I hope you have enjoyed the first seven chapters of Book One of my five book, auto-history story called The Saga of Fray Paco.
I also thought you might enjoy reading an email I recently sent to John Ball (which I've expanded for this post) about Fray Paco and some of the themes I am writing about. As always I look forward to your comments and emails.
The Saga of Fray Paco is not only the story of my clan. It is the history of the world as perceived by a rare white cockatoo capable of cognitive thoughts. Fray Paco existed ... I grew up with him. He was the oldest member of my clan and as such he had lived with many of its most fascinating members. I thought that Fray Paco as a central character in my 5 book series would be both unusual and would provide an inciteful glimpse to the 100+ years in which he lived.
The voice of Fray Paco is the voice of Humanity, imperfect, passionate and profoundly integral.
This species of cockatoo (now extinct) live to between 120 and 150 years. Imagine the things they see, hear and experience! For those of you who have had a close experience with their pets -- there is a real joy in seeing the intelligence and the ability to relate to a different species. While I have had many types of pets over the years ... a golden pig, a bat, numerous dogs and cats, a turtle, a horse, viper, and even a panther -- they pale in comparison with Fray Paco. He was totally unique ... and I dare say even brilliant. I have seen Fray Paco reason better and quicker than an adult, and he could out cuss anybody I've ever met, and in more languages.
The Janus –like existence of Don Pedro de Freitas, pirate and Don Pedro de Silva, merchant reflect the ethical, religious and moral ambiguity of man.
Every protagonist in the four books after Book One – The Catala -- has his or her own voice as well. They are all larger than life individuals with extraordinary virtues and outrageous vices. The one thing they all have in common is a brave heart and an abstract love for their fellow man. This soon turns into concrete kindness when those collective abstract humans in need somehow cross their paths.
Concerning the first few chapters I have presented dealing with the capture of Fray Paco some background and commentary is in order.
The Dutch East India Company was the first multinational in the world. It was the first attempt by a cabal of bankers and merchants to experiment with globalism. The Romans had done it successfully for centuries until the fall of Rome. Suleyman the Magnificent created a form of globalism that was multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi–racial. Life improved under his rule.
Not so with the Dutch East India Company. Its shareholders earned 700% in less than a year. Its army and navy were brutal in their attitude towards the people of Indonesia. Yet they attended church on Sundays with clean consciences. They did not consider the Indonesian Malays as human beings like themselves. Their customs and their brown-ness rendered them somewhat inferior in their eyes.
Pirates and Corsairs have always roamed the Malacca Straits (see map above) and the South China Seas since time immemorial. Li- Ma Hong the Chinese pirate not only attacked Manila but he and his fleet almost occupied the city.
Pirates in the Malacca Straits and in the South China Seas attack every year hundreds of yachts, ships and boats. Sometimes the vessels disappear without a trace. Nothing is ever heard from them again. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports that in the Strait of Malacca (where attacks dropped from 79 in 2005 to 50 in 2006) accounted for 40% of piracy worldwide. The IMB reported in October 2007 that Indonesia continued to be the world's most pirate-struck region with 37 attacks since January 2007.
I hope you have enjoyed the story thus far. In the coming days and weeks I shall introduce some of the other characters in the five book saga.