Saturday, 30 January 2016

"Quo Vadis Manila?"

"Quo Vadis Manila?"

(based from a post from Paulo Alcazaren)

"Manila used to host dramatic cinematic capitols and elegant centers of capital. Today they are crumbling to a slow death by negligence, or shrouded to hide their impending demise from within. We cannot do without our heritage of architecture. We cannot be a capital of culture if we erase masterpieces of the past, the creative output of previous generations of Filipinos, the inspiration for new generations. Quo vadis Manila?"

- Paulo Alcazaren

Well, regardless of what the system has allegedly "trying" to "preserve heritage" and "identity" in that metropolis, the continuous degeneration brought  by that same system's unbridled "development" has almost turned Manila into a whorehouse if not a dump of cultural garbage.


From these pictures featuring its old yet remarkable buildings rotting and waiting to be demolished (or already demolished), and at the same time seeing new yet shorn of significance (except commercialism) rising from its ruins, Manila has changed its outmost appearance, and yet still yearning for its once-cherished grandeur as the "Pearl of the Orient."

Quite awkward, if not strange to see how most its contemporary heritage, be it pre or post war has been neglected much by its citizens whilst favouring unbridled commercialism "in the name of progress", yet trying to be a capital of culture with some of its remaining edifices being preserved most likely for "showcasing Filipino culture" in case of old churches like Quiapo or San Sebastian, Spanish-era houses like those from Intramuros, and few pre and post war buildings situated in the main arteries like Roxas Boulevard or AgriFina circle.

Source: Flcikr
Source: Edgar Allan Sembrano
But how about the really neglected ones? Lucky that the Metropolitan Theatre that it has been cleaned and restored. But how about the Capitol Theatre? The abandoned Philippine National Bank building at Escolta? The HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation building? PhilBanking at Anda circle? VeterBank at Bonifacio drive? Or the well-known El Hogar whose 'attempt for demolition' had been stopped by a temporary restraining order? 
Such degeneracy that has been tolerated by the system has made these buildings feel really neglected, deteriorating, till enough to be demolished and be justified by bullshit such as old, dilapidating, hopeless to be preserved, anything whatsoever that obviously having a“lack of vision” coming from both national and local governments. What more of values that has been sacrificed in favour of mere material benefits such as those politicians who pocketed enough funds in exchange for letting these so-called "developers" destroying anything significant to assert their pseudo-developmentalist fantasies.

And these fantasies has less to do with uplifting the people. After all, does these working-class families lived in those high-rises? Nope. 

Anyways, despite all these shit the system has greatly done and still doing, there's still hope that awaits for everyone. Especially to those who are really clinging to its deep yet healthy roots that made a society surviving throughout those times and never being left as it really being cherished as such. 

Friday, 29 January 2016

To the Children of the Storm

To the Children of the Storm

The sound of house music tries to sneer everyone through the ears,
And the scent of cocktails mixed with the fumes of cigarettes in the air
The neon lights trying to compliment earlier darkness
For it was almost midnight and the party tries to appease the rage
The noises outside were those of sports cars
Engines churning if not those of their horns blaring
So much for these petit bourgeois has afforded to make these happen:
A world decadent that soon aggravates problems the old once spoken
This person has sought these once, felt its weirdness than I
For he preferring the mocha frappe if not chilled beer at night
Seeing all the books, if not hearing some reminiscences 
Of friends longed for meetups as tired in social media sites
Time is running fast, as the repressed has trying to break their chains
Clamouring, shouting various demands the Bourgeois trying to act deaf
Demanding the impossible as they pushed truncheons and resisting water
Fired from the water cannons at the back of riot policemen
And yet countered by shouts and waving of flags
All red as colour of working class blood
Still greatly flying in the street battle last night.

