introduction
‘‘
The
only things that matter in this fallen world,’’ Rudyard Kipling ad-
vised his friend W. Cameron Forbes in 1913, ‘‘are transportation and
sanitation.’’∞ Forbes, the governor-general of the Philippines and a fastidious
Harvard man, believed that the greater of these was sanitation. Indeed, since
the defeat of Spanish forces in the archipelago in 1898, the American colonial
authorities had eagerly taken up the burden of cleansing their newly acquired
part of the Orient, attempting to purify not only its public spaces, water,
and food, but also the bodies and conduct of the inhabitants. According to
Victor G. Heiser, who was director of health in the Philippines from 1905 to
1915, it had to be understood that ‘‘the health of these people is the vital
question of the Islands. To transform them from the weak and feeble race we
have found them into the strong, healthy and enduring people that they may
yet become is to lay the foundations for the successful future of the country.’’≤
American military and civil health officers thus dedicated themselves to regis-
tering and refashioning Filipino bodies and social life, to forging an improved
sanitary race out of the raw material found in the Philippine barrio. Hygiene
reform in this particular fallen world was intrinsic to a ‘‘civilizing process,’’
which was also an uneven and shallow process of Americanization.
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