Sunday, 30 November 2014

"As the Clarion plays..."

"As the Clarion plays..."

A post-Bonifacio and pre-Rizal day message

By Kat Ulrike

"Unfinished business", these are the words concerned people ought to say in regards to the so-called "revoution" that started in 1896. That, amidst paper reforms, congress ruled by elites, edifices of glass and steel, and anything that provides a showcase of 'independence' the Philippines remains under the hands of those whose primary goal is to keep firm in their interests. Whether foreign or domestic oligarch trying to present as benevolent, the reality is so clear that independence being struggled centuries past has not been achieved especially those of land, bread, and social justice. And heroes like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and Apolinario Mabini didn't struggle all for national liberation alone, but social as well. 

It may sound strange to some to hear phrases like "unfinished revolution", or "continuous struggle" thinking that the Philippines of theirs had achieved its independence and thus nothing to say except to  lean towards illusory progress brought by neoliberal west-east cooperation. But reality is quite very clear to see the Philippines of the present carries the pain of its past such as its feudal and colonial despotism, that Peasants in the countryside has to hear the tambuli, the clarion made out of carabao horn to unite and mobilise to vent grievances or to advance forward the social phase of that unfinished business, so are the workers, students, and urban professionals being pitted down by rising costs, fees, and taxes to satisfy the corrupt.

And that social phas has not been seriously conmenced by the so-called self-proclaimed benevolent elites amidst all the papers, the presentations, rhetorics, the bullshit being shown to the starving populace. Corrupt bureaucrats and oppressive landlords continue to thrive in the cities and in the countryside, while civil service ethics and land to the tiller was not realised as its laws, decrees concerning it be end circumvented if not entirely reduced into a mere scraps of paper; that commercial zones took place the once production-churning factories and the farms leaving everyone unemployed, and a culture that has to be cultivated be barraged by the single-fanged monster called 'west' and its wholsale westernisation. No wonder why agrarian revolts in the countryside, mass discontent in the cities brought by rising costs of commodities, loss of national and social consciousness continues as the system profits in its own subject's hardship and in pain. 

But regardless of their shit, the people are now trying to awake from that enforced dream. The clarion, no matter how it was made of carabao horn blows its significant tones to awake and join in the marches, the statements of those whom are concerned had been distributed like hotcakes, the single spark that has been deemed to die has become a prairie fire difficult to end! 

Again, it may sound strange of threatening, but clearly true. For as the clarion plays its militant tones, the once tired, dispossessed, repressed, sick, hungry are willing to rise and take anything to kill not just venting grievances that fell into the system's intentionally deaf ears. These people had been tired to words as what Juana Change said a while ago, they demand actions, if possible, they demand a surgical one to remove a tumor that is malignant, incurable; people can't just rely on worthless scraps of paper coming from those who even afford to babble  words such as peace, land, and bread, knowing that these people on high aren't serious in these so-called committments as they focus on their interests. Remember, how come the lower-middle Bourgeois named Andres Bonifacio had disregard the reforms Ilustrados insisted in favor of the growing clamor of the hungry, dispossessed masses? How come Rizal had toyed with revolution (in which Bonifacio had seriously put into practise) citing the failure of reforms being junked by the reaction particularly those of the priests and of the elites? People who had once tried to think of peace and conciliation, such as those of the Ilustrados whom seriously heard the cries of the masses had enough of it, sensing the fact that the peace the system wanted was not a peace under justice, but those of death as evidenced by growing mass of hunger and pain made by the reaction centuries ago. 

And even today it still continues to aggravate. Those who recognize reforms also recognize the need to take up arms to press forward the demands of the people as what Bonifacio or Mabini had stated, both the reaction and the counterreaction had afforded to joyride over it, yet with their intention to overturn the aspirations in favor of keeping their interests? The eyes of the people are wide opened, ears surroundly heard in order not to pursue their goals and press forward the true interest dofferent from the papers people on high has presented "to pacify". The lessons of EDSA I and II revolts somehow realise that in order to realise the supposed goals is to go beyond the parameters of "order", of strike the system not just its ringleaders as it was in Russia, China, Cuba of years past. Both the reaction and counterreaction has desperately trying to appease the people by any means just like earlier stated, but true to the word itself, especially those of the latter whose intention is to counter both the existing reaction and its effect, rather assails the protester rather than the system that incite them to protest despite using reform or reconciliation or any other progressive statement as its alibi. 

They said they use the social media as means to organise, but social media, regardless of its contribution to organising the discontented people, is not a protest substitute. And although social media had also created certain events like the "million people march against pork barrel", how about Hacienda Luisita? 16000 peso national minimum wage increase? Or any other calls for land, bread and social justice? Well, to be frank and true would say that they rather sit on a chair, "spreading consciouness" than braving the heat and the sun. 

No matter how the present order tries to repress, the wave of mass anger continue to flow over them. From not quite low to almost high, these waves made those whom trying to resist felt the growing fear coming from those whom are sick and tired of their repression. And although it may take years for the system to be destroyed, it weathers, erodes its so-called pride, strength, and instead unravels its obvious weakness the system has trying to hide over the way the sea waves spash over rocks time after time. 

Yes, and everybody sees that scene most think rather as disastrous, meanacing, disorderly. But for sure one, two, three, amongst them wanted that way of breaking free than to stay conented, sedated by the illusions the system has presented to.

Friday, 28 November 2014

To break free from Pseudo-Liberality

To Break free from Pseudo-Liberality

Notes from the Anti-Modern

by Kirit Thanarat

The question is, does these people whom afford to show freedom really invoke freedom? Does their resistance to the so-called establish norms offer an alternative? 

At first, it's been so long for this writer after observing people who sport anything out of their personal expression. Traversing the streets, it was just a normal day for those who had red, blonde, or brown in their hairs, ear plugs, and skirts to have someone else's ire or appreciation at the streets of España, Morayta, Dapitan, Padre Noval, and other thoroughfares of Manila. And most of them are likely not to enter their respective campuses, be it UST, FEU, San Sebastian, or at UE unless abide by the policies such as dying back to black, without earplugs, and dressed appropriately for the class.

