Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Refilling the pen

Ian published a striking letter from his former student. In essence: is literature a dying endeavor in Dumaguete, the birthplace of English instruction in the country and the home of the venerable National Writers Workshop?

Three things immediately came to mind, and though this was my reply to his post, I thought I'd mention them here because they came out a little lengthy.

1) We're suffering from narrow overspecialization. This is not an observation on Dumaguete alone but on Philippine society as a whole. Literature should not be a specialized endeavor limited to AB English or MassCom students, but should be encouraged among everybody. Alas, the professionals have edged out the amateurs (and if we go back to the root of "amateur", it really means someone who does it for love).

2) We need to move with the times. Literature should no longer be limited to the printed word on dead-tree. Instead, Literature should begin to explore other media, such as comics, the hyperstory, and even film. As it stands, the way we tell our stories and even the stories that we tell have become stultified.

3) Together with point (2), we should explore the means by which writers can get compensated for their work. Case in point: someone from Guimaras writing erotica and earning $200 per month on AdSense. Love is one thing, and money is another.

And as I write this, a fourth comes to mind:

Kailangan ding palaguin ang kasulatan sa sariling wika; kinahanglan pud nga pauswagon ang mga sinulat sa kaugalingung sinultihan.


  1. I always admire the serenity and commitment of Dumaguete to quality education. I've been to the island many times, but unfortunately, never during school days as I am working in Manila. I never get to see the busy streets filled with students.

    My husband is from that island. I'll be in town again next month!

    bloghopped in. Hope you dont mind if I'll add youto my link

  2. Thanks for visiting, Darlene. Do look me up if you're in town.