Anonymous Book Review

I just finished the novel Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) written by Jose Rizal, a Philippine national hero. The title comes from the Latin version of words spoken, according to John: 20:17 (King James Version), by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognized him after his resurrection. He said “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” It is also a reference to cancer of the eyelids used by ophthalmologists, as Jose Rizal was also a physician.

 noli cover

The original text was written in Spanish. I believe my parents read it that way during their respective secondary school educations. I was happy to find the English translation on Amazon. It took me a long time to finish given my responsibilities as a working mom. Also, like all classical books, it was a technical read and I suspect a lot of it was lost in translation and on me being out of context. There were many references throughout the book, much like reading the Dante’s Inferno where it is almost impossible to get through a page without having to flip back and read the references (1). I wish someone would teach me more of this book. Unfortunately, I am all out of Asian history professors to stalk.

In April of last year, I started reading a lot about Philippine history. I would call it a binge except it’s been slow. It’s more like permanent residence at a nice restaurant where the each course is very small. At the end, you’re not that full and the bill is an arm and leg, not to mention it was a BYOB.

I started my education on Wikipedia about the People Power Revolution I had lived through as a child prior to our departure. Then I moved on to a book written by a reporter that had a series of interviews with the Marcos’ and the Aquinos (2). This reporter eventually accompanied Aquino on his journey home prior to his assassination. Then I read a general history book that middle school kids might read if they needed to write a book report (3) (yes I went there, sometimes you just want it to be easy, especially after the previous book. If I could have read it in a pop up picture version, I would have). It went through the tribal history of the archipelago prior to the Spanish landing, the brief American rule of the nation and the nation ruling itself. There is a Muslim region towards the south so I understood why CNN has reports of an Al Queda presence in the region. For the record, I skipped the chapter on Marcos and Aquino. I also read a really good book by a professor (4) at Mercer University that spent his formative years in the Philippines. The book was about the Japanese occupation in the region. This occurred after the Americans lost control during World War II. I read this because I wondered why certain regions were destroyed during the War. The book was about American families trapped in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation and what they had to do to survive waiting for the U.S. military to return (5). I liked that the book discussed why those families were there (6).   I had no idea the Philippines was a U.S. colony.  I mean, I had inklings since the U.S. influence was so strong when we lived there but I did not know the reason. Oddly enough, my peers (30-somethings and 50-somethings) were also unaware of this history. Interesting that this is not covered in our US history or world history curriculums (I was a teen then so very possible I just missed it). I can’t speak for other states but it wasn’t a question I recall in the New York State Global Studies Reagents.

Anyway, I read “the Noli” because I couldn’t bear to read another book about the Philippines during World War II although I have lots of other titles on this topic on my queue. The Japanese were particularly brutal to the Filipinos. It bothered me to know my countrymen were treated like dogs. For example, the Japanese were slightly more humane to the Ally soldiers while beheading Filipinos as an example to the locals in case they felt like rebelling (…again).

I asked my mother if she recalled these times.  She was born two years before the Japanese took over in 1942. They did not leave until 1945. She said she didn’t remember much although she did recall alarm bells sounding and she and the family would have to move closer to the main square of her town and hide out. These incidents were called “penetrations” where the Japanese were in reconnaissance of Philippine islands, the more remote areas, not in their control. Given the dense and unforgiving terrain and the locals that were willing to help (at the risk of their own lives) some American civilian families survived. My mother told me that the inhabitants of her town had an intense hatred for the Japanese. After reading Edge of Terror, I understood why. It’s similar to my mother in law’s dislike of Germany. She said as a child she once watched a German soldier point a pistol at her little brother’s head, also during WWII.  She does a little cheer when German athletes or teams lose in sporting events. When Germany wins, she maybe utters a string of Italian curses.

I went back about 50 years in the history of the Philippines around the execution of Jose Rizal in the late 1800’s. I had a sense that other than the U.S. dominating the country, I needed to understand how Spanish colonial rule lasting for three hundred years has shaped the people, culture and economy. The Noli supposedly sparked the Philippine revolution against Spain. I wanted to know what it was that caused the “spark”. I suspect that it wasn’t just the Noli but the man behind it that incited the revolt.