But the system with its running dogs wanting to turn the battle into a massacre
Wanting to see a killing spree, rivers of blood from every street
Tear Gas turned to live bullets, chants turning screams
Yet the bourgeoisie disregards the noises as EDM music continues as it seems
Prevailing in the dancehalls in its discotheque fantasies
Of Liquor and Champagne, of Cigarette smokes
Trying to counter yesterday's stress and escaping fear
Such as the sound outside their comfort zones.

And as they go home from their parties and see the society in its entirely mess
Will these knock their apathetic hearts and intentionally unaware minds
As they've been fed by illusions time after time
As they escape in pursuit of comforts
Including those who toyed with politics with words like "social action"
And poverty with those of "Charity" if not "Redemption"
Through their so-called "Corporate Social Responsibility"?
Damn! Not all Bourgeois would cry for the millions in poverty
Nor having mercy to those who are being beaten after a long march against impunity
As these destitutes and shirtless sing a part from the Internationale:
"No saviour from on high delivers,
No faith have we in prince or peer.
Our own right hand the chains must shiver,
Chains of hatred, greed and fear.
E'er the thieves will out with their booty,
And to all give a happier lot.
Each at his forge must do their duty,
And we'll strike the iron while it's hot."

Only few of them would have their eyes and minds open
Trying to remold with the book and record what they've gathered with scrap paper and pen
Enough to replace petty thoughts and fantasies with actually existing realities
And a desire to end the old order with new
Maybe with the empty beer or liquor bottles they are willing to fill them with oil and wick
Trying to continue the almost stopped conflict with the rage on their behalf:
"Hinein in die Betriebe!" To the Factories!
"Hinein die Landschaft!" To the Counntryside!
Singing a part of the Internationale as they counter the system and its own class's wrath:
"Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!
Arise, ye wretched of the earth!
For justice thunders condemnation:
A better world's in birth!
No more tradition's chains shall bind us;
Arise, ye slaves, no more in thrall!
The earth shall rise on new foundations:
We have been nought, we shall be all!"

To the Children of the Storm.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

"Expect a sudden rage!"

"Expect a sudden rage!"

Notes after latest events under the present system through President Aquino

"Perhaps, in seeing these continuous issues, it's up to the people in getting beyond the parameters of superficial "legalism" and invoke the passion kept hidden. The protest marches that happened in 1986 or 2001 aren't merely noisemaking or "peaceful" events mainstream media had presented much; but carries a motivation that had happened during the time of Governor-General Bustamante: he and his supporters being lynched by an angry mob of priests; but if possible, it is the common people who were heavily taxed by repression will assume the task what the priests given as they again stood up and had enough of their bullshit."

These were the words yours truly said last January 20, 2014. That said quotation continues to be relevant as the people felt the bullshit the system has given to them.

With the recent events the Philippines, ranging from protests against Lumad Killings, demonstrations against Globalisation, exposing corrupt bureaucrats via pork barrel scams and fat bonuses on "Government Owned and Controlled Corporations", continuous increase in tuition and other fees as well as prices of commodities, and fact finding missions related to those of human rights violations exposing murderers coddled by the state, has demonstrated a real fighting spirit in the ranks of the masses, enough to fight back the attacks of the system.

These movements has been intensified in the context of a renewed struggle, particularly after events in which the system, through the present Aquino administration has continuing the actions of its predecessors, be it neoliberalism, globalisation, if not coddling a corrupt bureaucracy, and maintaining feudalism for benefit of international capital. The struggle is manifested by protests at Tanduay Distilleries at Laguna, protests against forced evictions at Hacienda Luisita, demonstrations against yearly tuition and other fee increases, and actions against the sabotage of the unions by state elements.

