Arlene J Chai’s Eating Fire And Drinking Water: The Identity Search In Historical Context

 Arlene J Chai’s Eating Fire And Drinking Water: The Identity Search In Historical Context



  1. Introduction

“There is sense… a plan behind everything that happens.”

(Eating Fire and Drinking Water, 1996)

In life, more often  먹튀 than not, we need to make hard choices, to consider people around us for our actions, who are either directly or indirectly connected to us, to shape the kind of world we want to live in, or aptly put, a world we want our children to inherit, and figuratively, be dreamers of a just and humane place where internal and external happiness exist, where people are in close companionship with what they regard as essential and where reverence to the Divine being is evident. Until such time that we feel complete and satisfied in our internal and external quests can we simply relax and anticipate the coming event/s to unfold.

The fundamental premise of finding the essence of one’s existence has been attributed to Plato more than 2,000 years ago and to date, the multitudinous battle cry of situating oneself in the world of varied essences is too loud a cry that it has found its niche in all disciplines and in all respects of life.

From this stance, the student critic anchors her analysis of Arlene Chai’s contemporary historical novel Eating Fire and Drinking Water. In simpler sense, the moral-philosophical underpinnings of the novel vis-à-vis its socio-historical context are given consideration. To underscore the backdrop of the novel, the student-critic uses the highlights of the paper of Alfred McCoy (1999) with his objective presentation of the Filipino’s traumatic experience under the Marcos regime.

  1. The Novelist

Chai is a Filipino-Chinese-Australian, who migrated to Australia with her parents and sisters in 1982 because of the political upheaval. She became an advertising copywriter at George Patterson’s Advertising Agency in 1972 and has been working there since. It is there that she met her mentor Bryce Courtney, who continuously inspires her to improve her work. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Maryknoll College. She is famous for her ability to weave the political struggle of the Philippines so well into her fiction, so much that she is often compared with Isabel Allende, a successful magical realist Chilean novelist. She won the Louis Braille Adult Audio Book of the year for her novel “On the Goddess Rock” in 1999. Her first novel, The Last Time I saw Mother (published in the US and the UK) is an Australian bestseller. Although she has produced four novels since 1995, all of them exploring complex and often bittersweet relationships between generations of families and individuals, it is Eating Fire and Drinking Wa



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