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ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Philippine playwright and literary critic DR. ISAGANI R. CRUZ has been advocating for a multilingual literary criticism based on a multilingual literary theory in his Literature in Other Languages (LOL) blog.

He envisions a multilingual literature which will eventually create a borderless global culture and hopefully breed a cosmopolitan citizen of the world who may be able to read and write a number of languages enough to understand world literatures without succumbing to the confusion of cacophonic linguistic nuances.

In brief, he would advocate the recreation of a renaissance man. Not in our generation, perhaps, but in our grandchildren’s.

In a comment to my comment on Dr. Cruz’s entry on “Self Translation” (April 30), my youngest daughter, Adele Frances Casuga-Lalonde, a science teacher at a Catholic school in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, said: while she could not keep the different languages (she was exposed to from birth) straight in her mind, nor could she shake off the migraine she suffered from reading my Ilocano poem, she hopes that her children, Chloe Dominique (3) and Louis Martin (2) would be our “experiments” for a multilingual family in the generation after hers.

They are on their way, judging from how they now speak their paternal French, their maternal English, a conversational banter with their grandfather’s Spanish and Ilocano, and their grandmother’s Filipino (Tagalog, Bisaya, a cacophony of children’s colloquy and sing-a-long ditties).

Adele has earnestly reinforced her own Filipino tutelage, and if the Lola Basyang stories she brought home from the Central Library would help her and her children, they have, indeed, entered into this venture of multilingualism, a.k.a. cosmopolitan citizen-of-the-world-ism.

My comment to Adele’s Comment:

They will be multilingual, Alf. Aside from their French and English, and Spanish, you are now working in earnest to get them to learn Filipino. Mommy has taught them "Opo, Lola!" "Mahal kita!" she has even taught an Ilocano word or two to Chloe!

She asked me the other day, "Lolo, what is Ilocano?"

"That's me, hija. Lolo is Ilocano! I speak Ilocano."

"I speak French, Spanish, and Tagalog. and English, too! Lola reads the French dictionary and some of the French books on Caillou, and Dora, and Passé Partou!" My 3-year-old Chloe said while doing a pirouette in her pink tutu (“pretend ballerina, lolo.)

So, there.

I went through the Filipino children's books you borrowed from the Central library, and I am delighted to find out that you are exposing them at this point to the stories of Lola Basyang and even an Apollo Landing booklet entitled "Dagingding" (Ang Unang Daga Sa Buwan) -- don't be surprised if you find me writing about some of these in the blogs.

But Chloe and Louis will be our borderless, cosmopolitan citizens of the world. The world is bright for them. My only prayer is that instead of some Babel in the world, they will encounter an Earth which is easy to understand.

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