through the eyes of Filipinos in The Umbrella Country, do you feel you are educating by eliminating or turning tables on that sense of Americacentrism–the way many Americans write about other cultures?
Bino Realuyo: I wanted to write about America from the outside, by seeing it through other people’s eyes. I know this experience very, very well, having lived and studied abroad, not only in the Philippines during my formative years but also in Latin America, as an adult. Situating the so-called “first world” as an image, a language, a dream in the minds of people in the “third world” is very exciting for me. The economic power of the “first world,” like the United States, has allowed the creation of a utopic America in the minds of people in the Philippines, a world within worlds . . . where pleasure and oppression become one and the same. Filipinos have much to say about their former colonizer, and Americans should pay attention, if they are to learn more about our shared history, if they are to understand themselves more. Yes, there is a tendency toward isolationism in the U.S. because of economic privilege. My body of work is a statement on the horrors of colonialism and imperialis
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