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Translation Unbound: Philippine Views on Southeast Asia

Corazon D Villareal PhD University of the Philippines Diliman

Abstract This is a study of translation production in the Philippines related to Southeast Asia in the past four decades. Generally, these works are exo-translations (panlabas na pagsasalin) or translations of Southeast Asian works into Filipino, English and other languages. The other type refers to endotranslations (panloob na pagsasalin or paghuhubad). These are sited in historical research and involve the translation of terms and concepts in Philippine languages relating to Southeast Asia, thus uncovering some forgotten links. The corpus for analyses for this paper consists of two examples of exo-translations. These are Thelma Kintanars Daigdig nga Tao which is a direct translation into Filipino of Pramoedyas Bumi Manusia; and Lualhati Bautistas For My Songsong, an intergenre, interlinguistic translation into English of Chart Kobjittis Pham Phi Phaksa. Reflections on post-colonial translation have generally focused on the binaries of colonizer and colonized, but not on the horizontal crossings within the regional divide. A double-visioned poetics of translation allows us to see the multiplicities involved in relating with our Southeast Asian neighbors, and points to truly liberative directions for post-colonial theory. Keywords Post-colonial translation, Philippines, Indonesia, Southeast Asia,

Introduction The compelling drive for this paper is to reconnect with Southeast Asia. Our cultural connections with the Malay world stem from the geographical proximity of the Sulu Archipelago south of the Philippines. South of Sulu, across the Celebes Sea is the Indonesian archipelago, forming an arc from southeast to southwest toward the Malay peninsula. For centuries this was the center of a burgeoning coastal trade and after 100 A.D. they developed into Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms as a result of traveling religious scholars-cum-traders. But the trade routes were later largely controlled by Muslim Arabic traders so these areas were converted to Islam by 1300 A.D. (Taylor, 1991: 279-80, cited by Amilbangsa). Even so, the lingua franca in this trade nexus was Malay. 1 When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, they referred to Filipinos as Malayos, and the Filipino propagandists, in search of a pre-colonial Filipino civilization in the late 19th century thought if themselves as Malay (Salazar xvii, 1988). 2 However, our colonial history (Spanish: 1560s-1898; American, 1899-1946) weakened such ties and obscured this past. 3 By the early 20th century, the whole Malay archipelago, in fact, was in the grip of Spanish, Dutch, British, and Portuguese colonizers, and was effectively dismembered, as colonialism cut it up cartographically: the Malay peninsula into a separate unit, the Philippines separated from the Celebes islands, and Timor divided into east and west (Lane, 13-14). Colonialism determined economic, political and cultural life in the area and inter-regional connections effaced. This paper is specifically concerned with how translation processes can stir memory and remembrance and how these can lead us to retrieve, create, and strengthen bonds. Yet, since as Nietzsche would say: value and perspective change with the individual or the nation looking back into the past, the paper also anticipates how translation processes can reveal our differences since all of us have been altered through time. What does translation reveal about the things that connect and divide us? How do translation processes retrieve and create bonds among us? How do we re-construct, in the sphere of literary and cultural relations, our ways of seeing and relating with one another in the region? Translation shall be taken here in its inter-linguistic sense as the translation of a text from Bahasa Malay into Filipino, but also in its broader sense of a cognitive mode concerned with cultural transmissions, as in for example Achebes Things Fall Apart in which characters negotiate cultural divides within a monolingual text but where the Ibo language is overheard and traditional contexts felt.

This Malay-speaking nexus of trade and culture contact is the context of the Laguna copper-plate inscription in kawi script dated 900 A document clearly Old Malay.(Salazar 84). In Veneracions history of Bulacan, he cites the Spanish tradition of giving a Sumatran origin for the Pamapngos; this was not true, but the Spaniards bases was the presence of Malay words in Pampango, actually a result of these trade contacts, p.xix. 2 Mojares, for instance, cites the philological studies of Trinidad Pardo de Tavera who traces the roots of Tagalog to Sanskrit via Java and Malacca; these studies he did by way of Malay chronicles accessed in Europe. Pp. 211-213, 391. In Brains of the Nation, ADMU Press 2006. Salazar (p. 92) cites Rizals annotated edition of Morgas Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas where he describes Filipinos as naturales Malayos. 3 See, for instance, Amilbangsas Ukkil.

