Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) by Jose Rizal , Harold Augenbraum (Translator)

Description: A passionate love story set against the ugly political backdrop of repression, torture, and murder, “The Noli,” as it is called in the Philippines, was the first major artistic manifestation of Asian resistance to European colonialism, and Rizal became a guiding conscience—and martyr—for the revolution that would subsequently rise up in the Spanish province.

Free download: https://www.goodreads.com/ebooks/down…

Title taken from John 20:17

Opening: A Social Gathering: On the last of October Don Santiago de los Santos, popularly known as Capitan Tiago, gave a dinner. In spite of the fact that, contrary to his usual custom, he had made the announcement only that afternoon, it was already the sole topic of conversation in Binondo and adjacent districts, and even in the Walled City, for at that time Capitan Tiago was considered one of the most hospitable of men, and it was well known that his house, like his country, shut its doors against nothing except commerce and all new or bold ideas. Like an electric shock the announcement ran through the world of parasites, bores, and hangers-on, whom God in His infinite bounty creates and so kindly multiplies in Manila. Some looked at once for shoe-polish, others for buttons and cravats, but all were especially concerned about how to greet the master of the house in the most familiar tone, in order to create an atmosphere of ancient friendship or, if occasion should arise, to excuse a late arrival.

I have an acquaintance who says she can go for weeks in noli me tangere mode. Her conversation becomes surface and benign, platitudes reign supreme and I love her for it, she has a tough job, crowded family life and over-stretched social agenda. So when searching for an amusing visual for her birthday I was pretty well taken by surprise that this phrase formed the title of a book, and it was available as a free download.

The English title of this book is ‘The Social Cancer’ and it is over 500 pages of present tense observations, some of which made me smile:

‘One of the civilians is a very small man with a black beard, the only thing notable about him being his nose, which, to judge from its size, ought not to belong to him.’

I skim read, just hovering over passages that related to the bigger picture of those time, yet had hours of interest piqued by surfing for historical facts concerning the ousting of Spain from the Philippines.

Photo of Jose Rizals execution (1896).

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