Obviously, these actions taken by the struggling masses is enough to strike blows on the system regardless of having its leader ending its term and replaced by a new one benefited by the ruling order. For example, the issue on Hacienda Luisita, as well as other estates controlled by well-known landlords stubbornly keeping interests, was decades-old yet these labouring peasants tilling in those estates, as well as tenants battered by age-old unfair practises, has continuously asserting the desire for genuine agrarian reform. Government-issued Codes like PD 21, the Agrarian Reform Code, and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (and its extended and reformed version), has failed to succeed emancipating the farmer from its bondage, but instead making landlordism be intensified as supported by international capital.
Hence, with that example, no wonder why protests against the system's anti-people policies happen be it from the peasant, worker, student, professional, all affected by the crisis. True indeed that these situations is enough to push these masses into seeing the impasse and bankruptcy into which the present order has leading the country, and in spite of efforts the system trying to control via media outlets, these masses are indeed beginning to act gradually, and are refusing to accept austerity measures, impoverishment, as well as imposed "sacrifices" while the system itself benefits from corrupt practises.

At present, the system has continuously insisting their compradore-landlord view "in the name of growth and development" as well as attacking those against it "in the name of order and stability". The situations in both urban enclaves and in the countryside attests to the fact that the system stubbornly trying to assert interest what more of putting populist "flavour" enough to appease the suffering masses. That is undeniable. But having the reality of seeing continuous actions from the progressive bloc to those of the militant mass organisations in the streets has showed that militancy continues to grow, and it has greatly contributed to the struggle for national and social liberation, and to inspire countries affected by socio-economic crisis and its desire for emancipation.

During the APEC summit that happened last year, the system, particularly President Aquino has promised "development" in front of member-countries, but at the same time, it has kept the reality hidden from the eyes of these member-countries but instead seeing the illusions the system has greatly done. And although its theme “Building inclusive economies, building a better world” lies a profound idealism for a still developing country that tries to keep in touch with its developed neighbours, the actually existing inconvenience of the people sees the fact that the summit itself is a reaffirmation of interests, of keeping the Philippines stunted in its domestic growth if not remaining a market for cheap labour and of dumping cheap imports. Certain policies appeared to be "for the people" are actually diluted ones if not replacing incorrect terms with its corrected equivalents so as to appear legit like any other act "supporting the people's welfare", yet in fact it aggravates tension between the system and the people.

These events surrounding the Aquino administration created both an illusion of hope and a reality of despair to most Filipinos. To the working class, that despair is actually-existing for it had nothing to do with uplifting the people. True it may be that last APEC summit has to do with building inclusive economies and better societies, but did these democratise wealth in order to satisfy its citizens? For example, the recent vetoing of the 2000 peso pension hike for the old, needy, pensioners, has created a wave of angst on behalf of these elders in need of compensation after years of hard work. Apologetics, like any other speaking on behalf of the system when it comes to various controversial issues, has tried to justify it with their alibis such as "with that increase puts the entire entity into bankruptcy in 2029", and even insisting that a 500 peso as a feasible suggestion.
But not all will dare to accept such goddamn justification such as "bankrupt in 2029" or "500 peso is enough" knowing that the Social Security the system has take pride about has been a hotbed of corruption coming from its "highly paid" administrators and other controversies surrounding it just like its "counterpart" meant for Government Employees. Furthermore, did these apologetics heed the idea coming from the other side such as expanding the collection base and increasing the collection to 50%, as well as subsidies from the government? Nope since most of them are intentionally deaf when it comes to socio-economic issues. Remember, what caused the global financial crisis in 2008? Bankers who mismanaged their banks and still got bonuses. And if people ought to follow the reasoning coming from the system and its apologetics, then that goddamn SSS should give hefty bonuses to those executives who may or may not do the job their salaries are already paying for! Such situations reflected how this interest-seeking and keeping system has been stubbornly insisting its actions, even at the front of international groups such as APEC and other related organisations.

Anyways, there are more various issues in which the system cares less or none at all. From the peasant question to the recent issue on pensioners, the negligence done by the system has made people willing to go beyond from the parameters of "legalism" and "take up arms" so as to end the centuries old repression the system has ever cultivated in the name of interest with alibis such as those being tackled in the last year's APEC summit, or perhaps with the fact that the path called righteous has been an alibi for an actual path towards a future of total dispossession, contrary to its illusory message shown since 2010.

