Thursday ∗ 15 Nov 2012

i have no specific expertise

but i thought it quite timely to re-post this piece on the Manila International Literary Festival (MILF) 2011, while the PILF (yes, they changed Manila to Philippine) 2012 is happening. because i hear they were laughing as they wondered whether i would go this year (no), or if GMA News Online would send me (yes, but i said no).

because you know this year they take from prostitution and objectification of women, to sell Philippine literature. what fun.

But our local writers could only be found wanting. Granted I could only go to one panel out of three parallel sessions at any given time, and experiences will differ (check out Carmela Lapeña’s write-up), but for a government-organized international festival, at a price so steep even middle-class-earner-me had to think twice about paying up, every darn panel should’ve been brilliant.

Or at the very least honest about the creative task, with a great dose of self-reflexivity about the literary system in these shores, with a sense of what needs to change especially if the goal is global competitiveness.

No such luck. If there’s anything the MILF 2011 proved, it’s still this fact: the literary world in this country remains a very small circle made up of older writers who have cared for and to whom a set of younger writers are indebted. Here was literary patronage like no other, nepotism lives, uncritical participants included. That the last time I was a Comparative Literature major was in the year 2000, and that a decade since things remain within the same bubble, is just tragic.

the rest is here.

Posted in: arts and culture, bayan, komentaryo, panitikan

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