Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thoughts on the upcoming elections

A Small Place Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place is an angry literary work but a well-written one. Here she traces the roots of present-day problems plaguing the nation of Antigua. She goes back in history and shows the effects of English colonization, slavery and emancipation, and the horrible transition to independence which only ushered in a corrupt government.

Halfway through the book, I felt that I was reading about the Philippines, too.

Here are a few statements that may seem familiar to you:

". . . A sign was placed on the front of the building saying, THIS BUILDING WAS DAMAGED IN THE EARTHQUAKE OF 1974. REPAIRS ARE PENDING. The sign hangs there, and hangs there for more than a decade later, with its unfulfilled promise of repair, and you might see this as a sort of quaintness on the part of these islanders, these people descended from slaves—what a strange, unusual perception of time they have."

"The people who live in this house are a merchant family who came to Antigua . . . Now they own a lot of Antigua; they regularly lend money to the government, they build enormous (for Antigua), ugly (for Antigua), concrete buildings in Antigua's capital, St. John's, which the government then rents for huge sums of money."

"Not far from this mansion is another mansion, the home of a drug smuggler."

"When the Queen came, all the roads she would travel were paved anew, so that the Queen might have been left with the impression that riding in a car in Antigua was a pleasant experience."

"People cannot see a relationship between their obsession to slavery and emancipation and the fact that they are governed by corrupt men, or that these corrupt men have given their country away to corrupt foreigners."

"For almost not a day goes by that I don't hear about some dictator, some tyrant from somewhere in the world, who has robbed his country's treasury, stolen the aid from foreign governments, and placed it in his own personal and secret Swiss bank account."

"Some ministers in government have opened their own businesses; the main customer for these businesses is the government."

It's a sad, sad book, but it's also an eye-opener: Antigua is an object lesson, after all.

I know many of you have made up your minds on whom to vote for on May 10. Let's choose our leaders freely, prayerfully, and wisely because, come on: who wants to ever find a need to write a Philippine version of this novel?


Anonymous Koji said...

Insightful post. No to Philippine version of A Small Place.

I love the new bottle!! :D

Fri May 07, 12:53:00 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Lance Catedral said...

It's a very short book. I finished it in one sitting. You can borrow it, Koj, if you're free. :D

Fri May 07, 04:55:00 PM GMT+8  

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