British writer Barton, in his debut, pens an unflattering behind-the-scenes look at the Philippines and its people.
The expatriate author hurls hundreds of heat-seeking missiles at every aspect of life in the Philippine islands, taking on everything from cockfighting to politics, typhoons to technology, religion to personal hygiene and beyond. Nothing is sacred in Barton’s cynical, wide-ranging look at the habits of the Pinoy (male) and Pinay (female) residents of the Philippines. Jokes abound about “small brown people” who are noisy, filthy, happy, lazy, corrupt technophiles. The book delivers a torrent of condescending, usually unfunny criticisms of the Philippine people, with whom the author lives and works as a hotelier. In one mildly entertaining passage, Barton discusses the island’s love affair with karaoke: “[E]very establishment has the obligatory videoke machine. Put in five pesos to ruin any song you like. There is a collective misnomer that Filipinos can sing. They can’t.” Often, however, the writing is heavy-handed and crass: “Mobile phones are the devil’s spawn…glued to every youngster everywhere in the world. The Filipinos are no exception….I’m surprised there is no nipple application to clamp onto!” In a section on the environment, the author claims that Filipinos are wholly insensitive to their islands’ natural beauty: “Basically, they don’t give a shit. Well this is not strictly true, as there is shit everywhere….The local population just squat and shit, and the tide does the rest.” With writing this bare-knuckled, readers may squirm uncomfortably and wonder why the author lives in the Philippines if he has such a dim view of his island neighbors.
A cynical, often crude anti-travelogue of the Philippines.