We are still waiting for the election results here in the Philippines. I brought three books with me today, though, to keep me company–there has to be a lull or something, I’d thought. [Brought The Whole Story and Other Stories, by Ali Smith; and A Gate at the Stairs, to “review” what I felt about it, and the book I’m sharing today.] But I have not read a page from them. I am teensily emotionally wrecked, but only because I am exhausted, and a proven cry-baby. But I am hopeful. Still very much hopeful, ladies and gentlemen.
Aherm. Here is Ilustrado, by Miguel Syjuco. I am the last person who’d aim to use literature for politics–or even attempt to draw comparisons between the two. Maybe I live in a bubble. But I’ve been liking my bubble for quite some time now. But, well. Well. Here:
I eavesdrop on my countrymen, on their tentative English spoken to the cabin crew, never quite perfected despite years in the West: f‘s still often traded for p‘s, vowels rounded, tenses mixed, syllables clipped–only the well-practiced Western colloquialisms wielded with conviction. Like those phrases, we’re a collection of clichés, handy types worn as uniforms over our naked individuality. We are more real than that philosophical conceit of humanity as the milieu of light: we are the milieu of sweat. Our industriousness, our inexpensiveness, two sides of our great national image. That image the tangible form of our communal desire for a better life. Someone kicks the back of my seat as a reminder to quit being so profound.
I’ve only just started on the third chapter. So far, it’s a good ride. It’s good company while I have half of me turned to the news, a quarter of me hyperventilating, an eighth of me near weeping. How does the Math go again? Anyway. I think it’s fitting. I am hopeful this day will turn out right.
Dear Philippines. Damn it, make it work. That is all, for now.