Friday, October 28, 2011

Expecting "Patriotism" and "Life" written by "Harlots" and "Merchants"

Expecting "Patriotism" and "Life"
written by "Harlots" and "Merchants"

Sorry for the name of this post, but this writeup mirrors the reality how today's contemporary culture outweighs patriotism resulting to what everybody else thinks about what the Philippines, both country and people is.

That, basing much on our surroundings, and on what mass media propagates, the culture prevailing nowadays is a culture of the west and east simply being adored by many to the extent of putting some "Filipino" twist to accommodate more and perhaps in pursuit of making it "Filipino" the way an Italian Spaghetti should be sweet and sour to accommodate the Filipino taste.

Due to the overtly influx of foreign goods, including TV programs and movies, people became totally dependent from it; and as from the earlier statement, putting some "Filipino" twist to accommodate more, thus generating profits to those who tried to insist through; no matter what response from the people would say so about it.

That, we sought a massive trend prevailing and making near-carbon copies of it such as drug-sex-brag laced "mainstream" Hip-Hop culture whether it is from the Ghettoes controlled by African-Americans or Chicanos (that some old-school Hip Hop fans as well as Progressive ones would dare to oppose it), Movies and TV programs from the Far East (especially those from Korea) and last but not the least the prevailing culture from the U.S.-a legacy what Filipinos tried to break away entirely ...or not.

And no matter most people dare to put some "Filipino" flavor in it, its appearance would still look a rehash of its very own past (unless some from it making it purely realistic and Filipino in character no matter what foreign genre is): that most Hip-hoppers for example would hear sex-themed music and women wear skimpy clothing and trying to get attention yet Hip Hop originally speaks of emancipation from the Ghetto and of the individual from the repressive social order; that Tupac Shakur dared to challenge the order the way his parents (both members of the Black Panther party) did; but why Soulja Boy? Or in case of the Filipino experience, having BLKD venting social realism (such as Poverty, Tuition Fee Increases) in his words during a Rap battle session but why those from the street would still hear Juan Thugs, Gagong Rapper, and others who usually sings about being unlucky in love, about a narcotic, or everything just to provide escape from realities? (Sorry to the listener for that, I am just making an assessment although I do listen for quite some time)

Of cultural idealists people didn't think upon as artists

On the other hand, there are people whose idealism and looking at realities tried to create something yet people had least to understand it's very own essence. Francis Magalona tried to instill Patriotism in his music and his clothing range of course, but people simply think of it as a mere fad that they wear clothes bearing "Three Stars and a Sun" simply because that came from his, that because it is popular, that is to show being "Filipino", and so forth. Same goes in Noel Cabangon's music-obviously he's once an activist preaching about change, that his song "Tatsulok" speaks about the Filipino society as a majority being ruled by a minority; even "Kanlungan" that speaks about leaving and returning, but then it end up a sell-out than of making people know about what their country is: that most would say that "Kanlungan" was the song from an old McDonald commercial and "Tatsulok" was sung by Bamboo Manalac, memorizing the lyrics without knowing its substance.

If that's the case then does having a fashion, music, movie, TV program using a "Patriotic" statement make a person Patriotic? Or just a fad, a ploy used by the prevailing order in desperately currying popular support and making them contented to it?

The Balkan experience and its near similarities to Filipino contemporary pop music

Well, it all reminds me of a country that shared the similar fate, especially in music: the former Yugoslavia and Romania.

Yugoslav culture was so similar despite religious and territorial differences that, in pursuit of "Brotherhood and Unity" it tried to infuse different cultures-in a manner that Croats, Serbs, Slovenes, Bosnians, having belonged to the Slavic ethnicity be described altogether as "Yugoslavs" same as their homeland was-and their culture.

However, since most people in Yugoslavia were urbanized, its culture was also affected, especially folk music-resulting to a variety of music genres such as Turbo Folk.

Turbo Folk was and is, one of the recognized music the way Novelty songs being played most of the time in the Philippines-they have similarities that, aside from acquiring a massive audience, of having modern-day (like synthesizer and Drum machine) and traditional instruments (especially acoustic guitar) being fused and used, they carry meaningless or quasi-meaningful lyrics with a variety of topics such as "love", "fame", and "struggle" while its people, especially those who escape the crisis sought solace in it.

