Flexing of muscles: will they prove atrophied or not? Metro braces for transport strike.
And the limits of collaboration and cohabitation: Estrada ready to make up with Arroyo but will fight Cha-cha.
The news item on the presidential corruption survey (Survey: Arroyo most corrupt, Aquino cleanest of 5 prexies) is interesting, not precisely because of what the survey says, but the limits the survey reveals, in terms of the public’s frame of reference (and not Palace: Respondents too few to say Arroyo is most corrupt).
But first, in Inquirer Current, John Nery provides a closer look at the data, and makes a cautionary note in his blog, Newsstand, both about the limits of the imagination of respondents, and the risk the findings might get oppositionists salivating again:
While the question is asked against a considerably longer horizon (“sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas”), note that the options are limited to the last five presidents: Marcos, Aquino, Ramos, Estrada, and Arroyo.
Under such limits, Arroyo is a clear “winner” over Guinness-record-holder Marcos (the national numbers have the standard margin of error of plus or minus 3). Definitely not good news for Malacanang.
But before we wave copies of the latest Pulse Asia survey in the streets, remember that this very survey found that only a quarter of voting-age Filipinos were willing to take to the streets to force the resignation of a corrupt president. The limits of outrage, indeed.
I’m glad though Nery pointed out that the survey asked people to rate presidential corruption in terms of the history of the Philippines, but that respondents on the whole, limited their comparisons to Marcos and his successors. This tells us that for most Filipinos, history is only what’s occurred within living memory; and for this reason I find the survey worthless. Such a limited framework is no framework at all.
But still, politically speaking, this is quite a shocker. Worse than Marcos? Wow. As for how seriously the Palace takes it, see [email protected]:
First reaction? The Fortress downplayed it, saying that the survey was commissioned by former senator Serge Osmeña. Since that was not enough, here’s another: the survey was unfair, baseless, and based on perception, which is not reality, says Cerge Remonde, who also blamed the “vicious” (his word) opposition. Then, the Fortress says the respondents were too few. And another factotum said that the perception was due to a media blackout on government’s action versus corruption.
Anyway, the problem with the Fortress is that they are downplaying surveys that are negative in impact for the Arroyo regime. Yet, at the tail end of the 2004 campaign, the Arroyo campaign kept on harping about Arroyo edging the late Fernando Poe Jr. at surveys. Heck, when the Hello, Garci erupted, they used these surveys to prove that Arroyo won fair, square, and Garci. This line of defense is a two-edged sword, it cuts both ways.
Off hand, I think the reason FM did better than GMA is because of what I called The “vision thing” in October, 2005. Marcos could at the very least, present himself as a leader with “the vision thing” in spades:
The thing is, the “vision thing” is, in many ways, everything. Without it, the prize is less easy to keep, and the stage occupied by a shallow, and not particularly convincing, production number. The President’s critics (and supporters, too, depending on the internal factions they belong to at any particular time), have often criticized her for being unable to either grasp the vision thing, or for her tendency to keep changing it, as if it were a pair of fashionable reading glasses. Political strategy can-and should-change, depending on circumstance, but the vision thing is supposed to remain, well, clear and never blurry…
The problem is, aside from existing posters, some license plates, and walls painted prior to the elections, the Strong Republic has been junked long ago and replaced with other “vision things,” each one weaker than its immediate predecessor. There was the “10-Point Agenda,” then the “Rule of Law” and “Let’s Move On,” and — if the President’s former close associates are to be believed — the real one: the “Fear Factor.”
But how does one demonstrate, much less, articulate “Fear Factor” as a “vision thing”? Particularly in terms of where our presidents tend to be bottled up most of the time, which is in the Palace? This kind of vision only promotes a greater determination to take away the prize; it isn’t much of a vision to communicate from the pulpit. Of course, the President can invoke St. Michael the Archangel to make mighty swipes, figuratively or literally, with his fiery sword at the administration’s critics; however, the “eternal hellfire-and-damnation” kind of preaching is really the specialty of people like evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva, whom the justice secretary wants arrested. Even Catholic bishops no longer seem to indulge in that kind of beatific vision thing.
Which brings me to Sylvia Mayuga’s engrossing review of Carmen Guerrero Nakpil’s latest volume of memoirs. Mayuga provides some interesting extracts from Nakpil’s book, concerning the Marcoses and how they handled the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. At one point, as Mayuga puts it, Nakpil found herself “atypically alone” with Madame Marcos:
I asked her whether she and the President had watched Ninoy’s funeral on TV, and she said, yes, they’d done so, together, in his bedroom. And that they’d been crushed, struck dumb by the enormity of what they were seeing on the video screen. She added that they had felt overwhelmingly humiliated because they had little inkling of the public mood, and that Marcos had said, ‘So, after all these years, all our efforts, our trying and striving, it has come to this?’