Inter-regional connections have not been sufficiently addressed in post-colonial translation studies. Edward Saids monumental work addressed the Wests Orientalist translations or representations of the East (largely the Arabic world). Talal Asad (1986) points to asymmetries in cultural translation as seen in the interactions between the languages of dominated and dominant societies resulting from the hierarchies characterizing the global political economy. But the focus has been on the binaries of the colonized and the colonizer. Research impetus has been particularly strong among Indian scholars from the Indian continent and the diaspora. Tejaswini Niranjana (Siting Translation) details Orientalist translations of India in British knowledge productions, and now she is engaged with a team in India on translating Western feminist literary theory across indigenous languages in India. But there have been few intraregional translation studies even in collections on post-colonial translation (Bassnett and Trivedi, 1999) and on Asian traditions in translation (Hung, Wakabayashi , 2005). In the Philippines, significant studies on translation have similarly been located in the nexus of the colonizer and the colonized, especially on how Filipino translators have subverted the colonizers ideology. Rafaels study (1988) of Tagalog ladinos talking back to the Spanish missionaries in the translation of Spanish religious texts into Tagalog in the Spanish era, has been hailed a truly groundbreaking study where translation is compellingly revealed to be the agent (or subverter of empire). National Artist for Literature 2006, Bienvenido Lumbera views cultural translation from Marxist perspectives focusing on receptivity and resistance in translating into Tagalog of T.S. Eliots Wasteland in the martial law period of the Marcos dictatorship. Virgilio Almario, National Artist for Literature 2000, mainly a poet and critic has turned his attention to religious documents from Spanish into Tagalog in the first two centuries of the Spanish colonial era and how the translation was made an instrument for the spiritual and cultural captivity of the colonized. Resil Mojares notes the unidirectional flow of translation from Spanish to Cebuano in the Spanish era and the colonizers preoccupation with fixing the native and cataloguing his resources. However, he likewise observes translation activity across languages especially from the late 19th century to early 20th century a sharing necessary to the development of a national literature, a vision sometimes vitiated, however, by the market pull of publishing and uneven power relations among languages and cultures in the Philippines. A main concern, in fact, of translation studies in the Philippines from the 1980s to the 90s is how local languages and cultures can be mainstreamed in the development of the national language, literature and culture among them the studies of Ocampo, Evasco, and Villareal(1994, 1997) and feminist studies like those of Lucero, and Quindoza-Santiago. The former set of studies received a boost from a tri-university program funded

by the Toyota Foundation in the 1980s but funds have run out. But in the Philippines (and I surmise in most Southeast Asia) intra-regional translation studies is fertile new ground . 4 The groundwork for the project of reconnecting with Southeast Asia through translation has been prepared largely by our historians, among them Zeus Salazar, who founded the highly influential Pantayong Pananaw movement and Cesar Adib Majul who has explored our Muslim Southeast Asian links. 5 Historiography by Salazar privileged Filipino concepts through a detailed linguistic and ethnographic analyses. These he linked to terms and concepts in Malay and other Austronesian languages and by showing their differences from their English translations, he hoped to re-view our uncritical use of foreign analytic categories. Salazar and the This type of translation we can classify as endo-translations (panloob na pagsasalin or paghuhubad). 6 The other type of translations is what we can classify as exo-translations (panlabas na pagsasalin) or translations of Southeast Asian works into Filipino, English and other languages. The body of works from Southeast Asia that Filipinos have translated into Filipino, English, and other Philippine languages is slim compared to the Western works translated into our languages from the two colonial eras till today. There have been isolated translations in the last century, but it was only beginning the 1980s with the coming together of the Ministries of Information of the ASEAN nations thru the COCI that a sustained intra-regional translation program began. One other institutional initiative was translation program the the Toyota Foundation supported in cooperation with the Solidarity Publishing House owned by Francisco Sionil-Jose, the Philippines National Artist for Literature for 2006. Unfortunately, even these programs have been short-lived. For this paper I have selected two works from these initiatives. The aim is to suggest lines of inquiry that can be pursued in the field of intra-regional translation.

