the 60th Palanca Awards last September 1, 2010. Greg Brillantes' speech comes after the article. An excerpt from the article:

...we knew that Greg indeed took the risk of raising "nationalistic" hackles once again, especially since he quoted instructively from National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera and Dr. Epifanio San Juan, a critic based in the U.S. In their own ways, both have argued for "de-Englishing" our literature and culture, as a blow against the so-called "power elite."

Greg argued back in his Palanca speech:
"(P)lease don’t call them the power elite — make that pawis sulit… they are a breed far distinct and apart from any sociopolitical class. A generation of the illustrious laboring in the vineyard of the Enlightenment…

"To achieve and witness all that, we need not wait for the advent of the Filipino Utopia that some of us seem still to fantasize about and even fulminate on — an absolutely, exclusively Filipino society and culture with only one language and only one literature and only one party forever and ever, so help us God."

What he stressed is that there is no need to separate ourselves as writers of this or that language, and that we can all prosper and contribute to Philippine literature in whichever language we have been trained best to wield.

"Let us have more ilustrados in our literature — luminous and illuminating in the creative sense — light bringers of the Filipino imagination — in Filinglish, Tagalog, Ilocano, Bicol, Cebuano, Bisaya, Hiligaynon."

Greg Brillantes's injunction was simply "to write well and beautifully, to write well and wisely and passionately, to write well and fiercely and tenderly. In a word, to write your masterpiece."

I would agree most heartily, since literature, as with all other art and expressions of creativity, are inherently universal, and not beholden to any restrictive claws of a national language.

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