Sunday, February 24, 2008
ERWIN CABUCOS BOOK RELEASED IN AUSTRALIA
New Book: Short Stories on the Philippine-Australian Experience
Topics on Australian identity and migration experiences have perhaps bored many of us in our classroom and dinner discussion, but when they are told in honest and lively ways, with characters from different voices and ages, and with genuine human emotion, reading can become engaging and enjoyable.
Such is the comment of one of the initial readers of Green Blood and Other Stories' Judith Cheyne, Director of E-lucidate Web and Print Editing and Communications based in Brisbane.
She says: ‘I love the “reality” and immediacy of the style, the use of language, and the way a sense of place is created. …the stories are beautifully structured - a real joy to read. Once I started to read, I had to keep going till the end. …so alive, touching and funny.’
Written by an emerging Philippine-Australian author, this book of 15 short stories explores and asks questions: why is being cut essential to being straight in that particular culture? What happens when a terrorist comes to your door for a blessing of the soul of Christian soldiers he had killed? How many times have we cast racist slur over our immigrant neighbour's smelly food? Why am I only accepted as Australian if I can speak English? Isn't Australia a multicultural country, having people from different languages? Why are Caucasian looks more beautifully looking than say, Asians or Africans?
These questions have answers. Plenty and valid they may be, the answers are often sifted, favouring the ideological, the 'common sense' or the 'normal' ones. Many people in our society are happy to settle with what has been normalised, often those that have been represented and perpetuated in the Media. Hence, many of us assume that people who can not speak good English are less intelligent that those who can; that, people who have thick accents are not worth paying dedicated attention to.
The result: the points-of-view of people from different backgrounds are marginalised.
Author Erwin Cabucos wrote Green Blood and Other Stories with awareness that, often, stories and points-of-view of people from non-English speaking background are silenced. In the book, the characters are given voices, emotion, and resolution to their angsts, and yes sometimes, they feel like throwing dried fish scales to those who hate their cultural food.
But Erwin Cabucos is not mean. He trained as a high school teacher in the areas of English and Studies of Society and makes writing his hobby. His passion is transparent in the narratives of his stories.
‘The stories are about relationships: relationships between father and son, mother and daughter, Muslim and Catholic. Erwin deals with some very complex issues in this book and he never tries to paint anything as all black or all white…. funny and tragic at the same time,' says Pippa Kay, Author of Doubt and Conviction: The Kalajzich Inquiry, Sydney.
Coral Hartley, the publishing editor of The Write Angle in Brisbane read 'The Bleached Hills of Cotabato' short story from the collection and comments that it is 'meaty, different and topical'.
Erwin was born and raised in the Southern Philippines and he first came to Australia on a scholarship, then after marrying his Australian wife. He has degrees in Psychology from the Philippines and Communications and Education from Australia. He now lives with his wife and children in Brisbane.
‘What I like most about the stories of Erwin Cabucos are his characters who, even when they are in Australia, are Filipino through and through. They are touching in their simplicity and tenacity to improve their lot. [They] treasure the notion of the Family," comments Cecilia Brainard, author of When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, University of Michigan Press, USA.
‘Cabucos' stories … are well grounded in contemporary history, so that after reading his work, one has a better understanding of the Filipino-Australian experience, and of Filipino experience in Muslim Mindanao.’
The stories are probably not for the younger ones but are definitely stimulating for the young adult and adult readers. The sentences are simple and the plots are lively. The lay-out of the pages are spacious, promising accessibility to fuzzy readers.'
I would like to see this book gain wide coverage in Australia with a place on High School reading lists,' says Joye Alit of Wordit, Australia.Green Blood and Other Stories, Erwin Cabucos, Manila Prints Publishing, Sydney. ISBN 978-0-9804827-0-6. Paperback A5, 219 pages. RRP: AU$22.00 plus P&H.
Copies are available from palhbooks.com.