“Chaos Given Order”: Link by link

In my previous post, the first (of many) on Miguel Syjuco’s wise novel “Ilustrado”, the protagonist (also named Miguel Syjuco) wonders if his mentor, accomplished Filipino author Crispin Salvador, had “grown too soft for a city [Manila] such as this, a place possessed by a very different balance.” It continues:

Wholly different from the zeitgeist lining the Western world, with its own chaos given order by multitudes of films and television shows, explained into our communal understanding by op-ed pieces and panel discussions and the neatness of stories linked infinitely to each other online.

(Emphasis mine.) Miguel wonders whether this has kept Salvador from going back.

This is my favorite passage from the book. It put into words what I implicitly know, what I have slowly and deeply internalized over my years of living in the West. For me, it got right to the heart of the question: “To return or not to return?” It assured me that I was not alone in that respect.

I work as a scientist.* But more than that, I engage the world as one. I observe, organize, ask, and analyze. I need to give order to the chaos. Even if— deep down I understand— it is an exercise in vain. Hence, this blog: making sense of being Filipino, of who I am and who I can be– book by book, link by link.

I humbly invite you to follow along…


(*Yes, this observer is also an astronomical one.)


Dear Reader: I am eager to hear from you— care to share your precious thoughts?

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