I write entirely in English; Tagalog chauvinists chide me for this. I feel no guilt in doing so. But I am sad that I cannot write in my native Ilokano. History demanded this; if it isn't English I am using now, I would most probably be writing in Spanish like Rizal, or even German or Japanese.
Past middle age, some friends suggested that I should have my eyebags removed, the deepening creases on my face stretched. I often examined my face in the mirror, imagining how I'd look if I followed the suggestion. I decided to retain the old mug. I was too familiar and comfortable with it. And the final hindrance: the cost.
Indeed, the existence of class, of social hierarchy, is as old as man himself. It prevails in the jungle where strength determines hierarchy; among men, it has also been savagely the same, whereby rulers vested with power through personal combat, or through lineal heritage as in the case of royalty, ravage their subjects.
The heart of the theater is the play itself, how it dramatizes life to make it meaningful entertainment. To achieve depth and universality, the playwright must subject himself to intense critique, to know human character and behavior, and finally to construct art from the most mundane of human experience.
I can't understand Urdu, Bahasa or Russian, but when the Pakistani Faiz, the Indonesian Rendra and the Russian Rosdentvensky declaim, I can feel the living throb of rhythm and music, the warmth and passion of their poetry, as do the hundreds, not a mere roomful, of poetry lovers in the audience.