Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The mythological roots of working class symbols and its significance

The mythological roots of working class symbols 
and its significance

People had noticed much that the Hammer and Sickle, Red Flag, or even the Red Star had been deemed as a symbol of Communism. As it had been represented the unity of the laboring people of town and country, their symbols manifested the tools of the exploited in the struggle for social revolution as envisioned by the past especially those of Babeuf, Marx, and others that until today had been struggling for. 

However, despite its high social significance, and to the disdain of every systems such as Capitalism, it also had traditional meanings as been understood deeply. 

For the Druids of the past, the sickle is the tool that used for gathering sacred or healing herbs for the ritual especially during the season of harvest, especially those of crops would be dead and still offer life, with Druids whom generally see no difference in the concept of life and death but both part of the wheel of the universe. 

While the hammer, being symbol for the workers, is also the tool that is being held by the god Thor, Hephaestus for the Greeks, as well as Neptune for the Romans, all as those who forge weapons and tools. Futhermore, Thor's hammer, Mjölnir,  is related to words such as the Icelandic verbs mölva ("to crush") and mala ("to grind"), and Swedish noun mjöl ("flour"), all related to English meal, mill, and miller. Hence, with the Sickle to reap the wheat, the Hammer serves as the grinder as its analogy.

These two symbols united, other than a union of workers and peasants lay a significant meaning such as those of a union between man and the sacred, a contact to the divine in a way the sickle corresponds to the harvest whilst the hammer for the forge, all but creation inherited by the divine to the people whom tirelessly trying to create a society "in each according to work, in each according to need." 

However, it is quite strange for people so to speak that the symbol became a "bogeyemblem" for the so-called free world especially during the cold war. But in looking at its roots somewhat lies a different meaning that brought curiousity for the writer prior to making this writeup such as Druids and ancient gods, harvest and forging as basis for the symbol itself; obviously, for the fanatics of the Christian or any kind of faith would say that it is hence deemed as a symbol for the anti-Christ or an evil being simply because of its pagan roots, not noticing that those symbols corresponds to creation left by the divine and hence entrusted to the people. As peasants, and guildspeople of the past also took revolt against the wealthy landlords and the established order, they often took their tool as its very own weapon the way being used as for their labor. 

That even the Red flag, whose meaning is the blood of the workers is itself a colour for the royalty; and it also corresponds to the intermediate stage of human spirituality as a follower after black (as an initiate) and before white (as a master). The red star, representing the five continents, also had significance to religion such as Christianity and Islam. 

Perhaps, it takes long time for people to understood deeply the symbols deemed as contrary to the system as Marx's "Spectre of Communism" continues to wander throughout the ages that even until today with the laboring people, being creators of history continues to struggle with its tools of trade raised against the rotting, dilapidated social order. 

Or as what Suzanne Collins said in her Hunger Games:

"May the Odds be ever in your favor."

Monday, 29 April 2013

Of martyrdom and vengeance: Revisiting Iranian "Revolutionary" art

Of martyrdom and vengeance: 
Revisiting Iranian "Revolutionary" art

Young Girl Carrying Rifle, 1979
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 3, Poster 60
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

In seeing its posters that bore faces of martyrs, blood, vengeance with its warriors marching under the flag of Ali and the Islamic crescent, this writer somehow sought how Iranians during those times bear the culture of martyrdom that, according to their faith lies paradise and victory.

Once, according to an article from Time magazine regarding Islamic warriors and its action in Afghanistan, said that a person who had joined the Mujahidin and lived victorious hence called a Ghazi, but to die in a battlefield for its own faith becomes a Shahid; Ghazis tend to be known for its exploits as it gains respects from the adherents of its faith and even the enemies because of its gallantry, but for a Shahid lies paradise with its door open for them, that they fought for their faith and home, all despite being killed violently such as wiling to charge in a field full of mines or captured and executed as an enemy combatant.

This writer happens to be not into their belief, but in its history lies how Iran's "Islamic Revolutionary" past also tends to show something significant through art not just the protest marches and their stubborn defense against Iraq, or even the paranoia against the United States whom they described thoroughly as the great satan that represses the entire world. Thinking how people rarely looked at their art, such its posters, murals, and other stuff while looking at Iran's very rich historical artifact such as silverware, calligraphy, sculpture, everything Persian in particular that the land really known for.

Quite strange for others to think of how Iran chose to think of martyrdom than steering for a stereotypical progress, that they cling into their faith than to build a stereotypical modern future in accordance to the standards brought by the west especially the United States, not noticing how the former also tends to show modern yet deeply rooted in its heritage the way Pahlavis tried to present decades before as evidenced by its Azadi monument that highlights heritage by presenting modern architecture as an embodiment of the ideas presented before.

Giving faith, life, freedom, and struggle to the world

During the 20th century, everything ideological encompassed everything from the use of speeches, papers, to the use of visual art especially those of graffiti and posters. Vast mass-produced images were created to understand, educate, organize and mobilize the people against the system. Obviously, artists had to innovate according to their preference in conveying a "Revolutionary" message depending on which ideology they cling on. Posters produced and disseminated before and during the Islamic Revolution in Iran were no exception. Engaged artists, depending on their preferences had created posters or any visual art whose iconography opposed and inverted ideas and images that supported the status quo like those of the Pahlavi regime and its iron-fisted rule. Not just a secondary reflection of the revolutionary movement, these posters played a vital role in the struggles for change and in the articulation of collective ideologies.

According to the writeup made by New York University  regarding the history and significance of the posters, it stated that:

"As social discontent increased throughout the 1970s, some of Iran's leading contemporary artists assumed an active role in the production of political posters. Inspired by the French student movement of 1968, a group of Iranian artists opened a workshop at the University of Tehran in 1978. The workshop provided the materials and equipment for printing posters to members of various political groups. Professional artists worked alongside amateurs. Their results were displayed throughout Tehran—in schools, in factories, and on the walls of other buildings, often defacing public monuments built by the Pahlavi regime as symbols of its authority and grandeur. As government agents tore them down or covered them with paint, protesters would replace them with replenished supplies."

Moreover, they were also influenced by the posters found in Cuba, China, even in the Soviet Union with the latter, as its neighbor had been inspiration for the left with some of its refugees providing material, if not moral support for the struggle.

However, posters and other visual art produced by the government and its supporters after 1979 re-imagined the Revolution rather as an ideologically Islamic one, even though that  it had been comprised of a mixed political constituency such as the Communists or Islamic Marxists like those of the People's Mojahedin. Obviously, regime-sponsored graphic media stressed the Shi'ite aspects of the Revolution, especially with those of Islamic iconography, the virtue of Martyrdom, above all others like social reality or advancing popular interest in order to forward the newly formed government’s claims to religious authority and political legitimacy.

Struggle through the use of traditional and contemporary icons

Most of the visuals made during the Iranian Revolution reflected the fusion of Iranian and modern culture all making direct appeals to action by defying power, subverting authority, and inverting icons as a means to authorize oppositional ways of thinking and behavior. One which example is the use of Tulips.