1. Thelma B. Kintanars Daigdig ng Tao. This is a translation from Bahasa Indonesia into Filipino of the novel entitled Bumi Manusia by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. This is a singular case as it is one of the few works directly translated into Filipino from a Southeast Asian language. 2. Lualhati Bautistas Kay May Sonsong (For May Sonsong). This is a poem in Filipino based on Ang Paghuhukom, Bautistas translation into Filipino of the novel The Judgement.

Except for the works of a few such as those of the Australian scholars Harry Aveling, a prodigious translator of Malay literature into English, and himself a translation studies scholar; that of Max Lane, mainly a historian on Indonesia, but also the translator into English of Pramoedya Ananta Toers The Buru Quartet of which Bumi Manusia is a part. 5 In the visual and dance arts, Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa has explored the Southeast Asian connections of Southern Philippines. 6 The Pantayong Pananaw movement has been criticized, however, for privileging linguistic analysis at the expense of socio-critical analysis. See for instance, Carol Haus Linguistic Turn

This is Laurie Maunds English translation of the novel Kham Phi Phaksa by Chart Kobjitti, Thailands National Artist for Literature (Year?). Like most translations into Filipino, this is relay translation but Kay May Sonsong also involves inter-genre translation.

Bumi and Daigdig Bumi Manusia is an ideal site for exploring the various meanings of translation within post-colonial contexts. On one level Bumi utilizes what Jacobson terms as intralingual translation which is an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other signs in the same language and on another, translation as a cognitive mode of processing events. In 1898 when the novel opens, Indonesia, then Netherlands East Indies, was a society in transition; the end of the Dutch colonial rule appeared impending with the nationalist awakening which developed at sometimes vertiginous pace in the first decades of the 20th century. This was manifested politically thru some landmark developments, like mobilizations through the formation of political movements, but culturally, and of particular interest to us, was the development of Bahasa Indonesia from a highly diverse archipelago consisting of over three hundred ethnic groups and more than two hundred fifty distinct languages (apart from the dominant Dutch) and hierarchies within languages themselves, as well as different religions. All these are registered through the consciousness of Minke, the narrator, who is not merely imagined. Minke was actually inspired by Raden Mas Tirto Adhisuryo, the first pribumi or native to publish a paper, and Pramoedya has actually brought to life in Minke, a new historical personality in the process of being forged by history itself [italics by Lane]. Pramoedyas decision to write in Bahasa Indonesia, not in Dutch, in Javanese or any other Indonesian language was keyed in to nationalist unification efforts in the larger process of nation formation in the first 60 years of the 20th century. Interestingly, what fascinates the 18 year old narrator, what he marvels at unceasingly, is the technology of mechanical reproduction in which photographs of scientific advancement all over the world could reach Betawi and Surabaya. It is the link of the archipelago to the world outside, and potentially, among the people of the highly diverse country. At the close of the novel, Mellemas legitimate son initiates legal proceedings to divest Nyai Ontosoroh of all her possessions, invalidate the marriage of Minke and Annelies under Islamic law, and to place her daughter Annelies under his guardianship. This is effected through a foreign powers documentation system. To quote Minke, the narrator, all this was based upon no more than the beautiful documents written by expert scribes and clerks with their indelible black ink that soaked halfway through the thickness of the paper. (Lane 327); Ang lahat ng ito ay ibinatay lang sa magagandang dokumento na isinulat ng mga ekspertong tagasulat sa itim na tintang hindi mabubura at tumatalab hanggang sa kalahati ng kapal ng papel (Kintanar 292). To Minke, the only weapon against this persecution via script is media, the principal channel for communication in the