…Ninoy did not die that day on that sunny Sunday afternoon in August 1983 at the Manila International Airport, for that was when he began to live forever in the hearts of his countrymen. It was Ferdinand Marcos who died that day, and he knew it.
Mayuga’s account of a conversation she had with Nakpil during the launching of the book, where she pressed Nakpil on her views concerning whodunnit as far as ordering Ninoy’s killing was concerned, is very interesting, too.
Is there a “lechon manok” phenomenon, when it comes to OFWs? Ang Kape Ni LaTtEX tackles this, in response to the story of Gilbert Roque in Kabayan OFW:
Reading the whole article, there are simply too many things that make me scratch my head: the lack of the ability to recognize opportunities presented, the lack of any real passion or concern for career other than a means to make ends meet, the treatment of overseas work per se as a career option, the acceptance of an abusive, menial, meaningless job just as long as it pays higher than – a job that could be matched financially and attained locally if only people try.
Gilbert is not alone however; how many people get jobs as call center agents, or take up nursing and caregiving, even if they are not genuinely interested in developing their careers in those fields? How many people work for the sake of working? How many people tolerate 8-5 drudgery just to be able to pay the bills?
In the end, the OFW phenomenon might actually not be driven by simple poverty. Rather, it is being fed by a huge number of mismanaged careers, masquerading as a last resort to be able to feed and clothe one’s family when there are real alternatives that people simply fail to see.
On a cultural note, and related to the debate on our OFW’s, this notice from the Israeli embassy:
You can now watch the multi-awarded film, “Paper Dolls” at Cinema 1, Greenbelt 1 on Dec. 12,13,14,15,16 &18 2007. Screening Schedule:
“Paper Dolls” won 1st place at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006 and other honors in many international festivals including Cinemanila (2006). The film tells the plight of a group of transsexual Filipino caregivers working in Israel.
“Paper Dolls” is a documentary film which explores changing patterns of global immigration and expanding notions of family through the prism of a community of Filipino transvestites who live illegally in Israel. Cast out by their families because of their sexual and gender preferences, these people work 6 days a week as live-in, 24 hour a day care givers (and in many cases as surrogate children) for elderly orthodox Jewish men, in order to earn money to send to their families in the Philippines that had rejected them. On their one free night per week, they pursue their own personal dreams as drag performers in the group they call “The Paper Dolls” in the relative freedom of cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. Despite having to deal with often harsh working conditions, threats by street criminals, fear of terrorist bombings and the constant peril of deportation, The Paper Dolls demonstrate a rare generosity of spirit, humanity and lust for life.
Award winning filmmaker Tomer Heymann enters this unusual world and by coming to know and love these subjects unearths joy, sorrow and humanity which change his life forever.
This is the other side of the phenomenon -the pursuit of opportunities our society won’t permit to some.
My Arab News column for this week is Both Sides Resorting to Old Scripts. In his column, Manuel Buencamino roasts the Spanish monarch, the President, her cabinet, and little brown Americans.
In the blogosphere, smoke takes exception to my pointing out the current standing of on line petitions.
Wow Pare points to a report on the reading habits of Filipinos:
According to the 2007 National Book Development Board (NBDB) Readership Survey, 67 percent of respondents across the country read the Bible the most, followed by romance or love novels (33 percent), cookbooks (28 percent), comic books (26 percent) and religious or inspirational works (20 percent).
A more detailed look is available through the National Book Development Board, which commissioned a survey in 2004:
The National Book Development Board commissioned the Social Weather Stations to conduct a survey on the reading attitudes and preferences of Filipinos. This is the most comprehensive study on book readership in the country. The survey was conducted from March 10 to 25, 2003 with 1,200 respondents composed of 300 voting-age adults from every study area: National Capital Region, Balance Luzon (areas within Luzon but outside NCR), Visayas, and Mindanao. The sample size has an error margin of +/-3% for the entire Philippines and +/-6% for every study area. Of the total respondents, 63.6% are from rural areas, while 36.4% from urban. Of the total respondents, 7.7% belong to classes ABC, 67.4% class D, and 24.8% class E.
