Personal Thoughts on Edward Said’s Orientalism

The author struggles with the identity of her own as a person in terms of culture. Born an American, yet Asian in blood and in education. It seems more fitting for her to pour her thoughts on Edward Said’s Orientalism.

Like this author, he too has his fair share of identity problems. He studied in the West, yet he was Asian, or Arabic. He used much of his personal experiences as the basis of the essay. While it was criticized for not putting much emphasis in other Asian nations (like India) and it being strangely forgiving to French Orientalist writers, it’s safe to say that it can be applied to other countries (in real life or in media). He deals with the concept of the Other, and how the West tries to make a distinction among them and the East (which could help them to take over the world (in some ways)), despite the fact the East also have their way of labeling others. Still, this issue lingers in people’s minds, regardless of where they are from.

The author found this a very personal thing in her part. Growing up seeing Western products come and go and living in a Third-World country (now a Tiger Cub Economy), she sometimes wonders where her nationalistic alliance lies with, nevertheless, she’ll be a Filipino no matter what happens, despite her American birth, and her Chinese blood. Like Said, she too is a product of Orientalism, except she’s West in birth, Asian in blood. This is a theory she finds the most intriguing in terms of personal experiences. One might say, Who am I?

That, some will never know, depending how long the problem lasts in a person’s mind. Regardless, this essay has helped her understand her condition as an Asian-American living in a Third-World, Tiger Cub nation. It makes her understand her stand in life, and her identity as a foreign-born Asian. This author will not be deter in her life, as she explores the world around her. No matter whatever people will say or think, she’ll always be Asian in mind, heart and soul.


Film Critique on: Four Sisters & a Wedding

This was written for the Art Appreciation Project of the 1st half of the 1st semester 2013-2014 last Aug. 7, 2013.

Normally, it usually takes a certain period of time to court/date someone you want to marry before those vows down along the aisle. Then everyone lives happily ever after, right? But in reality, as exemplified in the case of Four Sisters and a Wedding, it’s not an easy road to take, especially if you have a wedding that’ll take place in 2 weeks & you just informed your relatives all too soon; worse if they plot to sabotage the wedding out of concern, but in the wrong way.

While the story itself is original story-wise, its origins go back to a screenplay written by Filipino director & screenwriter Jose Javier Reyes, which might not have been translated to the screen for unknown reasons. The film tells of the Salazar siblings: recently-laid off Madrid-based teacher Teddie (Toni Gonzaga), New York-based communications manager Bobbie (Bea Alonzo), film producer Alex (Angel Locsin), high school teacher Gabbie (Shaina Magdayao) & only boy CJ (Enchong Dee) who have drifted apart for some time. Then things went mad when CJ revealed he’ll tie the knot with his girlfriend of 4 months, wellness spa heiress Princess Bayag (Angeline Quinto) in 2 weeks. Stunned by the news, the sisters take arms & plot to stop the wedding a la My Best Friend’s Wedding for their brother’s sake. But as they try to sabotage the plans, they have some major problems (particularly the 3 eldest sisters): Teddie is ashamed to tell her family about losing her job due to the Euro Crisis, Bobbie can’t seem to get along with her fiancée Tristan’s (Sam Milby) daughter from his late wife: Trixie (Samantha Faytaren) & Alex’s boyfriend Chad (Bernardo Palanca) is cheating on her (before her, he used to date Bobbie) with another girl. Soon, tons of obstacles, mishaps & a tragedy pile up and the girls have to face the facts, if they can live a happy ending.

The Salazars are portrayed realistically, in the sense that they presented as a family who needs to help each other to clear up the troubles they have gotten to & stick with each other. The opening showed the girls making a Christmas gift for Jesus out of Rebisco biscuit sandwiches when they were younger, which was later show again when they renewed their relationship with each other near the end of the film. The portrayal of the Bayag family as a very wealthy family is exaggerated throughout the film: their house looked like an expansive lot in the US, their house helpers are dressed up as if like they’re stuck in Edwardian England, they wore bright colors & flashy clothing; also, their personalities are also parodied for the upper class Filipino family (though Princess, personality-wise, wasn’t absurd as her parents).

To be honest, the cast were appropriately cast & effectively. It’s no secret for that Angel, Bea & Shaina are actually best friends in real life, so that somehow help in their roles. Bea & Samantha are also well-casted for Bobbie & Trixie’s rocky relationship from enemies with a common tie (in this case, Tristan) to the best of friends. Coney Reyes is excellent in portraying Grace Salazar to the right fit, with a face of concern that shows how much she’s worried about the children’s relationship going sour, & a mother’s love for all of her children. Angeline should been given good merits for portraying Princess as a well-off heiress without going too stereotypical, as evident in her scene with Enchong about their familial worries & their film chemistry is wonderful. Toni’s chemistry with Janus del Prado/Frodo is also as dynamic, especially with the scene where Teddie begged Frodo to loan her money to go home, with the condition that he pose for her ‘boyfriend’, a masquerade that’ll turn slowly into a relationship in the film’s progress.

The setting is proven effective in its part. The Salazar residence provides much of the major scenes in the film (from the opening to the charades incident & the sisters’ confessions to the sisters’ happy renewal of their familial love for each other). The spa also provides uncertainty over Frodo being ‘attacked’ by a masseur, with dark lighting for the massage area & bright lights for the reception area. The wedding theme is a clear parody of Disney’s The Little Mermaid: proof is found in the sisters’ gowns, CJ’s outfit looks like Prince Eric’s while the top bodice part of Princess’ gown looks like Ariel’s seashell bra top. The film’s cinematography is done with colors, with the scenes having a glossy finish. The lighting is also used well, for the film. The camera angles are effectively useful, with close-ups done for many major important scenes like Teddie, Bobbie & Alex’s confessions, most of CJ & Princess’ talk at the pool area of her house & most of Bobbie’s conversations with Tristan & Trixie. The music score is shown as effective, not cheesy or not too funny; just enough to give you a sense of a telenovela & a romantic comedy film (which the film really is) mashed into one sitting. No special effects were used, just the makeup needs for the exaggeration on the part of Carmi Martin/Jeanette’s look, due to the comedy essence in the film.

