My Bookshelf

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Theme of Immigration in Generations II

The theme of immigration captures the essence of John Reinhard Dizon’s Generations II as we follow the progress of Teodulfo Dizon from his native Bical in the Philippine Islands to his adopted country of the USA. In the opening chapter, we find that he is the son of immigrants as his parents were native Spaniards who remained on the island after the Spanish-American War. His family’s daily struggle to prosper in an underdeveloped society prompts Teodulfo to follow his American Dream. We find it to be the primary reason throughout history for immigrants to leave their homeland in search of a brighter future, and this novel proves no exception.           

Upon his arrival in San Francisco, the omniscient narrative discusses the arbitrary and prejudicial immigration restrictions being enacted in America during that time. The Government is seeking to curtail the flow of Asian immigrants on the West Coast and Eastern Europeans on the East Coast. Teodulfo arrives just before the laws go into effect, and the novel demonstrates not only what his descendants would contribute to American society, but what it would have lost if he had not succeeded. These are issues to be considered when nations decide to restrict or prohibit foreigners from seeking residence in their lands.

The status of the Filipino community in America is discussed as Teodulfo happens across a fellow immigrant in his travels. He finds them to be deferential to a fault, marginalizing themselves so as to not attract undue attention from the powers-that-be. He joins with his new friends to create a Filipino-American Society in order for the community to discover their unique identity and build a foundation for their children’s lives as American citizens. It reminds us how immigrants are just a generation apart from planting their roots and finding their place in their adopted country.                          
He next discovers the Chinese community in San Antonio to be just as self-effacing, engaging in service industries such as laundries and restaurants. He also finds that they are being monitored due to their ethnic connections to the Chinese Tong, a criminal enterprise. We see similar prejudices developed among the Italian and Jewish communities of that time. Law enforcement agencies theorized that they were the genesis of the Mafia gangs that were emerging throughout the East Coast. It becomes apparent that such generalizations can inhibit and even prevent the growth of ethnic populations within their new environment.

The Mexican community is seen as being more readily accepted. This is partially due to the fact that much of the Southwest were originally Mexican lands. There was a long history of cooperation and interdependence between Americans and Mexicans in Texas and other states along the border. As a result. the Immigration Act of 1924 had little impact on the status of Mexicans migrating in and out of the United States. The dependence of farm owners on migrant workers also played a major factor as it does to this day. Teodulfo marries a fellow immigrant, Estella Munoz, whose parents also migrated from Spain to Mexico after the Spanish-American War. It results in their children being born as American citizens, able to claim their birthright and realize their parents’ hopes and dreams.  
In light of the global controversy surrounding immigration, we see that national security is first and foremost in the minds of governments in protecting their citizens from hostile influences. Yet we must also consider the potential of immigrants seeking citizenship and how they might be able to contribute to their adopted country. Generations II provides us with a number of topics to discuss about an issue that continues to affect us all.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sneak Preview of "Standard II - The Citadel"!!!

They saw the signs indicating the northeast turnoff towards Dundalk, and continued on to Newry along the A1. Only when they approached the exit road leading into town, they saw some bikes parked along the access road that began gunning their engines.                                                           

“Aw reet, keep yer eyes peeled,” Malice warned the driver. “If the drunken bastards’re out showin’ off, they’re liable t’cut in front o’ ye.”                                                                                    

“Aye, I’m watchin’,” the driver grunted.                                                                                           

Their worst fears were realized as the bikers began cruising onto the highway, causing the minivan to slow down to allow them passage. The driver cursed and swore as they continued along at 45 MPH, blocking both lanes so that the vehicle had no way to pass them by. At once they began hitting their parking brakes, and the drug runners knew there was trouble ahead.                  

“What kind o’ hardware ye carryin’ here?” Gawain demanded.   

“We got Sterlings with silencers,” Venom hesitated. “Look, fella, if the Brits are in the air, we’re gonna get fecked.”                                                                                                                                

“Ye shoulda thought about that before ye picked me up,” Gawain reached under Venom’s seat and pulled out the submachine gun. “I go back inside, I’m in fer life. I’m not riskin’ me freedom on yer bullshite alibi.”                                                                                                                 

“Feck it all, Jack,” Danny’s eyes widened. “What’re ye gonna do!”                                                 

Gawain reached over and threw the door open, then hopped outside with the weapon concealed behind his leg.                                                                                                                                

“Aw reet, eyeryone outta the van,” the leader of the biker team called over, jacking a shotgun as he brandished it in plain view. It was as a signal causing the other three bikers to produce their weapons and jack shells into their chambers. “Keep yer hands where we can see ‘em or we take out your windshield. No one has t’get hurt.”                                                                                    

Gawain responded by whipping out the Sterling and opening fire on the bikers. The silencer reduced the explosions to a series of pops as the bikers fell screaming from their motorcycles to the ground. He walked over and sprayed each man in the face, causing their brains to splatter across the pavement before he returned to the van.                                                          

“What th’ feck did ye just do!” Malice was aghast. “Th’ feckin’ road’s still blocked, an’ th’ first motorcar that comes along’ll call the peelers fer sure!”                                                                    

Gawain replied by opening fire into the minivan. The gangsters screamed as the automatic rounds ripped into their bodies, though the fusillade lasted for less than half a minute. As a precaution, Gawain peered into the van before firing shots into the backs of the front seats.                      

“Have ye gone feckin’ mad, Gawain!” Danny screamed, wiping the gore from his face that had spewed from the torn heads of the men on either side of him.                                                          

“You two,” Gawain pointed the Sterling at Malice and Venom, sitting next to the dead man draped across their laps. “Ye can buy yerself time by clearin’ that road.”                                        

“Ye crazy son of a bitch,” Malice gasped. “We’ll never make it t’Armagh. Ye just fecked us all, ye sick bastard.”                                                                                                                             

Gawain stepped aside, keeping the Sterling trained on the gangsters as they stood the bikes up and rolled them off the road. He then motioned them into the front seats after they pulled the dead men out of the van. Malice gunned the engine and the minivan continued along the way to Armagh.                                                                                                                                                

“What’s yer move now, ye sick fecker?” Venom asked hoarsely. 

“The peelers’ll have an APB out as soon as they come across that shite. They’ll take the cases, and when the Big Mick finds out what happened…”                                                                                                                                    

“Shut th’ feck up an’ keep drivin’.”                                                                                                   

The minivan barely traveled ten miles before helicopters were swirling around the skies above the highway. They saw a convoy of emergency vehicles coming in from South Armagh, and one of the helicopters proceeded to shine a spotlight down on their vehicle.                                             

“All right, pull over,” Gawain ordered.                                                                                                

Malice did as he was told, parking the van off to the left side of the road and cutting off the engine. With that, Gawain pulled his Glock-17 from his ankle holster and fired shots into the backs of the heads of both men in the front seats. Danny stared in horror as Gawain unbuckled his holster, rubbed it down to erase his prints, then tossed it into the front seat.                                               

“Now then,” Gawain pointed the Glock at Danny’s face as they heard the police vans screeching to a halt and barking orders over their loudspeakers. “Here’s the deal. There are no witnesses to what happened back there, and no witnesses left in here. These bastards were the only survivors besides us back there, and you managed to pull your hideout before they finished us off here.”                                                                                                                                                          

“What hideout?” Danny croaked. 

Gawain rubbed the Glock off and tossed it to Danny just as the van doors were thrown open by the riflemen surrounding the vehicle.