The Newsletter 58 Autumn 2011

Peripheral Philippines

Niels Mulder

Garcia, J. Neil C. 2nd ed. 2009. Philippine Gay Culture: Binabae to Bakla, Silahis to MSM. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. xxv + 537 pages, ISBN 978-962-209-985-2 (paperback)

Tadiar, Neferti XM. 2009. Things Fall Away; Philippine Historical Experience and the Makings of Globalization. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ix + 484 pages, ISBN 978-0-8223-4446-9 (paperback)

When over lunch, I observed that the authors of the books I had been asked to comment upon characterised the dominant culture as ‘heterosexist, masculinist, and macho’, my lady friend couldn’t restrain a mocking smile, “Macho? Most of these poor devils are decidedly mother dependent, many a wife referring to her consort as her eldest son! When you come down to it, this place is run by women. The big boy just remains that, a big boy, full of bravado, which needs his wife to prop him up.” Her sneer reminded me of Thailand, where the lady of the house is referred to as ‘the hind legs of the elephant’ that would tumble without its mainstay.

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