newly-ushered age of mechanical reproduction. In Europe Minkes cause is taken up by an Dutch exResident Commissioner he had befriended, and in Surabaya by his Dutch friends in S.N. who publish both Dutch and Malay versions of his appeal in the Malay-Dutch press. Men are hired to read Minkes appeal to the people in the villages, 15 copies are distributed to leading Islamic scholars, native scribes handcopy two copies each of the legal documents in the possession of Nyai. Against the legal discourse with which the colonial power orders his subjectivity and those of the Ontosorohs, Minke wields the discourse of translation to construct and assert a different identity, and to perform a role in this particular stage of the nationalist struggle. The fictional text, by exemplifying division and change in the colonial era, signals an imperativethe value and vitality of translation in creating a system of meaning and representation different from that imposed by a colonial power. To Max Lane: Translating Pramoedya is not just a matter of language but a matter of engaging with the process that is the liberation of Indonesia. (From the English translation of Pramoedyas Arok Dedes). Ang Daigdig ng Tao recalls the Filipinos engagement with political processes parallel to those in the emerging Indonesian nation, and the translation becomes a means to reconnect with each other. Bumi opens in 1898, the year Filipinos declared Philippine Independence from Spain. The nationalist movement that made possible such a declaration was a site for transmitting common nationalist ideals but these had to be communicated through a linguistic divide. Filipino ilustrados articulated their call for reforms in Spanish to the colonial government while the Filipino revolutionists called the Filipinos to arms in Tagalog. The Philippine Republic was short-lived as the troop-carrying American naval fleet streamed through the Manila Bay in 1899, subsequently effecting American colonization until 1948, just a year before Indonesia declared its independence from the Dutch. The frustration at having its independence seized by another colonial power found expression in the flowering of Philippine literatures, mainly seditious plays across 8 vernacular languages which remained untranslated to elude the monolingual colonizer. The Filipino nationalist struggle that resumed with American colonization ran parallel with the Indonesian movement in the first decades of the 20th century, and in subsequent developments, both have had to live through totalitarian regimes. For both, however, language remained a key instrument in articulating nationalist ideals. But whereas the Indonesians moved closer to developing Bahasa Indonesia as a national language as early as the twenties to which foreign and local languages would be recycled through translation, the Filipinos struggle to develop a national language, was disrupted with the American imposition of English. Filipino as a national language became a reality only with the nationalistic ferment in the late sixties in the beginning of the Marcos era. In this respect, Daigdig is a realization of Walter Benjamins concept of the Uberleben or Fortleben i.e, as a redemptive act that ensures the afterlife [italics supplied] of Bumi in its Filipino translation. But this afterlife is not equivalent to Bumi nor its mere extension. As the translator reads of

the Indonesian struggle through Minke, memories of specific historical figures and events, inevitably come to mind. The Indonesian and the Filipino are conjoined in Ang Daigdig, and the translation becomes another life, [italics supplied]; it is like Bumi but infused with the otherness of the Filipino experience. (Des Tours Babel 179). This relationship is facilitated by a linguistic kinship between Filipino and Bahasa Indonesia . It is a relationship not possible with the English translation. To quote Lane: the peculiar social and political history of language in Indonesia has meant that some linguistic phenomena have not been reproducible. Speaking of her translation, however, Kintanar speaks of serendipitous similarities like the term sayang which can only roughly be translated into English as What a waste! or What a pity. In Bumi and Daigdig, there are other linguistic similarities like the Filipino balibalita for the Indonesian beriberita. The similarity arises not only from equivalent or like sounding terms but in similarities between material culture. In Bumi, there is mention of pupuh which is translated as sabungan in Daigdig. These terms refer to a place for cockfights, but in Lane this is rendered merely as arena. The Indonesian kampong is translated as baryo in Daigdig; both terms actually refer to a rural setting, while Lane uses the generic villages. (We might mention, here of course, also the differences in target audience among the three translations as influencing the choices.) Some slippages in the translation , however, suggest that this play of likeness and otherness in Daigdig extends beyond the material realities of politics language, and culture. Earlier, we mentioned Minkes sense of marvel at the scientific and technological developments in the West unfolding before his eyes through textual and photographic reproductions. His wonderment merges at the social level with a sense of awakening , the commencing of a revolutionary time for his country, and at the personal, a beginning fascination with the beauty of women. A comparison of excerpts from the English translation of Lane and the Filipino translation by Kintanar reveals this play beyond time.

1. In Chapter 2 of the Lane translation, Minke writes: I was still very young, just the age of a corn plant, yet I had already experienced modern learning and science. They had bestowed upon me a blessing whose beauty was beyond description. [Italics supplied here and in the other examples below.]

In the Kintanar translation, this becomes : Sa mura kung edad, kasingmura pa lang ng nagbubungang mais, nabighani na ako ng siyensiya at karunungan na nagbigay ng isang gayumang ang kagandahan ay di mailalarawan.

