By Asther Bascuña Creo
On Saturday 26 November, four Filipino Australian authors and artists will have the opportunity to present their stories and creativity through a collection of books published by The Philippine Times. As one of the authors, I feel privileged to be given this chance to contribute my writing and be part of the bigger multicultural voice of Australia. Here is my reflection in anticipation of this momentous book launch.
Last Friday the infamous late Dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried at the Heroes Cemetery in the Philippines – quietly, without the fanfare customary of this family, and so discrete it was said that they carried out the burial like “thieves in the night.” You don’t need to be a Filipino to know this political family.
Many younger Filipinos now don’t understand nor appreciate the significance of this. “He’s dead let them bury him.” “He was a former soldier, let him be buried with his compatriots.”
Many have said the story of Martial Law is lost in the younger generation. I’d like to unpack this thought a bit further by saying if we are raising the younger generation in another country, then there is greater possibility that the story of Martial Law is misunderstood, unheard of, not even part of everyday consciousness.
The stories of the oppressed, the silenced, the brutally raped, tortured, the disappeared and for the rest of us Baby Boomers and Gen X who “escaped” but were stealthily robbed – these stories, OUR stories, are easily brushed away, forgotten like a macabre fairytale far removed from reality.
The stories we tell through the four books that will be launched on Saturday come in the form of words, images, political drawings and artwork that capture the realities of life. The stories of each of these four authors are a reflection of the times – we live our lives influenced and affected by our society and communities, and our consciousness are first moulded by the realities in our country of birth. It is these harsh realities that have driven us to make a life in another country.
Here in Australia, we are fortunate that we are able to continue telling our stories – with hopes that the younger generation will help keep them alive.
Chimamanda Adichie, an awarded Nigerian novelist and one of my favourite feminist authors, warns us about the danger of a single story. She says, “If we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.”
What stories do our children read about our country of birth? A land of natural disasters, dirty politics, pollution, a mountain of garbage? They are not wrong – but this is not the singular story of the Philippines.
Our authors, artists, community workers and our future generation contribute multiple voices to the weaving of our colourful and complex story as a Filipino people.
We hope to have your support this Saturday, 26 November, so the Australian community can have the chance to read and more fully understand our story.
The publishers of The Philippine Times invite you with great pleasure to the book launch of four Filipino-Australian authors
Time: 2pm to 5pm
Place: 501 Receptions, 501 Barkly St, Footscray VIC
KATHA AT GUHIT (‘Words and Drawings’) is a collection of writings and artwork from four authors:
- ASTHER CREO – Telling Stories, collection of short stories, narratives and poetry
(firstname.lastname@example.org 0468 564595)
- DINA DELFINO – Under His Wings, collection of spiritual reflections and personal witnessing (email@example.com 0430 214 917)
- JOEL MAGPAYO – The Arts of Joel P Magpayo, collection of artworks, drawings, illustrations (firstname.lastname@example.org 0431 753 190)
- LYDIA JOHN – A Life Lived for Others, collection of anecdotal stories on community involvement (email@example.com 0452 583 932)