In the film, symbols were rarely used a lot. But the obvious ones were the Rebisco biscuit sandwich (which stands for the siblings’ very close relationship with each other prior to the main plot) &, surprisingly, the wedding (which became the full closure for all the characters’ problems).

The film, overall, is a very effective movie, in the sense, that it addresses to the importance of familial bonds, accepting change as a part of life & renewing ties broken. The story is well-written & well-executed by both cast & crew members involved in the film. If one wants a good dose of a local rendition of a wedding-themed dramedy film (without any excessive drama or comedy elements that would have overwhelm the story) a la My Best Friend’s Wedding, Four Sisters and a Wedding will definitely take you on a well-balanced adventure.

Information on the film:

Is this a Work or a Text?: A Look at Roland Barthes’ From Word to Text

Is a Text an object, like a Work? The answer: no, as said by Roland Barthes‘ essay ‘From Work to Text’. One may want remember him from the previous entry in the Literary Theory Journal:

Roland Barthes made a distinction between a Work and a Text. He said that a Work is a physical output of the author; the Text a ‘field’ of meanings when a work of an author becomes a strand in a huge web of interpretation. He states that a Text is subjective to multiple interpretations. One may ask: Can a Work be separated from a text? He said that the Text is an event, it turns into a ‘field’ whereas the Work enters in & becomes.

The Differences:

* A Work has 2 meanings: the literal & the concealed, the Text goes beyond them.

* The Text is plural: The Work’s meaning is integrated into the Text. It ‘explodes’ with meanings & is highly inter-textual; in the Text, there’s no definite beginning & end.

* The Work’s source is the Author, but the Text doesn’t have a source, hence the author is merely a guest in a work.

* The Work is meant to be consumed by the reader, yet the Text is entangled with free play of collaborative reading, making the gap between the author & the reader narrower.

* The Text is always superior to the Work, but one must not disregard the Work itself.

Barthes said that one is able to lose oneself in the Text: linked to a kind of pleasure that’s not separated from (the Text) itself. Hence, it is turned into a social construction, turning the reader from being a passive consumer to one who can interact with the Text. He also mentions the Seven Propositions when reading a Text: Method, Genre, Signs, Plurality, Filtration, Reading & Pleasure .

The author have been interested with the difference between the two. And has been glad it had a good point describing about the Text & how it is different from the Work.  Good piece of work, indeed…

* Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York City, New York, United States of America: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2001.

Of Travelling Theories: A Opinion on Edward Said’s ‘Travelling Theory’

Theories, like timeless classics and even influential ideas, go around circulating across time, geography, situations and people. This is the concern of Edward Said‘s Travelling Theory which dealt with how theories go on in life and how they can be abused and misused. There are four stages of how a theory travels: point of origin; distance traveled; a set of condition; and full/partial accommodated/ incorporated idea.

He cautions that a theory can misread by a reader almost all the time. Oh, how terrible if a theory can be so misunderstood by one audience as time goes on. He went on to mention Lukacs’ History & Class Consciousness & Lucien Goldmann’s Le Dieu cache as examples. As Said has mentioned, to read a text/theory in a local & detailed view on how theories travel is to betray some fundamental uncertainty concerning delimiting a field of which a text/idea/theory might have belong to. One theory was somehow misread by one person and inspired another theory. There are some examples of why Lukacs’ theory was so misread years, situations & places later.  First & foremost, Lukacs was wrote his essay at the height of a struggle in Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919, Goldmann was a historian at the Sorbonne in Paris, France after World War II at the time of the publishing of his own essay in 1955. Second, Lukacs’ class consciousness defies at the face of capitalism, Goldmann’s work, on the other hand, reflected the works of Pascal  and Racine.

It should be known that a text/ theory is always static, fluid & has mobility. Somehow, along the way, the Reader can get a theory/ text a wrong reading, something the author might get mad about. However, the author of this article will give her own opinion on this and how does distance can affect a theory.

It’s true that theories & ideas can’t stay in one place, in one time period for too long. Theories should go out to the rest of the world. They are there to reflect the author’s opinions & ideas. Everyone should know what was going on the life & situation of the author’s time, and sometimes they can reflect on it & compare it to their current situation. However, they can get misread by others: some take them literally, some just don’t get the whole idea. For example, religious extremists sometimes take their Holy Scripture too literally, to the point of actually harming the lives of so many people, even their own lives, as if they just don’t care at all… Sounds tragic, isn’t it? The idea is that one has to be careful when reading a text/ theory, not take them too literally nor think of it as a nuisance, nor even calling it blasphemous, nor lower its importance & relevance of its time as well as its relevance today.

The Author has no grudges towards the Theory involved, but felt it needs to expound on how misreading can occur in one’s mind & what are the full, known effects on the reader & the text itself. Then again, it’s one theory that this author doesn’t have to worry so much on…

Worst and Best Miss Universe Gowns Ever (in My Opinion)!

This gallery contains 11 photos.

While the Miss Universe pageant’s next location is not yet disclosed, I felt I need to do some critique on some gowns I have seen on the TV, on the Internet & on the newspaper. Then again, please note that these are opinions of what I think failed to excite me & what made a […]