the gapanese invasion is nigh!

"pinakamaganda ka nga sa buong kapuluan, pero latina na naman ang magwawagi ng korona at sash sa miss world! racism ba ito? lupasay!"

Monday, March 27, 2006

postcolonial latina in the pearl of the orient seas

i found myself obsessing for any latin american marvelous realist literature the moment i browsed the content of the world anthology i brought along as gift for my kumare leaving for bicol. she thought it would serve her best to read while in magayon country tending her daughter that's my godchild, and i couldn't agree more, hence the choice of multicultural gift. however, i discovered that the book's claim to be a "world" anthology was false, since not one piece of latin american (not even african or middle eastern) prose or poetry was represented in it. by way of literary hegemony, the collection is euroamerican-centered. staples like william shakespeare, william wordsworth, emily dickinson, and john milton had at least two masterpieces each, but the absence of such heavyweights like argentinian jorge luis borges, peruvian mario vargas llosa, chileans pablo neruda and isabel allende, brazilian paolo coelho and colombian gabriel garcia marquez seemed to me that south america along with africa and the near east is incapable of producing canonical literature or an outworld territory altogether. i heaved a sigh of relief when an entry each by philippine national artists jose garcia villa and nick joaquin conveniently appeared along the pages.
my partyphile friend zazu would probably dismiss my longing for latin american text as a homage to postcolonialism. i could hear him accusing the provincial--dare i say nativist--me of partiality against anything western, and of sympathizing with the violent colonial experience of south america. perhaps, with swishy middle-aged fingers, he would point out that my country is already an anguishing third world economy--why the need to look for poverty condition further across the vast pacific? the lambasting would probably reach fever pitch when he would suspect that i'm truly a latina disguised as an oriental, and that in the event a filipina penetrates the finals in an international beauty quest, i would cheer more for the venezuelan or mexican or porto ricano finalist. in that case, it's as terrible as loathing my national identity but falling nonetheless to exoticism when i wish to become a hispaniola. to all these unfounded theories, i would just flip my hair as i succintly say, "the new miss international is you, miss philippines, precious lara quigaman."
it is downright revolting that non-euroamerican ethnicities are labeled exotic, defined as "alluringly different." the modifier "alluringly" makes me want to toss my head side to side till i receive praises like "ang soft! ang dulas!", but the word "different" makes me want to grow medusa hair and turn exoticists into lifeless slabs of stones with my evil eyes. realize being juxtaposed against the euroamerican standard of beauty: you are enticing, only foreign, too strange. it's as repulsive as being told that you still do not fit to a t, no matter what allure you possess. so does this mean having to customize one's exceptional looks under the civilizing western hands? come on, i attract you potato guys, i with the sun-kissed body made strong by golden rice. bring with you your whitening lotion, your hair dyes and your colored contact lenses. in no sooner time, when you're done raping my body, i will be no different from you--western-fashioned hair, eyes and all. plus your homegrown gay ideology has fueled me my dominant craving for caucasian-hybridized pinoys, they with the light skin tone and huge torso patterned after the greek gods. you want us exoticas to obssess you at the expense of our increasingly fragmented identity. away with your self-serving worldview.

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