To these unfortunate students they would say it infringes their right to self-expression, or rather say invades their personal-matter as individuals. As certain codes, official or not, yet still being imposed and "trying to regulate" the student's behaviour, to theirs it means, indubitably a curtailment of their right, particularly those of expression, and affront of their personal matters in the name of "order". These issue may others think of it as shallow as compared to much serious ones in regards to venting dissent and going beyond the parameters of order, such as those whom trying to propose a "mailed fist" strategy in pursuit of checking expected campaigns trying to disrupt industrial and scholastic order.
That last 1985, according to the campus paper DAWN of the University if the East, school administrators, whilst presenting themselves as "liberal", "free", "progressive", also calls for reactivation of agencies whose intention is to gather intelligence, security, and rapid mobilisation of armed forces to forcibly 'put into control institutions under state of siege' by those who oppose the system and its policies, be it political like those of the dictatorship or economic as the increases in tuition and other fees. 

Thank god it didn't realise after being disbanded 4 years before it's attempt. If had it resuscitated by those "concerned", may include those who invoke their expressions out of their personal matters. 

Quite absurd actually citing the fact how a system catered to the interest of the ruling class tends to restict in spite of presenting themselves as free, liberal, progressive, democratic, or even revolutionary;  and since this person know that those whom sporting their personal expressions may disregard this message, in their movements he guesses that they are still trying to express themselves to be free but some, if not most or few would dare to go beyond the parameters such as defying the established norms and create new ones. The fact that the impression how most of these people are brought by trend, pressure, rather than choice; perhaps it is not these people who are enjoyed in their cosmetic kind of expression or freedom as they think of,  but those who pushed them into the current of time, and be exploited unknowingly by those who benefited from their unawareness such as being treated as a cogwheel and be sedated by a thing called 'freedom' the system had offered. Of course, that freedom isn't freedom after all! 

It may be disappointing to some, but the nature of liberality nowadays has become reduced to a showcase of both arrogance and self-pityness. Instead of getting critical, of getting involved, it end rather trapped into reasons far from its supposed intentions such as finishing course just to land a high-paying job if not impressing a person for the sake of gaining trust. Those who achieve seen it as a showcase of pride to depnd on but not a means to contribute in their remolding; while those who self pity, regardless of its contributions, no matter how successful it is rather treats as a failure and desperately seeks for an impossible called perfection. Ego has replaced freedom, it has almost becoming freedom itself in today's society, in which far from its heroic beginnings. 

But come to think of this, liberalism and liberality are confused terms no matter people tries to make it interchangable. Just because of the root word it goes the same, then how come conservatives nowadays speaks of freedom, liberty, and other similar claptraps yet actually they speak heavily of order? As in throne and altar? Tradition and reaction? Good to hear about freedom of the individual according to their statements, but what kind of freedom of the individual they are trying to say such as freedom to consume what they bought and freedom to impress for the sake of mere applauses? That freedom, liberty is not the freedom, liberty Idealised for in the past, but a frustrated one diluted of substance and exaggerated in its form as it is in the present or in the future come. That kind of 'liberalism' had made Marx, Bismark, or Bonifacio chose to oppose their initial inclinations in favor of revolution through blood and iron, much more that kind of 'liberty' being peddled is not what Robespierre, Danton, Saint-Just or Babeuf hath said in their writeups; but instead, by those who afford to parrot for the sake of keeping their privileges especially those of the market. 
And books like "Hunger Games", "Divergent", and other resistance-invoking themes (inlcuding the Anarchist-inclined "V for Vendetta") has been used by the market and has diluted, revised its essence, such as "cultivate the spirit of struggle towards social liberation" into "submitting to the interest of the market called 'free'". Readers may afford to "be inspired" but does it mean they can able to resist just like those who read "Hunter" and "The Turner Diaries"?

Well, amidst the inconvenient reality such as a semifeudal, semicolonial, capitalistic repression, people who treats freedom as a showcase to impress others fail to radiate the light of freedom as what supposed to no matter how it tries to invoke. Those who present as revolutionary yet fails to invoke may rather end as Counterreactionary in its essence, that they babble social change the way they dress or sing, yet they fail to assert, or worse, assail instead those who protractedly assert just like those who comment about the latest protests and opposition towards anti-people policies. Those who can't even justify why they sport something besides trend and peer pressure fail to temper their  impressions with a justifiable cause, and Freedom that is treated as a façade is all but bullshit that tries to water the host of a profiteering repressor acting suffering, and that also somehow right to hear what Lenin saidth:

"Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners."

Yes, freedom for those who gained profit using that goddamned term. And to the victims, they demand, rather than want freedom to break that so-called 'freedom', to break free from pseudo-Liberality!

Apologies to the offended, to the misunderstood, but Are you sure you are free while actually being treated by the system as a mess amidst presenting to the world anything goes as according to so-called principles? Amidst semblance of tolerance presented to its neighbours, the system cannot tolerate a  growing demand such as those who are exploited and trying to go beyond the parameters. But nonetheless, it is important for people to inform, or enlighten again what a liberated individual should be, and It is more than what being sought such as its hairstyle, clothing, or music. These may be manifested by the individual as such, but that same individual who tries to express has expected to go beyond the parameters of impression for chrissakes towards real expression for themselves and for others. To some it may end disagreeable to redefine what an emancipated person should be, but of what is freedom if it is made for chrissakes? Perhaps, this person thinks that their freedom made for chrissakes is a mere display, a mere showcase as they are actually trying to escape themselves from, rather than confront the repressive reality such as poverty and repression. Although he recognises that the freedom that tries to cultivate from the bottle of beer, bars and supperclubs isn't the same freedom that tries to cultivate in the barricade-strewn streets and the petrol-filled bombs, there's a "bridge" thanks to those whose music means rebellion, subversion rather than submission knowing that HipHop, Punk didn't start as music for chrissakes; that every word and sound reflects the scene such as protest marches and armed robberies- before it end almost replaced by sex and on-cam relationships.