Significant Findings of the Book Readership Survey Readership of the 7 -17 years old age group
Nationwide, 60% of the households surveyed have family members aged 7-17. Of these households, 35% have at least one member of the 7-17 age group who reads non-schoolbooks. Of the total family members aged 7-17, only 26% read non-schoolbooks, but most of those who read non-schoolbooks read at least weekly. Readership of non-schoolbooks among members aged 7-17 tends to be higher among females, classes ABC, those with a library at home, and those whose household heads have high education. The most popular non-schoolbooks read by the 7-17 age group are the Bible (22%) and romance novelettes (22%).
Readership of Filipino Adults
The good news is 94% of Filipino adults can read (simple words at least). 90% have read books at least some time in their lives. 68% have read nonschoolbooks. For those who read, 91% read to gain knowledge while 9% read for enjoyment.
Accessibility of Bookstores and Libraries
The survey reveals that many of the respondents (42%) are not aware if a library exists in their locale. 60% say that bookstores are not within walking distance from their residence, and 18% do not know if there is a bookstore in their locale. Data gathered from the National Library show that there are only 511 municipal libraries out of 1,496 municipalities, and 49 provincial libraries out of 80 provinces. Adult readership of non-schoolbooks tends to be higher among: ‘those with high levels of education, ‘those who attended private rather than public schools, ‘those from upper socio-economic levels, ‘those with higher personal monthly income, ‘those from urban rather than rural areas, ‘those younger in age, ‘those who are not married, ‘those who have libraries in their homes and offices, ‘those living nearer to bookstores and public libraries, and ‘those whose social networks (kith and kin) also like to read. While Filipino adults generally recognize the value of reading books, many (43%) can let a whole year pass without reading a single non-schoolbook. On the other hand, 15% read 2-3 non-school books, and 14% read at least 10 non-school books. Books are read more for gaining knowledge and information, and thus perhaps book reading is considered something to do when the need arises. Watching TV, movies and videotapes, listening to the radio, and going to malls seem much more fun to do. Perhaps parents, educators, publishers, and advertisers ought to do more to portray book reading as fun to do too. Filipino adults generally find books to be good gifts, and although considered costly, a book is not regarded as a luxury item but a necessity.
The survey shows that readership of non-schoolbooks is higher among Filipino adults from the the upper socio-economic classes who have reached high levels of education and attended private schools, are younger, either single or without a partner, and live in the urban areas.
oreover those who live near libraries and bookstores read more often. The Bible (38%) and romance novels (26%) are the most commonly read books by adult readers. The highest percentages of Bible-readers are from Mindanao (51%), class E (43%), females (42%), and 45 and above years old (49%). The highest percentages of romance novel readers are from Balance Luzon (27%) and Visayas (27%), class E (28%), females (37%) and 18-24 years old (46%). After the Bible and romance novels, females like to read about cooking (11%), while males read about politics (10%).
Manner of Acquiring Non-Schoolbooks
Allowing for multiple answers, the following are the means through which Filipino adults who read non-schoolbooks acquire them: borrowing from other people (52%), receiving books as gifts (40%), borrowing from libraries (24%), renting (18%), and buying (15%). Majority of respondents from all study areas and all socio-economic classes do not borrow from libraries.
The percentage of those who bought non-schoolbooks for personal reading in the past year increases with social class, educational attainment, and personal monthly income. 58% of Filipino adults who bought non-schoolbooks in the past year spent only a maximum of P200. 16% spent more than P1,000. Among classes ABC, 38% spent more than P 1,000.
Technorati Tags: Blogging, books, Charter Change, constitution, economy, ideas, Marcos, media, military, ninoy aquino, philippines, politics, president, society
134 thoughts on “Worse than Marcos?”
The Philippines also lacks the map data to support GPS navigation systems. Maybe this can be incorporated into the effort. It’s got clear commercial WIIFMs.
I actually have a cousin who is working on GPS positioning systems and its related mapping works. And he actually works out of Bacolod, can you believe that?
Anyway, you may want to check them out.
They ARE gorgeous. Can you still find them??? I love looking at maps. As a Chinese Filipino, I always check out where exactly is the birthplace of my grandfather. Interestingly enough, I was able to visit the place last year and see the ancestral home.
silent waters, you can still find copies in the high-priced used bookstores (old manila) of course for an arm and a leg.
the local manga-derivatives and graphic novels nowadays for me is too niche.