And perhaps, people are willing to die fighting, knowing how these unfortunate events has made a country helpless to achieve its goal. 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Cheers to these Four Men!

Cheers to these Four Men!

An elegy for the late great artists Lemmy Klimister,
David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and German Moreno

At first, this person would say that these four men had their lives spent in their craft as artists.

Whether in Radio, Television, Movie, to those of Social Media, these men had left a legacy that somehow made its people worthy of respect and admiration.

And these four men, composed of Lemmy Klimister, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and the Philippines's own German Moreno, had made its talent in the field of arts emphasising quality with all their actions been given through the years as artists.

In fact, as this person seen various tributes on these late great men of the arts would say that they did a good work. Lemmy died last December 28 2015, then German Moreno died last January 8, David Bowie died last January 10, and Allan Rickman died last January 14. These men, despite their passing through the afterlife would say that their life's work made people realise how their craft was not just fame, for they had loved it with all their lives, carrying their musical instruments as musicians or their script when it comes to acting as thespians both in theatre and in the cinema. For sure everyone remember Rickman as "Silverious Snape" in Harry Potter, or German Moreno with his signature glittery getup in "Master Showman"; of David Bowie as "Ziggy Stardust", or Lemmy's appearance (including his friendly mutton chops) and his distinctive gravelly voice when singing.

For sure people continue to recall their works, of listening to their songs, if not watching videos featuring these men and their life's work, be it in the television, DVDs, or in the Social Media sites, knowing that with their life's work and contributions in the field of music and arts these people know that these men are present, alive, and youthful, guiding them in their endeavours when it comes to their talents in that stage called life.

That's all for now. Again, cheers to these Four good, old men for their craft being well served!

"My Karen Mae"

"My Karen Mae"

Partially inspired and based from the song "China Girl"
By the late great David Bowie

Whoa-oh-oh-oh... with my Karen Mae...
Whoa-oh-oh-oh... with my Karen Mae...

I could not resist the feeling, with my Karen Mae
I feel no guilt from dawn till evening, with my Karen Mae
My heart hastily beating, and loud as thunder
Yet I felt so numbing

I'm a mess without my Karen Mae
From KnL to Maguinhawa, where's my Karen Mae?
My heart hastily beating, and loud as thunder
Yet my mind's gone crashing down

I'm feel like a tragic guy, like few years ago
Until I had met my Karen Mae
I could have felt that I am successful as such
When I'm with my Karen Mae

I stumble into town coming from the unknown
Visions of scarlet red flags in my head
With plans for everyone
It's in my almost barren mind

O my Karen Mae
Do you remember everything
Got massaged at your aching back?
I gave you swiss chocolates
I gave you cute oranges
And last new year you gave me a hug and a cheek smack?

And when I get excited
My Karen Mae says:
"Eh? Why not just zip your mouth?"
And She says...shhhhhh....

And she says...shhhhhh...

Well, it all started when this person listened to the song back few days ago. And it somehow quite recalling the girl whom this person had made about her in this blogsite if not made poems inspired from her "wit-tempered beauty".

However, that version of "China Girl" was based from this person's interactions with her last December. Quite recalling though as he listened to that song as well as looking at some of her pictures showing her "wit-tempered beauty" and looked back at the time this person enjoyed being with her as a friend and colleague in the Kulturkampf, criticising today's culture and trying to jam it if possible with ideas.

Sorry to use Bowie's, but to think that David Bowie has made some feel good songs, and one of which is worth compelling to create a version that is based from this person's inspiration and the days he interacted with her. After all, the song "China Girl" itself was allegedly inspired by Iggy Pop's infatuation with Kuelan Nguyen, a beautiful Vietnamese woman, while the video featuring Bowie and Geeling Ching eventually had a brief relationship.

And this person? Just been inspired, compelled by the music of a legend and the times with his friend. What else? A tribute from a one's listener. That's all.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

"Her works reflects how the existing one's suffer."

"Her works reflects how the existing one's suffer."

