[Sex and Sensibilities] My Own Private Walden

Astigirl, by Tweet Sering. Reviewed by Mary Ann Marchadesch for Sex and Sensibilities. Image from http://astigirl.blogspot.com/.
Astigirl, by Tweet Sering. Reviewed by Mary Ann Marchadesch for Sex and Sensibilities. Image from astigirl.blogspot.com.

Mary Ann Marchadesch takes a look at what it means to be an Astigirl in this review of the book by Tweet Sering.

The 19th century American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau went into the woods “because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”[note] With Thoreau and her Astigirl muse, Angelina Jolie, for inspiration, Sering ruthlessly (yet lovingly) dissects family relationships, past romances, and childhood ideals; she re-examines her adolescence through the filter of ten or so years; she embarks on new and terrifying adventures (entering writing contests, auditioning for theatre roles… energy therapy? To willingly subject yourself to that takes some inner fortitude. Or maybe that’s just me) and comes out not only more aware of her limitations, but also of her strengths. With each essay in the collection Sering deftly and delicately skewers long-buried doubts and insecurities and by “going back to zero”, as she puts it, creates a new beginning for herself.

Basically, what Astigirl is saying, with lovely bits of humor and touches of irreverence, is this: I chose to do this, I saw it through, I came out of it not necessarily unscathed, but definitely more aware of who I really am and what I really want to do. The unspoken challenge for the reader is: Are you astig enough to do that, too?

Originally published on Sex and Sensibilities.


[Happy Even After] Just Ma

From happyevenafter.com
From happyevenafter.com

Mary Ann Marchadesch writes about what it was like to be raised by a single parent.

The best thing about Ma? She always trusted us. She raised us with a solid set of values that were unfettered by any sort of superstition or cultural shibboleths. She taught us to know right from wrong, black from white from morally grey and trusted that we’d absorbed enough over the years to be able to judge correctly.

She never sugar-coated any bad news, trusting us not to fall apart but instead rise to the occasion and give it a good solid thwack across the nose. She taught us to not be afraid of the world and made us tough enough to deal with its absurdities. She valued our opinion on things that really mattered, and even on things that didn’t. In return, we took the advice she gave, as rare as it was, very seriously.

(Except when it comes to hairdressers. She’s still got a bit of a blind spot there.)

Originally published in the book Happy Even After, 2011.

[GMA News Online] In completely different forms, the Bard thrives in Asia

Image from GMA News Online
Prof. Yoshibara presenting her paper, with scans of Ozamu Tezuka’s manga series “Robio and Robietto.” Image from GMA News Online.

Mary Ann Marchadesch writes about the many ways Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted, reworked, translated, performed and updated, in the Philippines and around Asia.

The earliest theatrical performances of the plays were in schools, with the opening of “As You Like It” in the Philippine Normal School and “The Merchant of Venice” in Ateneo de Manila, both in 1910, and the performance of “Julius Caesar” in Silliman Institute (now University) in 1911, all performed with a “ridiculous fidelity,” Dr Ick notes—rote productions with no room for alternative interpretations.

These performances were not solely limited to the elite learning institutions of the time. Provincial high schools also got in on the action, with Batangas High School mounting “The Merchant of Venice” in 1916.

However, of all of Shakepeare’s dramas, none holds more sway over Filipino sensibility and sentimentality than the tragedy of star-crossed lovers in “Romeo and Juliet.” The melodrama of forbidden young love struck—and still strikes—a chord in the Filipino masses, and “Romeo and Juliet” has racked up more adaptations and performances in the Philippines than any other play—from Soto’s Kapampangan adaptation to the awit, “Ang Sintang Dalisay” (1901); the 1917 novel “Bulag and Pagibig” by Pascual de Leon, and Salvador Magno’s “Romeo Kag Julieta” in Cebuano (1932).

Read the full article here.