Falling into the Manhole:A Memoir by John Jack G. Wigley: A Book Review

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A million thanks to my fellow teacher for this book. She decided to give it away to me as a gift since she saw how my eyes popped out of their sockets in excitement upon seeing it displayed on her book shelf. It was just as well that she read it already. I hope the people I am acquainted with will do the same way. (laughs)

This was one of the local books I promised myself to buy , no matter how hard up I was, when I  stumbled upon how the galaxy  of our contemporary local writers including the writers I consider part of the Super Novas of the Philippine literature such as F. Sionil Jose, Gilda Cordero – Fernando, Jessica Hagedorn, Miguel Syjuco, Lualhati Bautista, Ricky Lee, Bob Ong, Jessica Zafra ,Felisa Batacan, Genevive L. Asenjo, Merlinda Bobis, Danton Remoto,Bebang Siy, not to mention the promising ones : Genaro R. Gojo Cruz and Edgar Calabia  Samar, the apples of my eyes, turned out to be stellar, heavenly , and dazzling. Coming to this realization, I found its price  affordable and reasonable. However, I was between the lever of a teeter-totter whether it should be on my list since I could spend 220 pesos on the other books more famous than this, which writer I had never heard of. Sorry po, Professor Wigley. It just happened that I was not aware of your literary stardom.  Doggone it!  I must have been ambivalent about what local book I should have first read. I was surrounded by books I have never read yet, let alone that I was a “pooritang” reader unable to buy astronomical books, especially the best-sellers on the market. No wonder I was exhilarated by receiving this book as a gift.

John Jack G. Wigley’s memoir Falling into the Manhole is a collection of his how’s  before he became a successful  writer and professor , as to how he took to watching movies at movie theaters and was gorgonized  by  his mother’s being  die-hard Noranian ; how he was born and lived  the dilemma of being Amerasian ; how his family and he lived as nomads  moving from one house to different houses in a year ; how he became an avid fan of Madonna who was the instrument for understanding his sexual orientation; how he fell in love with his best friend- the story that I blinked my tears away because I know what it feels like; how he became a “butterfingered”  fast-food chain crew ; how he was proud to be Lea Salonga fan who was the reason why he fell into the manhole;  how he became a theatre actor and had the good chance to stage at CCP;  how he fell in love with Meryl Streep‘s acting style;  how he had the opportunity to go to America on tour and find his  American father, the missing link; how he became a teacher who can be a blooper despite that he is supposed to be superior and infallible;  how he survived Ondoy trauma; how he became one of the best and respected  UST professors; and finally,  how he took care of his mother passionately. All of his anecdotes have inspiring lessons you should learn.

Personally speaking, the book is intended for homosexuals and for those who are inspired to be a successful professor and writer. As a member of the confederation, I experienced to be an avid fan of beauty pageants. In fact, although I didn’t live in the 1980’s, I want to blow my horn  and beat others to it that I know how Chat Silayan  represented the prestigious pageant and presented herself gorgeously. Thanks to YouTube. Like him, I would also wait for its live telecast and take notes of the petite delegates in  the  semifinals.  In fact, I could almost memorize all the yearly winners by heart. It was one of my passionate hobbies in my teen-age life.( laughs)

His memoir reminded me of children’s book writer Genaro Gojo Cruz‘s Connecting the Dots because both their memoirs bear little resemblance to how they became successful in life. Like Wigley, Genaro also persevered to get out of poverty. He  was so determined not to get dumped  by  his abject miseries in life. In fact, both writers lived in a broken family with this desire to be complete by  reminiscing of their fathers . Both of their memoirs also suggest their intellectual humility; they must never imply that  they are gifted writers. Genaro admits that he never excelled in school whereas Wigley knows his  limitation upon academic excellence.

Laying it aside with the other books on my reading table,my spirit that has been bogged down in muddy despair has been sloughed off. I have learned now  how to be a writer more,  how humanity works, and how I should  love  and be passionate about my work as a teacher.Boo-ya!

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it.)

Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav: A Book Review

loveandmisadventureI do love reading  poems, but  I am not a certified poet; nevertheless, I can write one whenever I get down, or have an epiphany or sudden insights into something.

Writing poems is an art. It is an emotional   way of human expression, but some  poems are obvious while some  are latent. So, the good benefits it can give to us is   emotional catharsis; it is a good way for us to relieve  stress.

Love is the common theme of poems which are  apparent in works of  some famous poets such Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy- you name it.

This is Lang Leav’s book debut  – a collection of poems which all deal with the stages of LOVE:  Misadventure, Circus of Love, and  Love based on her personal experience.

However,  most of the readers on Goodreads  at the very least  have given it a thumbs down; they did not care about giving it 1 star which means I did not like it as the rating system on Goodreads. Unclear  about their reasons, but I surmise that , since I gave it a try, maybe  the problem about  her poems is that they are  superficial as in shallow, as if even an elementary student can write such poems. ( I am sorry to put it.)  Her prose is not as creative enough to move or inspire  a down-to-earth reader who may have never been head over  heels in love as other famous poets’.  Most of her poems are short  , just nothing; you might not feel nor imagine anything. In fact, you might end up finding them childish  or puerile which  can add to the fuel of your disappointment since the author herself is an adult. Nevertheless, there are a few  long and remarkable though. By the same token, her book is too feminist, fit for young   female readers, notably she has some cute  and fairy-like illustrations of a “kikay” (chick).

On the contrary, I came to the realization that reading poems in any forms or structures  are not that easily comprehensible at all; we all have different perspectives. In other words, there are many beholders in the world. We may not be sure of how we understand the poems we read as they are unless they are all crystal-clear in their words. Bear in mind that   poems  could be enigmatic or  euphemistic.

Thus, what is the advice to us readers whenever we read something beyond our understanding? Read between the lines. This superannuated  cliche is  absolutely  applicable to  us readers whenever we do not get at what an author tries to drive at, notably to reading poems just the likes of Leav’s. Read between the lines. You may not get at the fact that what Leav intends to express in  her poems are all about LOVES. Read between the lines. Admit it, although the prose of the short poems   is simple, but you still couldn’t get  the meanings behind them. If so, re-read and ponder over them.  Read between the lines. Not all poems should be par excellence. Some famous poets  do likewise. Try to read the poems  by E. E. Cummings. You might cringe at them too, but still  they are widely-read.

In the end, I want to be subjective for  giving it 1 star. Let me be in your conspiracy, fellas!  Simply because her poems are not my cups of tea; I prefer  love  poems that  could make me do a somersault  like Danton Remoto’s and J. Neil C. Garcia’s erotic poems. (laughs) Don’t be green-minded, buddy! ^_^   How about Marcelo Santos III’s a la poetic quotes or the beloved Senator Miriam Defensor  Santiago’s cracking pick-up lines?  In foreign poems, aside from E.E. Cummings’s I have mentioned above, how about Thomas Hardy’s, Emily Bronte’s, and Emily Dickinson’s compelling poems? Their poems are “hugot na hugot”.

Maybe I’ve been borne upon the  literary  standards of poem or upon the award-winning poems I have been taught since elementary.  Uh-oh, enough said! Any genres  can be praiseworthy. ^__^

Rating: 1/ 5 stars ( I did not like it.)

Happy Na, Gay Pa by Danton Remoto : A Book Review

danton remotoIt is the newly-launched book written by Danton Remoto, one of the staunchly leading LGBT advocates in the Philippines.

Ever since,  I have always been watching   out for his new books to be published . I know he has something newer, wittier , and wackier  he will share with, particularly something  he wants to educate about among narrow-minded people- not to mention the Church and “moralist” politicians.

As usual, his new book has something to do with what is the real life of the LGBT community.  But there is something   new about the book. At this time, it is written with his Filipino prose. At my first glimpse of it, I thought it was  inferior to his other  award-winning books such as Gaydar,  and Bright, Catholic- and Gay which I gave  5  stars and 4 stars respectively.  Besides, I did not like its book cover; it is too jejune in appearance, appealing  only to   young readers. There  may be a pretext in it which  Danton Remoto , along with his publisher , must have intended.