Tulips, c. 1978–79
Artist: Morteza Momayez
Inscribed (at top): "Tulips have bloomed from the blood of the
nation's youth."
Collection of Nicky Nodjoumi

Tulips had been a part of ancient belief in Iran,  that dating back to ancient times that if a young soldier dies fighting for its own homeland and freedom, a red tulip will grow on his grave. That said idea was revived by that visual from and it has considered as symbol of martyrdom; the Emblem of Iran for instance, being a stylized form of "Allah" is also based from the Tulip.

Emblem of Iran.svg

Emblem of Iran 
by  Hamid Nadimi, 
and  approved by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini 
founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 9 May 1980.

Moreover, it also featured certain symbols somewhat related to Persian culture and hence applied to posters deemed as subversive. According to the same article from NYU, stated that:

"In one poster, the Shah's oil regime becomes a weapon of its own destruction. An oil derrick stands in for the hilt of a dagger plunging through the United States–supported Pahlavi crown. In another poster, the Revolution is visualized as a red arrow that is aimed at a blissful future, exemplified by a red sun. First, however, the revolutionaries must overcome three forces, represented by columns. The revolutionary arrow has already broken through the first column, on which the Pahlavi crown teeters precariously. The second column is marked "internal reaction" and upholds a silhouette of the Shah's profile. Uncle Sam's top hat sits atop the third column, which is labeled "imperialism.""

Muharram: Victory of Blood Over the Sword, ca. 1970–1980s
Middle Eastern Posters Collection,
Box 2, Poster 56
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

This poster, in reference to the battle against the Iraqis and perhaps repression, it reflects martyrdom as evidenced by the blood that broke the sword signifying victory over persecution. Blood somehow meant the struggling people as they do direct and indirect action against the enemies of faith and home.  

Such symbols had tried to instill Revolutionary consciousness to the people as it correlates with Persian setting like oil derricks, red sun, tulips, as well as reactionary symbols like the Pahlavi crown alongside the top hat of Uncle Sam that corresponds to Imperialism.

Using scenes as evidences of struggle

Other than symbols, Iranian revolutionary posters had to show scenes that speaks of Revolutionary consciousness against the Shah's regime as well as outside enemies such as the United States and the Soviet Union. However, the former was highly regarded as the main adversary and being branded as "Great Satan" being the exploiter of people and resources throughout Iran for decades.

A Great Day, 1984
Kazim Chalipa
Iranian, b. 1957
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 3, Poster 117
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

This painting, made in 1984 by Kazim Chalipa reflected the actions taken during the Iranian Revolution. As evidenced by the toppling of the statue of the Shah in Tehran, it showed the people's clamor despite violent reprisals from the military and from the dreaded SAVAK (Secret Police). Chalipa commemorates the event through an oil painting that presents the scene in warm, lush colors typical of the French Romantic style (also prevalent in posters reflecting Revoutionary sentiment such as those of David).

According to the painting, the crowd of protesters are carrying a wounded fellow protester reflecting the violent reprisals especially those from the streets of Tehran while the lower part of the Shah's statue is in midair as it falls off its large pedestal. Fires still burn in the background, illustrating the extreme force the Pahlavi regime used to try to repress the protests and armed action taken by the Revolutionaries.

Photograph of Crowd Around a Toppled Statue of the Shah, 1980
'Abbas ‘Attar
Iranian, b. 1944
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 2, Poster 20
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

In contrast, this poster reflected the victorious action taken by the Revolutionaries as  'Abbas ‘Attar, a famous Iranian photographer, took shots of the events leading to the major uprising of 1978. Street shots of demonstrations had paved way to direct action as the dreaded SAVAK and the military provoked peaceful actions violently leading to similar reprisals such as those of students and protesters carrying guns grabbed from the enemy. The buildup was so slow but chaotic as evidenced by the poster given.

Black Friday Massacre, ca. 1980
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 1, Poster 8
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

However, this poster, although simple, speaks of commemoration especially those of the martyrs of the Revolution. Iranian Revolution speaks of martyrs same as its heroes trying to advance people's interest other those from the Mullahs like Khomeini. The poster, at first is in fact a highly charged tribute to the Black Friday massacre, an event often seen as the point of no return in the momentum as security forces opened fire on protestors in Zhaleh Square in Tehran, killing an estimated 84 demonstrators in 1978. With the map as its evidence, as well as the bilingual Persian-English text instills the fact how the regime that tries to speak "Change" through the so-called "White Revolution" had failed to reach the hearts of the vast majority because  of its repressive policies as well as makes use of martyrial rhetoric (encouraged thoroughly by the Islamic regime), which lauds the importance of Shiite mourning rituals as vehicles for revolutionary fervor against the Pahlavi regime.

Using Islamic Iconography and tradition,
(alongside pop art and realism) as inspiration

As the Iranian Revolution been end controlled by the Mullahs, lies the use of Islamic icons and martyrial rhetoric in invoking Revolutionary sentiment and its consolidation especially during the war against Iraq. Western media somehow described the Iranian Revolution as "Islamic" despite its supposed left-wing and nationalist roots; hence called as "Islamic Revolution" with Imam Ayatollah Khomeini as its supreme leader.

Graffiti Wall with Ayatollah Khomeini and ‘Ali Shariati, 1981
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 4, Poster 175
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

This painting, featuring personalities from Islamic left (as evidenced by Ali Shariati) and right (with Khomeini) showed the prevalence of Islam as a contributory force in the Revolution. People had even used blood attained from injuries or even before their demise to write every wall such as "down with the Shah" or leaving a handprint as an evidence of their struggle. Khomeini's portrait somehow meant the dominant force such as those led by the militant right over those of the militant left including those of Ali Shariati and its successors like the Peoples Mojahedin. White smears smacks of earlier posts being painted, washed off in pursuit of erasing earlier slogans people shouted up to 1978 or 79. But Icons like Khomeini meant the prevalence of Islam as both faith and force of the Iranian Revolution.

Cry Out: The First Night of Muharram, 1979
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 3, Poster 95
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

Made by Khusrawjirdi, it was based  from an Islamic event known as Muharram, and it carried martyrdom as one basic feature of the Revolution. The art of course depicted angry people as Shiite public mourning ceremonies honoring the deceased for forty days became the platform from which protests against the government spread.   At the forefront of the group, a man rips at his shirt, expressing the emotional anguish over the loss of Imam Husayn after a battlefield at Karbala against the Umayyad Caliphate. These acts of self-mortification replicate the suffering of the seventy-two martyrs of Karbala especially those of Ali who had been venerated by the Shiites as one of important holy persons in Islam. The energy of the crowds during the month of Muharram in 1978 and 1979 had spilled over into protests that eventually turned into a popular uprising that toppled the Pahlavi monarchy.