2. Lane: I was truly grateful to all those people who had worked so tirelessly to give birth to these new wonders . Kintanar: Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat at sa bawat taong nagpakahirap para magawa ang bagong himala ng ito.

3. In a conversation with his classmate Robert Suurhof catches Minke gaping at Princess Wilhelminas photo. In a coaxing, groaning note, Suurhof says: There is a goddess here too in Surabayabeautiful beyond comparison, easily equal to this picture. Its only a picture, anyway.

In Kintanar, this becomes: Kalimutan mo na iyan, nanghihimok ang boses niyang magaspang meron ding diwata rito sa Surabaya. Maganda at walang katulad, hindi matatalo ng nasa retratong iyan. Retrato lang naman iyan.

The table below shows no equivalence or even resemblance in lexical forms between Filipino and Indonesian for the terms italicized above.

Filipino 1. gayuma 2. bighani 3. himala 4. diwata

Bahasa Indonesia 1. pekasih 2. budyok 3. mudjizat 4. bidadari, dewa

English 1. blessing 2. experienced 3. wonders 4. goddess

But Kintanar draws upon even deeper ties, although unconsciously. 7 Gayuma refers to a mysterious attraction attributed to a love-charm; bighani means fascination, not just a liking; it may come from the force of a gayuma; himala is a mysterious, out of the natural occurrence, while diwata is a goddess , but often associated with a fairy. The terms blessing, experienced, wonders, goddessbeing a secularized set of terms cannot quite contain the folk spirituality evoked by the Filipino words. Here though, the Indonesian and the Filipino experiences intersect. For instance, the Indonesian playwright Bakdi Soemanto notes representations of Javanese mysticism in Arok Dedes, another novel by Pramoedya. Sometime in between the thirteenth and fourteenth century, Ken Arok assassinates Tunggul Ametung the ruler of heaven and earth by using the keris, a sacred sword; furthermore, he marries Ken Dedes, the

Interview at the Center for Womens Studies, UP Diliman. July 1, 2010.

former rulers cakti from whom he would derive spiritual, supernatural, and physical sources of power. 8 Ileto writes of how Filipino revolutionists against Spain drew blood from exhumed bodies during the Catholics Holy Week celebrations. They would use these for charms like anting-anting which they were convinced, made them invincible. The principle behind this belief of Filipino revolutionists, according to Ileto, is the Javanese concept of power as concentrated force. Translation, in fact, is concerned as much with words as what is behind words. A.H. Johns, an Australian critic who has written favorable reviews of Pramoedya, has remarked on the hysterical intensity of Pramoedyas characters. This was not a problem in her translation, according to Kintanar, because emotional intensity is not alien to us. In the Filipino context, emotion is not just intense but longdrawn; for instance, in Filipino films, scenes of mourning for the departed loved ones are often extended. Translation, as Berman says is thus, not mere mediation, but a process in which our entire relation to the Other is played out. Drawing from Holderlin and Heidegger, he discusses this idea in relation to the trial of the foreign which has a double meaning: 1) the trial of the foreign referring to a relationship between the self-same, and the foreign opening up the foreign to us [the translator]in its utter foreignness; 2) the trial for the foreign because the foreign work is uprooted from its own language ground. The idea of translation as a playing out of our entire relation to the Other is particularly attractive and usable for inter-regional perspectives on translation. The concept of the other, however, is replete with meanings, among which is utter estrangement and asymmetrical relationships of power resulting in exclusionary relationships, which at least for now, I do not see in the case of translating Bumi in Bahasa Indonesia into Daigdig in Filipino. I would introduce, thus, instead of the other, the concept of the dungan, roughly translated in English as ones double. Coming from Hiligaynon, one of the eight major languages in the Philippines, the term refers to the belief that everyone is born with a double, and ones well-being is dependent on the way we relate to this otherbut on equal terms. In the dream or in sickness, the dungan separates from the body but this can be called back through some rituals. The concept is consistent with the lingering orality in Bumi, as in fact, in Pramoedyas other historical novels. Bumi was created literally by word-of-mouth in Buru Island where Pramoedya was in prison, all writing paraphernalia were banned, and so he narrated the story to his fellow inmates, and before it was finally published by Hasta Mitra Publishing House in 1980, it had been generated by the collective memory of his fellow political prisoners. Current scholarship on nationalism assert that the real origins of the nation lie outside of the national but in the global (Rafael xvi). Interestingly, what the historian Rafael enumerates as the sources of the nation coincide with sources of Minkes enchantment described in the opening chapters of Bumi :

For a further understanding of the Javanese concept of power, please see Benedict Andersons Language and Power.

the growth of capitalist markets and the spread of print capitalism, the development of new technologies of transportation and communication, the vernacularization of the colonial languages [as the development of Bahasa Indonesia], the use of the emergent elite [Minke, in particular]for comparative thinking. There is nothing, according to Rafael, about the nation that is proper or native to the nation as such since its formation is determined by global developments. But nowhere in his book and in Buru itself, is there reference to regional connections in Southeast Asia as part of the global. Must the global exclude regional connections? The task then of the translator in a post-colonial context is to summon, through the rite of translation, the dungan or shared cultures forgotten or obscured in the past. But these shared cultures are diverse, contradictions exist within each national culture, and shared cultures have been altered through time. These, plus the centuries-old separation brought about by colonial histories, present certain practical problems for the Filipino translator in the process of conjuring the dungan. For instance, we can count with our fingers the translators who can work directly from Bahasa Indonesia to Filipino, among them Zeus Salazar, Bomen Guillermo, Emily Cruz and Thelma Kintanar. Moreover, except for an exposure of a few years in the source cultures, immersion has not been possible because they are residents of the Philippines. But the case of Kintanar is different; she could be what we can call as an accidental translator because she had gone to live in Indonesia when her husband took a UN post in Indonesia in the early 1980s. An esteemed literature professor in the Dept. of English at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Kintanar easily picked up Bahasa Indonesia and worked on the translation of Bumi into Filipino. The translation, however, was initially the project of her son Frederick, who was in Indonesia as part of his graduate program on Southeast Asian Studies at Cornell, and when he had to leave because of other commitments, Kintanar continued to translate the novel from the first 40 pages started by her son. Learning the language day to day, taking advantage of the closeness in lexis and syntax and the cultural affinities between Bahasa Indonesia and Filipino, consulting not just her son, but Indonesian informants, she completed Daigdig ng Tao, subsequently published by Solidaridad Publishing House in Manila in 1989. These efforts were necessitated by the fact that Kintanar, as most of us are in the Philippines, are products of American colonial education, who generally see their neighbors through English eyes. Thus, the preponderance in the Philippines of relay translation from English But the question of what Filipino to use in Daigdig presents a problem. Filipino, especially from the late 1970s and from the nationalistic momentum from the anti-Marcos, anti-imperialist movements, it had spread and developed swiftly. However, influenced by factors such as street and popular language, media and popular culture, and English haunting the language, Filipino had become elusive and hybrid. Kintanar was horrified to see alterations in the manuscript she had submitted to the publisher, and insisted that no such changes should be made. In particular, she reacted against the use of Taglish or FilEnglish


terms, when terms in Filipino and Tagalog were available. Moreover, these may not have hewed in to style of Pramoedya, adherence to which was her primary concern in translation:

Sinikap kong palabasin ang natatanging estilo ni Pramoedya, sapagkat sa paggamit niya ng salita , sa pagbuo niya ng pangungusap, at sa paglikha niya ng parirala ay makikita ang kanyang pag-iisip at paningin bilang isang manunulat at isang Javanese.

For instance, for Ibu which means Mother, Kintanar chooses to use Ina because Ina connotes deep respect (as befitting Minkes attitude towards his mother) which the more familiar, more intimate Inay or even Nanay does not have . On the other hand, the editors of the publishing house may have had an eye on the target readers of Daigdig, young college students, who spoke the easy, hybrid style of Filipino which fractured in English, who had no patience with long Filipino terms like pamamagitan or sapagkat, and who had no or vague memory for Fil-Hispanic terms like karuwahe, pangangasera, or retrato. Furthermore, if Filipino is the national language, where would terms from regional languages in the Philippines come in? The Bahasa Indonesia in Minkes time was developing ,drawing at that point from various sources: traders Malay, the awkwardly standardized Malay used by the Dutch, and Chinese Malay; however, Bumi was composed in the 1960s and the national language must have dramatically changed by that time.

