WHY WE ARE POOR: Heroes in the Attic, Termites in the Sala
By F. Sionil Jose
Published by Solidaridad Publishing House, ©2005.
This latest collection of essays illustrates the range of his interests from peace and security in Mindanao, the assimilation of Chinese Filipinos into the mainstream, literary craftsmanship to economic growth.
“Going over these ruminations, it occurred to me that in some amorphous manner, most of the essays can really be divided into those that are critical of Filipinos, and quite a few that are commendatory. It is for this reason that I have used a title about termites and heroes to define that differentiation. It is so easy to point out who the achievers are, as well as show clearly how our society hoists the mediocre and the inane on pedestals. In this, media are largely to blame, especially the talk show hosts on television and some editors of the entertainment and features sections. They pander to the crassest tastes. Indeed, we have willfully relegated our sterling heroes in the attic where they are conveniently forgotten–the role models that could easily redeem us. And as for the non-entities, the phoney nationalists, the crass poseurs who preen on our TV screens, and who are anoninted with honors, we show them off like the heirlooms that adorn our living rooms, not realizing they are actually the termites that will eventually bring our house down. In pointing this out, I have never intended to make enemies. Throught the years, in trying to rite honestly, I have acquired the enmity of a few. In coming out with this collection of ramblings, it is very possible I have again hurt some people. To them, I say in all contrition: forgive me but read me just the same.”
-F. Sionil Jose
Description: 349 pages ; 23 x 15 cm