Every Day is 'Ashura and Every Soil is Karbala,
By Kazim Chalipa ca. 1981
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 3, Poster 96
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

Kazim Chalipa depicted Imam Huseyn and his mean as an inspiration during the war effort against the Ummayad Caliphate. His role at Karbala somehow inspired people to organize and fight against the Iraqis during the battle over the Persian gulf, the words "Everyday is Ashura and every soil is Karbala" emphasise self sacrifice, martyrdom as the people willingly take their lives at the service of the "Islamic Republic." Like Soviet Russia during the Civil War as well as North Korea it may meant a call to unite for the war effort and martyrdom also meant heroism for a struggling state.

Khomeini as "Guide"

The Shah’s Exile and Khomeini’s Return, 1979
Hasan Isma’ilzadah
Iranian, b. 1922
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 1, Poster 11
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

As it follows traditional Persian "coffee-house" paintings in Tehran, the said art showed Imam Ayatollah Khomeini as a leader of the struggle against the Shah. It also acts as a "stroytelling" tool with the Shah exiling from Iran while the Imam, coming from Iraq (with the Najaf shrine), then France (with the Eiffel tower) made an eventual and victorious return to his homeland with people protesting against repression as evidenced by executions against dissidents violent reprisals against protesters. 

Of course, as evidenced by the Qur'an Imam Khomeini carried, the Islamic flag, and even the devil, showed religious iconography as part of the art encouraged by the regime.

Wounded Protester under Khomeini Breaking Through US Flag, ca. 1980
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 2, Poster 59
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

Reminiscent of art used in Cuba and Latin America, the poster shows the dramatic representation of the protests happened in 1978.  There, a wounded protestor lies bleeding on the ground holding up a green banner that bears the slogan: “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic.” Above the revolutionary fray, Khomeini’s face bursts through a tattered U.S. flag, symbolizing Islamic Iran breaking free from American tutelage for decades. Obviously, the art showed as Khomeini, being known much by the Iranians as one of the leading personalities during the Revolution and of the young Republic present himself as a face, guide, head of the "Revolution" countering the "Great Satan" (United States) by means of mass action while critics described it as fanaticism over "Political Islam" through the "Islamic Republic".

Iranian Oil Facilities Under Khomeini
ca. 1980s
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 4, Poster 198
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

In this poster, made during the war against Iraq used Khomeini as a leader trying to avert exploitation of natural resources, especially those of oil by the faith of the people. As evidenced by the Soviet Union, depicted as a serpent impaled by a spear and the United States, as a hand chopped by an axe, the will of the people and its faith can counter US and Soviet Union's eagerness to exploit Iran's resources. It also showed the words "God is Great" as well as the message stating: "If the Muslim world is united, the influence of big powers on all Islamic resources will be eliminated."

Obviously, this is somehow partly based from Soviet or Chinese posters depicting a leader as a great helmsman trying to lead its people against the "enemy" especially those of Imperialists and domestic exploiters.

Battlefield as Pilgrimage, and the Dead as Immortal

As Iran trying to consolidate its rule against the "Great Satan" as well as Iraq during the first "Gulf War", its art depicted defense as sacred, battlefield as pilgrimage and the dead as immortal trying to seek paradise and to absolve their sins.

Blindfolded Soldier Shot at Gunpoint, ca. 1981
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 4, Poster 197
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

As evidenced by this poster below, this art reflects both faith and martyrdom with a captured member of the Basiji corps being executed while Imam Huseyn awaits him to escort towards paradise. The poster capitalizes much on the rituals such as those of the Ashura the way they describe the battle as Karbala and its fallen as martyrs. It also utilizes colours signifant to the Islamic faith such as Green and Red  with the former corresponds to Muhammad and Red for Ali and Huseyn.

Headless Imam Husayn with Dove, ca. 1981
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 4, Poster 200
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

Contrary to the typical posters of the period, this poster somehow lies contemporary, but it bear significance as it depict the headless Imam Huseyn as the martyr of Karbala. This poster corresponds to the people who had died fighting during the "Gulf War" especially in defending towns and cities near the Iraqi border. As the white cloak eerily disappears into the sea of blood resembles the deep mourning of the people for their loved ones fighting in the battlefield. Imam Huseyn's white robe symbolizes purity, martyrdom, and paradise; while the dove corresponds to the peace yearned by the people, especially by the families of the martyrs trying to defend the "Islamic Republic".

Certitude of Belief (Yaqin), ca. 1981
Kazim Chalipa
Iranian, b. 1957
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 3, Poster 67
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

Reminiscent of Pieta, the said poster reflects the belief in Martyrdom as a salvific power according to Shiite and Persian beliefs. There the dead body transforms into a tulip as his mother cradles him. On the left side lies the tulips that meant martyrs while at the right side represent those of warriors marching into their holy battle. Imam Huseyn, alongside the martyrs of Karbala serves as attendants and represents the religious fervor that made Iranians tirelessly making effort for the battle.

Women, Children, Religious against the misfits

The Revolution and its Sacred Defence encompasses everyone especially those of Women, Children, as well as the Religious trying to make effort in pursuit of defending the Homeland, Faith, and the Revolution being attained. Most of them had became Martyrs to the struggle itself in facing the enemy and Heroes in steadfastly contributing in the war effort. 

Stoning of the Devils, ca. 1980s
Habib Sadeqi
Iranian, b. 1957
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 3, Poster 122
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

This poster lies the Iranian religious ceaselessly defying the odds of evil as a pilgrim towards Mecca. With the Kaaba in his heart symbolizing faith and purity, he casts stones against the devils surrounding especially those of temptation, repression and hatred as evidenced by the money and armed men sponsored by the Imperialists and its domestic cohorts. It also shows the people of the "Islamic Republic", all united under the banner of Islam trying to reclaim the faith from its corruptors.

Boy Going to War with Crying Girl, 1980
Muhammad Taraqijah
Iranian, b. 1943
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 4, Poster 209
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

Made during the first "Gulf War", Iranian troops also include children who even voluntarily joined the Basiji corps. Accoirding to the poster, the boy's look of determination and steadfast resolution is contrasted by his sister's mournful cries at his impending departure. The sacred battle also lies innocence lost by the struggle as people, including those of children are trying to consolidate all for the war effort and to strengthen the Revolution against the enemies both domestic and foreign. The walls bear their closeness to the Islamic faith such as "Allahu Akbar" that meant "God is most Great."

White Silhouette of Fatimah, 1979
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 2, Poster 30
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

Released in celebration of "Women's day" in Iran, the said poster depicts Fatimah al-Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.  Above, the text stated: "Fatimah's rising, celebrating the true leader of women." The said celebration also corresponds to the birthday of one of Islam's important personalities being the mother of Imam Huseyn and symbolizes the purity of the Muslim woman imbued with the virtues of Patience, Piety and Obedience.