Most of his  essays are autobiographical , have something to do with his life as a student, the time when he was still in the coffin, err closet as he put it. He wrote how he had a hard time coming out in the open to his family, particularly to his father who was fond of him. But it turned out to be  just the other way around; he was accepted as whoever he was as how he is cordially accepted by his circles of friends. Also, he wrote about his past boyfriends and how he managed to make his relationship with them long-lasting. But what I liked about him is his being a prodigious son, an epitome of a smart gay who can be as promising as men and women in society. In fact, he wrote these essays ingeniuosly and in fashion with the taste of the young readers. In other words, he did not forget to blend his prose with the napapanahong  ( timely )  pop culture. That is why I liked it and now I understood why the book cover seems to be  out of mode for me.

Other half of his essays   deals with the  common issues about gays such as how they are discriminated by society, what precautions  they should do when meeting other guys,  how they are asked derogatory   questions and above all what it is like to be gay in 30’s and 40’s  , elaborated by his own experiences .  He also included   a few essays about the typical  gay hobbies  such as reading men’s magazines and watching  beauty contests.  Furthermore, he discussed some literary writers whose works reflected in their being closet gays. ( So the famous writer  Ernest Hemmingway ‘s sexual orientation turned out to be true after all. ) All the rage to each essay is the related-to-the topic pictures inserted at the end of his essays .

As a matter of fact, I have read some  of the aforesaid essays  from his previous books and newspapers articles. He just edited  and translated some  into Filipino prose. Since he is a certified critically acclaimed writer, no doubt he is still good at writing Filipino essays.

I have noticed that when Danton Remoto publishes a newly  gay-themed book, he includes the articles which have been  featured in his previous books. So for an avid reader like me, I  cannot deny the fact that it let me down to some extent. Without his witty style, especially he wrote them in Filipino, I would not have enjoyed it. Thus, I am telling you, if you are gay who tends to cringe at its  book cover and you do not feel its font size , or you  have been an avid fan of his  that you are not used to its new book transformation, forget it. Buy and include it on your book collections, and most importantly , share it with your friends regardless of their sex and religion. This is what Dan Remoto  has always intended to do ever since he realized that he has what it takes to be a knight for the LGBT community. What are you waiting for? Get on with it! The more the merrier as  the title puts it, “ Happy na, Gay ka Pa.”

Congratulations on your  another new book, Professor Danton Remoto.

By the way, when are you going to finish your first novel? As far as I know  , you were supposed to publish it in March this year.  I cannot wait to read it soon.

The book  is 175 pesos and  available at all National Book Store branches nationwide.

Enjoy reading! ^^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it. )

23 BOOKS IN JULY 2015

Last year, I managed to read 100 books . It was  an  astounding and fulfilling  experience I had not expected . It just so happened that I had  rude awakening  in that mid-year when I found out that Goodreads, the biggest book club site in the world , has this  challenging goal for its members including myself. You can set a reading goal as many as you can. The site monitors how many reads you have done so far which I am a little quite pressured about. However,  I realized that you don’t need to keep up with the goal. Just enjoy the book. You can  understand it more.

Since I  just created my own book blog  in March this year, it is now too late for me to share the books I  have read  for the past 4 months. So I will just share the ones I read in July, the month when  I was so   obsessed with reading more books.

Supposedly, I must read only the books on   my currently-reading shelf on Goodreads. However,  I  drew my attention to the local  books   I bought on sale. Well, that’s the way a bookworm and book lover  is.

The books are more on poems, LGBT, essays, children books, novellas, and short stories.

 

1. Human Decency by Gong Ji Young ( 3/5 stars ). One of the Korean fictions my nun student gave to me as a pasalubong ( gift ) coming from her country. I liked the story because its plot is quite enigmatic and misleading.

2. Saling Pusa by Genaro R. Gojo Cruz ( 1/ 5 stars ) I had had a hard time looking for its copy at National Book Store branches .