Admittingly speaking, invoking liberality is different from liberalism the way individuality is as different from individualism. And invoking one's freedom is different from be a craphole of the society.  You may express ideas, views, dreams, and other stuff to vent upon with a cause to justify, but venting without any cause is nothing but a waste of time, voice, face, and gesture. Most of the present generation has turned its supposed expressions into mere impressions, impressing an individual or a groupuscle, rather than trying to express what comes from themselves as persons; yet besides impressing, do they have any cause to justify their impressions? If not, then what a waste of time besides self-arrogance to abhor with. 
The colour of ones hair, like religion, is indeed a personal matter that has to be respected. It is also an expression to show what beauty that person wants to show as an individual rather than made to impress or out of mere pressures without understandings; that Punks didn't just have their Mohawks for chrissakes or getting in with the scene on the first place! But real expression comes in how to put change further beyond the parameters of so-called order. That requires the use of observation, formulating idea from looking and reflecting, and creating alternatives to realise what freedom should be. Freedom, Liberty, and other similar terms nowadays has been raped by the market, by the bourgeois whose intention is to keep their interests off from those who called for anything Just. It almost become a canned idea that replaces freedom to unshackle and create by those of freedom to be shackled and consume. 

No wonder why there are more Kim Kardashians and Kanye Wests than Ulrike Meinhofs and Jean-Paul Sartres. When will there be a reversal?

In short:

To be genuinely free in every moves, freedom has to be tempered with cause, as man was born with a purpose to keep.

 And it is up to them how will they try to invoke it. 

In memory of the late Fr. Frederick Fermin O.P. 
and Ms. Jeanne Mari Alanis Diwata 


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Never forget. Never forgive.

"Never forget. Never forgive."

Never forget. Never forgive.

Its been few years passed after the incident had almost brought their end. That, after 58 people being killed by more than 100 armed men, Maguindanao had end worse than its pasts, not of armed rebels, but those whose intention is to keep firm in their stronghold such as coming from a political family.

And like any other concerned group or individual, this page condemns the brutal killing of those whose intention is to wittness transparency and truth, as well as the system's slow-paced 'justice' of the present administration. Yes, that in spite of its culprits imprisoned, the process still marred by delays, much more that there are those whom are stubbornly defending their legacy of impunity prefering to hide, trying to resist justice to the extent of threatening, if not killing those who pursue their ongoing quest for justice. 

Worse, these people are coddled allegedly by those in uniform the way they gave high powered guns in the name of combating the enemies of the feudal-fascist state trying to masquerade as 'democratic'. According to reports, almost half of the 197 suspects for whom having arrest warrants since the incident remain at large, while no prosecution has not even been concluded, nor has any perpretrator has been convicted. What a mockery of justice indeed if that's the case to hear their threats and slow process of dispensing justice for the families of victims killed in the name of uncovering truth from existing facts, and amidst their denials, and a series of press releases straight from the palace, justice under the present administration, or rather say under the present order remains bleak till forgotten. 

But despite these, vigilance will continue by those whom trying to guard and those who seek truth from facts amidst lack of protection, as well as  threats and attacks by the system and its running dogs. Since November of that same year as the massacre happened, at least eight wittnesses and their family members were killed such as last November 19, wherein witnesses Dennis Sakal, a former driver of Andal Ampatuan Jr. was killed while Butch Saudagal, a bagman of of the Ampatuans, was wounded.

These incidents may have intented to cower those who remain vigilant and willing to expose, but amidst these doesn't mean should stop in calling for accountability both from the perpretrators of the crime as well as from a state that is negligent in respecting civil liberties and dispensation of justice. The incident last 2009 was part of a long string of incidents involving not just media killings, but also killings made in the name of order that is rotten and repressive to the core. 

More and more victims, dead or alive has continue crying for justice over these, but time will tell that real justice and accountability will emerge. And this page, like all others concerned, calls everyone to end threats, atracks against civil liberties, human rights, and press freedom by the present order not just in the Philippines but also other parts of the world.

Never forget. Never forgive. Till justice been served and punishment against the perpetrators be dispensed. 

Thank you.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

A subtler form of Hypocrisy

A subtler form of Hypocrisy

By Dolly Laxamana

With foreword by Lualhati Madlangawa Guererro

It's been a long time when yours truly has visited the archives of the University of the East to read some old issues of the DAWN if not reading certain writeups to serve as basis for future writeups. However, while browsing an old issue of the said campus paper, a writeup from a former Liberal Arts Student, issued last May 23, 1958 has brought attention and be reposted it.

Entitled "a subtler form of hypocrisy", it tackles about people whom are trying to be humble amist its own successes, but amongst them there are those whom making a said virtue exaggerated such as denying its own self the achievements also made by its own; humility is very far from self degradation or self pity no matter the latter two tries to interpret with. But instead to give thanks for anything they have passed, such as gifts and opportunities that knocks once or twice in their lives no matter how difficult it is. 

But perhaps, most people think about humility, in its simple terms, is just submission, as in eating a humble pie after a defeat, but these people who are end submitted, eating humble pies are those who are once full of arrogance, foolishness guised as successes to take pride with; that artists, statespersons may have take pride in anything they achieved, but is their achievement means to justify forgetting its own humble origins? Perhaps few amongs them who succeed during their lifetimes also recognize their defeats, humble origins, and why they struggle; they did lead and follow,  but they also acknowledge those who made such aspirations realise rather than assert arrogance or self-pitying themselves amidst its own contributions.

And Laxamana tries to differentiate a just humility than an exaggerated one that isn't humility at all. If Man is made in the image of God, is God himself had self-pitied its own? Anyways, here it is:

"Humility is no doubt is a very admirable trait. No one like an arrogant or concited person. But like all virtues, humility can be misinterpreted. This the virtue becomes hollow. It becomes false virtue.

Some persons, in their desire to be called humble, go to such unreasonable extremes that they make of themselves a nuisance instead. There are the person who, when told how becoming their dresses are, will dwell endlessly on how cheap it is and on how coarse the material is; when sincerely praised for their studiousmess, will tell how they often  spend their time loafing, sleeping, etc. until you finally begin to wonder what in the world made them confess all these faults; when congratulated for their praiseworthy achievement, will indulge in a monotonous recital of how unworthy they feel about the achievement and so fourth.

