F. Sionil José’s accidental hero, Benjamin Singkol, was imprisoned by the Japanese in Fort Santiago after he had escaped from the front in Bataan in World War 11. In the last days of that war, he served in the American Army as a medic in the Cordillera. It was also there where the 1896 revolutionary general, Artemio Ricarte, lived his last days with the Japanese. Was he aF. Sionil José’s accidental hero, Benjamin Singkol, was imprisoned by the Japanese in Fort Santiago after he had escaped from the front in Bataan in World War 11. In the last days of that war, he served in the American Army as a medic in the Cordillera. It was also there where the 1896 revolutionary general, Artemio Ricarte, lived his last days with the Japanese. Was he a collaborator? Or a patriot who was simply grateful to the Japanese for having given him a sanctuary for thirty years? Benjamin Singkol who collaborated with the Americans wanted a definite answer to this issue which riles many Filipinos to this day. There are no easy answers, for collaboration is also a huge grey area wherein men act out their beliefs and succumb to their fates. This brief but thoughtful novel, F. Sionil José’s latest, challenges the reader to make judgment—at his own moral peril.F. Sionil José is the Philippines’ most widely translated author; his major work, a series of five novels about a small town called Rosales, encompasses a hundred years of tumultuous Philippine history—from 1872 to 1972....
|Number of Pages||:||118 Pages|
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It's too good, I almost believed it's true. Good thing, FSJ forewarned me that this is a work of fiction, a work of his brilliant mind.Detailed review to follow.
Still trying to figure this one out. Simple, yet complex. He stays true to his Filipino culture despite possessing the skills to write a book that equals serious contemporary American fiction. I'm liking Jose more and more. Need to order some of his older stuff.
Another great read! Although his politics is a bit too leftist for my taste, he writes fabulously and ask an important question are compromisers really collaborators to a foreign enemy? Are all foreign influences bad for country? For the thought provoking ideas and the well written material, I give this book 5 stars.Through Ben Singkol, Sionil describes the murkiness of right and wrong in the man incarnate Ricarte, patriot turned traitor when his only wish was Filipino independence but he got lumped in Japanese brutality. It is interesting how an American soldier saw the Philippines as a patch of easily divided men with an upper class and a lower class that do not have the same interests. So, the name of the game is divide and conquer. To align America's interests with the rich and powerful and against the Filipino nationalists who just want to push a Filipino consciousness at all costs. It is interesting how Mabini was exiled in Guam. Is it really true that men who got their fame and fortune through ill gotten wealth are paranoid that others would do the same with them. Most common things become threat to others? Smaller nations (Philippines) are fated to link themselves to stronger nations (US) in order to stop aggression to a nearer strong nation (China). As memory is the key to a person's personality, a sense of shared history is key to forging a national identity. Ricarte really admired the Japanese discipline and was really a good spokesmen for Japan when they conquered the Philippines. But like all expats, he was out of touch with the country he wanted to lead because he viewed the country as it once was, not what it currently is now. The key to a country with global presence is a strong military. The key to a strong military is a strong economy which in turn depends on a entrepreneurial energy that strengthens not diminishes the society that binds it. People who are prone to revolutionaries have authoritarian impulses but are also prone to conspiracies. His mistress sees that Americans are helping but is stranded in the train of thought that Filipino's must be truly free from any influence. She is blinded by her loyalty to Ricarte to see that the country has progressed with America's help and their ideas are dated. At least, she believed in what she was doing enough to die for it. Josie is right in stating that patriotism and love are life long ideals that a piece of paper simply creates a contract not replaces. Because of Ricarte's experience at the hands of Americans, he began to hate them with a fervor which is outsized by the reality that they were developing the Philippines. This is the reason why the American's must be good disciplined warriors during war as to not allow any creation of enemies that will later harm it. His hatred for America blinded him to the progress that was made in US tenure while his admiration for Japanese discipline made him discount as a necessary evil the destruction that was wrought by Japanese in the name of Asian progress. Vibora was disappointed when Japan took on the view of Western imperialists and sided with the illustrados against the commoners. He felt the Japanese like the Americans before them and the Spanish before them sided with the elites. He wonders why he was so out of touch with the sentiments of the people he tried to help with creating a national identity. Although in the end he doubted his actions, he knew that the reason behind those actions was pure. It must suck for someone who acted with integrity to be remembered by members with disdain and thought of as an opportunist. The youth can be idealistic because they have no to look after or care for but themselves. Unlike other Asian nations, the Philippines as a unified nation is just brand new when the US introduced public education. Ben's friend told him where Ricarte went wrong is his love for the land and for his ideals were greater than his love for the people and in the end that was his downfall. Although Ricarte was a well known collaborator, his saving grace is that he was sincere in his collaboration meaning that he collaborated because he believed that Japan was the best hope for the Philippines to gain full independence from any imperial influences. Just like Dra. Lee, Ricarte belief that the Philippines could only be free if they pull themselves out of trouble by relying on the ingenuity of Filipino without any foreign interference is a dated idea. I think it is a bit of a stretch to align American goods as a folly akin to the Japanese sword. Conquering via trade is not the same as subjugating a people through force. Because whereas trade, people have a choice, subjugation by the sword leaves a person without any choice but to comply. Ben Singkol questions whether his dedication to total security to freeing the Philippines from all foreign occupation is sane given that it citizens are ignorant and the rich collaborates with foreigners to their personal gain. Ricarte believed the ends justify the means and if blood shed is necessary to forge a national identity even it is at the expense of Filipino blood. I like it how the end it is the youthful provincial virgin who gives up her virginity to Japanese men. Perhaps, it is a concrete metaphor of Philippines whoring itself for the highest bidder. In the end, he trembles at the thought that his daughter searches for the truth only to lose her life. He decides the only absolute truth comes in the form of ones heart.
basahin sa jeep pero was pag lunes