(This bill came from my neighbor’s brother. She found his things after his passing. He was stationed in a military base on the Philippines.)

Much of the Noli is a 17th century love story. For the record, I do not like “chick flicks”. I actually have a strong aversion to it. It really wasn’t towards the end of the book in the dialogue between the main characters does it occur to me why Filipinos might have revolted. I would too (7). Here’s a taste, “For three centuries we have held our hand to them, asked them for love, eager to call them brothers, and how do they answer us? With insults and mocking, denying us even the status of human beings”.

Having been undocumented, I have spent much effort assimilating into American culture to the point of denying my connection to the Philippines. Once legalized it has been a slow process but the connections with my family still living there has been re-defined. My knowledge of the country’s history is also coming into focus. Unlike most of the DREAM act “kids” as President Obama calls them, I’m at a different point in my life. For one thing, I am about 10 years older. I envy the bravery of the DREAMers, these putting their statuses out there while undocumented, still trying to navigate their lives in these uncertain times with their uncertain statuses. For me right now, it’s about putting the pieces together about the past living in my DNA so I can understand the path forward.

I had a conversation with one of the attorney’s at my job. Part of our duties in the business of clinical trials is ensuring that each site, worldwide, is covered by a contract to protect both parties and also to maintain confidentiality. One of the things he mentioned as a source of difficulty with some of the Eastern European countries that haven’t been countries for very long after having been ruled by Russia, was the rampant forgery. He said those areas really preferred handwritten signatures, which is obsolete compared to the U.S. with our validated (8) electronic signature systems.

This made me think of the Philippines and some of the ridiculous requirements for handwritten signatures. It made me realize how young it was as a nation, not quite a hundred years old since being colonized a few times. Of course a 40 year old economy in the 1980’s, when we left, was unstable and uncertain! Most of the country has been scrambling for scraps from the imperialist table!  We came here because a life as second class citizens, being undocumented, was better than what our lives would have been had we stayed! It seemed like a natural course of events that many Filipinos emigrated to the U.S. since the two countries had such close ties. At one point, the colony was even ruled under the U.S. Bill of Rights.


(Look familiar?)

I can’t speak about the economic or political reasons other immigrants had for leaving their countries of origin. I do know my family and I didn’t come to America to be a burden. To quote Jose Antonio Vargas (9), “we are not who you think we are.” We pick your produce, bus your tables and in my case, make sure the medications you put into your bodies (or the bodies of your pets) to manage chronic or acute medical conditions are safe and effective. Also, as much as it is not discussed in our school curriculums or the media, the reasons people emigrate their countries is not entirely unrelated to the decisions made by governments. It’s not the fault of immigrants that their lives become the aftermath of colonial vision or policy. It’s also not the fault of Americans already living here for being critical.  They might only be seeing the immediate outcomes of such policies, not taking into account decisions made decades ago by the Administration that may have caused such a migration.



Anyhow, you guys asked so here he is, my immigrant cat, unafraid, unenthused and uninterested (10).





(1)This is a pain in the ass isn’t it? Welcome to my Noli experience.

(2)Title: Impossible Dream: The Marcoses, The Aquinos and the Unfinished Revolution by Sandra Burton

(3)History of the Philippines by Kathleen Nadau

(4)Yep, I found him. Exchanged some emails. He is a really cool dude, inspiring actually.

(5)Turns out the terrain in the island of Panay will just kick your ass if in appropriately equipped.

(6) Shameless yet subtle plug for the other other blog…. I won’t mention this often, so if you miss this, it’s on you.

(7)Well, maybe not. Given my track record I might write an anonymous book report on it.

(8) Rigorous testing to ensure electronic signatures are as viable as a handwritten signature. Here is the Code of Federal Regulations – 21 CFR Part 11 – The regulations in this part set forth the criteria under which the agency considers electronic records, electronic signatures, and handwritten signatures executed to electronic records to be trustworthy, reliable, and generally equivalent to paper records and handwritten signatures executed on paper.

