F. Sionil José Quotes
“The obscenities of this country are not girls like you. It is the poverty which is obscene, and the criminal irresponsibility of the leaders who make this poverty a deadening reality. The obscenities in this country are the places of the rich, the new hotels made at the expense of the people, the hospitals where the poor die when they get sick because they don't have the money either for medicines or services. It is only in this light that the real definition of obscenity should be made.”
“Sometimes you look at yourself in the mirror, any mirror, and you wonder why that nose looks as it does, or those eyes--what is behind them, what depths can they reach. Your flesh, your skin, your lips--you know that that face which you behold is not yours alone but is already something which belongs to those who love it, to your family and all those who esteem you. But a person is more than a face or a bundle of nerves and a spigot of blood; a person is more than talking and feeling and being sensitive to the changes in the weather, to the opinions of people. A person is part of a clan, a race. And knowing this, you wonder where you came from and who preceded you; you wonder if you are strong, as you know those who lived before you were strong, and then you realize that there is a durable thread which ties you to a past you did not create but which created you. Then you know that you have to be sure about who you are and if you are not sure or if you do not know, you have to go back, trace those who hold the secret to your past. The search may not be fruitful; from this moment of awareness, there is nothing more frustrating than the belief that you have been meaningless. A man who knows himself can live with his imperfections; he knows instinctively that he is part of a wave that started from great, unnavigable expanses.”
“Life is always sad. That's what makes suicide so tempting because life is all that we really have and haven't. Death makes us equals, too, because the foul and the good all die. The past, the present, and the future-what escape is there from these? None-and yet sometimes we are life's happy victims.”
“When you love someone, that love has no limit, no measure, because you know in your deepest being that when that love demands sacrifice, you will give it without question. You will not look for reasons, for justification - the act of giving, of sacrificing, is a natural compulsion, like breathing, and it will, in the end, surprise you because you did it without second thoughts.”
“Never, never hide your pain, scream as if you are dying so you will not be harmed more. Never, never hide your poverty, too. The worst enemies of the poor are the poor themselves. And never, never appear that you are virtuous and without sin. It it is the virtuous who have many enemies because for they shame the many without virtue.”
“We compromise ourselves the day we are born. If we are looking for the original sin, there it is- our incapacity to live honestly with ourselves because we are human, because we are shackled by custom, by obligations and we accept compromise only in the light of our conscience, answerable as we are only to ourselves.”
“We go from one darkness to another and in between, the hidden light of the world, of knowledge. We open our eyes and in this circle of light, we see not just ourselves but others who are our likenesses. This light tells us all men are brothers, but even brothers kill one another, and it is in this light where all this happens. But living in this dazzling light does not blind us to what lies beyond the darkness from where we emerged and where we are going. It is faith which makes our journey possible though it be marred by the unkindness of men, their eternal faulting, before we pass on to another darkness.”
“I am a commuter, not between the city and the village, although I do this frequently; not between the inane idealism of the classroom and the stifling reality beyond it, which I must do for survival and self-respect. I am a commuter between what I am now and what I was and would like to be and it is this commuting at lightning speed, at the oddest hours, that has done havoc to me.”
“I believe in humanity - not just you or Mother, but all mankind. Do I sound like a preacher or a cheap politician making a pretty speech? This is not what I intend to do...
I believe in life, that it is sweet and that, for all its occasional bitterness, we-man, that is-are headed toward something better - fulfillment. There is much shame, however, and so much hypocrisy around us and these inhibit our fulfillment as human beings.”
“Life is holy and it is for all of us. God's design, I cannot understand myself and I never will, but I do know that what we are experiencing now will pass and in the end we will all be brothers, not just blood brothers, as we are, but brothers in spirit. Neither you nor I can change the world or human nature and we can only aim at changing attitudes - and perhaps teach those who have so much to give a portion of their blessings to those who have less.”
“But God, I don’t doubt You. I can see You in the morning, in the dew on the grass. Should I worship You in silence, without the obeisance and obedience to Your ministers? Should I stop singing and, within me, let my deeds speak of my belief and gratitude in Your greatness?
The men who taught us of Your presence, who opened the doors of Your temple that I may see the light – they are white like You. Are You then the god of white people, and if we who are brown worship You, do we receive Your blessings as white men do?
I pray that You be not white, that You be without color and that You be in all men because goodness cannot be encased only in white.
I should worship then not a white god but someone brown like me. Pride tells me only one thing – that we are more than equal with those who rule us. Pride tells me that this land is mine, that they should leave me to my destiny, and if they will not leave, pride tells me that I should push them away and should they refuse this, I should vanquish them, kill them. I have known long ago that their blood is the same as mine. No stranger can come battering down my door and say he brings me light. This I have within me.”
“We do not conquer life, no one can conquer what one cannot define, but at least it is there and it is ours to shape and to possess fully, with all the senses working, with all the powers of the heart surging, as we search for the answer to the greatest riddle of them all- death, the ultimate end, the enemy of all men, the final quietus to the noblest of emotions, the tenacity and ethereal creativity of faith.”
F. Sionil José
- Date of birth: December 03, 1924
- Born: in Rosales, Pangasinan, Philippines.
- Description: Francisco Sionil José was born in 1924 in Pangasinan province and attended the public school in his hometown. He attended the University of Santo Tomas after World War II and in 1949, started his career in writing. Since then, his fiction has been published internationally and translated into several languages including his native Ilokano. He has been involved with the international cultural organizations, notably International P.E.N., the world association of poets, playwrights, essayists and novelists whose Philippine Center he founded in 1958.
F. Sionil José, the Philippines' most widely translated author, is known best for his epic work, the Rosales saga - five novels encompassing a hundred years of Philippine history - a vivid documentary of Filipino life.
In 1980, Sionil José received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts.
In 2001, Sionil José was named National Artist for Literature.
In 2004, Sionil José received the Pablo Neruda Centennial Award.