Thursday, 26 September 2013

Seeing ruins out of illusory progress

Seeing ruins out of illusory progress

(or all after seeing people on high
afford to brag their "achievements"
yet fail to achieve their "aspirations")

At first, this writer seemingly had to revisit his lifelong study on culture all after weeks of writing about politics. And knowing that culture and politics are interconnected, it somehow includes how the system treats its culture; whether it encourages high culture, or just peddling canned ones and reducing heritage to those what tourists ought to see upon; leaving some, if not most old ones suffer as what the title goes.

Quite strange indeed, especially in regards to most people who, with their ignorance, sorry to say so, didn't notice the prevalence of every edifice such as an Hispanic-era villa, a post-war chalet, or a factory in Pasig as part of heritage that is being lost time and again. That one by one had to be demolished out of a superficial progress no matter how prevalent it was and contributive in a supposed growing society such as today's Philippines.
That made certain personalities such as Paulo Bustamante of the Filipinas, Stephen Pamoranda of the Heritage Conservation Society, and yours truly somehow felt lamenting as to see old buildings left rotting then eventually demolished all for the sake of that illusory progress being peddled upon by the governing elite.
Especially that these elite are thinking about prime lots, demolishing existing yet remarkable ones, and built near meaningless ones that tries to make the place pleasing, or just a mere aesthetic kitsch with some "modern" interiors to satisfy the "developer"'s own pocket. 

That somehow brought this writer a question after seeing things around him: why the denial of connecting culture and politics? Other than seeing personality cults, news programs, and stuff that involved politicians? Of mocking every state apparatuses because of their inability to distribute social services efficiently?

As most readers of this page would say that they will complain after seeing politically-laced articles in a supposed page about culture and the arts, not knowing that again there lies connection between the two.

Yes, it is indeed both political and cultural, that in most cases that as politicians, other than making piecemeal projects to cultivate their personality cults (while using people's money), had used icons and stuff to justify their so-called "ideas" that are rather plain and simple "bombast" and "rhetoric" that sneers people both eyes and ears such as today's media that speaks "obeisance to the order" being sugarcoated and re-worded as "cultivating change" or even "national unity", the latter somehow frequently used these days, especially if that is accompanied by a "Pintakasi" scene where farmers or fisherfolk carrying a nipa hut and describing it as "unity and cooperation" in order to become "heroes" of today.
But sadly, these are reduced to statements and most of it are used to justify order in a degenerating society marred by scandals just like Manchus whom ought to use Confucius's words to justify their rule over the Han Chinese, or the Friars using their homilies and their so-called teachings from the Bible, abit different from the scripture itself, over the brown-skinned people of the Indies; that, eventually becoming "ideas", "mores", as being codified in the minds of everyone and if disrespected be deemed as a heretic in their eyes and liable to be executed just like those from Saudi Arabia for not wearing an Abaya!

And to think that those plain simple bombast, rhetoric, so-called "morals" and other mind conditioning stuff those on high invoke much, also reflects "the set of attitudes, beliefs and sentiments that give order and meaning to a political process and which provide the underlying assumptions and rules that govern behavior in the political system" as defined by the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.
That somehow, personally would deem it strange, knowing that from those people on high (who are behind those desperately-made ideas) had taking pride that they are born to rule yet obviously they are trained to rule, molded in the antiquated folkways while at the same time trying to present themselves as "progressive" as they treat the entire matter, issue as a "masquerade" that is, full of bombast, rhetoric, some realization of aspirations that is, not enough to call it realization.
worse, had spend their's and the people's money for unproductive purposes, or simply to "earn",  contrary to what they're speaking, such as:

Former President Manuel Quezon spending Php 900.000 from a budget of Php 50 million just to beautify Dewey Boulevard while presenting "Social Justice",
Of Imelda Marcos currying funds from both public and private institutions just to built grandiose projects and telling the poor that these provide inspiration yet failing to distribute social services efficiently under the "New Society",
And a series of projects, such as roads, bridges, flyovers, "socialized" housing, even schools and other concrete bullshit all made by politicos in their respective areas, from "Philippines 2000" up to "Strong Republic",  with a part from their pork keeping on themselves and at the same time, like the past, capitalize at their personality cults;
creating a mockery of progress that is, a facade trying to keep the real face such as landlordism, corrupt bureaucracy, and rampant poverty.

Obviously, quite beneficial indeed to see some improvement, yet at the same time, these are just piecemeal projects to tell that the system as capable of steering development despite disregarding major issues that are really serious to tackle upon such as land reform, industrialization, improving existing health and education facilities, that is, far from what the media and misinterpreting people as giving doleouts to those who are clamoring for.

Or let's say, there lies the hypocrisy of the ruling class who present themselves as benefactors yet they simply squander the money of the people in near meaningless projects, save a few for piecemeal ones. Supported by those who, still has a full stomach, a TV, central heating and an annual holiday in the sun he will not vote to remove the system who's behind the entire mess and instead choosily targeting certain people such as corrupt personages as well as "negative" issues.

Or rather say, they've been silenced and becoming apathetic.

And with these matters also affects culture knowing that these people on high had to brag to the world the wonders whose real intention is to keep the inconvenient hidden from the eyes of the rest. That the foreigners had no right to participate in opposing the rotten state and instead contented in the illusory fantasies made by those who also tolerate demolishing remnants of a forgotten heritage what conservationists dare to oppose upon.
Worse, those who demolish continues to harm and demolish further!

That somehow made this writer afford to write time and again all about politics in a page supposedly all about old buildings, heritage, music, and other countercultural stuff.

For now, here's Reinhold Gliere and his "Hymn to the Great City." A tribute to something that is nearly lost.

Au revoir.