(9) Who does not return my emails hopefully because he is busy.

(10) “Undocumented, Unafraid, Unapologetic” was a slogan first used by undocumented DREAMers in 2011 across America to proclaim their status.

76 replies
  1. 1
    gwangung says:

    Meh. For something as personal and as informative as this, I can live with it.

  2. 2
    WaterGirl says:


    But I did look at the beautiful sleeping kitty!

  3. 3
    Little Red Rising says:

    Sorry..still trying to figure out this interface..

  4. 4
    Diana says:

    “I had no idea the Philippines was a U.S. colony. I mean, I had inklings since the U.S. influence was so strong when we lived there but I did not know the reason. Oddly enough, my peers (30-somethings and 50-somethings) were also unaware of this history…”

    I mean, just wow. Spanish-American war???? The “splendid little war”???? This how Teddy Roosevelt and his ilk got away with literally murder….although I’ve always heard that the U.S. got a pass for every horrible thing it ever did in the Phillipines because the Japanese were so much worse that after the war we were roundly forgiven. Apparently this required so much obliteration of our record there that we had to be consigned to oblivion.

  5. 5
    eric nny says:

    Has cat. In.

  6. 6
    Rafael says:

    Interesting. The 350 years of Spanish power in the islands definitely had some lasting influence because I am from the other side of the world, Puerto Rico, another piece of the Spanish Empire that passed to the US. And every time I’ve gone to eat with Filipino friends, I feel that I am at home. Currently living in South Korea, the closest thing I get here to Puerto Rican food is going to a filipino restaurant and having some adobo, bisteca or caldereta. Awesome food.

  7. 7
    Cervantes says:

    I had no idea the Philippines was a U.S. colony. I mean, I had inklings since the U.S. influence was so strong when we lived there but I did not know the reason. Oddly enough, my peers (30-somethings and 50-somethings) were also unaware of this history. Interesting that this is not covered in our US history or world history curriculums (I was a teen then so very possible I just missed it). I can’t speak for other states but it wasn’t a question I recall in the New York State Global Studies Reagents.

    If you have not read Mark Twain on the subject, you should.

  8. 8
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    As someone whose lineage traces back to the Tres Aliños, with a two Grandfathers who fought for the Philippines and US in WWII, and parents who came to the US amidst the Marcos Regime, it’s amazing to see something like this on the front page.

  9. 9
    meepers says:

    What a beautiful story. I have Filipina friends but have been unsure about asking their family historical experiences. Thank you for this, and for pointing me to books I can read without insensitively tossing questions.

    ETA: Your cat is a splendid beast.

  10. 10
    Little Red Rising says:

    I read Mark Twain..will have to re-read..I’m not sure jr high school counts.

  11. 11
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Little Red Rising

    :I am in now. How do I do that?

    If the dashboard looks the same for you as it does for me, when you’re on the “Edit Post” page, there’s a line of buttons just above the text block.

    One of those buttons is labelled “more”. Put your cursor where you want the page break, click “more”, and everything below that mark will be “under the fold” — when you’re on the front page, there will be a line of blue text saying “click here to read more” just above the comment line. But when you click on your article, you’ll see the whole thing, no break, no problem. (That confused me at first, because I’d look at the ‘preview’ screen and not see anything. But if you click the submit button, you’ll be able to check the front page and see that your “more” break is where you want it!)

    ETA: Please feel free to email me if you want more advice from a tech-challenged, but experienced, user of this FYWP interface…

  12. 12
    Sandia Blanca says:

    Very interesting post, Little Red Rising. You bring a fresh perspective, and I look forward to more from you. Thanks.

  13. 13
    Warren Terra says:

    Hi, glad to have you posting here.