Praise anything they have, like the car for instance, say how smoothly it runs and they will start with a protesting: "Oh no! Certainly not!" And before you know it they will give you every major and minor defect of the car, gratis et amore. Visit their home and you will be buried in an avalanche of half-hearted, insincere denials and protests and a litany of defects of that home; how the roof leaks when it rains, how dirty the walls are, etc.

To these persons, every expression of approval is empty flattery. Every honest but favourable opinion is worthless adultation. Thus they belittle every achievement they make, depreciate everything they have and even ridicule themselves if you praise what good things they have done, what they have or what outstanding characteristic they possess. These unreasonable things, they will do, just to be called 'humble'. Indeed it has come to the point when all that one has to do to discover the defects of anything is to praise it in the presence of its owner.

But this is not humility. Rather, this is a subtler form of hypocrisy. Humility is not the exceptional ability to belittle excessively one's achievements simply because another acknowledges them. It is not the talent for degrading oneself because another has credited you for something you possess. Moreover, humility is never shown by exaggerated and needless apologies for one's assets. Or better still, humility is never shown deliberately. Period. It can be seen without being shown.

If what one has is really worthy of praise, one meed not apologize for it; or if what one has done or achieved is truly deserving of commendation, he/she need nor belittle it; if one is brillant or talented or capable, he need not degrade himself for it because another has deemed it proper to praise him for it. This would be false humility,

Besides, to reject a sincere praise when one deserves such praise is to embarrass the one praising and to brand him a flatterer.

Humility is a virtue; but excessive humility is no longer humility. It is a subtler form of hypocrisy."

"To someone whose beauty is beyond parameters"

"To someone whose beauty is beyond parameters"

Something from you makes my mind full of colours
Amidst reality that is full of pressure
Rising every Day and night
As if no problem that comes in mind or sight
Hope? yes, what lies from you instead, yes hope.

Just like before, you brought smiles
Amidst reality that is struggle
Nice as I see, you brought love to me and others
Everlasting as it touches my lonesome heart

Emancipate is one of your word, coming from one of your calls
Live to the fullest is the goal, amidst death and chaos 
Awake the slumber, bring sight to the blind
Gather the enlightened no matter death is behind
Overthrow the rotten? Yes, so hope and love may rise.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Avenge Luisita

Avenge Luisita 

(Left-wing version of "Avenge Dresen" by Rahowa)

 It was 2004, long time ago for as we know 
When the policemen and soldiers, they came from road 
They appease the strikers but they kill men and women alive 
Many farmers died 
Oh tell me why, oh why, I must cry 

Again like Mendiola Like hell as we see ya 
The government bragged their CARPER 
But the program couldn't get further 
As the farmers shout their pleas 
And the rest as they see 
Land to the tiller as they want to speak 

 An agreement handed down 
They will not kill the strikers down 
But the Aquinos were wearing their traitor’s crowns 
And as the people watched in vain 
Down poured a fiery rain 
My heart is filled with pain 
It’s such a shame 

 Luisita must be avenged 
Comrades, we must make amends 
Until justice is served, we shall not die 
I hear the voice of the peasants cry:
"Avenge Mendiola, hacienda Luisita…”

 A terrible holocaust - we must avenge at any cost 
The peasants, masses waged its fight, 
because the truth is always right 
Just hidden out of sight on that night 

 Don’t tell me lies about the investigations 
’Cause I’ve got some news for you 
don’t tell me lies known as promises 
’Cause to the traitors I ain’t crying over too

A warrant handed down
They arrest the implicators down
While the system still wearing their traitor's crowns
Some of them faced death in vain
And as the people watched in vain 
Down poured a fiery rain 
My heart is filled with pain 
It’s such a shame 

 Luisita must be avenged 
Comrades, we must make amends 
Until justice is served, we shall not die 
I hear the voice of the peasants cry:
"Avenge Mendiola, hacienda Luisita…”

 A terrible holocaust - we must avenge at any cost 
The peasants, masses waged its fight, 
because the truth is always right 
Just hidden out of sight on that night 

Let new sounds be played to counter their noise!

Let new sounds be played to counter the noise!

It's been for a long time for this writer to write about an article regarding his music of interest. That, besides punk, metal, industrial, oldies, and bouts of world music, this writer is somehow quite compelled to create this post that also citing his appreciation to those "creations" whose intention is to create a sound that is unfamiliar to many yet artful to some. Most of the instruments may seemed strange, all from its appearance to the sound being vented, and yet some had afford to listen to as well as appreciate as it invokes uniqueness, contrary to those usually being played in the radio from morning till midnight.

Yes, it may sound weird though citing the fact how these sounds are too deviant from the usual ones being played, but why not let give them a chance to introduce? Music isn't limited to a rock band, a classical orchestra, or a guy playing his synthesiser and a drum machine. There are others whose imagination, or let's just say "weirdness" had afford to make instruments to play and to express as an artist.

Such as these videoes featuring instruments shown below. This writer somehow picked a few examples of unfamiliar, experimental instruments, its creators, and the sounds being played in these creations. 


Made by a Turkish Musician named Görkem Şen, that instrument, known as "Yaybahar", bridges the gap between the unplugged goodness of an old-school acoustic instrument, and the space aged sound of a modern-day synthesizer.

To some people, that instrument is quite strange, as well as bulky due to its appearance, but Şen, an instrumentalist, wanted to create something new, that he wanted to fuse the past and present such as a modern sound without any electricity required to play over. The Yaybahar can be played in a variety of different ways using mallets or with a bow, relying on a combination of two drum-like membranes, long springs, and a tall fretted neck to create music that is reminiscent of a plugged instrument used by a DJ (Disk Jockey); and Şen himself tried his instrument by playing a wide range of sounds, from Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" to a series of noise irritating to mainstream listeners.

He even shown it at Ted Talks as an audiovisual performance making people aware of its "artful noise" regardless of what had been shown. People may mistaken it for a mere chordophone at first, only to found out that it plays a different kind of sound.

And also according to Ted Talks, it further stated that:

"The technologies of today are making the rigid walls of art and art production pliable and transparent. These five artist whom have come together in various projects in the past are aiming for the hybrid perception of audio and visual. Through improvisational music and real time visual production software they are connecting the whole process to the present moment. In the performance where the momentary mood changes are going to be reflected on the stage in audio and visuals, the artists will see how the next moments' audio and visual will take shape and will be sharing their creation process with and in front of the audience."


