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Forum highlights literary works of 2 Asean artists

/ 08:37 AM October 11, 2011

PROMOTING culture through literature was the focus of the 1st Great Asean Writers Forum conducted by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) on Friday.

The forum gathered literary studies on two notable Southeast Asian writers, Indonesia’s Pramoedya Anata Toer and Renato Madrid of Cebu, the pen name of Msgr. Rodolfo “Rudy” Villanueva.

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University professors Dr. Adelaida Lucero and Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu talked about Toer’s works while Haidee Emmie Palapar talked about Madrid’s short fiction.

Rafi culture and heritage unit executive director Dr. Jocelyn Gerra told Cebu Daily News that reading their works enables one to ‘analyze what is going on.’

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“If you don’t read, you don’t get the information. For me, literature is a facet of life,” she said.

“How many of us know the greatness of Asean? Many know about Macbeth and the western world but do we know who are the writers in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia?,” she said.

Gerra said the forum aimed to help revive pride in the culture and literature of Association of Southeast Asianean) countries which “is something we should really be proud of. What you don’t know you could not appreciate so what we need to do is over time, give them a facility — a series of literary artist fora,” she said.

The Great Asean Writers series is a partnership between the University of San Carlos, Rafi and the Cebu City government.

A series of lectures is set every October in the coming years, said Gerra.

Other writers from Asean countries will be invited to join.

Last July, ambassadors of six Asean member countries stood witness to Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s acceptance of a certificate from Asean ministers of culture and the arts conferring on Cebu City the title “City of Culture” for two years.

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Cebu, Manila and Pampanga became the first localities to hold the distinction of being “culture capitals” in a program that seeks to promote the southeast Asean region to the world.

The Asean ministers already eyed Cebu as City of Culture while the project was being conceived in Myanmar in 2008.

RAFI is also planning to focus on food and wine products of Asean countries in their next forum. /CORRESPONDENT CARMEL LOISE MATUS

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TAGS: 1st Great Asean Writers Forum, Culture, Literature
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