And too expensive for the average Filipino. The old komiks with serialized novels printed on newsprint or recycled paper with 2 or 3 colors would be more within their budget. The problem faced by atlas and gasi at the time was that lots of people werent buying their copies because enterprising sari-sari store type establishments merely rented them out (arkila); one copy for the whole barangay. The publishers and authors like Carlo J. Caparas were losing money on the deal until the movie industry provided them with oportunities. Now they dont even have that since our movie industry is dying. (And dont blame piracy for this, movie people. Your stuff isnt being pirated that much.)
I’ve raised that issue with Google thru a friend who works there, they have yet to respond. The Google maps data on the Philippines is rudimentary and incomplete.
NAMRIA is in Fort Bonifacio. When I worked for a real estate firm, we visited them quite often. And they do good work.
oh, and it’s never too late to get paid doing what you love to do. this year for me has been one of adding the necessary skills (through courses and a lot of self-study) that will enable me to leave the job that gets the bills paid to the job that makes me happy and gets the bills paid. 🙂
NAMRIA I think also has a direct retail outlet somewhere in Binondo…
mlq3, why don’t you create a specific section in your blog where people can collaborate with ideas on how to progress your mapping/historical knowledgebase project?
Jeg:Yeah, that certainly helped kill the komiks. I guess we really allocate a minisucle portion of our budget to reading materials, if at all. If it can be rented, why buy?
Speaking of revenue, I always wondered why komiks apparently relied only on circulation. They have the odd ad or two, but no massive ad space as that of newspapers. I undestand advertisers are enticed by big circulation. But if komiks reigned supreme in the ’70s (thus, high circulation)then why did GASI and Atlas didn’t take advantage of it and started selling advertising space?
benign0, i’ve long wanted to include a wiki section for such projects but…gastos. sigh.
Good for you tonio 🙂 🙂 🙂
Books for the most part are hard to acquire the farther you are from the proximity of urban centers. I remember back in high school (in the province) the only means I could grab nonschool books was through renting from a private book club or borrowing from my high school’s library (all donated). The public library run by the LGU did have books but they were so old and musty. Running on high school allowance allowed me to buy a book or two at most when I had the chance to go to Cebu, the nearest urban center.
Books are largely inaccessible and costly. This fact doesn’t help in enticing more Filipinos to read, which is sad. What’s worse, contemporary Filipino books aren’t any cheaper. At times they’re even more expensive than foreign books which you can get at bargain shops or book sales. Comics are cheaper, too since they only cost around a hundred pesos (Kiko Machine, Pugad Baboy) or even cheaper, comic rentals in your typical market corner which costs less than 5 pesos per read.
I think it’s more of an economic reason as to why most Filipinos don’t read books too much and not because we don’t have a culture of reading.
Jon, point taken. I don’t know whether my Mom or Dad followed that philosophy but thanks to their sacrifices, i’m in a position to do just that.
One of our top komiks illustrators has an excellent site on komiks.
The depth of talent in this country is astounding. Theyre getting gigs overseas. Maybe like some of our OFWs, they could return and revive the industry like Carlo J. Caparas is doing. I just hope they dont come back snooty.
was the survey on brand-new book purchases?
i frequent Books-for-Less, Chapters & Pages, and Booksale. i find many people buying from these stores
I suppose when it only concerns yourself, we have the same attitude towards compensation but what about when it concerns people around you. Do you actually think these middle men, these importers and retailers should keep doing what they are doing?
brian, what did you think of james hamilton-pattersonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“ghosts of manilaÃ¢â‚¬Â?
Manolo, read a couple of pages of it in a bookstore, wasn’t really interested in his point of view. Same with other Westerners writing about Southeast Asians. I do read Ian Buruma.
Mona Simpson’s book would be very controversial. It would be another debate between Filipinos willing to accept the OFWs as an important part of the cultural development of the Philippines and Filipinos who are just embarrassed by them.
What are you implying about middlemen? Please don’t start another bashing thread on people who actually serve a purpose also.
There is a reason why middlemen exists. It’s because they are the consolidators for people who cannot buy the volume if you got direct to the main supplier/importer/manufacturer of goods. If you go through middlemen, instead of having to buy gazillions of the same item, you can buy a few. Middlemen basically sells a variety of goods.
Baka iba ang iniisip mo kasing middlemen. Yun mga buwaya na laway lang ang ginawa, nagkakakuwarta na. Iba yun.
“Baka iba ang iniisip mo kasing middlemen. Yun mga buwaya na laway lang ang ginawa, nagkakakuwarta na. Iba yun.”
