Monday, May 04, 2009

The Philippines from a Foreign Perspective

Filipino fictionists tend to tell foreigners that the Philippines has a surreal quality to it that makes something like magic-realism seem mundane and commonplace. One can't help but feel skeptical, especially when Filipino pride and nationalism comes into play.

Proof of the "wonders" of the Philippines comes from McSweeney's. A lot of its articles tend to be humorous and satirical but for the past 7 months, it's been publishing nonfiction from Robin Hemley entitled Dispatches from Manila. While Hemley clearly has wit, his anecdotes aren't fabricated but tells the Filipino experience as he sees it--and he gets it. His initial article, "Daisy's Debut," for example, talks about Filipino conventions: the importance of a female's debut, the OFW experience, and the public's monotheistic perception of gays in Manila.

There's even a priceless quote on video piracy in another of his columns:
Recently, I went with Margie to see the latest James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace, at Robinson's and we were both surprised to see a long warning against piracy. "The person beside you might try to record the film you are about to watch on his cell phone or on another recording device," the warning read. "If you see such activity, report it to the theater at once. And if you attempt to record this film be aware that we have employed undercover agents to apprehend you." Immediately after the announcement, I counted two pirates (no joke, but it was too dark to see their eye patches—joke) holding up their phones to the screen.
And then there's the latest The Great Book Blockade of 2009 which I assure you is written seriously. It's only inaccuracy is perhaps that he was quoting a source rather than experiencing firsthand himself, but there always has been inconsistent anomalies with customs and it's believable to every Filipino that the reported corruption was actually taking place. It's not surprising why many Filipinos are leery of politicians and men in uniform (especially the police!).

At the very least, it's not only Filipinos who find this entire predicament amusing.

1 comment:

epvirtualassistants said...

"I hope sa 2010 elections, magbago na ang takbo ng Pilipinas. ang laki ng potential ng Philippines e. have you seen their campaign? buti pa si Usec Ace. check nyo campaign ng dept of tourism --