Most Filipinos don’t know that the Philippine’s national hero Jose Rizal had quite a few connections to Singapore. In fact in 1896, Rizal’s friends urged him to save himself by remaining here, but sadly, it was not to be…
Thank you to the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and Penguin Random House Southeast Asia for hosting today’s celebration of Jose Rizal’s life, writing and his connection to Singapore. Chargé d’ Affaires (and author) Dr. Emmanuel R. Fernandez, his wife Alice and Penguin authors Noelle De Jesus, Migs Bravo Dutt, Mookie Katigbak Lacuesta and Sarge Lacuesta, as well as yours truly, read excerpts from our national hero’s poetry, letters and novels
Afterwards, I moderated a lively panel that discussed Rizal’s influence on Filipino writers, writing from the diaspora versus from the homeland, speculations about a hypothetical third novel, and other interesting topics. If host and cultural attaché Rosellie L. Bantay had not gently reminded us of the time, we would have probably talked for the whole afternoon.
Thanks to Patricia Mulles for the photos below.
Special thanks to Penguin publisher Nora Nazarene Abu Bakar for inviting me! Have a meaningful Rizal Day!
Victor Fernando R. Ocampo is the author of the International Rubery Book Award shortlisted The Infinite Library and Other Stories (Math Paper Press, 2017 ; US edition: Gaudy Boy, 2021) and Here be Dragons (Canvas Press, 2015), which won the Romeo Forbes Children’s Story Award in 2012. His play-by-email interactive fiction piece “The Book of Red Shadows” debuted at the Singapore Writers Festival in 2020.
His writing has appeared in many publications including Apex Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Likhaan Journal, Strange Horizons, Philippines Graphic, Science Fiction World and The Quarterly Literature Review of Singapore, as well as anthologies like The Best New Singapore Short Stories, Fish Eats Lion: New Singaporean Speculative Fiction, LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, the Philippine Speculative Fiction series and Mapping New Stars: A Sourcebook on Philippine Speculative Fiction.
He is a fellow at the Milford Science Fiction Writers’ Conference (UK) and the Cinemalaya Ricky Lee Film Scriptwriting Workshop, as well as a Jalan Besar writer-in-residence at Sing Lit Station (2020/2021).
Visit his blog at vrocampo.com
View all posts by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo