A virtuoso performance. Scott Thompson’s biography of the soldier statesman Fidel V. Ramos illustrates the fascinating and complex geography of Filipino politics and its relation with the American hegemon. It’s first-rate scholarship and equally first-rate writing.
We compromise ourselves the day we are born. If we are looking for the original sin, there it is- our incapacity to live honestly with ourselves because we are human, because we are shackled by custom, by obligations and we accept compromise only in the light of our conscience, answerable as we are only to ourselves.
The obscenities of this country are not girls like you. It is the poverty which is obscene, and the criminal irresponsibility of the leaders who make this poverty a deadening reality. The obscenities in this country are the places of the rich, the new hotels made at the expense of the people, the hospitals where the poor die when they get sick because they don't have the money either for medicines or services. It is only in this light that the real definition of obscenity should be made.
Life is always sad. That's what makes suicide so tempting because life is all that we really have and haven't. Death makes us equals, too, because the foul and the good all die. The past, the present, and the future-what escape is there from these? None-and yet sometimes we are life's happy victims.
Life is holy and it is for all of us. God's design, I cannot understand myself and I never will, but I do know that what we are experiencing now will pass and in the end we will all be brothers, not just blood brothers, as we are, but brothers in spirit. Neither you nor I can change the world or human nature and we can only aim at changing attitudes - and perhaps teach those who have so much to give a portion of their blessings to those who have less.
Our appreciation of folk art will strengthen our identities, our pride in belonging to a community. People trained in the creative use of their hands soon acquire skills, excellent craftsmanship which will be the most important measure of how well we can industrialize.
When you love someone, that love has no limit, no measure, because you know in your deepest being that when that love demands sacrifice, you will give it without question. You will not look for reasons, for justification - the act of giving, of sacrificing, is a natural compulsion, like breathing, and it will, in the end, surprise you because you did it without second thoughts.
I write to please myself—of course, that is a given. But beyond this reach for pleasure, I know that I write for my countrymen, that they may be lifted from apathy and ignorance. I write because of a compulsion to make something out of the nothing that is my own life.
I believe in humanity - not just you or Mother, but all mankind. Do I sound like a preacher or a cheap politician making a pretty speech? This is not what I intend to do... I believe in life, that it is sweet and that, for all its occasional bitterness, we-man, that is-are headed toward something better - fulfillment. There is much shame, however, and so much hypocrisy around us and these inhibit our fulfillment as human beings.