Long time - no blog!

Summer school assessments are killing my blogging ambitions. Currently at uni computer lab. About to head out for some Korean food for dinner. Good food with friends. Excited.

Also, am running out of things to blog about. My life is quite uneventful. Ha. I was checking out flight prices for April between 25 April and 8 May. Planning on going on holiday then. It's around my birthday so hopefully I can go. Even though I have no source of income. I can dream, can't I?

Yep, just a short fly by post!

Just a take-home exam and acutal exam for summer session to go! This JD thing is going fast. XD


Ilustrado - Miguel Syjuco

More than anything this book makes me want to write again.

Without revealing what happens it was an interesting narrative style to take. I remember being told in a creative writing class one day that to switch between different persons (like from 1st to 3rd) would not work. That the technique is more confusing. I thought it worked for my particular short story but he was the teacher and the expert. But looking at the writing style of Syjuco I feel that it's okay to take liberty with the way you write. There is no one way to tell a story. You can experiment. Tell and write the story how you like and the reader will follow you. Because the reader isn't stupid and to treat them like one ... well, that's stupid.

What can I say about the book itself that isn't too revealing? First of all, I have got to Google all these people to see if they're real or not. If the events happened or not. Blending of fact and fiction was just too convincing. It was interesting to see another point of view of the Philippines. I only have the one perception of it - mine. And mine was that there is such a divide between the rich and the poor. That change doesn't seem to be happening any time soon. That there is a lot to fix and it does seem such a monumental task that it may be hopeless.

"Ilustrado" explores such perceptions as well as suggesting that for change to occur it is up to each one of us. To have hope and do anything, even a small thing, because it makes a difference.

The passages in the novel about the arrogance of the upper class were really irritating to read. That's probably what Syjuco intended. I'm not upper class at all so to read about all of these advantages and privileges of the elite is just reminds me of the gap between the have and have-nots. Moreover, this new breed of Philippine elite - the beautiful and the rich - somehow seems so much removed from the reality that is the Philippines.


First book of the year: Ilustrado - Miguel Syjuco

The first book I'm going to attempt to read this year is "Ilustrado". I was randomly linked to an interview that featured Miguel Syjuco. It was a really smart interview and he had some pretty interesting things to say (Interview with The Australian and with TIME). A quote from The Australian interview:
In The Philippines, English is the language of education, government and the elite social strata to which Syjuco belongs -- he admits that his Tagalog, the language of the masses, is "embarrassing, conversational", if that.
When I read that I thought, "That is so me." When I was in the Philippines for holidays last year I spoke in English the whole time. I could understand more than I could speak. But speaking in English just gives me away (ie. they'll know I'm a tourist).

From the blurb:
ILUSTRADO opens with Crispin Salvador, lion of Philippine letters, dead in the Hudson River. His young acolyte, Miguel, sets out to investigate the author's suspicious death and the strange disappearance of an unfinished manuscript - a work that had been planned not just to return the once-great author to fame but to expose the corruption behind the rich families who have ruled the Philippines for generations.

To understand the death, Miguel scours the life, charting Salvador's trajectory via his poetry,interviews, novels, polemics and memoirs. The literary fragments become patterns, becomes stories, become epic: a family saga of four generations tracing 150 years of Philippine history forged under the Spanish, the Americans and the Filipinos themselves. Finally, we are surprised to learn that this story belongs to young Miguel as much as to his lost mentor and we are treated to an unhindered view of a society caught between reckless decay and hopeful progress.
This is Miguel Syjuco's debut novel and from all the reviews I've read thus far - it's a good one.

Having grown up in Australia I have very little knowledge about the history of the Philippines. It's not something that you study at school. Good books on Philippine history are rare so I think this would be a good chance to learn something.

I originally bought this book as a Christmas present. It wasn't for anyone in particular but I thought it'd be a good gift. In the end we bought 2 too many presents and this was leftover so I got to keep it for myself. I wrapped it and everything.

Finally have some sort of little break from summer school (not really. I'm pretty sure I have something due soon but I need to read something that is not law related or I think my brain might just die).

I think I ended up reading maybe 5 books last year. Maybe. Not a lot. I have a lot of books I want to read this year. Let's hope I have the time!



What did you do on the first day of the new year?

I spent mine doing group work for uni.

Hope y'all were either sleeping or drinking and eating so much instead of doing something so practical!