I’ve read your column about F. Sionil Jose, The Straight-shooting writer (Life Section Page C2) dated Oct. 19, 2011 Wednesday.
I am a maid from Philippines, I used to borrow some books from my employer, where I’ve learned some of Singapore local authors and stories. The Teardrop Story Woman and They Do Return by Ms. Catherine Lim, Plastic and I by Dr. Lau, and Reflections by Ng Fook Kah.
I know my knowledge about Singapore local writers is not much, it is also the same from my own country.
We’re taught about Jose Rizal and Stevan Javellana author of Without Seeing the Dawn and other Philippine writers who become a hero. When I was at grade school this writers are included in my homework. But sad to say that two sometimes three students share one book in my class. If you belong to the lowest section worst, you need to wait for your turn to have that book.
Few have given a chance to join in an essay or literary contest, because of “padrino” system or you ought to be a teachers pet first. Fourty to sixty pupils against one teacher in a classroom, how can a student be able to concentrate during lecture. This is what I’ve experienced in my own village school.
Mr. Jose lamented that Filipinos have a colonized mind, it is because the power of television in my country. It is easy to press a remote control after a hard day work from farm or from fishing. A village were books can be found only at school library. We have newspaper both in English and Filipino including our own province dialect. Still having a three times a day meal is more important than buying a paper.
Sending a letter is not a trend anymore, this is what my friends told me everytime they see me carrying an airmal envelope. Pointing out the use of handphone and e-mail. Calling is limited, e-mail is not impossible but is also troublesome for my family to go to an internet cafe and wait for my own free time. For me writing a letter is not expensive and I can tell more stories, more happy experiences working here and I can express easily my own feelings.
I hope to send a letter to Mr. Jose one day. I can also share my local stories from here and from my native place.
My apology to write this letter to you and send it through fax. This is the only way for me to reach you.
And I am thankful to my employer _ _ _ _ for letting me use of the fax machine. She is so kind to me.
Respectfully yours, _ _ _
P.S My employer is also writer, she wrote some comments on Chinese paper. I forgot to let her read my letter first before sending this to you. By the way I am 27 years old. I will be grateful to have Mr. Jose mailing Address.
Recently, through the kindness of inventive painter Jillian Rose, I had the good fortune to participate in a group exhibition at Bushwick’s Wayfarers. This piece is neither about that show (now on view, until February 25th!), nor is…