    I’d be interested to know: what do you think of the Stanley Karnow book? It’s the only book I’ve read entirely on the subject (as opposed to other books that sometimes deal with the Philippines), and my guess would be that it’s the most widely read history of the Philippines in the US (“most widely read history of the Philippines in the US” probably isn’t saying an awful lot). Still, while sympathetic, it’s very much coming from the detached perspective of a comfortable White American who possibly didn’t speak Spanish, and definitely not any other local languages.

    PS you mentioned the reporter’s account of Benigno Aquino’s assassination upon his return to the Philippines; that reporter was his brother-in-law, Ken Kashiwahara, and his powerful account is available online.

  14. 14

    21 CFR Part 11

    My feeling is that even in the US, electronic signatures are more trouble than they’re worth unless you have a fairly substantial organization. My lab is FDA registered, though that’s only one part of our work, and the digital signature requirement are just too much of a pain to deal with. That’s especially true because a true copy* is considered as good as the original. For a lab as small as ours, printing, signing, and scanning is just a lot easier than trying to meet the notoriously difficult business in 21CFR11.

    *A copy good enough to catch even stray marks.

  15. 15
    aimai says:

    Thank you very much for a very informative read. I enjoyed it very much. you have a distinctive voice and an interesting take on your history and experience. I look forward to hearing more from you.–Aimai

  16. 16
    Anne Laurie says:

    On topic: Teddy Roosevelt was one of my very first childhood heroes. (Because, hey, teddy bears! and my parents took us to see his childhood home in Manhattan, and even visited his Oyster Bay estate.) Then, when I was in junior high (late 1960s) I found out — from reading Mark Twain, and Finley Peter Dunne — that sometimes President Teddy’s feet of clay ran all the way up to the top of his head. Reading about the Spanish-American War, and its bastard offspring the Philippine-American War, was my first introduction to American imperialism…

    Forty years later, professed admirers of American imperialist William McKinley (Teddy’s mentor) — people like Karl Rove and Michael Ledeen — thought “we” could resurrect past glories by invading Iraq. As Mr. Twain may or may not have said, “History doesn’t repeat itself — but it rhymes!”

  17. 17
    Violet says:

    Love your kitty! Does he or she have a name?

    I went to multiple immigration hearings for a Filipino friend of mine that was brought here as a minor and then locked in immigration limbo for over a decade. It was a complete mess. His lawyer said–and I wish I were making this up but I’m not–that for the hearings it would help if he had a lot of people there supporting him, especially white people. Ugh. Anyway, he finally got the deportation case tossed out because of a technicality and fuckup by the government.

    He’s an amazing person and just the kind of immigrant you’d think we’d want here. He does amazing things in the community. I was really frustrated it was so hard for him.

  18. 18
    Rafael says:

    @Diana: So much about our history is not discussed in our schools. It’s why when liberals opposing the Iraq war said something like “We’ve never started a war without being attacked first” I always laughed, thinking of our history of empire in Latin America. We’ve occupied Nicaragua about half a dozen times, we’ve occupied the Dominican Republic a couple of times too… Central America was the playground of American fruit, rail and shipping companies, with the Marines as their personal Pinkerton security agents. I didn’t know about most of this before reading Harvest of Empire: A history of Latinos in America, by Juan Gonzalez. This link has a list of some of the interventions.

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    that sometimes President Teddy’s feet of clay ran all the way up to the top of his head.

    Can you name a president to whom this could not be applied?

  20. 20
    Cervantes says:


    Thanks much for writing. I’ve enjoyed both your posts — and your voice.

    For your next Anonymous Book Review, could you perhaps tell us who you are but not identify the book being reviewed?

  21. 21

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Can you name a president to whom this could not be applied?

    In their role as president? Maybe William Henry Harrison.

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Roger Moore: Well played.

  23. 23
    HRA says:

    I enjoyed this immensely. I look forward to more of your writings.

  24. 24

    Welcome to this piece of the internet. You are a change that is most welcome.

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    We came here because a life as second class citizens, being undocumented, was better than what our lives would have been had we stayed!

    Gosh. Check this out. The disincentives for being an undocumented person in America are less than staying put where you came from. Gosh, that is surprising.