Made by an Italian painter and instrumentalist named Luigi Russolo, Intonarumori is a set of box-type instruments that are acoustically being played. Its wheels rattle of bow the strings, while the drum functions as an acoustic resonator, and on its top a lever being used to man the instrument. This handy varies the string tension, and by pulling the lever the tone becomes higher. The horns attached to the boxes amplify the noise being played, hence being called Intonarumori or "Noise Maker."

Envisioned as an instrument of the future, Russolo wanted its listeners to hear the sounds reminiscent of industry, of machines, anything what comes from the future being idealised by many. However, during its presentations it rather resorted to fistfights with the audience, and its instruments Russolo himself had created were destroyed during the Second World War if not disappeared.

But regardless of its past, what Russolo did was a showcase his "followers" would dare to replicate his work. As he said:

"At first the art of music sought purity, limpidity and sweetness of sound. Then different sounds were amalgamated, care being taken, however, to caress the ear with gentle harmonies. Today music, as it becomes continually more complicated, strives to amalgamate the most dissonant, strange and harsh sounds. In this way we come ever closer to noise-sound."


It's been few years ago when these instruments hath been shown at the Vargas Museum in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. These instruments people may ought to describe first as strange, were mostly made out of anything metal in which he personally fashioned and turned into something that creates an artful noise.

Yes, an artful noise that made some, if not most dare to see its wonder in his concerts. Like the creator of Yaybahar, he fuses the acoustic and the digital. But most people rather look at the gears, mixing bowls, utensils and door handles that made up his string instruments.

But behind showing his instruments was his fatal accident in which the proceeds being used for his recovery. Prior to his accident, Lirio Salvador is one of the personages in the experimental music scene, but most people made him known for his instruments he had created and played.

Salvador is also a member of the band Elemento, and he is dedicated to producing/ re-producing experimental sound compositions. His band makes use of his sculptural assemblages as well as home-made synthesizers shown during events both in the Philippines and in Abroad.

And according to a writeup from "The Drawing Room", it stated that:

"Unlike many haphazard others whose techniques match his, he is the rare few who can ever achieve a refined finish. His fascination with possibility is childlike, but his production is sophisticated. The beauty of his works does not end here. Because they are made up of various materials and disciplines, they can never remain closed up. The ingenuity lies in the unfinished nature of his works. In their capacity to accommodate more objects, more creative fusion, there is more gold to be made."


Made by a Colombian musician and peace activist Cesar López after seeing a soldier carrying a rifle like a guitar, the Escopetarra is an instrument that is made out of a decomissioned weapon (specifically rifle) being turned into a stringed instrument (hence its name that means rifle-guitar). In its appearance as a rifle with strings, it is an example of a "sword to ploughshare" approach, with its creator stressing the importance of peace through music.

Quite deadly indeed at first for someone to see that instrument made out of a decomissioned gun: be it a shotgun, carbine, or a Kalashinov that made Escopetarra familar with, yet instead of firing bullets like any other rifle, it 'fires' melodies through its strings, unleashes a barrage of creativity like any other guitar, especially if the ones playing plays the sound of freedom.

Famous personalities like Carlos Santana, Shakira, and even Tenzin Gyatso (the Dalai Lama), were also given Escopeteras with the same intention of promoting swords to ploughshares, as well as peace through music. The first expression from these personages would be surprising especially in seeing a stringed instrument made out of a decommisioned weapon, but the intention is clear enough such as promoting peace and love the way its creator tries to invoke after what he had sought. However, as for the Dalai Lama's, a member of his staff rejected López's offer, citing the inappropriateness of giving a weapon as a gift.

But still, what López did is for the cause of peace such as a gun used for strumming and not for firing.


Created for the Icelandic musician Björk for her Biophilia project, the Gameleste is a custom instrument that was created by the British percussionist Matt Nolan and the Icelandic organ craftsman Björgvin Tómasson. There it also crossed both east and west by incorporating gamelan-like bronze bars in a celeste housing.

To those who heard for the first time such as in this post, the Gameleste's sound may mistaken for a music box if not a carillon. But instead of chimes or bells, the bronze bars serves as its percussion. And if this writer may ask these creators, are the Indonesians whom appreciated their Gamelan music also knew about how their traditional instruments served as inspiration for that kind of keyboard? 


 There are more examples to show in this writeup, but this writer chose to limit it instead to five. But despite its limit would say that the instruments being shown in this post reflects the creator's imagination and willingness to promote no matter how strange it is. That, despite most people having no time to appreciate things different yet artsy, there are some rather than few who those who have enough time to see, hear, as well as appreciate or criticize the instruments these artists featured had offered. 

And based in other writeups that also featured these instruments, People had criticized Björk for her eccentric moves and appearance, yet they appreciate her instrument such as the Gameleste. The Yaybahar, in spite of its folksy appearance as an acoustic instrument had made people amaze by its sound reminiscent of a synth, so is the Escopetarra in which despite its original purpose as a gun, it turns out to be an instrument of peace as a guitar. There are even those whom had afford to revisit and even revive whose originals being swept during the war such as Russolo's Intonarumori, yet instead of fistfights as what Russolo experienced decades ago comes curiosity and interest especially in the industrial music scene, that somehow means vindication to his craft as an artist; while the instruments of the Philippines' own Lirio Salvador, that once being displayed at Vargas Museum years ago did help in the recovery of the artist from his accident thanks to the proceedings and the donations brought by friends and those whom concerned. 
That actually, this writer had once made an article about those instruments after what he had sought, that he also paid a ticket to see his creations vis-a-vis only to found his resourcefulness, imagination, and talent both in visual art and in music.

But since most people knew how their creativity made these things happen, these creators also carries an intention such as to counter the current whose sound fails to meet art. As most treat music for nothing such as crass lyrics and crappy melodies, there are those whose imagination provides link, if not fusion with different culture, convention, or era. That somehow Björk's Gameleste, Görkem's Yaybahar, and Liro Salvador's series of Sandatas tries to invoke with.