A Woman Holding a Rifle, ca. 1980
Nasser Palangi
Iranian, b. 1957
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 3, Poster 65
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

In contrast with the poster depicting Fatimah al-Zahra, this poster made by Nasser Palangi depict an Iranian woman as Militant all after witnessing the frontlines during the "Gulf War." There, Palangi depicts one of these women, determined as she carries the rifle and heading toward the front line. 

Heirs of Zaynab, 1980
Nasser Palangi
Iranian, b. 1957
Middle Eastern Posters Collection
Box 3, Poster 85
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library

Also made by Palangi during the war, shows the defiance of an Islamic woman as she carries the ammunition for the troops being "heirs of Zaynab" as they follow the footsteps of Muhammad's granddaughter and sister of Imam Huseyn. Despite being captured by the Ummayads, Zaynab didn't submit to the wishes of the latter as they killed her brother alongside others in the battle of Karbala. 


These posters depicted lies how Iranians tend to preserve their Home, as well as their Faith against their enemies especially those of the United States. Artists like Chalipa and Palangi also served as those who record every scene of their efforts in making Iran what is known today as different from the typical Iran as "Persia" of the past. 

There may be no posters shown nowadays, but these examples meant something for the people that somehow this writer tirelessly making research about these and hence posted in this site. His views as well as theirs be deemed as different and contradictory, but there are some that somehow lies compatibility such as defying the odds especially those who exploit the people and its resources, everything that made a nation great in the eyes of the almighty.

Obviously, it also shows how Iran trying to bridge the past and present with virtues of Martyrdom side by side with those of innovation and modernity. People had tirelessly making efforts in doing things possible simply because of their love for homeland and the faith that guides them, especially that there are demons near and far trying to create a face of threat that is, ought to be destroyed.



Saturday, 20 April 2013

"The decadence of the neon lights"

"The decadence of the neon lights"

(or the days this writer happened to be going in a "different" place)

It was last year when this writer had been with his friends enjoying the frivolities of the overtly Bourgeois night life. Otherwise, this writeup tells about his fist time to enter one of the nightlife hotspots in Metro Manila.

Full of neon lights, sounds from the DJ and glasses filled, or flowing with vodka or any other cocktail, most of the people, Filipino or Foreigner alike, tends to escape from reality and indulge in their "happiness" in exchange for a thousand-peso mess.

Apologies for being near incorrect, but in experiencing their nightlife is very different from the writer's usual gimmicks such as watching bands and listening to their stirring music. Obviously, most of these bourgeois chose to escape and enjoy the way lower-class coteries and groupuscles tends to enjoy in their cheap gin, beer and videoke; good thing was that the vodka tastes good and shot straight, Russian style compared to most who chose to sip, sip, sip and listen to the remixes primarily those of the late 90s this writer remember most. 

Otherwise, he couldn't relate much but thank god there's someone who can talk with that somehow end up as friends in the social media. Other than being an organizer for events, she happens to be working in the state such as member of a staff in the Senate, and one of this writer's friends happened to be her pal that somehow made yours truly acquainted then befriended after. Quite strange though that this writer nearly enjoyed that "party" just because of talking with that girl. 

However, sadly to say but the picture feat. her and yours truly is too private to be posted in this writeup reminiscing and assessing that time. Quite strange for a writer who listens to punk music "tries" to enjoy the decadence  of the bourgeoisie such as its neon lights and remixes, but since he's flexible then why not? After all, abit relating though courtesy of Vodka while the rest as contradicting to his preferences although the class that composed of that "party" as same as his.

To cut a long story short: it's all but decadent starting with what this writer sought. Quite enjoying though although he prefers what he used to have such as this (other than taking shots at the rallies or at downtown of course!):

Contrary to the place this writer had visited before with his friends, lies the place he preferred for. Obviously, his preference for "being chill" tends to be like that such as a place for a real chitchat full of curiosities to be seen and took pictures of it. Otherwise, his friend, a chef and owner of that restaurant oftentimes see yours truly alone and ask such as "lovelife" like last year. 

Anyways, a den that brought chill to the writer's senses brought anti-thesis to the decadence of the neon lights coming from last year's scenes. Yes, that Opus in Pasay and Fred's Revolucion in Cubao are radically different although its customers may somehow shared the same social status such as the Bourgeois yuppie, but obviously, the former is much preferable than the latter-Unless that person chose to be deviant from the "flow".

But again, all but strange for the writer to "join in" just because of his high school friends, or rather say "frenemies" whom "missed him" those times. Just being compelled rather to join that kind of event out of missing, staying till midday and yet awaked because of the coffee this writer had bought and drinked prior to vodka served at the party; but again, he prefers to "stay chill" as he enjoys such as the picture shown. It happened that the one in Opus lies the preference for Vodka and the semi-chilled discussions with the girl whom he met. 

Anyways, thanks Opus and Fred's Revolucion for those times. Yet the latter made this writer chilled as ever! For now, here's a video from Spandau Ballet.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

"Gold amongst the Shit": Salvador Araneta revisited

"Gold amongst the Shit": Salvador Araneta revisited

writeup regarding the efforts of Salvador Araneta
and his ideas all contrary to this class

At first, the person shown above had been much likely to be a part of those considered as enemies of the society, such as those of "oligarchs" and "monopolists", those who controlled entirely the economy. That with his stances are those who favor "Free Trade" and reliance on "Foreign Investment" cry against; but then that person would say he's different from the typical "oligarch", "landlord", "bureaucrat capitalist" as his ideas seemingly different such as envisioning a society whose resources much spen on its own than be carried by others away.

That man from above, amongst the few and enlightened, is Salvador Araneta.

According to Alejandro Lichauco, Araneta was a man of towering intellect whose acomplishments left a good legacy in the history of Philippine society such as his works as an industrialist, government official, educator, writer, and political economist. His action as a constitutionalist during 1934 and 1971 tried much to carry Social Justice and Development as one of the priorities of the state, all despite his background such as those of a landed gentry.
Yes, that in modern times would say that he's a member of the 1% who may possibly chose to be with the 99%. Why?

His record as a "National bourgeois", such as those of attempts for Industrialization, steered employment and creation of domestic goods such as those from Republic Flour Mills, AIA Feeds, Araneta Pulp and Paper, machineries from FEATI, and others that somehow contributed although RFM had survived as one of his companies founded until today.

RFM Factory Cylos

The flour mill at Pasig, shot by David Montasco, had served as its evidence how Araneta and his idea of Industrializing the Philippines although nowadays RFM had gone different with free trade advocates and policies pitted domestic enterprises whom tried to maintain, worse had to comply with the standards different those of the law like Globalization and others from IMF-WB.