    NOT, if you’ve read anything at all about immigration to America.

    LRR, this is good stuff. Keep it coming!

  26. 26
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Can you name a president to whom this could not be applied?

    Of course not, but then, it’s been a long time since I was nine years old!

  27. 27
    lurker dean says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: pretty amazing, huh. i was born one of those 7000+ islands as well.

    welcome, LRR, i enjoyed your post!

  28. 28
    Donut says:

    Thanks for this piece. Your style is really refreshing, and I’m a sucker for footnotes (!!).

    On my mom’s side I am second generation American, descended from folks who were abused and kicked around in various ways, and who fled some awful shit and made a new life in the states by necessity. Your description of the past living in your DNA really resonates for me. I don’t have time to explain why, but appreciate the meaning of that phrase.

  29. 29

    LRR, thanks for sharing your knowledge and perspective with us. (And the lovely kitty pic.) I look forward to reading more from you.

  30. 30
    Angela says:

    Love the kitty pic. Love the writing, and the topic. Mostly a lurker, but delurking long enough to say welcome! I’m looking forward to more.

  31. 31
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:


    and I’m a sucker for footnotes (!!).

    After yesterday’s discussion of plagiarism, I must confess that I also am a sucker for footnotes. My latest arriving ancestor (an outlier because most were here far earlier) arrived in 1900. It is fascinating to hear the perspectives of more recent arrivals.

  32. 32
    SuperHrefna says:

    So glad to have your voice on the blog! As an immigrant myself (from the UK) I’m really looking forward to having more immigrant issues featured on BJ. But you know, next time we need more kitty pix :-)

  33. 33
    Little Boots says:

    this is a great post. I don’t know what you do about 300 years of history, if anything. but this is a great post.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Little Boots: There is 400 years of history on this continent. I don’t know what we are going to do about that. Not too long after people came to New England, got into a “war” with the Pequots. the war ended with the colonists burning down a Pequot settlement and shooting anyone who emerged from the flames. An ancestor of mine got a proprietorship in Hartford for his part in that “war.” OTOH, the Pequots now run a game of chance establishment in CT that makes huge money.

  35. 35
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    see? no real answer to history, other than, just go with it.

  36. 36
    WaterGirl says:

    tl; but you you guys in the comments inspired me to read it after all. Glad I read it.

  37. 37
    Little Boots says:


    it’s pretty interesting.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Little Boots: Of course, there is now answer to history. One can only try do the good things again and avoid repeating the shitty ones.

  39. 39
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    yup. I don’t know how hard we all try sometimes, but we can. I think of palestine/israel, and wonder is anyone even trying?

    but that might be unfair. we’re not so great closer to home.

  40. 40
    Little Boots says:

    I’m not saying there aren’t good things. I’m not that cynical. but I do wonder what they are sometimes.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Little Boots: Can either you or I really do anything to resolve the I/P conflict? The BDS idea is conceptually nice, but what effect will it have? Until both Israeli and Palestinian mothers are sick of the pointless deaths of their children, it won’t end.

  42. 42
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @WaterGirl: It was definitely worth the long read.

  43. 43
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    yeah, I do agree with this. no we cannot. and neither can obama, or the Senate, or the House, or a thousand neocons. nope. we cannot.

  44. 44
    CanadaGoose says:

    @Cervantes: Read Mark Twain on EVERY subject.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Little Boots: OTOH, there are a million things that we (the US) can do to fuck up the situation. That is what we need to avoid. I have hope that with Obama and Kerry dealing with it we will avoid most of the horrible options and just choose the mediocre ones, since they are the best available in our political system.

  46. 46
    Little Boots says:

    I’m so close to posting music.

    omnes. save me from myself.

  47. 47
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    this is what I worry about.

  48. 48
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Little Boots: Wait for a new thread. It wouldn’t be right here.

    @Little Boots: Our system is based on avoiding the horrible and maybe finding something good. This situation is no different.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    there is only so much that we can do, and we are now one of those “tamp it down” powers. and really, I do not know what the hell we’re supposed to be in the middle east, other than, not start crazy wars.