But then, it fell down to imitating western music despite using native language and music as its producers and creators of Turbo-folk, in making the genre popular have copied the aesthetics of American rap or pop clips, filling every shot with scantily clad women and covered everyone with so much jewellery that the combined weight of gold and jewels would undoubtedly number in the kilos or girls imitating Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and the like yet much seductive like Goca Sekulić, Olja and Jelena Karleuša and Ceca Raznatovic.

As a writer, upon listening to Turbo Folk, as well as Manele (a music genre in Romania), as well as relating it to the present music in the Philippines (especially novelty and rap music), it simply carries the same appeal as it reached the hearts and minds of the lower class regardless of its near-meaningless topics such as "love"-to the extent of calling it as "erotic", as well as "drug-and-gun culture influenced" in its words being sung and its singer-like Ceca Raznatovic, who aside from making Turbo Folk popular, also married a notorious criminal and paramilitary leader named Zeljko Raznatovic, known by his nom de guerre, Arkan (with their marriage being called a matrimony of pornography and patriotism). Same goes in the Philippines (although not related to music, but carried some populist appeal) like Korina Sanchez (a newscaster) who married Mar Roxas (then a Senator, and even proposed marriage earlier in front of the audience of a show hosted by Willie Revilliame), or even much earlier, when Congressman Jules Ledesma married sexy actress Assunta de Rossi, and much much earlier, when Congressman Ferdinand Marcos married "the rose of Tacloban" Imelda Romualdez.

These experiences, whether music or not, yet affected the minds of the people made these a tactic of the ruling class to use the masses, from mind to persona for their own benefit although controversial-as Ceca, known for singing erotic-laced Turbo Folk married to a gun-toting politico-criminal Arkan; or Mar Roxas used Willie Revilliame's show back then in ABS-CBN proposing marriage to Korina Sanchez. Sorry to say so, but it unveils the system raping popular culture, of using the feelings of the masses for their very own benefit-making some people criticize the culture they sought much for celebrating the external symbols of easy acquisition of wealth, being too eroticized, promoting violence, escapism and exaggeration of feelings.

Otherwise, such content we usually see, hear, taste, and experience all the time are merely representatives of the global pop-cultural scene, of wholesale westernization being excessively integrated into the common Filipino culture (like noontime shows, that originally based on both talent and game shows; and soap operas basing much on comics and pocketbook romances). They even point out that an average music video shown on MTV, MYX, or its sound being played on Love Radio or being downloaded online and played in Mp3 Players depicts just as many if not more "women treated as objects", golden chains on muscular bodies, repetition of green jokes, and generally everything that is recognized and condemned as banal, vulgar, sub-intellectual and unsophisticated; even it has "patriotic flavor" in it like treating patriotic symbols as mere logos devoid of meaning, leaving it merely as aesthetic nonsense or if too much, chauvinism and xenophobia like those who rant out of Spratlys.

For sure most people are enough of these experiences and wanting to stop it. Yes, that some are tired of listening, or seeing people becoming vulgar, having almost pornographic kitsch, glorifying crime, and a corrupted moral around the community with its appearances, as what Ivana Kronja said, a manifestation of an "aggressive, sadistic and pornographically eroticised iconography" that justifies the prevalence of Machismo chauvinism and subjugation of women in all spheres in the society.

After all, trying to parallel the current music scene with those of the balkans, it somehow becomes enough connected despite its different ethnic backgrounds: that the novelty music and love songs within contemporary OPM music being blared most of the time in mainstream radio in the Philippines are similar enough to those of Turbo-folk and Pop-folk in former Yugoslavia and Romania; that the love songs of Yugoslavia's Ceca Raznatovic are quite like those of the Philippines' very own Imelda Papin (or Ara Mina for late 90s and 00s sake).


