07 May 2010
Back in Manila
Finally, I'm back in the Philippines after a working holiday in the USA, with three lectures (Montclair State, UC Berkeley, and UCLA) and the West Coast launch of two books (The Other Other and Inter/Sections), all in three weeks of cold weather I am not used to and the usual battle against jet lag. I got to a couple of bookstores and found little to interest me; the popular bestsellers (whether academic or New York Times type) have elbowed out books truly worth reading. Fortunately still selling are the good old reliables (the philosophers of old, so-called "classic" novels, the canonical books required by well-intentioned teachers that have never given up the faith). Bookstores still relegate non-English languages books either to the dictionary or travel sections or to some awkward category such as "Asian Studies" or "Foreign Language Books." They still have a problem with books written in languages other than English by American writers. On the plus side, however, I noticed that there were a number of mainstream television channels all in Spanish. Perhaps the USA is indeed becoming a bilingual country. That would definitely be a step forward.