Not much satisfied with its story but I was glad to have read one of Genaro Cruz’s children books since I am now his  avid fan  upon reading his YA Connecting the Dots: Kung Paano Ko Kinulayan ang Aking Buhay.

I  have still been  hunting his other works such as Si Tolits, Jeep ni Mang Tomas, Ang Bahaghari, Ang Malaking Kahon ng Sorpresa,Pitong AngelAng Aking PamilyaHello, Tatay!Ang Asul na KaritonMalaking Malaking BahayAng Kamisetang Dilaw. and Si Nanay Mining at ang Tatlong Kuting

I am now a Genaronian. (laughs)

3. Nanay Coring by Yvette Hernandez ( 2/ 5 stars ) A simple story – enough to educate children how the National Book Store reached its apogee under the indefatigable determination of Nanay Coring

4.Angkas by Aris Santos ( 3 / 5 stars ) An LGBT short story which opens narrow-minded individuals’ eyes to the real internal feelings of a gay toward a straight man.

5. Hangganan by Aris Santos ( 3/ 5 stars ) Another eye-opener LGBT short story. The story is realistic that only LGBT community can understand.

6. Best Man by Aris Santos ( 3/ 5 stars ) It could be my most favorite work of Aris Santos. I cringed at the story , but its concept bespeaks that there is such thing Love Triangle  between a gay and man and a woman. Enough said!

7. A Dwarf Launches a Little Ball by Cho Se-Hui ( 3/ 5 stars )  Another story  that illustrates what a really knitted Korean family looked like  when Korea was still a poor country.

8. Father Solo and other stories by Isagani R. Cruz ( 5/ 5 stars ) Thanks to Isagani . I have now the confidence to write.

9. The Soul Mate Meets its Mate by Arch Bala ( 1/ 5 stars ) I did not like the story- ill-thought and slapdash. It could be a chit-lit. Nevertheless, I admired Bala’s craft of writing.

10. Ang Kwento ng Manok at ang Asong si Patty by Arch Bala ( 4/ 5 stars ) Among Bala’s works, it is the only one that astounded and proved me wrong that he has what it takes to be a good writer. Encore, Arch! I liked this kind of story. It could be your trademark.  ^_^

11. Sapatos by Arch Bala ( 2/ 5 stars ) What happened? The beginning and the middle part are almost cliff-hanging and at the same time impressively adulterated with  the  beautiful sentences. However, its ending seems like the author was at loss for   another ideas.  God willing! Sayang!

12. Hope by Arch Bala ( 1/ 5 stars ) It just so happened that I am not Kapampangan. I had these stuffy feelings.

13. Bulosan by Carlos Bulosan ( 5 / 5 stars ) Another remarkable collections of Carlos Bulosan.

14. The Landlady by Road Dahl ( 1/ 5 stars ) The longer I read Road Dahl’s stories, the more I come to realize that I don’t enjoy his works much. I still have some of his other short stories, but I will still hang in there.

15. Bight, Catholic-and Gay by Danton Remoto ( 4/ 5 stars ) I admire Danton Remoto’s writing styles. He is one of the writers along with Doris Lessing, and Isagani R. Cruz who made me muster enough confidence that I CAN  write.

16. The Secret of the Cave and Other  Stories for young  readers by Ed Maranan ( 3/ 5 stars ) Light and typical of Filipino writing

17. Ladlad 3 by Danton Remoto ( 5/ 5 stars ) At last I have completed this classic LGBT literature. I hope to read its new edition.

 18. Sugar and Salt by Nichotchka Rosca ( 5/ 5 stars ) Rotska has this gall to experiment a literary work. It is a W. O.W.!

19. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White ( 3 / 5 stars ) A philosophical book that an average young reader might not have an idea of what this book is really all about.

20. Pulot Gata by Danton Remoto ( 3/ 5 stars ) Read between the lines. ^^

21. Twisted Travels by Jessica Zafra ( 3/ 5 stars) Now I understand why Jessica Zafra is an immortal writer.

22. Gaydar by Danton Remot ( 5/ 5 stars ) Danton Remoto said , “ You CAN write after all.”

23. Where the Boys Are by Richard Labonte ( 3/5 stars ) An erotica which narrow-minded , or to put it bluntly, hypocrite, readers might cringe at.