Obviously, his vision, according to Manuel Quezon III is to redeem his homeland from poverty. His efforts in building industries coupled by proposing sound and realistic economic policies tends to create that is based on effort and utilizing raw material and manpower, less on foreign investment, with every Filipino had to enjoy its fruit of their service.
And yet how come free trade advocates like Winnie Monsod and others cry wolf out of National industrialization, favoring  foreign investment and the right for foreigners to acquire property, while silent in regards to a nation depending on imports, exporting raw materials, having edifices of glass, steel, and concrete yet predominantly agricultural supplemented by remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers? In other words, their cries favoring the wishes of IMF-WB are all but a call for submitting further to neoimperialism as it assails domestic-based development with emphasis on people's intitative, worse, describing it as a work of the oligarchs.

If so, then how come "oligarchs" like Araneta acted different, an "enlightened" one, even "radical" amongst the elites who rather chose preserving prestige to their class standing. RFM had been founded also because of the Filipino's need to have domestic-made flour with bakeries in dire need of bread, and with Araneta himself thinking how a resource-rich country like the Philippines having vast mass of unemployed and dependent on imports? Like Simoun on El Filibusterismo would say that he calls for initiative, such as strong domestic-based economic policy and oppose neocolonialism having the Philippines a victim of centuries-old foreign rule whose implicators treat a country a farm and its people trash, savages, whores to rape for. Few rich people chose to be deviant, insurgent-like in the eyes of the rotten system as their motives mirror those of the dispossessed, aspirations such as call for jobs, housing, security, land and national dignity. Groups such as Kadamay and Anakpawis are justified in their calls with development lies in national industrialization  for the workers, genuine agrarian reform for the farmers, sound housing policy for the homeless, all be put into action.
As according to Emmanuel Pelaez:

"...he underscored the need for mass housing not only because of its social impact on the welfare of the people but also because of its capacity to promote some thirty other industries thereby creating greater employment...."

In other words, it also meant rural-based industrialization and community-based development the way there should be mass housing at Hacienda Luisita for the tillers and workers in an effort to create more and new foundations of a domestic-based economy, with agriculture goes hand in hand with industry, as well as realizing social justice. Again, few "rich" people, other than those who are merely acting, tends to advocate as it oppose neoliberal, neocolonial, that is tantamount to selling the country for few pieces of silver.

Quite pitiful for neoliberals, free trade advocates that constantly oppose industrialization and favoring a policy realistic to their eyes. That they cry oligarch to an advocate of domestic development, communist for those who clamor for social justice, yet silent for a foreign exploiter for that person gives job and investment. US imperialists and others tends to subjugate if not to occupy directly by pressuring the state into their policies favorable to their wishes such as the controversial Bell Trade Act with its "parity rights" during the early days of the "sham republic."

As for the oligarchs would say that they are looking after themselves being the 1%. They are landlords, corrupt bureaucrats, right or wrong that they are looking after themselves no matter how poor and underdeveloped their country is. They would favor free trade as technocrats submit themselves to the wishes of IMF-WB and telling that "Import Substitution" is a byword for industrialization although it had made semi-finished or assembled goods the way steel had to be imported since it is cheaper compared to those made by Jacinto or Puyat.
And in regards to their "Patriotism" as more of a rhetoric as it negates, if not disregards issues by promises not to be fulfilled. Araneta had tackled seriously such as his concept such as "'Capitalism' for all" and "Socialization of Assets". One of his books even praised the Soviet Union despite having ideological differences with them. After all, oligarchs chose to remain aloof to think about contrary to their privilege the way Hacienda Luisita, Looc, Yulo, and others haven't been distributed directly to the farmers and instead be developed in a way Manny Villar did to the once ricefields of Cavite and Bulacan. Food security and productivity had been threatened much if not for the socially unjust thinks about cash crops for exports, contentment for imports while making lots of rhetoric how "prosperous" the society is.

Well, this writer rather say that few amongst the elite, such as Araneta chose to act different, radical by those of the status quo in regards to their stances. If most cling thoroughly to their overtly traditionalist motions, sentiments of the old, and treating serious issues such as poverty be solved by prayer and charity.
Few chose Democracy and Development in all spheres to create a community founded on Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Justice to all the way Babeuf had envisioned  that moderate yet patriotic ones like Araneta and Puyat, or the Radical such as Pedro Abad Santos or Isabelo de los Reyes, even Luis Jalandoni who chose to be a rebel against the system regardless of his class background.
Looking at social realities, fueled with patriotic sentiment and love for the people made things quite contrary to the supposed plans such as those of a person "with a silver spoon", all to the norms, and mores of a decadent society fueled by Globalization that supported by those who who are claiming to be "against the system" yet aloof in regards to similar exploiters such as foreign capitalists seeking property and technocrats that also treat state affairs as private enterprises no different from a corrupt bureaucrat.

Come to think of this: since the Philippines had been 'developed' thanks to import substitution, the creation of call centers, construction boom and OFW remittances, how come Land Reform, Rural Development, and National Industrialization failed to be tackled by the people behind progress, especially those who obeys IMF-WB policies and diktat such as those from the United States?
American economic planning for Asia, started after the war, had made Philippines primarily as predominantly agricultural, less industrialized compare to the booming economies such as Japan and Korea.

Japan had been defeated b the United States after the war, but in its reconstruction the Zaibatus had been rehabilitated as most of its industries been crucial to US strategic military interests. As according to Wikipedia:

"...complete dissolution of the zaibatsu was never achieved, mostly because U.S. government rescinded the orders in an effort to reindustrialize Japan as a bulwark against Communism in Asia. Zaibatsu as a whole were widely considered to be beneficial to the Japanese economy and government, and the opinions of the Japanese public, of the zaibatsu workers and management, and of the entrenched bureaucracy regarding plans for zaibatsu dissolution ranged from unenthusiastic to disapproving. Additionally, the changing politics of the Occupation during the reverse course served as a crippling, if not terminal, roadblock to zaibatsu elimination."

Most of them, such as Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Sumitomo had survived and thriving being remnants of the old economic order such as those deemed as oligarchic. US interests made them surviving such as their technology been helped in the military effort.

So was Korea, it was also developed by the US after the Korean war. Park Chung Hee's economic policies  include "Development" based approached comparable to Kim Il-Sung's, although the former had been supported thoroughly by the US as an aid "against Communists". But, according to Benigno Aquino Jr, during the Marcos' administration's insistence to apply the South Korean model:

"This World Bank and the International Monetary Fund tried to impose on us (Filipinos) the South Korean model without taking into consideration that South Korea is a command society with a strong, no-nonsense military government. South Korea doesn't have any pretensions to Democratic orientation or Tradition, and at that time it was pulling an economic miracle the western economies were booming... what was the main fuel for the Korean economy? The Vietnam War! That's how they got started. They made the shoes for the soldiers in Vietnam-uniforms for Vietnam. This was the beginning of their textile industry... then electronics came in."