To conclude this writeup, I, as a writer would say that the Philippines tried to "modernize" its culture yet it end up submitting to the wishes of those imposing agreements that seemed unequal to Filipino sovereignty. We may see people wearing "Barong Tagalog", dancing the "Kuratsa Mayor", looking at the Apayew (Rice Terraces) and getting satisfied after eating Lechon or having a Hilot massage yet these are merely reduced to a mere formal significance to say there's a culture prevailing for all tourists to see, same as collective action that end up a mere rhetoric for politicians appeasing the growing tide of masses who themselves bond collectively to counter their rule. Comparing to Malaysia, Japan, China that had still keeping its culture by modernizing it-with the Petronas towers had striking resemblance to traditional architecture using modern methods, and urging people to drive cars such as Proton.

And since these countries had its culture intact, why not start modernize, innovate what comes directly from the root than getting contented on mere exports? Of having lives and love of home be written by serious, hardworking people basing their dreams and aspirations from concrete realities than of those who trying to throw themselves to the dogs or those who make profit from it?

Sorry to say some of the words being vented upon in this writeup, but then this nation needs a overhaul in all sides. And for sure few would likely to understand this while more and more entice to enjoy a gold-foiled shit (sorry for the term) served upon to everyone. God forbid, but like sugar, too much costs loss of knowledge, brawn, and perhaps lives supposed be contributive to social well being. I do recognize people trying enough to instill patriotism like Magalona, but in the eyes of a common man, would think of it as an artist making rap music popular than a patriot trying to instill patriotism using his talent.

Rizal's "Idealism" is the Filipino Everydayman's Realism

Rizal's "Idealism" is the Filipino Everydayman's Realism

"Each one writes history according to his convenience."

These are the words Jose Rizal said to Ferdinand Blumentritt during his sojourn in Europe in 1886.At first we think of it as true since most of us are making our own fate that made us "convenient" especially to those who tend to escape from everything disastrous in pursuit of something that is "peace and quiet." However, These words somehow also made Rizal think how people creates its own fate same as its own society, and it somehow corresponds to a Chinese quote and it said, 'The Masses Are the Makers of History'; yes, for it is the masses who endure repression, not just the ones who initiated are the ones who started the clamor for radical change.

But then, every quote being said so are likely to be reduced into a mere sentiment or an idea being bannered upon to by such individuals and calling it as "idealism" or a "figment of an imagination." If so, then how come every event corresponds to what Rizal hath said in his books?

I may not been against "Idealists" so to speak, but then most of them tend to act like Jose Rizal in order to negate the rising tide of radical change coming from the laboring people. They may've used Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo just to justify favoring "Reform" over "Revolution", of Ibarra over Simoun, but then how come there are still Elias and Cabesang Tales around us? Like Cervantes, Rizal may've been taking time focusing on books and artwork; like Don Quixote searching for an "Impossible Dreamand its fans wasting time on his works and emulating his way of self-gratification guised as knowledge, yet the vast majority end up in pain in their back and out of it, willing to take revenge than getting contented to it as possible.

His longing for Leonor Rivera for example, this so-called "obsession", despite Rivera married the British Kipping made him not to seriously gave way to other women whom he met and perhaps loved with, like Boustead, Jacoby or O Sei San; all except for the Irish Josephine Bracken whom he seriously being with as a "permanent substitute", or I should say in a Tagalog parlance a "Panakit butas" in his barren heart. How come Rizal can't move on until he met Bracken? Was Rivera really correspond to the Philippines in the form of Maria Clara? Whose beauty, charm and submission, contentment embodies the psyche of a Filipina? Yet on the other hand praised the Spartan women whom likely to take arms and fight for their and others' lives as what Josephine Bracken did? Which of the two really corresponds to the Filipina then?

Well, back to the main topic (sorry for tackling Rizal's love life) Perhaps his consumption of hashish as an experiment made his mind having "colour" in it. Sorry to say so again in regards to that, but like his, we tend to experiment ourselves out of our realities, of our senses. That also became an infuence in our later works and to others as basis for our "ideals", but then Rizal's experiences aren't really idealism; Americans simply codified it as his "idealism" but in fact products of his very own realities as scenes from Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo continues to linger even in an era of Cellphones, Internet and other sorts of wholesale westernization. I may have disagreed Rizal's passivism but then I still acknoledge him as a hero-he may not carried weaponry nor lead directly as what Bonifacio did, for he preferred acting as a scapegoat, a nitrogycerin bomb in Simoun's hand triggering a change that is left unfinished.