  51. 51

    I’ve never learned much about the Philippines, but this prompts me to add the nation to my read up on list. Nicely done, and good idea adding cat photos, never hurts to get the cat people on your side.

  52. 52
    Little Boots says:

    I am a little on Omnes’ side.

    it’s a thing, dammit.

  53. 53
    Little Boots says:

    I appeal to KG, for no apparent reason.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Little Boots: Recent. Disturbingly, that is a likely way my appearance will go.

  55. 55
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Say what you will about “Heard It in a Love Song,” at least it’s an ethos.

    “I never had a damn thing, but what I had I had to leave it behind.”

    And there’s some pretty crisp guitar work on the Les Paul in there. Just sayin’.

  56. 56
    gian says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    TR was in part a product of his times. IIRC he resigned his job in the department of the navy, and ran out and gathered volunteers and went and got shot at during the Spanish American war.

    it doesn’t make it “right” and it doesn’t make the early adventures in anti insurgency in the Philippines any better, but it adds some perspective.

    you could do a book comparing Emilio Aguinaldo and Ho Chi Minh

  57. 57
    Origuy says:

    Charles Mann, who wrote 1491, about the Americas before Columbus, followed that up with 1493, about the changes in the rest of the world as a result of the contact between the hemispheres. One of the chapters was about the connections between the Spanish colonies, Mexico in particular, and China, through the Philippines. The Spanish made Manila the hub of their trading empire because China shut them out. It’s not widely known, but there are a lot of people in Mexico City with Chinese and Filipino ancestry dating back to the 1500s.

  58. 58
    Gretchen says:

    Welcome! I’ve attributed the fact that I feel so at home with the Fillippinos I have met to the shared Catholic culture. I didn’t know either that it was once a US colony, which would explain the familiarity.
    A former boss once accused me and a Fillippina co-worker of signing each other’s work, because our signatures were so similar. I told him that Catholic schoolgirl handwriting is the same around the world.
    My sister-in-law is from near the Muslim-controlled area. She and BIL had planned to retire to her hometown, but now she feels it would be unsafe for him as an American to go there. I’d be interested in your perspective on that part of the country.
    I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.

  59. 59
    another Holocene human says:

    Little Red Rising,

    Quite frankly, most of what I learned about the Philippines in school here in the lower 48 had to do with the Spanish-American War and how the US basically double crossed the Philippine revolutionaries due to a toxic mix of racism and a desire to expand the US Navy’s Pacific base of operations. The war in the Philippines dragged on for years, requiring increasingly fulsome apologies in US papers, dripping with resentment and white men’s burden rhetoric. It was the gilded age when a few trust barons owned the US Senate and pretty much the White House too until TR, Western SA War “hero” managed to win the presidency on a populist platform. …

    The Japanese military did not consciously model themselves on the Americans prior to WWII but they wanted control of all the same islands. Why they were capable of such extreme brutality is a question for the ages. However there is no doubt that whipping up racism against their neighbors was a clear factor.

  60. 60
    Arclite says:

    Does Digby allow comments? I thought she did, but I don’t see any over there anymore.

    Also, who is this guy? Is that a younger Tucker?

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Arclite: I think that’s Luke Russert, whose only (very remunerative!) talent was having been born Tim Russert’s son.

  63. 63
    raven says:

    My father participated in the liberation of the Philippines in WWII. This is a picture of the “scoreboard” on the bridge of the USS Crosby, APD 17. Notice the “Philippines First” above Sulaun-Dingtat. The Crosby landed the 6th Rangers on those islands well before the famous “I have returned” photo op by Dugout Doug Mac Arthur. The retaking of Corregidor was the most traumatic event in his long service in the Pacific and, I believe, the prime factor in his late onset PTSD.

  64. 64
    Ramalama says:

    This was such an interesting read. I look forward to reading more.

