Thursday, 13 February 2014

Play for a pay? Or Play to convey?: All after seeing the present day February fair

Play for a pay? Or Play to convey?
All after seeing the present day February fair

It was years ago when this writer had went to UP for its February fair aside from its Lantern Parade.

Featuring various university-based bands and sponsored by various organizations depending on the day of the week-long celebration, the fair had drawn people from all walks of life, in and out of the Philippines' own "National University" just to see famous personages and newbies playing with their own brand of music and making themselves popular afterwards in a series of offers coming.

However, as time goes by, it all seemed changed especially with sponsors started to support over the said event, not just performers but booths trying to compete with those whom not quite recognized but well known during the fair. Once, this writer had looked for UP-themed tshirts that first came from his former work (Graffiti Art Development Cooperative), then the well-known Maroons (with its main branch at the UP Shopping centre), and eventually seeing a variety of dresses including those from Henry Sy's SM, one of the major sponsors.
Speaking of the latter, seems that SM, with its so-called "SM Youth" had afford to use the fair to promote their commercialism using the youth and its passion, that they even afford to use some progressive rhetoric yet obviously can't be. Change? Whose change? Freedom? Whose freedom?

Well, here's an excerpt form the article “The Feb Fair: Then and Now” published in the UPLB site last September 9, 2013, reflecting the Fair's original intention to today's series of consumerist brouhaha courtesy of various sponsors:

“More and more people from all walks of life are drawn to the fiesta-like atmosphere that pervades the campus during Feb Fair. And, possibly lost in the din and the noise is the profoundness of the occasion, or at least its beginnings during a dark era in our history – the declaration of Martial Law in 1972. Feb Fair was the medium by which students expressed dissent against the dictatorial and oppressive regime during Martial Law.”

In other words, the fair is used to invoke what the system called as "subversion" using cultural means such as music and a series of festivities trying to reflect the University's autonomy in midst of repression from the state. That a cultural worker has to play songs with words good enough to evade the censors and military agents then swarming around the campus. To others, it's like any other fair happened in every school but inside lies a message that ought to convey no matter how "subversive" it was, or is in the eyes and ears of the so-called "state."

But nowadays, the event situated in the former General Antonio Luna parade grounds had become a mere commercialized event that is different from its militant origins. It's like any other event with so-called famous personages not quite related to the institution as well as various sponsors like SM or back on the days, Globe Telecom, or even Frenzy Condom promoting their consumerist brouhaha and gaining profit in it. This writer had find it less communitarian knowing that better the days when it had carries least its militancy to convey a message of change and struggle; while people who may favor having an event commercialized would say it generates the University income, of adding prestige to the institution, and even courting potential donors and various individuals, groups trying to evade taxes by throwing away crumbs and calling as grants and donations.

Or let's just say as strange that there are outsiders who came to perform, play for a pay than those who can play to convey; of seeing sponsors than willing performers, and any other crap that negates the said event. Come to think of this: how come there is a need for a commercialized entity as a sponsor yet there are fraternities or any other groups within the university willing to contribute? And since these commercialized entities succeeded in doing so, then what's next for commercializing events in the campus, December's Lantern Parade? If so, then expect tickets as well, for the university ran by technocrats, including those of the current student council, who brags to everyone that they had to gear for a global university status had rather emphasise profit over public service as a "National University". Making everyone enlightened enough think that the event itself a "fair that happened inside the UP campus by mere consumerists" than a "fair run by UP students as means to convey social emancipation."

And perhaps, if these continue to persist having an event commercialized then it is justifiable from the so-called punk and emo societies of Lagro, the so called jumping jologs from Fairview to Rizal to destroy the walls for being penniless and throw bottles of urine to the feeling pogi singers singing pogi rock for sake.