I haven’t written my reviews of the books above yet   on account of my demanding job.  I need enough time to do so.

In this August ,  I will be clearing out  my currently –reading shelf on Goodreads. The books have been collecting dust bunnies and mice.

  1. Moby Dick by Herman Merville. I miss reading a classic steeped in old English words.
  2.  A Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. I want to understand Nelson Mandela’s fighting spirit again.
  3. Thinking by John Brockman . It is  mental calisthenics.
  4. Dead Air by Iain Banks. I learned that it is not a good read, but still I will give it a try.

When I am tired of their hefty contents, I might turn  to:

  1. A Man in the Dark by Paul Austere.
  2. Jungle of No Memory: A Memoir of a Japanese Soldier by Hiroyuki Mizuguchi.
  3. Spartacus by Howard Fast . Little did I realize that I am fond of reading books on ancient military.

So far I have read 2 book for the first week of August.I am now kicking to  bury myself in those  above-mentioned  books.  ^^

Happy Reading to everyone! ^_^

Bright, Catholic–and Gay by Danton Remoto: A Book Review

IMG_20130107_230230Bright, Catholic- and Gay is   the title of one of Danton Remoto’s essays he compiled  in this book. It aptly describes  all the themes  of his essays . As a matter of fact,the essay is about Raymond Alikpala ,  the author of the controversial book Of God and Men: A Life in the Closet published by Maverick House in 2012 . Its original title was God Loves Bakla( Bakla means gay) . Danton Remoto reviewed the book  that  Alikpala is such a bright  person   and on  how he entered a  Jesuit seminary until he was expelled after  his homosexual activity was found out. But there is  a better reason why , among the articles Remoto compiled in this book, he chose Bright, Catholic- and Gay as the title .  If you dissect the title holistically,  Bright  could refer to the fact that everyone , along with gays, could be colorful  in any aspects. Catholic  may  stand for  the prelate  perception about homosexuality. The Dash (-) before the word gay as you learned from English Writing Composition is also used to indicate a short pause ; Danton Remoto  wants to imply that he as the representative of the confederation still braves out of  getting   the word  “gay” in edgewise as part of society as what he has been advocating  since LADLAD , an LGBT non-organization, was founded, or since the time when he  shattered the Philippine society under its delusional teachings  with his gay literature.

As a rule  being  an LGBT  rights advocate , most of Danton Remoto’s essays are latently  couched in  social prejudice against homosexuality, how the confederation is still the subject of discrimination because of  “wrong education”. One of them is on how LADLAD party list then was declared a” nuisance candidate” by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), labeling  its members “abnormal” and “immoral”. Another one is on  how smart-Alec politicians and critics still think of homosexuality as a “mental disorder”. Poor them! They still have stuck in a time warp like the troglodytes.  By the same token, who can’t forget Jan-jan( not his real name) , the Cebuano  homosexual who had been the butt of jokes and jeers  because of the  video that went viral around the social media a few years ago? The video was about the  irresponsible doctors  and nurses who recorded- for fun  or  probably for gay joke-the perfume canister they removed from Jan-jan’s rectum .  Tsk tsk tsk As Danton Remoto put it, they are  ones who are  sick.

Danton Remoto also wrote  that the confederation has the  normal ability as do men and women.  If I put it on my own word, Remoto  seemingly  wants to tell us that  society would not be studded with stars and diamonds without them. Gays could stand out in literature. They could be competent in any fields such as in education, information technology, law, entertainment, and even in building a family. Try to exterminate them on the face of the earth, your deep concerns about evil will still remain.  Gee! Life could be like in the Dark Ages.

One of the big impediment to homosexual freedom in society is the ridiculous  , illogical, ironic, and paradoxical teachings of the church. Danton Remoto discussed that the church restraints a homosexual from its right to freedom of expression, bourn upon the idea that being gay is a sin. You go to hell  if you are gay. To cap it all off   is the insistence that  it is ok to be homosexual unless he does not engage in a homosexual activity including same-sex marriage!  Wake up, snotty people!

