Monday, 26 May 2014

"Unleash the Panday Pira spirit within!"

"Unleash the Panday Pira spirit within!"

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It was centuries ago when a man from Pampanga who had been well known at the court of the Rajahnate of Maynilad. But instead of the Maharlika class he may had been from the artisan class because of his skill in his craft that had brought into the attention of the Rajah. His craft may consists of creating arms and armor despite the use of bamboo bellows, clay and wax casting, and not quite crude methods of bronze-and-ironmaking, but he was well known for his making of cannons and even farm implants, yet he was eventually known by the books and pictures featuring Filipino scientists and inventors. For he, known as Panday Pira or Pandapira had contributed to the development of domestic-oriented sciences, ranging from metallurgy, steelmaking, to the creation of native-made artillery. 
Mainstream Filipino science, through its books and pictures featuring well known Filipino scientists had recognize that kind of person, whom being depicted a lowly blacksmith-craftsman trying to serve the Rajahs with his craft, yet with his ideas in ironmaking be deemed an engineer or a man of science in today's standard. That even the Spanish occupiers, whom had after occupied the old Rajahnate had sought his cannons, and eventually ordered him to create, proven that the ancient Maynilad was also same as other asian countries of the ancient past having copies of artillery.

However, most of the artillery in which Panday Pira had afford to copy and improve came from Indonesian kingdoms and Malay sultanates. Known by many as Lantaka or Rentaka, the blacksmith had used Iron, Brass or Bronze, casted in lost-wax and clay method, and primarily used to defend the ramparts of Maynilad and on the ships called Parao. Ancient Filipinos such as those from Maynilad, Mamayan, and the sultanates of Maguindanao may attest how they had afford indiginous creation and improvement of things supposedly foreign, all brought from trade including the knowlege being gained from traders coming from both middle and far east. And also citing the Philippines' own natural resources, ancient Filipinos had afford to gather gold, iron, copper, in order to create indiginous copies of sort ranging from jewelry to Keris and Lantaka. Often substituting brass for bronze, and paying traders with Bulawan, known today as Piloncitos, and marked with a symbol that allegedly meant the ancient Majapahit empire.

For Panday Pira, he had simply chose to serve the Rajahnate and his people, doing his hands-on craft such as hammering, casting molten ore through lost-wax, and other exhausting work in the blacksmith's corner. Mainstream Filipino science had acknowledge him with emphasis of his cannon-making (and calling him as the 'first' Cannon-Maker) and yet few knew that he also forge the tools of peace such as farming implants. He may had been similar to the late Mikhail Kalashnikov of the 20th century wherein was known for his AK47 rifle, and yet he also created lawnmowers, whom he rather chose to make rather than the gun well known. 
Both geared for war and in peace, It takes years for a blacksmith to improve towards perfection the craft of forging metals, that, regardless of having it copied, least tries to make it improved, performing better than the ones being bought through trade if not a war trophy.

Personally, this writer had used Panday Pira's example of a nation that has to be forged time and again. Right was Rizal to say, although allegedly that the Nation has much doctors yet less of engineers to steer development in his homeland, that it has to be industrialized to be in par with Japan instead of contenting in cash crops for exports during his time. Fact that the nation had been awash with employees, semiemployed and even job seeking 'professionals', yet it is also the same nation that has no concrete, solid foundations of an idealized state such as a strong industry to provide these people decent employment and further cultivate knowledge and skill for genuine national development, most of which were became mere idealisms and rhetoric such as those of Claro M. Recto, Lorenzo TaƱada, and others rallying behind Philippine Economic Protectionism. And the fact that it was years before when the Philippines had steel mills especially in Pasig area like the Philippine Blooming Mills, the system inclined so much with neoliberalism with the influx of cheap steel imports  that comes with a heavy price of bankruptcy on foundries that supposed to create, if not maintain foundations of an industrialized nation-state, while at the same time currying favor foreign mining companies to mine for minerals such as in Marinduque, Cebu, and Palawan for export. 
And Some people whom favor industrialization and domestic-based development would think and ask for themselves why on earth a nation has to mine iron, manganese, copper, or any other mineral if these are unjustly for export and not to be forged domestically? So is wondering that the education system, also supposed to be in pursuit of national development are rather geared to neoloberalist outlook, turning students into employees of bigger entities, observing "standards" to become just obedient servants with promises of higher pay than to cultivate creativity and innovation in their respective fields. Much more that Science and technology is even merely treated as a trade fair showcase than a means to steer further development and progress like those of the first world, with potential scientists are actually merely relegated to just research work for bigger entities, much more that the latter are based from other countries rather than from the Philippines itself.

Last time, this writer had heard news about meteorologists, seismologists, and vulcanologists rather working outside the Philippines citing the government agency's less budget in paying salaries especially weather forecasters. Actually, in a nation wherein storms come and go had been given much greater importance, yet the corrupted system whom controls the state fails to do so. In the fields of research and development, the system rather recognizes yet fails to give support in the needs of these potential scientists with the latter end working in developed countries like the United States, Japan, or in Europe.
Strange that the state afford to praise yet fails to give wholehearted support to these people. When was the time the state really recognize scientists and inventors, innovators and daring 'idealists' whose primary intention of their works was to cultivate development, enhance one's health, or improve security? Ideally, the money-awash 'Oligarchs' should give them a chance in their research and development, of innovation and improvement, yet obviously they chose to content in imported ones as if those are state of the art and hence much improved.
And if there is, then it would been possibly for the sake of impression that person is also philantrophist than seriously adhere in national development. And if there really amongst them whom seriously adheres to national development, then that person be given a sincere worthy of praise.

In fact, of all the Filipino scientists and inventors, why the much andtiquated Panday Pira? There's Fe del Mundo or even Felix Maramba as an examplar of Filipino science and technology, but the antiquated actions of Panday Pira least showed the Filipino back then as capable of producing its own especially those of firearms, that even the Spaniards also consider him for a cannon maker making guns for Intramuros and at the same time making farm implants. He had served the Rajah and later the Governor-General with privileges such as tribute excemption and even enough financial support in his craft, yet he rather stressed serving his fellowmen citing the improvement of the tools both geared for war and peace. And thus, it was more than just cough medicine, antifungal soap that is commonly seen in a trade fair.
Nowadays, few dare to be like Panday Pira, of being innovative in their respective fields of science and technology, of research and development; that even the rebels, sorry to mention them, had afford to make their own improvised command detonated explosive devices and grenade launchers. This writer may say mixed reactions such as a state trying hard or just hopeless to recognize and encourage scientists, engineers, innovators, craftsmen to advance national interest and to support them wholeheartedly as a national asset. Personal initiative, on the other hand cannot entirely resolve the issue of misrecognizing by the state.

To those whom willing to cultivate development and seriously adhere to national rebirth, let the Panday Pira spirit be unleashed again. He may've been dead for long, but actually he's alive and youthful to those whom seriously adhere in the field of science and its desire to put eir practise in pursuit of domestic-based development. Scientists, engineers, and even mechanics should be proud of being blacksmiths of the present, that despite long hours of hard labor, from research to the creation of their works, lies a good outcome in a nation that supposed to be in par with the developed.

Thank you.