What does Sportex and Monte Vista CC represent?
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Sportex, a department store chain owned by a Philippine entrepreneur, and Monte Vista Country Club represent motifs in Jessica Hagedorn's satirical and exuberant novel, Dogeaters. In a 1991 interview in BOMB cultural magazine, Hagedorn describes the genesis of Sportex: "Sportex is based on a couple of big stores in the Philippines." One of them, she goes on to say, is Shoe Mart, a kind of institutional development of the Pinoy open market. Catering to the middle class, it sells a wide variety of consumer goods at reasonable prices - from shoes to native foods. It, she concludes, is egalitarian and omnipresent. The other store, occupying the high end of the consumer spectrum, is Roostan's, selling expensive items quite out of the reach of the vast majority of Philippine culture. Hagedorn "combined both Shoe Mart and Roostan's, high class and low class, into Sportex." The transformed store represents the novel's melange of Pinoy society, from company founder and owner, the fabulously wealthy and powerful Severo Alacran, to company employee, Trinidad Gamboa, a sales associate who, like many of the other characters, aspires to affluence and prestige.
The Monte Vista Golf and Country Club is another one of Severo Alacran's enterprises. He owns many things - newspapers, movie theaters, companies, and this country club. He is the richest man in the Philippines, and also owns this exclusive Manila country club. The country club is a place where the wealthy Alacrans and Gonzagas not only meet to play golf, but to do their wheeler-dealer business transactions. Rio says that an important part of her father's job is to play golf all day. What she means is that it is important for the wealthy families to be seen at this club. It is where families as well as the businessmen get together. Both Sportex and the Monte Vista Country Club represent the extravagances of the wealthy in this novel. As opposed to the poor, marginalized characters such as Joey Sands and Romeo Rosales who can barely survive, the country club set is wasteful and extravagant, throwing parties where tons of food is discarded, all hard to get items from the United States. Sportex and Monte Vista represent the social oppression of the rich in the 1950s Philippines, in which the novel is set.
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