In effect, this book is just a compilation of some of well-selected Danton Remoto’s essays and articles after his Gaydar. All the essays are worth reading and interesting since they primarily  deals with the same concept- homosexuality in the Philippines. And of course I can relate to  the topics  if it weren’t Danton Remoto’s impressive and witty writing styles , typical of a gay writer who uses a gay lingo.

Another thing why I liked about this book is its paperback picture  of  two Davids holding hands with their wings flapping. In fact, I would blush when I brought it out on the bus to work. It could raise the homophobic   passengers’ brows, for they are malicious and ignorant to boot. Fudge! I am a product of the social pressure.

Danton Remoto will go down in the Philippine history and literature – actually he  has  done it- as one of the contemporary writers whose  revolutionary vision  is to make a big difference in society. He  has been exerting a  lot of effort to completely  break the horrendous  illusions of the Philippines about homosexuality by means  of using his godsend writing talent. And for whom I am thankful  because if the Universe had not let him be brought to the world, society would  remain in the darkness.

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it. )

Local Books are Now on My List

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Definitely, my big, big frustration   since   the day I discovered my penchant for reading books is to buy  not only  new best-selling  international books but also local ones written by award-winning Filipino writers. (Who wants to get stuck  in a time warp? ) I still cannot afford their astronomical prices despite that I’ve got my job , so I just slobber over them  in book stores while thumbing through their  appealing paperbacks.

I rarely splurge on one book when I have enough budgets. Poor old  me!  I could be kleptomaniac for sure. Jeez whiz!  In fact, I could spend 350 pesos , the common price of the books , on more than 7 imported books at  a second-hand book store. At least they are on the list of 1001 Best Novels of All Time. Bitter!

Green with envy , I leave the book stores  chanting yada yada yada  in the  chambers of my mind, hoping   that the pantheistic forces   conspire with me that those books I crave  be on sale.

Eventually, my silent  wish has come true. Recently, when my friend fond of reading Philippine books had told me about the local books the National Book Store branch is selling on sale- it may be  part of its yearly clearance -I marked it on my plan last Saturday. I was aware of that I had to scrimp and save, but  this  desire  had kept on eating me.

1. Bulosan : An Introduction with Selections by E. San Juan , Jr.

If someone asks me what  Filipino classic  he/ she wants  me to  recommend, definitely, so far, Carlos Bulosan’s  America is in the Heart. This  novel  is  based on   his life story as a countryside  boy and eventually as an  immigrant in America    during the  American colonialism. So, his accounts are heart-rending  and inspiring , for Bulosan showed his determination and hope he had showed from being a farmer boy to a writer  despite the travails he had gone through.

Bulosan mentioned in his book the stories and essays  that redounded him to fame. I can read some of them in this book. I can’t wait.  ^^

 2. Jungle of No Mercy : Memoir of Japanese Soldier by Hiroyuki Mizuguchi

I love reading memoirs. When I  found out that it has something to do with a Japanese soldier’s memoir in the Philippines , I remembered my a-la-Lola-Basyang  grandfather who always told us about his juvenile life during  the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. So,this book could be a time machine I could ride back to the past. Yaahaa!

3. The Secret of the Cave and other Stories for Young Readers by Ed Maranan

Its  paperback picture is so intriguing that I was like a child eager to know what the  aboriginal boy draws in the cave wall  all about. I read and rated it with 3 stars. I’m still assimilating  it.^^

4. Danton Remoto’s books

I am now a big fan of Danton Remoto. Before I disliked his ways of publicity in the media  considering that his advocacy is about our rights, but  upon reading his  Gaydar,  there is a method to his  madness after all.

a. Pulotgata: The Love Poems

I want to explore  Remoto’s godsend talents more.  I read and rated it with 4 stars. I’m still assimilating it.^^

b. Bright, Catholic- and Gay

Reading Remoto’s essays on social issues , notably homosexuality in the Philippines is addicting. I am currently reading it now. But I still can’t somehow bring myself to read it  on the bus to work since its  paperback is about two Davids holding hands with  wings flapping. ( Blushing)

c. Gaydar

My friend only  lent me this  , so  I want to have my own copy since  Remoto’s writing skills struck me in awe.

