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Why is F. Sionil Shallow?

Thursday, September 15, 2011 comments powered by disqus

Some days ago, I saw an FB post from a good friend Rogelio Braga. It was a link to F. Sionil Jose's Philstar article, "Why we are shallow". His contentions are actually very valid, sound and logical. Except for the first part. The take-off. The premise. The most important part.

It could have been another interesting piece from one of my favorite book authors. But that double-standard perspective ruined it all. Here's what he wrote, that 1st part:

"..Recently, I was seated beside former Senator Letty Shahani, PhD in Comparative Literature from the Sorbonne, watching a medley of Asian dances. The stately and classical Japanese number with stylized movements which perhaps took years to master elicited what seemed to me grudging applause. Then, the Filipino tinikling which any one can learn in 10 minutes; after all that energetic jumping, an almost standing ovation. Letty turned to me and asked, “Why are we so shallow?”
Yes, indeed, and for how long?.."
Oh! Really?! Shallow are those people who exhibited more appreciation in tinikling over the Jap number? Not to discredit, of course, the classical Japanese dance! But to say that one is better than the other and throw judgement as if it's the standard of beauty is something that I find very disturbing. 

He is no other than F. Sionil Jose whose writings transcend countries and time. The Rosales Saga, Sins, The God Stealer, etc. I read them all. I love them all. The engaging realities of pain and true emotion. The flawed protagonist, the troubled life, the intriguing twists and turns. Stories of life, death, liberation and human spirit. Fuck! And I cry. Almost automatic. 

But his article that says we are shallow because we appreciate tinikling that can be mastered in just 10 minutes over the Japanese number with stylized movements which perhaps took years to master.. Holy cow! ..Why is F. Sionil shallow?

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