02 January 2011

Perpetual Servitude

"Never before in human history have so few owed so much to so many, Mr. Jiabao. A handful of men in this country have trained the remaining 99.9 percent—as strong, as talented, as intelligent in every way—to exist in perpetual servitude; a servitude so strong that you can put the key of his emancipation in a man’s hands and he will throw it back at you with a curse."
From The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga’s Booker Prize-winning novel
  • I’d say the same thing about the Philippines, except that our 0.1 percent are not as strong, not as talented, and certainly not as intelligent as the oppressed 99.9 percent.
  • The White Tiger is very Asian, which is to say that the novel introduces a setting, a world, that hasn’t yet been explored fully by traditional contemporary literature. Thankfully, Adiga is an author eager—and definitely brave enough—to lay out the beauties and pornographies of the “Third World”.
  • I was rereading my copy of the book at a cafe recently, when out came a purple strip of paper with my name on it. It was from K, who’d slipped it in-between the pages before sending the package—a petit paquet—from Ontario. “Happy Reading,” the note read. How delightful.

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