I’m enjoying reading local books now which I , of course,   must do  to show our  nationalism. Actually, my desire to read  books on spirit of  nationalism  has been awoken  since I read Celso  Al.  Carunungan’s Like a Brave Man ( Alas,   I dunno where  on earth it has been . Besides,  Goodreads does not have  its records) ; then, Candy Gourlay’s Tall Story.

likeabravemann

There are some  books  in National Book Store  I wish to read  more beyond  exorbitance. As of now , all I have to do is to bind time.

“ When you want something, all the universe conspires…”

-Paolo Coelho-

Happy reading to everyone! ^__^

tall story

Gaydar by Danton Remoto: A Book Review

gaydarThe word   GAYDAR  is the blend  of “gay” and “radar”. Radar as  you   learned from your  science book  is a scientific method of finding position of things such as missiles   by sending out radio waves.  In other words, figuratively speaking, GAYDAR as defined in the book  is  the innate ability to spot another gay man no matter how hard he tries to hide his being gay. In this way, a gaydar associating with straight-acting men or paminta in Filipino after  drawing off his radio waves will  break the news under his breath  that  a very Adonis  man women slobber over   turns out to be  part of  the confederation. Yaaayy!

My  university  gay friend   introduced me to Danton Remoto’s Ladlad : An Anthology of Philippine Gay Writing.   The book is a collection of  different stories and poems written by different gay writers including his own oeuvres. In fact, some were written  in Filipino. Most of the articles are erotic in language, so  my reaction then since it was my first time to read such genre was some kinda prudish  pursing my lips and arching my brows. I thought that reading such  book is balderdash;  it’s raunchy. So I did not like reading it much, especially I had no any ideas of his literary styles.  But over time, I realized why Remoto , along with his award-winning  co-author J. Neil C. Garcia, published  such LAMBDA-Literary- Award-winning piece . Danton Remoto then was an active LGBT advocate.  Thus, I had a rude awakening as though I had  come out of my made-in-narra  closet.

This  is a compilation  of  Danton Remoto’s  personal essays which were published in  The Philippine Star  from 1997 and 1999. He wrote about his  growing up  as a student abroad , with his family  and friends , and  his advocacy for the LGBT community. In effect,  all of his essays are seethed in the same theme: life of being  a gay in the Philippines.  Also, he  even wrote  about the  dilemmas   such as the political circus and irresponsible journalism with which he had faced  when he was still an advocate of LGBT.

I appreciated Danton Remoto’s writing styles now. As one of his commentators  put before, he writes with substance. Most of his articles cling to reality, which knock the day light  out of an idealistic reader, notably the clerics for an example.  He associates his ideas with the social issues  in metaphorical forms-typical of  Philippine writing. You can relate to what he is trying to drive at such as mentioning some  Philippine culture to justify his   conspicuous advocacy. In addition, I am envious of   his beautiful prose and clarity of writing.  He really knows his stuff which   must have given   him a credible name  in the modern Philippine literature.

Some writers are like crusaders . They  put their  talent for writing  , although  such skill can be learned, to good  use ,  especially to  making a big difference in society. For instance, black writers   in the past just the likes of Harriet Beecher Stowe,  Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, not to mention one of my favorite contemporary writers, Toni Morison  , et al used their writing skills as their  weapons to express their suppressible  and dormant desires to  revolt against the culture of  racial  discrimination.  In terms of  crusade against putrid perception about homosexuality, the only one popped into my mind was Oscar Wilde. Alas, he ended up in jail, for the society at that time was too vast to engulf him.  As the history serves and  since I have not been familiar with  famous Philippine writers yet, Danton Remoto , along with J. Neil C. Garcia , is the only openly gay writer who has the audacity  to do so  using his  flamboyantly decorated  saber of writing.

A salute to you, Professor Danton Remoto! ^^

Rating : 5/ 5 stars