Ongpin Stories by R. Kwan Laurel is a collection of stories that deals with the Chinese in the Philippines and Chinese Filipinos before they were stereotyped as wealthy businessmen. These stories show the effects of global forces on the lives of simple people who want to live in dignity amidst racism, poverty, and persecution. In the blurb at the back of the book, the late National Artist, NVM Gonzalez in a letter to the author expressed his hope and estimation of the stories: “I hope you have pursued your Ongpin story as far as it can go. I know you are on track and need only to go on. Ongpin lives in these stories.” Underneath the comic and painful situations of characters with names like Washington Dee See and Thomas Jefferson Go, we read about how generations sacrificed their lives for the hope of a better future, how identities are formed in the crucible of historic national and international anxieties, and how the present generation who are reaping the fruits of immigrant sacrifices may have too easily forgotten what it means to be children of the diaspora. The book is published by Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran, Inc.
About the author: R. Kwan Laurel earned his doctorate in English Studies (Creative Writing) from the University of the Philippines.