For My Sonsong The project of reconnecting becomes more difficult with regard to relay translations since the translation is removed many layers from the original as in Lualhati Bautistas For May Sonsong. Lualhati Bautista bases Ang Paghuhukom, her Filipino translation of Chart Kobjittis Kham Phi Phaksa, on The Judgement, an English translation by Laurie Maund. Subsequently, she writes a poem in Filipino based on Ang Paghuhukom and translates this same poem into English. Unlike Bahasa Indonesia to which Filipino has linguistic similarities, Thai is hardly accessible to the Filipino, not just in script but in sound. But for this interlinguistic, inter-genre transfer another approach to inter-regional connections can be made. Here the text to be analyzed is her English translation.

if I were an actress and viva would think of adopting Kobjitis novel into film i wouldnt allow it


if I wouldnt play the role. its not because Im an expert madwoman but because thats the only opportunity for me to freely do everything I cannot do because I am sane like collecting porcelain, coconut husks, sacks of broken glass and of cans you keep and treasure beneath the wooden bed safe from Faks eyes because he picks on these whenever he looks for something to blame for his fate.

The details in the poem are derived from the novel as the following excerpt from the Maund and Bautista translations would show:

From what Fak had seen of his fathers wife, he got the impression that she wasnt really there. He noticed that she always like to collect things like old coconut shells, broken combs, flowers, old newspapers, etc. and hoard them in the hut. Every now and then, Fak would discreetly throw them out. (Maund 27).

Sa nakita ni Fak sa asawang tatay niya, sa tantya niyay hindi nito lubos na hawak ang sarili. Mahilig itong mangulekta ng kung anu-ano: bao ng niyog, sirang suklay, bulaklak, lumang diyaryoang mga bagay iniipon nito sa kubo. Tuwing may pagkakataon, patagong itinatapon niya ang mga iyon (Bautista 23).

The point of view, however, shifts from Faks to the woman persona through whom Bautista articulates her desire to break free from the patriarchal roles that convention has dictated, a state, which sadly, is equated with madness. So let her be mad but free rather than sane but captive. (For really, who marks the boundaries of sanity?) What Bautista is unable to do in an intra-genre translation (novel to novel) is realized in an inter-genre translation (novel to poem) through the speaker in the poem who is infused with


agency. Moreover, the original Kobjitti work sets off a series of intersemiotic translations., both actual and virtual in Bautistas imagination, a series of interpretants in which she, as translator, takes over as sign-giver from Kobjitti. The translator is made to assume multiple roles as she shuttles from novel to poem to film to theatre and to other media as yet unmentioned, but possible.

Such movement is demonstrated in the fourth stanza.

if I were an actress and PETA would think of adopting the novel for the theatre i wouldnt allow it if I wouldnt play your role. and I would steal justice denied you by Kobjitti, who gave you life and breath and didnt know you. is it because he is a man so that he doesnt understand that at nights when you cradle in your lap your beloveds face it could be that sex is not on your mind but a mothers love for a child? ill make you a lead character instead of a burden to the story who causes father and child to fall in hell.

Interestingly, the translations become the meta-narratives for the womans pursuit of freedom, and the multiple roles Bautista, the translator, assumes, becomes the multiple roles by and for the woman: I will save you from the prison box of the unwanted. In this task, Bautista appears to privilege the translator, who is gifted with flexibility and sincerity while

writers often only invent lies to prettify the role of their Christ they already did this to magdalena.


The iconoclasm is rather unexpected since Bautista herself is a writer, but her disarming frankness may be explained by her multi-media background and her grasp of popular culture. Her position is significant, however, because it puts the translator as the site for the twin tasks of documentation and recuperation in the womens struggle. In the case of this translation, kinship between the Filipino and Thai arises from a gender bonding that the translator creates by an aggressive manipulation of subjectivities.


The approaches to inter-regional translation will differ according to text types and contexts, and as well, the purpose of the translator and the target audience. The task of the translator, however, is to retrieve and create shared cultures obscured by the colonial experience. In our search for identity and difference, in the remembrance of these cultures in the past and the alertness to how these have changed, we see ourselves and the multiplicities of our dungan in our history and possibility.



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