    I don’t know Jack about the Philippines but there’s a great story by cartoonist Lynda Barry, who is part Filipina (but looks totally white), who talks about her grandmother and mother (who were from the Philippines) and the aswang. Barry was a famous cartoonist in the 1980s and 90s with alternative weeklies. Huge underground fan base for her. She was prolific with her syndication, books, and this tape (cassette) of short stories called the Lynda Barry Experience. In between fascinating, poignant stories were hilarious answering messages. The aswang story is from the Lynda Barry Experience.

    @Arclite: Digby used to allow comments but stopped.

  65. 65
    Larrybob says:

    My grandparents and uncle were at Santo Tomas camp during the war. The stories, the stories…

  66. 66
  67. 67
    Little Red Rising says:

    @meepers: @raven: Dr. Walker covers this battle in his book. It was awesome, tragic and so worth reading about. I can’t wait to visit Corregidor Island off the coast of Manila one of these days.

  68. 68
    Little Red Rising says:

    @another Holocene human: God I ears would have perked up in grade school. I think we covered the Spanish American war very briefly..

  69. 69
    Little Red Rising says:

    @Warren Terra: Stanly Karnow was recommended to me by Dr. Walker. Its actually on my list as we speak. More on that when I get to it!

  70. 70
    Josie says:

    Thanks. This was a really interesting post and gave me some ideas for reading and research on a part of our history about which I am woefully ignorant. I also enjoyed seeing your luxurious kitty.

  71. 71
    Original Lee says:

    Thank you very much for this informative post. I wish my World History class had been more global, because quite a lot of Southern Hemisphere history is a big blank for me. I now have new entries on my reading list! Also, I’m looking forward to more posts from you.

    WRT to your immigration story, I wish you hadn’t had to go through the undocumented experience. I am glad you came out OK on the other side.

  72. 72
    J R in WV says:

    Well, I liked this post a lot, I knew about the Spanish American War, followed by the Filipino revolution against the American Occupiers. I think there was a lot of “We spent a lot of money and lives against the Spanish, now we need to cash in to make that expense back!” feeling amongst the Gilded Age robber barrons.

    It was interesting in a horrific way that the Japanese were so terrible that they made the Filipino people nostalgic for the Americans’ return to throw the Japanese out.

    I was fortunate enough to work with some software guys from the Philipines, very smart competent friendly guys, easy to work with. Will be interested to see how your experience coming to America worked out for you as we get to know you from your posting.

    Welcome to your cat master, too! LOL…

    Has anyone else noticed that the threads get a little… odd? at 3 am? I sometimes have insomnia, and wake up after 3 or 4 hours os sleep and can’t get back down again for a while. When my internet connection works, Balloon-Juice is a blessing in the wee hours. It can be interesting to see who else is awake at that time of day, shift workers, and the mentally lame insomniacs like me…

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    sharl says:

    @Joel Hanes: There was also a small-but-prolific contingent of holier-than-thou lefties who let a lot of misogyny slip into their criticisms of her posts {e.g., *cough*vastleft*cough}.

    It didn’t escape her notice – nor a fair number of us readers at the time – just how much nastier comments at her site became once it was known that she was a she. Neither the first nor last time that has happened.

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    Frivolous says:

    Very cool, LRR. Glad to read your essay.

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    Little Red Rising says:

    @another Holocene human: By the way..The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang addresses the Japanese racism of Japanese towards their neighbors. Also a great read, disturbing in its detail and also the fate of its author.

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    grrljock says:

    I grew up in Indonesia, so I remember seeing the Noli Me Tangere book, though I have not read it (my parents must’ve had a copy in our house). I think I’ve always known about the pervasiveness of American influence on the Philippines, though I don’t remember whether I learned about the Philippines’ colonization by the US in the Indonesian school system or not. Re: history not taught, for what it’s worth, my siblings reminded me that we were not really taught about the Nazis and WWII (this came up during the recent Indonesian presidential campaign, when that dumbass singer Ahmad Dhani made a music video in support of Prabowo, with the singer wearing a Nazi uniform.).

    Thanks for the essay, LRR.

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