Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bino Realuyo posted something awesome on his blog .

I found this post especially moving since this mirrors something that I've been thinking about since I started writing for The Sword Review and since meeting poets like Eileen Tabios, Barbara Jane Reyes, Luisa Igloria , and Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor , on the Flips list.

Yesterday, I spoke with my aunt. My aunt, Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano, is one of OMFLit's bestselling authors, and probably one of the prime reasons why I keep picking up the pen even when I wonder why I do it. I wouldn't dare go back home and face her saying I've given up on writing and have decided not to write another word again.

But, that's for another topic.

So, my aunt and I were talking about the consciousness of being Filipino that is bringing a wave of second and third generation American born Filipinos to the Philippines to discover their roots.

I remember saying to my aunt, that my decision to write for Munting Nayon stems from my desire to keep alive that sense of us being Filipinos even if we have immigrated to the Netherlands.

I feel you can't erase roots, ties of blood and heritage just because you have a permanent residence visa or a Dutch passport. One of my biggest concerns is that a lot of us seem so unaware of what wealth we do carry within us...and I believe that acknowledging this wealth of heritage, becoming aware of what we as a people have achieved and continue to achieve will increase our self-image.

(one of the first things you lose during the first years of living in a country whose language you don't know and where the native population is white and thinks people coming from third-world countries are uneducated and poor is that sense of knowing what you are worth - but again, that's another topic).

So, my aunt and I were discussing about how it was almost impossible to separate awareness of heritage and history from the written word. Which brings me to share a line I wrote in my introductory column for Munting Nayon. Here, I write:

Our history is replete with men and women who took up the pen to record their thoughts and so passed on to us a wealth of heritage that we would have missed if these men and women had not taken time to give birth to words.

Basically, what I want to do is bring to the attention of the reader authors, poets and books whom we have missed during our absence from the Philippines and whose works we might have not noticed during our years of study in the Philippines. I think it would be really awesome if through this means, our awareness of what others go through and what they achieve on the other side of the channel would become an encouragement and a challenge to us to follow suit. I'm not really sure how this would manifest itself, but I am curious as to the results of writing about authors and their books.

In the meantime, I received an email from Pip Farquharson, who is festival director of the Amsterdam Literary Festival. In her mail she wrote about activities that had already been planned around this festival. Last year, I attended the ALF, mainly because I saw Barbara Jane Reyes's name on Versal 3 and I was really curious as to what ALF is all about.

In the activities I attended, I was probably the only Filipina about...which made me wonder whether there were other literary minded/curious Filipinas in the Netherlands.

So, I was reading Pip's mail and I found myself wondering why there is no Filipino presence in this festival. Most of the booked authors are British ( understandable because the UK is just across the channel and the cost of flying authors over is taken into consideration). Anyway, I sent an email querying how they schedule authors and all that, and an email came back saying that they do pay for fares and accomodations, but are a bit low on funding as the Amsterdam Fonds For the Kunst turned down their application for funding. for thought...and I haven't sent Pip a follow-up mail yet, as I have no idea what to ask/say. But I'm still thinking about that.

One response I did get in relation to the introductory column was a call from a good friend who suggested putting up a literary group for Filipinos and for Dutch born Filipinos. And now, that is something moving along the lines of thought that I've had since I picked up the pen again after I almost killed my spirit writing self.


I am now going back to reading Mark Young's Betabet. My printer is getting fully exercised after months of being out of use...he, he.



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