Everybody avoids everybody. All over the place, in most situations, most all the time. I know, I’m one of those everybodies, and to me it is terrible. And so all I’m trying to do all the time is just open people up so they can feel themselves and let themselves be open to somebody else. That is all. That’s it.
Tongue: A Journal of Writing and Art asked if I’d like to offer a reflection on Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s life and work. I knew Achebe was deeply inspiring to Alexis Tioseco, so I contributed this short piece.
talk how we are allowed
to talk is
the most important part of happy or
I was honored to be included in a slideshow on Huffington Post with many of my literary idols. Thank you, Bino Realuyo.
“Longing is not memory, but rather what is selected from memory’s museum. Longing is selective, like an adept gardener. It is the replaying of a memory after its blemishes have been removed.”
One must say Yes to life, and embrace it wherever it is found- and it is found in terrible places … For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
But what is the light?
This is a personal essay for The Manila Review on how I maneuver race and class privilege in the Philippines. It was very, very uncomfortable to write. As I hesitated and revised and pushed forward, I kept remembering this punch-in-the-stomach quote by Peggy McIntosh. I didn’t use this particular quote in my essay, but perhaps I should have:
My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will.
In less complicated commentary: the art, by Zean Cabangis, was a really wonderful choice by The Manila Review’s editors. I intend to pick up these prints, if they’re available, when I return to the Philippines.
Let no one be fooled by the fact that we may write in English, for we intend to do unheard of things with it.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of the Philippines blocked the implementation of the Reproductive Health Bill. The Bill will provide, among other assistance, free birth control methods for poor communities and sex education in public schools. Two years ago I visited a nonprofit, Roots of Health, that provides free birth control and sex education to communities in Palawan. Here is my writeup on their work.
A psychologist and a talk show host in the Philippines urged parents to discourage homosexual behavior in their young children. The pair warned especially against effeminacy in young boys. Several parents asked the psychologist and host for further guidance. This is my response.