Quite strange though that the the United States have to impose "minimums" to the Philippines as it prioritizes Japan or Korea to maximize efforts in reconstructing and innovating, renovating into one of the so-called booming economies in Asia. Originally "developed" to counter Red China and Juche Korea so to speak that they had to spend Dollars in aid while its very own partner had to get contented in influx of foreign goods other than limiting its own industry to semi-processed, assembly line, import substitutes, ersatz while media present it thoroughly how the Philippines been industrialized. 
But then, Import Substitution does not mean Industrialization as it doesn't utilize its own resources other than cheap labour. Korea's Daewoo, Japan's Mitsubishi had processed its own from scratch, they even have technology so to speak to develop further on its own while Sarao's own jeeps had to rely on Isuzu for engines while doing steel fabricating in assembling the vehicle; and making steel seemingly reduced for making construction purposes the way Puyat's Apo promotes its roofs. Yet still the call for Industrialization and the utilization of resources for domestic use, genuine self reliance remained a call and a vision to those who wanted to end dependency on imports and dictates of those inimical to National Development. It cannot be considered a mere individualistic sentiment at all that caters much to the self as it encompasses those greatly affected by the crisis and shackles of the ruling gentries and interest.

That also made those gold amongst the shit tries to beg differ from their kind who did nothing other than mere rhetoric. Anyways, Araneta's quest may remain still, but in a new type, this time by those who took the hard job and wearing the blue collar.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

To build, to forge, to link, to remember, to relieve

To build, to forge, to link, to remember, to relieve

by Samdech Kirit Thanarat

At first, this writeup is again a part of topics regarding ContemporAntiquity and of bridging the past and the present. It may sound strange especially that this writer had spent time researching on how some countries tend to cling to its roots in midst of the march of time especially with modernity as its forefront.

However, in a fast-changing world may likely to say that few countries, communities tend to preserve, wholly or partly their heritage such as those of reforming, innovation and renovation while keeping its significance such as those of edifices conservationists trying to call for preservation and making it applicable for modern use such as those of the old Citibank building at Escolta for a Call Center. And to think that since there are people offering chances of conserving through innovation, may as well giving chances of reforming old but significant domestic architecture in pursuit of reviving a community nowadays bereft of identity and like others fell victim, a moving shadow marred by confusion and bewilderment.

And in relieving something significant encompasses everything not just in conserving, but also to forge and make things anew yet carries a soul that is deeply rooted in its heritage yet goes on with the march of time. Yes, it is difficult to create something anew but in looking both realities and learning would create new ideas different from what comes from the book or rather say imagination. Come to think of Hannes Meyer and Alexander Bogdanov, or even Jiang Qing and Van Molyvann, they look into realities, they reform domestic architecture, or even relieve existing art and experiment in order to create something that relates to the people and to the community.

Reaffirm through modernity

It's all but strange for others nowadays to reaffirm heritage as most preferred to join with the flow. Few, especially those who took history and culture also tried much to make something different such as using homegrown idea and hence making it improved and modern; that invokes the "soul" and appeals much to people's aspiration different from the typical idea like those of making something primarily to be sold.

However, clinging to domestic culture, and even making it modern and invoke the people's aspirations made others think of it as Romanticism, just because of asserting patriotic or a populist tendency such as social reality and tradition. In asserting nationalism, which had became a central theme of Romantic art as well as political philosophy, it had stress importance traditions, customs, even revisiting and developing local folklore, all out of realities people had faced and thus recorded according to their experiences as part of community's foundations other than a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, that until today with Globalization took place in it.

But in regards to today's century, with communities becoming modern, there may still people who tend to lean to age old ideas like Romanticism and having it applied to social reality such as poverty (thus making deviations different from the original meaning of Romanticism and leaning towards Realism); it may say that Romanticism may also have shifted "mindsets away from the Changlessness of the Metaphysical with its emphasis on process and becoming found in the realm of the historical"  (credits to someone who quoted it) while Conservatives had to innovate in facing changing times such as being modern yet with solid moral and cultural foundations deeply rooted serving as basis in a surviving society like Thailand or Indochina. 

That somehow made this writer think that Romanticism does not means getting much close to the past nor making an exaggeration as others tend to do so in expressing identity. But rather, a reaffirmation of preserving and relieving heritage and even making it closer to the people. If necessary by making it applicable to the signs of the time, without entirely submitting to the awkwardness of "modernism" that is rather, "wholesale westernization" of things without considering domestic culture.

And to think that wholesale westernization, a byproduct of globalization tends to make things "easier" for the west while making things difficult for the east unless their culture is as deeply rooted. Again, it's like being compelled to wear masks one after another yet the identity remained different from what should be, yes, there may be strains of self-identification but not as deeply rooted as evidenced by reducing it merely into an aesthetic display. Let's say the three stars and the sun had been used much for advertising purposes, but its meaning had been reduced to near nothing and often misunderstood by many compared to the Baybayin "Ka" that a person should been a radical in getting to know the roots of Filipino identity.

Let's take Scandinavia for example, that during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the so-called "National Romantic Style" was made to keep in touch with the times yet its foundations without reducing everything into an aesthetic display such as basing much on Norse and Mediaeval periods. Yes, it reflected both Patriotic sentiment and yearness for modernity as it reforms Domestic architecture and art to present as applicable to modern periods.
Yes, that kind of style would say that it was a reaction to widespread industrialism laid by the west as it renews interest into its very own culture such as those of the Eddas, Sagas, and Stave Churches. And in looking at early Norse and Mediaeval precedents in seeking style reflecting those of people's interest meant making something that whilst keeping heritage and identity also appeals to modernity such as National development. That, with the Stadshus at Sweden, Bergen Stasjon and Norges Tekniske Hogskole at Norway, and the Kalko church at Finland as evidences to a people expressing both patriotism and at the same time progressive social and political ideals that was, different from the usual interpretation of revisiting old architecture and preserving heritage as those of conservatism.

That somehow this means growth and innovation rather than renovation as it utilizes age-old ideas for modern day purpose such as gearing it to the needs of the people rather than merely invoking the past nor to impress the way King Ludwig did in Bavaria. 

To others, it may seemed to be monumental as it invokes identity and heritage, but then, edifices using that, or any other style would say that it rather utilizes both the use of common materials, knowledge and skill to improve, modernize something that is, significant. It cannot be entirely monumental as it revisits those that looked "past" nor ought to invoke those of "fear" and treated primarily as propaganda the way Hitler did. In Spain during Franco would say that his preference for Habsburg-era kitch end up acknowledging modern architecture in pursuit of having Spain modern and improved as the west looked upon his country as deeply rooted into its past such as Inquisition, Conservatism, and aloofness to modernity such as the Second republic had tried; but still, those attempts, although it invokes modernity would say that it rather made to curry foreign investment yet keeping greater strains of heritage as part of its cultural policy.

And in invoking the idea of identity, heritage side by side with modernity and innovation ought not so serve merely as propaganda or worse, as an effort for crowd control guised as unifying force for the people; yes, it can be unifying in a sense that it inspires, steers efforts in making genuine social development with people leaning, teaching, serving and developing the society that needs alot of renovation.

