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El Filibusterismo: Summary and Analysis of Chapter 16 (The Tribulations of a Chinese)


Summary:
Quiroga is a Chinese doing business in the Philippines.  He  holds a dinner at his house, and all the important people arrive -- merchants and other businessmen, soldiers, and even those holding positions in the government.  Simoun is there, too.  He approaches Quiroga and asks the him if Simoun could use the Chinaman's warehouse momentarily to store several rifles, guns and other weapons.  Simoun offers to take out a portion of Quiroga's debt to the jeweler in exchange for this favor.

Points of Note:
Scholars say that Quiroga is one of the first of a long posterity of Filipino-Chinese citizens who to this day continue to contribute to literature and business in the country.

Through the character of Quiroga Rizal warns of the dangers brought to the country by crafty Chinese businessmen.  Rizal describes how they shower those in power with extravagant gifts in order to gain favor, and then raise the prices of the goods they sell in order to get back the money spent on such gifts.

Remember in this chapter that it is Simoun who invites the others to watch the show by Mr. Leeds.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Compare and contrast Quiroga and Captain Tiago with regards to how they prepare social gatherings.
Answer: Captain Tiago is devoted to getting, and delights himself in, an abundance of guests.  This is one distinctive Filipino trait.  Quiroga, however, is different.  He thinks to himself while shaking hands with his guests, "I know you haven't come for me but for the food and enjoyment I've prepared."  (It isn't clear why Rizal doesn't mention anything to depict the Chinese as gracious and cavalier).

Question: Why does Quiroga suddenly feel a shiver down his spine the moment he sees Simoun?
Answer: Simoun is a very powerful man, and Quiroga feels intimidated by his presence.  Also, the Chinaman owes Simoun 9000 pesos for a piece of jewelry.

Question: Why does Simoun let out a smile when the Chinaman complains and laments to him about the latter's business?
Answer: Simoun knows that if one hears complaints from a Chinese businessman then that means business is doing great.  If word around town is that his business is well and prospering, then that means he's nearing bankruptcy.  Today, one would know if a Chinaman is going bankrupt: His store will go down in flames.

Question: How does Rizal discourage Filipino women from marrying Chinese men?
Answer: Quiroga's wife, an Indio, is locked up in a room like a typical Chinese girl.  (As Chinese tradition goes, women are merely for the amusement of the men.)

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