“Merong matigas, merong malambot;
Merong tuwid, merong kulot.
Merong buo, merong durog;
At merong mga taong hindi basta-basta lumulubog.”
Four friends define what friendship really is, despite all the grime and dirt of poverty…
Jim, Noel, Cyrus, and Amadeus “Denver” Kantuyan a.k.a. Voltron star in Bob Ong’s sixth book, MacArthur.
Released around May 2008, this modern day drama is set in the middle of an unnamed Metro Manila slum, surrounded by drugs, violence, poverty, and even death. Dysfunctional families, broken dreams, and false hopes also plague our protagonists as they face everyday adversities.
It might strike some readers that this piece is very, very different from your typical Bob Ong. The whole experience is like being trapped inside a Maalaala Mo Kaya set. It was very dramatic, even serious in some parts, which clearly shows the author’s diversity as a writer.
“Dalawang dekada ka lang mag-aaral. Kung di mo pagtitiyagaan, anak, limang dekada ng kahirapan ang kapalit. Sobrang lugi.
Kung alam lang yan ng mga kabataan, sa pananaw ko e walang gugustuhing umiwas sa eskwela.”
-Mang Justo pg.86
Of course, this book is not exempted from Bob Ong’s wit and humor. Though some might find some jokes and remarks quite offensive in nature, the crude (and rude) nature of these words actually capture the authenticity of everyday conversations usually heard in low socio-economic areas in our country.
This almost-a-hundred-page-book bravely bares the truth and harsh realities of life, the daily hardships a lower-class family deals with and how they stick together as one. i salute the author for creating a no holds-barred novel; a book that refletcs the real “us”; a book that is worth every penny. Read the “Red Book” by Bob Ong, and see if you are a “MacArthur” yourself.