But then, despite all these, we sought a distorted picture of Rizal and his fellow heroes and noble countrymen. ‘We are brainwashed to glorify traitors and enemies of the Revolution and the Motherland’ according to Domingo de Guzman, that despite unearthing everything about his and other's lives, we kept on thinking that Rizal was merely an idealist who dissuade people from advancing armed struggle in favor of reforms that deemed impossible; not noticing that Rizal also became an inspiration by those who insist so as well as he himself offered Antonio Luna for the revolution whilst keeping himself aloof in it. Yes, he favored education over revolution but why not he joined in and head the education department of the Katipunan?

Anyway, as Rizal said to Blumentritt:
"We want the happiness of the Philippines, but we want to obtain it through noble and just means. If I have to commit villainy to make her happy, I would refuse to do so, because I am sure that what is built on sand sooner or later would tumble down."Good to read this kind of quote Rizal hath said, especially that he urged Filipinos to traverse the long and winding road to self determination and prosperity by means beneficial to them. But to others, especially those who took his words as detrimental to the tide of popular change it meant reducing things to mere sentiment-like reducing struggles to lobbying and negotiations for example; Rizal perhaps wanted everything "by all means" especially in the latter days as a patriot although he still wanted to give reforms, education a chance over Bonifacio as well as others who chose taking up arms, but still how come Filipinos rally over the one who endures than the one who sees? Especially to those whose reason was land and bread rather than "National independence" alone? Yes, Rizal may have wrote Noli and El Fili, but compare to the one who endure forced labor which is worth fighting for? Anyway, it unveils himself as "the spirit of contradiction; a soul that dreads the revolution, although deep down desires it." according to Unamuno, and it was shown by his actions contradicting his works, or rather say his idealism that contradicts his realities.I personally made this work not to misjudge him, but rather to think that Rizal himself is a realist rather than an idealist as others may've seen of him. Aguinaldo, and later the Americans made him a hero due to his works and ideals, whilst his words and actions are being reduced to mere sentiment as we suspect of it; not noticing how come El Filibusterismo still had an open ending and one by one willing to write an unfinished part or another book to continue in it. Hernandez somehow did it with his Ibong Mandaragit, that involved both education and organization as tools for self determination as we ought to see and take, but then we tend to look at the perspective of those trying to dissuade people from the very meaning of change. Of substituting sheeps for wolves, of tamed slaves than a noble savage.Sorry to say so but that's fit enough to be called "true", we expect people tend to "just" codify his thought and be dubbed thee as "idealism" not noticing that his words aren't just sprout from his mind but rather out of realities he've sought or experienced as an individual-as during his time everything, even morals are tied to the economic structure such as feudalism; that superstition and overtly literal interpretation of Christian faith justified corvée labor and massive accumulation of wealth by the vested gentry; and Rizal wanted these to be "break" down whilst keeping the productive and positivistic ones as he himself wanted a major overhaul in the society in pursuit of the advancing times. That justifying self-desire for total greed is one of the narrowest of all justifications, tell it to the massed ranks of hungry, destitute peoples crying for land, peace, bread, justice and they will respond with direct fists and kicks, aggro over the wretched parasites who steal wealth from those who create in it like what Bonifacio or earlier leaders of spontaneous revolts insisted. And somehow these meant what Filipino ought and how to struggle for self-determination, he may still insist education like Crisostomo Ibarra, but more and more Simouns will be its results. As what one writeup said:"In his first novel "Noli Me Tangere", Rizal did not endorse a bloody revolution, instead, he introduced the possibility of reformation. In his second novel "El FIlibusterismo", Rizal showed how the abuse and maltreatment of the Spanish system would lead the Filipinos to revolt against them."But despite these, the system still clings to the desperate "idealism" just as what America tries to codify Rizal's thought, but instead of Ibarras and Simouns, we'll expect more and more Basio Macunats and Senor Pastas out of it. Or as what Constantino thinks of: Veneration without understanding.

Regarding Qaddafi's death and the (succeeding) consequences of the Libyan situation

Regarding Qaddafi's death
and the (succeeding) consequences of the Libyan situation

"I’m not ashamed to admit I’m writing this with tears in my eyes."