Personally, bridging both the past and present is somewhat difficult to deal with such as in writing. Yes, it can be classified much as a figment of imagination, a fictitious work of art, a daydream, and product of idealism as others also tried to deal with. That Architects like Roque Ruaño and Leandro Locsin, Artists like Guillermo Tolentino and Fernando Amorsolo, or even Ben Cabrera and Romeo Lee tend to present culture as modern yet invoking its culture deeply yet not as exaggerated nor reduced to mere aesthetic as others did for the sake of publicity.

Revisiting their "illusions" and of "facing the impossible"

Once, this writer had made a writeup regarding a bunch of "young Nazis" who present as "modern" yet acting reminiscent of people from long ago such as Hitler and his group of men who made edifices to invoke fear and treat culture as propaganda. "The future belongs to dare the impossible" is what they call for, yet they rather kept on enjoying in a daydream full of fictitious illusions such as those done during two great bloody wars of the 20th century.
This writer had even assess them much as being a bunch of kids that think quite unrealistic such as in their facebook page years before. As he said:

"...it seems that these people are rather indulged in watching, reading science fiction and playing video games, coupled with wartime nostalgia that made them think that they would change the world easily in a single snap, all based from their illusions such as monument-like buildings, emphasising strong weaponry and perhaps, expansionism as a feature of greatness based from their aspirations."

Perhaps, comparing to the edifices of then "contemporary" past such as in Scandinavia, in  Soviet Russia and even Cambodia or Burma would say that theirs as exaggerated as to mock the legacy of past to the present. To think that they even wanted to create a Mausoleum for Andres Bonifacio yet there's the monument that supposedly made to place his relic at Caloocan? Realistically speaking, quite utopian to think such ideas or worse, to steer everything into the past what they think of it as "normal." Hitler's overtly parochial tendency and Himmler's mysticism undermines the idea what their National Socialism was compared to the realistic Strasser brothers although they invoke patriotic sentiment yet appeals to reality such as to curb poverty and spearhead development. Facing the impossible? With what? Sticks and stones, daggers and bolos while thinking about laser guns and missiles?

The issue on housing would say that it is much "real" compared to their monumental feats that is, an exaggeration of a past revisited. But then in a fast changing world their idea regarding mass housing as "obsolete". Come to think of Thailand, Malaysia, or Soekarno's Indonesia, they had to bridge the past and present, least by reforming domestic architecture and looking past examples as inspiration for modern and realistic edifices, that follows function so to speak.

Made with a purpose? Or made to Impress?

In fact, it is ironic to see people, places, all invoking Patriotic sentiment while at the same time thoroughly accepting wholesale westernization as "modern" such as those who cry for foreign control of properties, privatization and free trade, crying against oligarchs yet silent in regards to technocrats and foreigners willing to have control over properties or assets vital to domestic improvement, including culture such as mass media.
Obviously, if not for exaggerating, they would reduce the significance of being patriotic such as a Filipino, although modern in its appearance into a mere aesthetic display the way singers tend to copy and watering down meanings for sake of popularity. Come to think of Bamboo Manalac's "Tatsulok", it became popular, but its meaning behind, originally sung by Buklod meant radicalism such as inverting the social triangle dominated by the landed gentries and its foreign overlords, be called as "Class Struggle" so to speak, yet had been watered down would say that its real meaning had been nearly lost and few would understand in it; or perhaps let's say "singing for the sake of singing."
BLKD's rapping, in contrast, would say that he uses western music such as Hiphop or Rap as a form of social sentiment and not merely to impress people for he's a Rapper. Just like Ireland's Marxman, it advances real Filipino interest that is, radically different from the usual one that espouses nothing but for popularity's sake. Obviously, Rap, Rock or Reggae didn't made at first for sake, it rather conveys reality through songs such as life and not mere bragging rights nor erotic love as what being played nowadays, and to say that just because they are being sung in Filipino or any other language is that enough? Perhaps these been made for sake of publicity than a means to convey expression, a product of reality.

Same as those who use much "Three Stars and a Sun" and the Filipino colours, yet it had became used for aesthetic purposes with less understanding such as its rays as the rebellious provinces and the stars as Luzon Visayas and Mindanao; but most rather place it "for sake" just to say "this is the Philippines" and enough of it, plain and simple reduction to aesthetics so to speak compared by those who used the Baybayin and others and had it understood thoroughly what goes behind deeply about the glyphs, symbols, colours and the like and not been made, placed for sake.

So are the old Churches, houses, native crafts, work of art, all reduced to nothing but museum pieces Tourists, or bystanders ought to see. But come to think that other countries whose culture had been deeply rooted yet despite modernity its identity continues to flower, that all had to bridge the antiquated and the modern  such as China, Thailand or Indonesia. How about the Philippines then?

Perhaps, Ferdinand Marcos was right to say this:

"Faceless for centuries, the Filipino has worn a succession of masks imposed on him by alien intruders. No one really knows the depths of his confusion and bewilderment; no one can truly measure the intensity of his hurt and shame. A moving shadow, he drifts aimlessly, feeling unworthy of his own true self, he embraces other people's values and claims it to be his own.
To be a dynamic instrument of nation building and social reconstruction, he therefore seeks to recuperate his identity. He must get back to his roots, his culture. Necessarily, he must, for the culture of a people is their covenant. It is the distinguishing mark, the source of identity that sets them apart from other peoples. It provides them inner strength that shales he collective will of their body politic and the structure of their national society."

All thinking that as people getting contented to a canned culture laid by wholesale westernization and peddled by the few, its very own culture had been treated much as if primarily for promotions to Investors and Tourists than to espouse deep sense of National identity with a culture, although a fusion of east and west is as deeply rooted and thriving as should be?
The paintings of Fernando Amorsolo would say that it mirrors not just the beauty of a Filipina, but what a Filipina should be, such as a regal, passionate, strong willed the way the legendary Urduja had (contrary to those who spend time camwhoring and covering breasts, trying to impress as sexy), or Victorio Edades, with the paintings at Far Eastern University tend to fuse Filipino Identity with those of a progressive future such as tropical paradise with steamships; obviously, these works would say that it carries a message that heritage should been side by side with modernity and not been reduced to a mere aesthetic with a meaning that is, nearly watered down or reduced to being useless, serving as something a Nation thriving yet its patriotism is of a progressive kind with heritage serving as its foundations.
China for instance, it had to make its culture progressive the way Jiang Qing had used traditional Peking Opera and had it applicable to then modern settings such as "Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy" and "The Red Lantern." The Monumen Nasional at Indonesia, although modern in it's appearance pays tribute to the Majapahit with its Hindu significance such as the Yoni and Lingam. These would say that it espouses identity with a purpose such as inculcate patriotism and relieving heritage different from the usual "make this and that" whose real intention is to impress than to express that lies significant both to the creator and to the community itself.