(Featuring some of the sketchwork of Kizha Erika Santarin)

At first, this person would say that her works are similar to those of others, maybe because she was inspired by their works, and worth emulating, yet behind her works are those of her sufferings, most of which are imparted to her drawings no matter how different it is depicted yet the idea that made these works happen has been embedded.
Fountain of Youth
Most people for sure dare to call it "erotic" given the features similar to the female Vulva or the graphic description of the term "Sapiosexual", while others dare to think like any other hipster artwork meant to be coloured, or even street art meant for stickers; but behind these sketchworks are more than "for chrissakes" as the artist conveys her expression, be it based from the society's blatant decadence and the people's actually-existing suffering; but there are also artworks that are based from that artist's experience, such as being harassed by someone during her youth. 

In fact, there are less words to say about these artworks except what this person stated earlier, if not telling that the society call "modern" is full of defects to the extent of having a need for a major surgery. These defects had "raped" humanity from time to time through an endless cycle, quite irresistable as everyone's minds been sedated, but when will they realise that they are being eaten by these monsters?

Well, like yours truly, that artist shared the same idea, that art, if used to expose the sickening reality and espousing a better future, is a form of dissent. After all, the artist's intention is also to enlighten, or educate others through their work no matter how criticisable it is, or worse, coming from those who does not think despite babbling.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

"Ramblings after seeing them struggling for their faith"

"Ramblings after seeing them struggling for their faith"

(or how this person sees the events in Quiapo 
an almost "national holiday" for those yearning 
for good luck if not a pardon)

At first, this person would say that there are various expression coming from people who just came home early, if not after watching scenes from TV and social media, about the biggest moshpit in Manila, if not the biggest EDM fest where the most solemn religious music in the main streets coexist with "twerk it like Miley" or any other videoke music of the narrowest roads of Quiapo. Sorry to say this, but through the years, that event has been a fiesta as everyone enjoys its festivity: from selling towels bearing the face of Jesus Christ, of Families joining together in devotion, carrying little replicas, to those of food, liquor, and videoke.

But seriously? That solemn event has almost been a national holiday due to the devotee's religiosity particularly its devotion to the Black Nazarene. Maybe because of various physical reasons such as how they yearn for good luck or a cure from their various illnesses, yet for sure there are those who yearning that is more than physical such as they really want to beseech the "lord of pardon" who can help one absolve their sins while in time being on earth more than they paid their plenary indulgences for years with the same reasons and be grant eternal life.

After all, for more than 333 years or even earlier (if to include the First Mass of Friar Odoric), the Philippines has been consecrated to god, but its up to the people on how to be righteous as what the scripture told to, for remember, some, if not most of them are sinners to the core, sorry to say it but when will they be really righteous since they afforded to seek the lord of pardon in the form of a darkened wooden statue of the suffering Messiah called Jesus the Nazarene?

Anyways, seeing such events somehow showed what Marx hath said in his works such as a sigh of an oppressed creature, while on the other hand seeing those who can't able to "emancipate people" despite affording to babble themselves as "freethinkers" or whatsoever yet still detatched from the reality that made the masses yearning for spiritual help, quite critisisable though, that according to Gerardo Lanuza, he said:

"Until now, they cannot appreciate and acknowledge Marx's correct understanding of religion! People in poor contries tend to be more religious. This is not based on Pews survey alone. This is established already in sociolgy of religion. Hence, atheists and humanist free thinkers are the ones alienated from the masses. These poor and exploited masses do not need a sermon on evolution and rebellion against the Absurd. They need real material emancipation. They have to deal with heavy traffic, not with debating divine attributes. Poor atheists."

However, he also said:

"John Dewey has the best caption, thet Men have never fully used the powers they possess to advance the good in life, because they have waited upon some power external to themselves and to nature to do the work they are responsible for doing. Dependence upon an external power is the counterpart of surrender of human endeavor.""