Perhaps there are other musicians willing to do so just like this writer stated, but most chose to confine it in their imaginations rather than making it come true. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

"Still seeking truth amidst threats"

"Still seeking truth amidst threats"

(A writeup made in commemoration of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre
And other earlier actions made by the present, blood-soiled order towards journalists
and those seeking justice)

By Kat Ulrike

At first, it's been so long for yours truly to recall the tragic events involving the system and its victims. Like Saturn whom devoured its own children, the system, no matter they're presenting as a benefactor to its constituents, actually cares less or none at all as it focuses much on its own vested interests; worse, letting its own attack dogs bleed them dry if not killed straight in their graves thinking that it is part of their own job. 

Fueled by the desire to keep in order, the system rather tolerate its own murderous actions no matter how evil it is, that they have to chose to side with the lesser evils, whether it is a warlord occupying a highest position or a trigger-happy men in uniform, arming them as much as possible in order to counter the greater threat the system has to restrain if not to destroy them further.

However, that lesser evil has its main intention such as to keep firm in its stronghold if not to gain a cherished rank and position. Under the guise of order and stability, it also means putting those who oppose at gunpoint, be it a farmer, worker, up to a prominent professional such as a doctor or even a journalist;  and the desire to stand firm in their stronghold or ambition comes their sudden bouts of paranoia, in which they end killing people randomly regardless of their innocence.

It may sound strange, but true as news reports from the past few years present to the world a hard evidence. And one example was last 2009, in which people had sought the gruesome murder of journalists at Maguindanao, and that was, under the soiled hands of the Ampatuans.

Warlord and Successor, Father and Son: Datu Andal and Zaldy Ampatuan
This political war clan, supported by the system in the guise of destroying the growing Moro insurgency, rather points its guns to those whom desire to know the truth and testify in the transparency Maguindanaons trying to present for the coming 2010 elections. People somehow wanted to show it knowing that regardless of the rottenness the system has been showing there's a democracy that is trying to stimulate, such as the right to vote for politicos other than the Ampatuans themselves.
But for the Ampatuans, it means supporting their rival since these journalists joined in the convoy of a rival politico, and that action was as also tantamount to disorder thinking that journalists, in searching for truth, are meddling too much in their affairs. Maguindanao has been treated as their bastion for years, much more that one of the Ampatuans back then also dominate in regional and even national affairs with one of them became governor of the Muslim Autonomous Region. These made a once mere warlord shared the same experiences of others whom are being coddled by past regimes for being 'supportive' no matter how grave the mistakes pointed against the common people.

Ampatuan in Prison, still enjoying as the victims clamor for justice
But with the 2009 massacre brought shed to light comes their fall in Maguindanao. Culprits, especially those who were once in power are being imprisoned if not hidden in their balliwicks, weapons that were buried had been unearthed by the authorities, as well as a series of releases promising speedy justice for the victims of the said incident trying to make sure that they are "serious" in resolving the case.
Yet as years passed by, threats and coercion are continue to be heard such as victims and even prominent news personalities like Ces Drilon being given death threats for being meddlesome if not asserting justice because of the genocidal action made in the name of order; whether it came from the Ampatuans, its supporters, or any other ruling politico from the countryside who can't withstand the clamor of change, transparency, truth, and justice.

And if media personages, whether famous like Ces Drilon or not, yet searching for truth from facts is meddlesome in the eyes of the system, then perhaps the system itself unveils greatly their paranoia in seeing a potential opposition regardless of who they are, and in seeing a potential opposition meant an untimely death; for sure countries that were once under military dictatorships like El Salvador, Honduras, Argentina, Chile had stories from its past having a system mistaken those who seek for the truth, as well as advancing social change, for demons trying to destroy the moral and social fiber they tried to preserve with. So is the Philippines with its Feudalism clothed in a sheet called Democracy.

And since everybody know that system, while trying to present the world how healthy Philippine Democracy is, rather shows the actual, inconvenient one that is stagnant, failing to stimulate no matter how it tries to show proofs how healthy that Democracy is. That whilst Thailand's Sarit Thanarat actually said that Democracy incompatible with his dictatorship, the system that dominates the present presidency, congress, courts, military, and the police tries to call their dictatorship, their feudalism, a democracy; yes, democracy in its original Athenian form that is for the privileged, elite, trying to keep their interests firm by redescribing themselves for the people.
Yet on the other hand it unveils its bloody daggers no matter how they tried to wash their soiled hands. Warlords, military men, trigger happy politicos occupying the middle to the highest seats care nonetheless their interests, and again, with its paranoia unravel their acts far from the standards of their so-called democracy. Perhaps the peace they are talking about is the peace of the grave, that the progress they are presenting is the progress of the privileged, and the prosperity they are trying to invoke is the prosperity of the profiteer, in which, all at the expense of those who are being exploited, bled dry, and killed for their action that is seeking truth from facts, if not social change. No wonder why a Greek Philosopher abhors that kind of government that is actually a tyranny with reality as its proof.

That with the massacre of Maguindanao last 2009, as well as others pointed against journalists, and others seeking changes, are examples of earlier ones in which those whom opposing their wishes, their policies, or simply a hindrance to their motives are being spirited away to their deaths, hoping to be uncovered by the concerned in the name of justice.

And that is the duty of those who never forget the past and its commitment to raise amidst threats: Of uphelding justice, seeking truth from facts, and advance social change for the people. This person knew most people would remain apathetic to these issues, but hoping that both reality and time will make them enlighten.

That's all for now,
Thank you.

Friday, 7 November 2014

All after (the deserving) artists, The (awaiting) prize, And the (rotten) system who tries to act righteous

All after (the deserving) artists, 
The (awaiting) prize, 
And the (rotten) system who tries to act righteous

(Or months after Nora Aunor still not having the Order of National Artist)

By Lualhati Madlangawa Guerrero

It was months ago when People had mixed reactions as the Executive department turned down calls to include Actress Nora Aunor as National Artist of the year. Especially after how President Aquino and his clique had justified their action such as the artist as a drug user.

And if so, then what's the connection between her art and her mistake? People from all walks of life had commented about the issue happened months ago; some favored the President's decision, others oppose citing Nora Aunor's contribution to Philippine art through Cinema. But regardless of her contributions, of citations brought from her country and abroad, the system, trying act to be righteous, rather disregard and instead emphasise her alleged mistake as a drug user as a clause for not receiving the prize.

