Bits and Pieces, by Manuel L. Quezon Jr.
About a year before Ninoy Aquino’s murder, I tried to immigrate to Australia. The Australian Embassy people were extremely kind. The whole thing was done very quietly and I was given a permanent visa as a retiree, although I was below the age of retirees, I had wanted to leave the Philippine because it was impossible to foretell how the local situaton would end. EDSA was unforseeable. As it turned out, I did not persevere in Australia, not because of the country or because of the people. Australia is a large enough country with such a variety of climatic and landscapes that only an eccentric would have difficulty finding a comfortable place. Nor was it the people. On my first visit to Australia the people were all extremely nice and if we had stayed longer, I imaging I would have adjusted without any difficulty but then I was only fifteen. This time around, with the single exception of the young immigration brat who perhaps believed in the white Australian policy, the people were again unfailingly friendly and helpful — someone even got off the subway and walked to a park to point out the hotel I sought — but I was in my fifties and notwithstanding the absence of a language one does not adjust easily to new surroundings. Which is by way of explaining my pressure in Sydney and my conversation with Alfredo Roces who, together with his wife Irene — Baby — had immigrated to Australia. This was when I had just arrived as an immigrant. Alfredo asked me what I intended to do with myself, would I write my memoirs. I thought to myself that I was too young to be writing memoirs and also that memoirs are something far important people who have led important lives, someone for example like the late Speaker Jose Romero (“Not So Long Ago”). I had led a life entirely on the sidelines (and still do).
More than a dozen years later I decided to write down whatever I recall to my seventy years of life (so far) not because it is of any importance whatsoever but because what I can recall of it, starting with my first trip to the United States at the age of four, might be of interest or amusing either to those who have recollections of the same world and the same times, or to the younger generation, whose interest and amusements are more doubtful. But my recollections do refer to and describe a vanished world, just as the world of the first war and the times that preceeded and succeeded it is gone, only to be found in books and movies. What I write is not even to be found in books or movies because it is not important enough to find its way into books or movies. If I do not write down what I recall, when I go those event will also be gone and I think my recollections will help to flesh out an epoch.
I have deliberately put down whatever comes to my mind just as it comes to my mind. I have deliberately refused to check on the historical accuracy of my account. I have wanted to make a record of the memories of my life as they come to mind, my impressions as they were and as they come back. There is no attempt at history. If anyone thinks it worthwhile to check on my accuracy, well and good. This is a stream of consciousness account of some of my past, nothing more.