Silent, not just those people. I’m looking forward here. Sure, we need people to select the goods for retail shops, store them and properly checkthe process of delivering them to consumers, a make sure they are safe. But middlemen as simply people who have a lot of money and make more money because they have a lot of money should be an anachronism in the age of the Internet. Worse, when their businesses are threatened (a type of business, by the way that asks too much for what little they add) they go on to lobby their political friends to help out, which causes stagnation.
“was the survey on brand-new book purchases?”
antony, the survey was probably done only to one bookstore: National Bookstore. Powerbooks and Fully Booked wouldn;t survive if people stopped buying literary fiction and non-fiction.
You made a lot of assumptions in your statement. You assume that middlemen are making a lot of profit when in fact, as we speak, most middlemen make around 5-10% margins gross tops. Secondly, middlemen allows retail shops to buy in reasonable amounts rather than in bulk. No manufacturer will deal with you if you are just going to order a dozen pieces. Only made to order items which are paid highly will do that. FOr fast moving consumer goods like food, clothing, etc., that is not the case.
You are correct in saying that the internet allows prices to be lower but you still have to ship the goods from anywhere in the world, which adds to the cost of the product. The middleman takes that away already.
Of course, at the end of the day, they will have to earn a profit to continue in this business.
Also, you do need a lot of money to be middlemen. Ano kala mo, mamiso lang yung mga pinararating? DO you realize how cheap things are because there are middlemen? You assume kasi it’s expensive due to the middlemen. NO. The middlemen buys from the manufacturers in BULK, therefore they get bigger discounts. Pare, go back to your economics to understand economies of scale.
Lastly, the people who have a lot of clout in business are never the middlemen or importers, as you would like to believe. They don’t have control of what people can bring into the country. So what makes you think they have clout?
ANg mga may monopolya ng isang produkto o serbisyo ang sinasabi mong gumagamit ng mga kaibigan sa politika upang ang kanilang interes ay ma-protektahan.
Middlemen do serve a purpose but to an end consumer like me, they represent an additional cost (around 5 to 10% by your estimate). One way to make the economy more efficient is to eliminate or minimize the role of middlemen via the introduction of new technologies (online direct buying), retail liberalization (bringing in Wal Mart), trade liberalization among others. Not that i necessarily agree with these steps at this point.
totally agree with this. my father told me: love your work, and it will seem like work no more. and yet when i told him i wanted to write, he scoffed and said: sa talino mong yan gusto mo lang magsulat?
my mother on the other hand said: pwede mo naman gawin ng sabay yan (PT and writing), ba’t di mo gawin? at least with PT, you are assured of a job.
on the contrary, PTs are still in demand even today. Only that, employers are not that gung-ho in getting these employers, going so far as to sponsor everything. that’s why we PTs need to pay for everything ourselves, and take care of all paperwork, to attract employers. being licensed is the surest way for employers to vie for you.
it is not the patient to therapist ratio that is the problem here, but the fact that Physical Therapy as a field of medicine has never taken off and been accepted by most Filipinos as a serious field. too many misconceptions abound re it. foremost of which is PTs are seen as mere “manghihilot” or “massage therapists.” it is not only in hospitals that PTs can be employed. in sports, in gyms, in nursing homes. the problem was that PTs were boxed right from the start as masseuse, hence that perception of them clung, and its now very hard to change that.
OT is not a vocational course. in fact, OT is a specialized field of therapy. preference cannot be given bec these 2 jobs each have their own expertise. in a clinical setting, PTs and OTs often work together. PTs handle the gross motor skills rehabilitation aspect of the patients, while we refer the rehabilitation of the patients’ fine motor skills, language deficiencies, hand to eye coordination to OTs. Our work is mainly muscle strengthening, balance training, etc.
And just to correct you, OTs have higher salaries than PTs. starting pay of PTs range from $24/hr to $30 compared to OTs with $30-$35/hr.
hiring wasn’t halted. it just became more stringent. hiring still goes on even now. for those who persevere to see through all the difficulties in acquiring their papers (legally, i might add) as i said, once you’ve passed their board exam, employers will be fighting each other to get you. it’s just that employers of PTs right now are gun-shy in sponsoring unlicensed PTs since there’s no guaranteed ROI if their sponsored candidate fails the NPTE (PT’s version of the NCLEX)
For as long as the buying power of the Pinoy does not reach critical mass, you will not get all the things you mentioned.
As I said, they serve their purpose. Online? How many percent of the population is actually online to buy? How many have credit cards? and lastly, how do you actually know they’re going to pay anyway? That’s part of the problem and that’s why the critical mass won;t get there f for a while.