But in spite of not been given by the system, Concerned groups consider her still as a people's artist with the same reason those who press her for the citation. Some, if not most National Artists acknowledge her works positively to consider her for the order, from breaking the typical Filipina as a hispanic bourgeois in favor of the brown skinned of the Masa crowd, to the introduction of movies made independent from major producers. Of course, the system did recognize her works, but, trying to be morally uprighteous, rather turned down the clamor of making her a National Artist; or worse, thinking that she doesn't deserve the prize in spite of the citations she had as an artist simply because she's from the lowly Masa crowd, and not of the educated bourgeois.

Taking her as an example, this writer would say that the issue about choosing a National Artist isn't based on being morally upright as insisted by the system and blindly agreed by most commentators in social media sites. Artists are at first, human prior to their popularity on the first place, and people even don't knew that Nick Joaquin was a drunkard, that F. Sionil Jose was a dropout from a prominent university, and Juan Luna was a murderer gone acquitted by the courts.
Do we need to add international celebrities as well despite not being a Filipino and a national artist? Ernest Hemingway had drank Absinthe which is illegal in most countries, yet people read his works and admired him for his literary contributions; so was Bob Marley, well known for his Reggae yet people known seeing him smoking Marijuana yet still admiring by his fans for his feel good music.
The system may continue to insist their clause citing morality or any other claptrap to justify upon if not acting as a blanket for their obvious personal reason, but being morally upright doesn't guarantee a person from the art scene as a National Artist. Does the Artist should be godly that somehow meant that an Atheist, a nonbeliever who had good contributions to today's culture doesn't deserve the prize?

Personally, in seeing that hell of a kind issue, comes a question: why on earth should have the President of the so-called Republic choose and omit those worthy to be called as National Artist? And why not as well remove that presidential privilege in choosing national artists, and even supreme court justices (SCJs)? National Artists should, on the first place been chose by a panel led by an academy of national artists; so are the SCJs, especially those of the Chief Justice whom should been picked and be voted by the Judicial and Bar Council; making itself really independent from the executive.
It may sound ideal, that few people would had also suggested that idea, citing the fact that Presidential privilege comes abuse of power, circumventing laws just to keep the status quo firm including adding and omitting those who deserve and those whom are not. That the hated Carlo J. Caparas had controversially became National Artist with people thinking that he, an avid Arroyo supporter made that happen, while the past administration had cite his directing skill and writing in comics as its justification for attaining the order as a "National Artist" amidst criticism from National Artists and the people in general.

His murder-and-massacre related movies whom he called "justice" was all but crappy no matter how it based from reality compared to the remarkable works of Manuel Conde and the realism of Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal. And although he did left a legacy actually especially to those living in the last decades of the 20th century, does it mean that legacy can make Caparas himself liable for having the order and its benefits?

In fact, right was Caparas in his statement citing that the order is for those who, are old, dying, if not already dead artists whom had left a good legacy and contributions to Filipino culture. But prior to that statement of his, the late Levi Celerio did said that idea why he, an old dying man be given the prize too late? Well, both of them are right to say those words how the system has to await good artists to reach old age and face death to have the citation and the right to be buried at the Heroes Graveyard; yet the late Ka Levi, who was a drunkard yet brought good music that is known for generations deserves the prize better than those of Caparas who is a puppet of the system with his "justice films" as crappy and exaggerated. Panelists knew their shortcomings, but still they knew what is gold and what is crap. Ka Levi, Nick Joaquin, and even Juan Luna shared the mistakes of their lives, yet they are still appraised, So were the womanizers Dolphy, Fernando Poe Jr. and the alleged drug user Nora Aunor who's not been given despite her life's work as an artist deserves the prize.
They deserved it for they knew that they had pleased the people through their craft and hence brought citations regardless of the controversies they themselves involved. Having the prize does not require to be a part of the high society to show how remarkable Philippine art, even the graffiti artist may someday be given the prize for its craft that appeases the youth no matter how the system thinks of as vandalism, still, it is an art that invokes beauty as shown by colours and expression through glyphs being shown.

And by the way, since the President and his clique had used morality as its clause, why not take the actions of choosing national artist via a series of miracles, evidences similar to a process that led to canonization, if not setting wet and dry straw into the furnace like how cardinals appoints the chief vicar of the Church? Dios mio! The system is all but presenting a "saint" that is full of "morals" rather than a national artist whose craft brought numerous contributions to Filipino society and culture, not knowing that some, if not most national artists are also accustomed by the desires of the flesh and of the decadent.

Sorry if this writeup had been posted late, but to some it remains relevant especially on how the system treats art and how they assess artists who deserve the prize. Morally upright as its basis? Whose morality anyway?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

BATTLEFIELD DIY: The creations of the Kurdish people against the "Islamic State"


The creations of the Kurdish people against the "Islamic State"

Isolated from its suppliers, treated as enemies, and outgunned by the invading men of the Islamic State, the people of Kurdistan tries to survive by means of being resourceful such as building its own mecha.

Mostly converted from farm trucks and tractors, the self-defence forces of Kurdistan, known as the Peshmerga, continued the long-honoured tradition of improvisation in the era of remote-controlled drones and state-of-the-art weaponry. And Kurdish people had afforded to take some pictures and posted at social media sites such as Twitter, showing one of their means to defend their communities against the invading foe.

It may sound desperate, or even sucks, for an embattled community in both Syria and Iraq as the "Islamic State" of "Caliph" Al-Baghdadi tries to harass them and the others. The Turkish government treated the Peshmerga, as well as the Kurdish people as their enemies for being separatist, with one of its personalities, Abdullah Ocalan, is still imprisoned being its leader; they had even blocked the boundaries leading to the embattled communities so as to prevent fellow Kurds to join into the battle against the enemy. Meanwhile, Iran did provide support for the Kurdish people the way it had during the 1980s, but that said support seemed too limited to some firearms and ammunition just to beef up the embattled populace.
And the west? Most of them are mere spectators watching news about their plight, so is their struggling resistance. 