These are the first words said in a writeup regarding Qaddafi by James P. of the American Front. It somehow pleases methat despite the "hatred", of being demonized by the media, there are still people around the world paid respect to a man who, despite his contributions to Libyan society end up lynched and shot by a mob.

Sad isn't it that despite wanting him to put on trial or what they end up putting him killed "for the sake of democracy", while at the same time thinking that despite trying-hard means to put things in order will rather end up contrary to it-as most people would clamor for free electricity, good roads, good education and social services rather than be ruled by a mob, sponsored by vested interests scrambling for oil in a once-proud African country.

And although I oppose some of his moves that seemed "anti-popular", Gaddafi somehow put forward what real self-determination was, and that was to make a "new" Libya willing to take the risk of getting intervened by outside powers such as England, France or the United States and its domestic puppets and turncoats-including taking a vow of sacrifice like himself, and his people end up as corpses blood flowing in Sirte or Misrata. And people would remember him much that they afford free electricity and a good literacy rate all despite the odds given especially as what we've seen lately.

In fact, I remember reading a copy of a his "Green Book" when I was a student; and what I had seen on that book is entirely a critique-assessment on what every society goes on and on-especially in regards to politics and culture. Especially that Qaddafi criticized "Democracy" and "Parliaments" as misrepresenting people and in favor of the elite. Yes, despite having different perspectives I agreed in his stance as I or we obviously sought elitists and not the masses who took decisions in it; worse having the fact that votes can be bought and falsified during elections and choices limited to the wishes of the few whilst letting the people choosing which is which.

And thus,
As we expect these things around us, of having Oligarchs, insufficient distribution of welfare in exchange for labour, is this "Democracy" preached by everyone? Having elections bought, sold, falsified? A "Democracy" ran by an elite and with vested interests whilst disregarding or reducing social justice into a mere sentiment? For sure most of us are greatly concerned or confused about this hell of a kind matter, especially to those who end up having a boycott out of it simply because of having a rotten system maintained with a hodge-podge of promises and pepper spray, of carrot and stick. After all, Qaddafi's writeup somehow showed an idea what Democracy should be and that is the rule of the people.

And with his and his people's deaths during the civil war, of the growing number of wounded casualties, bullets being spent, houses and buildings being bombed, of foreign intervention led by NATO, it all somehow justifies Mao Zedong's quote concerning war and peace, that:

"War is a continuation of politics, and there are at least two types: just (progressive) and unjust wars, which only serve bourgeois interests. While no one likes war, we must remain ready to wage just wars against imperialist agitations."

Weird to say so about it, but the fact is that the battle sponsored by the west was and is an example of an unjust wars only to serve someone else's interests. Iraq's people were killed for an obvious reason of pumping oil in it, and so is Libya's; "The freedom of a human being is lacking if his or her needs are controlled by others, for need may lead to the enslavement of one person by another. Furthermore, exploitation is caused by need. Need is an intrinsic problem and conflict is initiated by the control of one's needs by another." as what Qaddafi said in his book, and for sure entities willing to exploit Libyan oil are for sure realizing this quotation. NATO bombed houses as they need it in ousting Qaddafi, then oil companies go through exploiting oil in it-then selling it expensively for they need profits in it! So what's the essence of their "freedom" if they themselves not noticed that they are indirectly exploited by the west? I personally against atrocities made during Qaddafi's regime same as those being called "rats" but then to sum it all who's benefiting the conflict? Is it the people who kept on waving the flag of Idris? Will it inculcate plans and opportunities better than what Qaddafi did?

People someday will know that they will laugh at themselves and regret their actions. EDSA Revolution for instance, whose product is rampant poverty worse than the latter days of the Marcos regime and a system worsened by vested interests also made some people lay low and nearly regret what they've did to it;

But on the other hand more are willing to advance an idea greater than the man from Sirte did; and whether we like it or not, it will involve blood and iron as what Bismark said.

Condolences for the fallen, but Libya will never be the same, especially when people had:

free electricity,
free great medical care,
interest free loans,
govt. paid 50% for purchase of a car,
govt gave newly married couples $50,000 to buy a house...

Everything to say that "Qaddafi was worth remembering."

We will continue the fight, which is also our Fight.
To Victory or Death. Yours for the Resistance,

Paul S.