Also, it really bothers me as to why you won’t even allow people to make 10% gross margins. Parang ikaw lang dapat ang kumita sa mundo. The ability to earn money is the incentive for people to create, innovate and develop markets.
Sorry, but that’s the reason why I think of you as a communist. Everything that smacks of capitalism seems to be poison for you.
Di ko tuloy alam ano ba talaga ang ginagawa mo sa Singapore, that’s a purely capitalist country.
Silent Waters, as i said above (December 14th, 2007 at 10:57 am) i recognize that middle men serve a purpose. However, if a more efficient means of distribution comes along that results in lower costs, then so much the better. Far from being a ‘communist idea’, this falls squarely under capitalism’s concept of creative destruction.
NAMRIA’s main problem is budget. It takes a lot of money to come up with digital maps. I’ve been told there are so many mistakes in coordinates in the old Philippine maps which will present a problem for navigation.
My husband and I met a Filipino who not only makes digital maps with correct coordinates but also manufactures latest-technology GPS vehicle tracking equipment for commercial use. The software and hardware was designed by Filipinos (his chief engineer is actually female!) and it’s better than any Western technology I’ve come across. His units are now being used in several parts of the country (he also has international clients) and his guys are busy mapping areas his clients serve – including offshore for large fishing operations.
The next big step for the economy is manufacturing. IF ONLY we can let go of the “IF ONLY…” attitude. Proof is this company who doesn’t wait for government help but goes ahead and does things…
Regarding the OFW thing, it is best to take into account what really is happening inside our country. My point is, the current situation in our country demands that those lacking of monetary power, has no real option but to venture out of the country and do menial jobs. I for one pondered on that option for a long time, whether to follow the lead of most of kababayan and leave your love ones for the sake of money or be debt ridden and hopelessly littering the streets looking for jobs that can feed my family. Starting a business is a good thing but still, the money factor still has the upper edge; how do we start a business if we don’t have a start-up capital. I have been a call center agent, a web designer, a fast food crew and some other odd jobs that give no credit to my education moreso of the University I went to. So, just thinking about it, why not work in a foreign country doing the 3D’s (dirty, degrading and dangerous) jobs that pays well. But if given the chance I would really love to stay in our country as long as I can feed my family. Simple logic to this is, what is pride if you are starving……
Tama yang attitude na iyan, of what use is pride kung gutom ka. Ok lang, basta marangal na trabaho at kikita ka naman, bakit hindi.
In the Philippines,but in the States, it is just a short term course.
Marunong ka pa eh ako nandito.
Marunong ka pa ay connected ako noon sa recruitment agency ng mga nurses at physical therapists.
At kasama ako sa nagbukas ng agency na naglalaay ng mga healthcare workers sa hospital on a temp basis.
thanks for your comments on my work, madonna–whether i or others may agree with them or not. i’m just chiming in to clarify a point–i may be a UP professor now (everyone needs a daytime job) but i was a working stiff, a professional writer and a journalist long before i went back to school and did what i always wanted to do, which was to study, write, and teach.
i didn’t get my bachelor’s degree until i was 30 years old–i was out of school for many years. “academic” isn’t necessarily a bad word, but i understand what you might mean–i hate it when professors talk in a way other people (even fellow professors like me) can’t understand, or write in a manner most readers can’t relate to.
understandably, there will always be people who won’t like what i write; that’s par for the course for any writer anywhere. i don’t see that as a problem, or take it against anyone else. i do value clarity of expression. if my reader doesn’t get what i’m saying, then i’m in trouble. i really don’t know where brian’s phrase “studied english” comes from–i’ve never used nor advocated it myself; i suppose an argument can be made that all filipino usage of english is, in a way, studied or artificial, but that’s another issue for another time.
and many thanks for thinking that “soledad’s sister” should have won the man asian, but i of all people (and, at this point, i alone and the few others who have read the draft) know what its flaws are, and i’ll be working to correct them before sending it on to the publishers. i haven’t read the chinese novel that won, but it’s supposed to be something of an epic that appeals to the chinese on many levels (it’s already sold 2 million copies in china, plus many more in bootlegged copies), so i suppose it’s safe to guess that i lost to a superior–and perhaps only incidentally very popular–work. at any rate, better than the prize for me was being spurred on to complete the draft of my novel, which i look forward to revising these next few weeks.
if you care to learn more, just email me at [email protected] and i’ll respond when i can. happy holidays to you all here. salamat!