‘My name is Jose. This is how it is spelled (J-O-S-E). In the Philippines we pronounce it the same way as in English (Hosay). And the Arabs pronounce it is as do the Spanish speakers (Khosay). And the Portuguese speakers, they spell it the same, and pronounce it (Josay). But all these name variations have nothing to do with my name here, in Kuwait. Here I am Essa.’
‘If I were to be like the bamboo tree, a tree of no belonging. Break a part of its stalk and plant it, with no roots, in any land. It does not wait long before its new roots break into earth. It grows all over again in a new land. It lets go of its past. It lets go of its memories. It does not even care that people have not agreed on its name – kawayan in the Philippines, khaizaran in Kuwait, or bamboo in other places.’
An adaptation of two beautiful excerpts from a beautiful book. The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi.