my column is lumped together with the Literary Times section. aptly so naman. i agree with the reshuffling and rearranging.
her'es my first sunday times piece:
original post here.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
There are a lot of great Filipino-Chinese writers in our midst, and their stories add a distinct, unique and colorful flavor in our literary culture, much like what their contributions in other cultural sectors do. A sampling of their writings could be seen in Anvil Publishing’s excellent collection called Instik: An Anthology of Chinese Filipino Writing launched in 2000. This book won best anthology at the 2000 National Book Awards.
Edited by eminent writer-scholar Caroline Hau, this collection includes short stories, poems, essays and even a teleplay by a great mixture of Filipino-Chinese authors. Some of the people included in the book are poets Anthony Tan, Alice Sun-Cua and Jaime An Lim who are all, incidentally, based in the south of the Philippines; fictionists Charlson Ong, Alessandra Gonzales and Clinton Palanca; essayists Doreen Yu and Teresita Ang See; and TV-film scriptwriters Ricky Lee, Jun Lana and Peter Ong Lim. Even identified Filipino-American writers like poet Fatima Lim-Wilson and scholar Bliss Cua Lim’s works are included in this anthology, for more Pinoy pride—specifically, Filipino-Chinese pride.
Most of these writers are still actively producing and publishing works, despite the fact that most of them are not full-time writers by profession. Perhaps only Jun Lana and Ricky Lee could be considered as full-time writers, as both of them produce material for television, the former for GMA-7 and the latter for ABS-CBN 2, incidentally both for the teleserye, or TV soap opera genre. Some double as teachers while others write for magazines and newspapers as well.
As a fictionist, I am more familiar with the body of works of Charlson Ong, as I am actually a fan of his short stories, all crafted with a great command of the English language, peppered with humor and sprinkled with the interesting nuances of the Filipino-Chinese way of life. His 1996 book Conversion and Other Fictions, also published by Anvil, contains some of his finely written short stories about being Filipino-Chinese in contemporary Philippine society. He also has a novel, the second prize winner of the Centennial Literary Prize entitled An Embarrassment of Riches published by UP Press in 2000.
I really hope more fiction works would come out of the Filipino-Chinese community, as their literary contributions provide us with added meaningful insights into the very diverse lives of Filipinos.
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