Come to think of the Red Flag Canal in China. As to the Great Wall that meant defenses, the canal, although being made entirely by manual labor, meant mass initiative in pursuit of countering drought such as diverting river into the canal for irrigation; and the fact that the Great Leap Forward had shortcomings such as drought and low outputs in harvests, people's initiative made it happen to bring enough harvest in midst of events deemed "tragic" by western media.
Same as the Wuhan Yangtze River bridge, the concept of building a bridge spanning the entire river meant development in bringing goods and a practical means to cross from Hanyang to Wuchang; it can be considered monumental since it showed prestige in developing China from being a backward state bereft of development due to corruption as well as a fulfillment of age-old aspirations that requires crossing great rivers like the Yellow or Yangtze in pursuit of unity.

Illusions trying to realize (and see tremendous mess)

Such projects like bridges, buildings, any kind of infrastructure taken would say that it took months if not years out of practical discourse, and planning in order to realize; it can't be just a figment of imagination the way those who made edifices "just to impress" do.

Just like in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge.

More of idealistic than realistic in imposing policies, Khmer Rouge, or rather say it's leader, Pol Pot tends to imitate China's "Great Leap Forward" without emphasising reconstruction efforts in building Socialist Cambodia. He even present himself as "Maoist" while at the same time claiming to denying it as he present his own "Communism" as unique such as forcibly evacuating the people from the cities to the countryside not considering the need to reconstruct industry as possible. Obviously, it was entirely a product of idealism than looking at reality to do that kind of action "just because the people are hungry" and "had to be evacuated" and "learn farming", but the fact lies in Pol Pot and his clique's penchant for anti-intellectualism the way he downplays the role of the intellectuals as spies of imperialists than contributors to reconstruction.

Personally, this writer would say that just because of the efforts made by the Chinese such as the Red Flag Canal the Khmer Rouge tend to imitate the idea of building dams or irrigation canals in a manner such as these and hence be called as "people's initiative." But obviously, despite its objective such as intensify grain outputs such as making widespread irrigation canals in the spirit of "Super Great Leap Forward", it is rather made in pursuit of making things happen overnight without considering the role of each individual as contributor; very different from the Angkor period nor the early Sangkum era that developed good infrastructure such as those made by Van Molyvann.
Yes, it can be considerable that dams and canals had contributed enough in the "development" made by the Khmer Rouge in imitation to the Chinese example, but how about the factories and other related infrastucture damaged during the civil war as well as chances of rehabilitation such as those of the towns and cities the way China did during the early days as a Socialist state? The Chinese example what Pol Pot tried to imitate would say that it involves massive infrastructure projects that wasn't limited to making irrigation sites, dams and repairing of bridges and railroads. The building of factories and repairing engines for instance support the industrial component while prioritizing agriculture in order to feed and clothe the people. But still, Pol Pot's "idealism" of making things realize overnight had steered the nation into a mess, including the deaths of millions of people due to "overzealous" officials and threats of spies coming from CIA, KGB or Vietnam with the latter had to impose order and normalcy despite ridden by warfare years later.

Otherwise, it's somehow same as the one from above, trying to present as capable of doing the impossible such as making things overnight without making a sound program that is deeply rooted into the reality instead of a mere idea the way Van Molyvann's designs aren't made for sake of impression but with a purpose such as brise soleil for natural light and roofs that serve as collecting rainwater or Jiang Qing's use of Peking Opera yet using modern figures and based on then modern historical events.

Also to think that with Vietnam "trying to impose order", also meant rebuilding and trying to create a really sound "socialism" different from what was in 1975. Obviously, it took means to reopen temples, art academies, revive Cambodian culture same as trying to rehabilitate factories, repair canals, dams including those made during the Khmer Rouge. Yes, it took years for Heng Samrin and others to rehabilitate as well as those of Norodom Sihanouk, while people trying to rebuild lives and houses from the ashes of terror out of illusions trying to realize only to see tremendous mess such as dams and canals side by side with corpses rotting.
Worse, those illusions that failed doesn't inculcate moral and spiritual growth same as material that benefits the well being of both the individual and the community.

Still, "trying to forge" by reality and idea

It's all but strange for the writer to say things, events, everything in pursuit of ContemporAntiquity, like Guilliame Faye's ArcheoFuturism, would say that in creating new but deeply rooted culture, art, morality, all in pursuit of benefiting the well being of a living whole, takes weeks, months, years long no matter how complicate would be; as Hannes Meyer had tried to make Avant Garde closer to the people such as closely relating Bauhaus and Society, or Jiang Qing with Peking Opera and the Revolutionary aspirations of the people, it takes long time to make something that corresponds to heritage, modernity and reality to inculcate lesson and idea in it.
In a way how  Roque Ruano's creation, it wasn't been made to impress such  as having an edifice that withstand earthquakes, or a renaissance revival using concrete, the UST campus at Sampaloc was done at first in response to the growing number of students and at the same time in dire need of concrete improvement such as developing a new campus called modern yet deeply rooted in its old traditions that brought significance in it. As Ruano himself tend to bridge the two and also to say how heritage tends to grow and renovate, innovate and construct to march with time. Well, there are still people who made this and that, or rather say imitate much just to impress others, yet no matter how modern-like yet having no significance or purpose the way new edifices at Binondo being built on the demolished old houses that perhaps need refurbishment; or the obvious preference of developers to develop commercial complexes than to help make sound mass housing such as flats than typical "townhouses" that ate mostly lands that are arable.

Just like Quezon City that was originally made as a government center and a place where workers and the once dispossessed had a place to live and work. The picture from above is one example that the state tends to so such as building mass housing and make industrial complexes that carries industries stimulating production and provide employment instead of commercial complexes today. The fact that most developers, especially private ones made spontaneous, uncontrolled development that made mess guised as development. Well, how come facades of glass and steel side by side with shantytowns? QC may had been like those of Washington or even Pyongyang if people wanted a semblance of an orderly yet developed society rather than a messy one same as others that had been existing yet "developed" on the pretext of modernity.

Anyways, this kind of attempt, like others made by radicals who used art for society's sake and for genuine expression, are quite countercultural for the prevailing social order that supposedly tend to present sound, realistic and applicable to social conditions. Yes, it can be avant-garde the way Gropius or Bogdanov did in their contributions, experimental as can be, but it also tend to show people's aspirations different from those who made for sake, to impress, all without understanding or even make an exaggeration of something what is meant for them; or rather say they shove into everybody's throats no matter how sickening would be it's effects.

Yet still, despite the prevailing tone, few will always think how to dismantle what had became the norm, the more that degenerates man and society.


Thanks Miah Llanes for inspiring this writer to make this writeup. She may not directly involved in this, but somehow in spirit she showed support despite differences in preference, yes, she's a model, but to the writer's view she can be capable of being a good art patron and perhaps an artist willing. Anyways, cooking or events organizing can be an art the way this writer loves to do sketching, sculpture or photography. Just make it real and inspiring.

This writer had even listening to Redemption by Audiomachine to deal with this.