About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Friday, December 30, 2011

Do We Really Know Rizal?

It's Rizal day, and one of the things I read while looking at the news is the article Do We Really Know Rizal? Rizal Law Ineffective.by  Mona Lisa H. Quizon.

I guess it's irritation that makes me write this, because I have talked before about how the purpose of the Rizal law was subverted, not just in private schools but in public schools as well. And the ones most at fault are the Catholic Church and the translators.

You don't actually need to read about Rizal. Let him be hidden, so long as his unexpurgated novels be read. I recently bought two copies of Noli Me Tangere, the first one an English translation by Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locin, and the second one being the most popular translation for high school use, the Tagalog translation by the trio Guzman-Laksamana-Guzman.

And here, in the second translation, you can see where the Rizal law has gone wrong. In an effort to get the bill passed, our lawmakers gave in to Church lobbying to allow them to use abridged (read: censored) versions of  Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. I've talked about it before in the blog post Bowdler, Rizal and Scripture, but the examples I gave were based on memory. Meantime, I lost my old copies of these translations, and so decided to get replacements.

I've been rereading these two translations, and making a line-by-line comparison. It's worse than I remembered. And I see the trio's fell hand. Page-after-page of censored passages, all of them aimed at the Catholic church. I've browsed through other translations, and I see the same thing. The Guzman-Laksamana-Guzman translation seems to act like a strange attractor to other translations meant for high schools-- with all its faults duplicated by other texts meant for high schools.

Have you ever wondered why the Catholic church persecuted Rizal? A reading of the expurgated Noli will give you no answer. Even worse, the deleted passages contain the best of Rizal. It's here that you find him at his drollest. In an effort to please the Catholic Church, the translators made a mockery of what Rizal actually stood for. And because this translation is what we make our students read, it's no wonder they get the wrong impression.

So you don't know Rizal? Maybe it's because you've read the bowdlerized translations or worse, relied on the comics versions. Read him uncensored.

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