But in spite of being desperate, the Kurds had to face the music. Reminiscent of the Spanish Republicans during the Civil War, the Kurds had to arm themselves, and that includes improvising anything such as turning every truck, tractor into a vehicle of war no matter how crappy it was in the eyes of others. Some even acquired aged vehicles such as those originally made from the Soviet Union, having it repaired as well as its armor improved.

"The result is a mishmash of improvised battle wagons, sometimes with wacky colour schemes. Pictures of the vehicles have drawn some mockery on the internet, from people who presumably have never had to ingeniously cobble together protective vehicles as they go up against well-equipped ISIS militants."

But come to think of this, since they are crappy and desperate just to face the enemy, how come most acknowledge the valour of the Kurdish people? The Turkish government despise them for being separatist, they even imprison Abdullah Ocalan, much more that they block Kurds from joining the battlefield and save their fellow Kurds from the invaders.
Yet, regardless of being blocked, there are some who had afford to take the risk of being captured or even killed by eluding boundary patrols just to join the battle and show their bravery. The vehicles made by the Kurds showed resilience no matter how few repairmen and its foundries had afforded to create these, much more that they have to fix their old Soviet-made guns and load ammunition. In its appearance, they even look like WWI tanks such as the French's Schneider or the German's A7V, if not those from the Spanish Civil War with its Blindados.

And these, regardless of being slow in its movement or crude in its appearance, provides a morale boost to the struggling fighters. In the same article from The Guardian, David Wiley from the Tank Museum at Dorset said that it has a "presence and a fear factor over and above the weapons they carry".

furthermore, it said:

"These DIY vehicles won’t offer much protection against rocket-propelled grenades, but should withstand machine-gun fire, though this depends. Hopefully, somebody stood there and fired an AK-47 at it to see that it’s proof against something.”"

Personally, these showed effort in continuing the resistance regardless of less support from other nations. Old guns had been fixed throrughly, while trucks, tractors, and buses fitted with metal for protection; Kurdish troops were forced to take the initiative and create their own armoured vehicles. They hope to stop the advance of the Islamic State forces, who are armed with high-tech weapons captured from the Iraqi forces, that in turn, mostly from the Americans.

And that means achievement.
Salute to these fighting men amidst being outgunned by their enemies. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

A surge of Protest as justifed: still neglected for a year after Yolanda

A surge of Protest as justified:
Still neglected for a year after Yolanda

(A writeup made for the first year of remembering the tragic event)

It is been a year after Typhoon Yolanda had swept Eastern Visayas and other parts of Panay island and Mindanao. That, with its sudden deluge known as storm surge, had left 18000 killed while hundreds of thousands were left homeless and bereft of livelihood. There people, especially the masses had to rely on relief from both private and local government, domestic and foreign sources while trying to reconstruct their lives especially in urban areas like Tacloban.

However, in spite of their so-called relief, reconstruction, and rehabilitation efforts especially from the present Aquino administration, it rather end mismanaged as it fails to provide immediate relief to its constituents as well as failing to meet standards the structures meant to house those whose houses been swept by the deluge last November 8; it may also sound factual that the biggest chunk of the money meant for reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts had been carried away by thieves in uniform, citing the fact that the system itself, no matter it tries to act righteous, remains corrupt.

Until today, people in Eastern Visayas are difficultly trying to rehabilitate themselves and their communities as most of them suffer from hunger, poverty, illness, and even death as the system fails to provide services other than relief like adequate housing, livelihood, and education. Worse, the system, through its Social Welfare Department can't even give straight the donations as warehouses are still filled with the donations left rotting. And although Secretary Dinky Soliman had afforded to take pride that 90% of the 1,121 billion peso donation been allocated to the said efforts, then how come the vast majority still suffering? They even deny the underpaid Government Employees situated in those disastered areas emergency allowances to reconstruct themselves as well, how ironic then if that's the case.

Again, the system, no matter how it tries to act righteous as what Aquino said, remains corrupt. With the most of 1,121 billion peso donation under the hands of the corrupt rather than spent for arduous efforts, much more that the system had favored letting compadores like Gokongwei, Ayala, Aboitiz, Manny Pangilinan, and Lucio Tan take over anything in the name of "reconstruction" and "development".
Such terms, exploited by the compradores actually meant exploitation and profiteering at the expense of those whom actually lived in those communities. It may sound nice to hear these prominent people "lending a hand" to the less fortunate, but come to think of this: some of them are evading taxes like those of Lucio Tan, much more that the concept of development in areas the system designated as "no-build" zones are actually stressing commercialization in the name of theirs as compradores by nature, and international neoliberal interest in which they're observing with.
And besides that, the injustice left by those whom had done illegal logging has not been resolved. So what kind of development these people on high speaking after they cut down trees, turn ricefields, and communities into commercial complexes? Will they wait for another storm surge to come and teach these people who composed this rotten order a lesson? Much more from the still grieving people clamoring for justice like ghosts?

No offense, but true as the victims felt the hunger, pain, as well as fear after being neglected by the system. The "service" presented by the system is nothing but a rhetoric to peddle stating that they are speeding efforts amidst controversies such as pork barrel. Aquino, et al. may deny these allegations surrounding their actions before, during, and after Yolanda; while on the other hand, blaming them for disturbing their actions, much more that they blame the organisers for urging these less fortunate to turn their plight into hatred against the status quo.
That actually, it seemed right for the victim to turn their plight into hatred after letting the situation be mismanaged by those babbling public service if not letting profiteers do the job of "development" and "reconstruction." The two quoted terms, supposedly for the well-being of the people, are mere rhetoric as their press releases, much more that the system, in its disgust towards the dispossessed, thinks that, paraprhasing John 7:49 :

"They are unlawful, so they are under god's curse..."
And if so, then those who had afford to organise, no matter how subversive in the eyes of the present order, are the ones who respected these victims of last year's calamity. Not because they are ravaged by the storm surge, nor being hungry, sick, or homeless, but of being neglected by those whom babbling terms yet can't give wholeheartedly the needs people had called for.

Again, the system reiterated their statements as they tried to lessen the temper of the mass, But the more they deny their thieveries, neglect the dispossessed, mismanage the efforts to uplift the ravaged, the more they felt the tremors of protest from the cursed, a spectre that haunts their consciences.