Anyways, may God bless them, and have themselves be prepared for their afterlife.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

"Of nothing more beautiful amidst misimpressions"

"Of nothing more beautiful amidst misimpressions"

"You are truly beautiful in my eyes
But what pleases I is how you temper your beauty with your wit
And how your charm is less and more of outmost kindness.

However, in this judgemental world
It seems that all is but unfair
Trying to stunt that is growing
Trying to stop that is blossoming

People, including my kind, thinks about standards
Of looking loopholes on one's persona, enough to be disregard
True there maybe first time mistakes but for sure it is not meant to be repeated
And instead trying to cultivate the goodness enough to dispel misimpressions 
making another misguided

For I know from the day we met
All is but at ease except the gladness that cannot forget
From the sketcbhook to notebooks
Full of poetries to you I ought to look

For in my heart I know you are right
In my heart you are love enough to personified
If I had done wrong I ought to apologise
For your beauty is more than others see, you personify a one's lasting happiness

I am sorry to say this,
But since you are a friend, a buddy, a rose among the thorns,
I love you."

Revisiting History through the brush: A tribute to Jan Matjeko

Revisiting History through the brush:
A tribute to Jan Matejko 

At first, Matejko's work reflects an aspiration long to be remembered if not respected and admired. 

Driven by patriotism and the desire to rekindle the memories of an independent Polish past, Jan Matejko had painted various works which showcases the history of the Polish state, with its people, events, culture, and its contribution to Europe as a once independent nation. 

For during his time, Poland was occupied by Russians, Germans, Austrians as part of their empires, but most of Poland was occupied by Russia, with its tsar trying to claim title as "King of Poland", once had a parliament, and an identity enough to claim Poland as autonomous within the Russian Empire similar to those of its northern counterpart, Finland. However, that same Poland was ravaged by its own occupier, who even tried to stamp out the Polish struggle especially after its failed revolt for independence. Russification was intensified, as most universities were closed only to be reopened as purely Russian-language high schools, the Polish language was banned in favour of Russian, Catholic churches were confiscated, and the country's constitution being abolished and replaced by a less liberal statue, in other words, a province like any other country in the empire that was also called "a prison of nations".

This experience somehow would say that the Poles were still trying to invoke their Polishness by any other means, saving its strength for another battle as possible. And artists like Matejko was trying to rekindle the independence spirit through means of art. After all, that period of his was the time Nationalism was at its intensification.

Portrait of Matejko's father, Franciszek, and three of his children. 
An early work of Matejko from 1853 

Prior to he as a well-known artist, Matejko was born on June 24, 1838, in the once "Free City of Kraków". His surname was originally Matejka, for his father was of Czech ancestry who moved to Poland, while his mother,  a half-German, Half-Pole living in Kraków. 

At a young age, Jan had witnessed events of national awakening and struggle such as the Kraków uprising of 1846 and its 1848 siege by the Austrians. These two events in which ended the existence of the Free State, yet not its struggle. 
Coincidentally, his two older brothers had served under General Joseph Bem, who was also an insurgent leader fighting for the independence and unity of Poland during that period.

From his earliest days, Jan showed artistic talent, and in it he studied at the School of Fine Arts at Kraków from 1852 to 1858. There he selected historical painting as his specialisation, and in it finished his first major work, "Tsar Shuysky before Sigmund III", in 1853. However, his seminal project for his Graduation was "Sigismund I ennobles the professors of the Jagiellonian University", in 1858.
His teachers at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts included Wojciech Korneli Stattler and Władysław Łuszczkiewicz. Years later, as he became a director at this institution, which eventually was renamed to Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts. A number of his students became prominent painters themselves, including Maurycy Gottlieb, Jacek Malczewski, Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański.

Tsar Shyusky before King Sigismund III
Tsar Shyusky before King Sigismund III (later version)

His commitment to nationalism  and identity through art

Like any other artists dealing with history, Matejko's work reflects the aspirations of a once-"imprisoned" nation. He even took part in research as he trying to replicate how a once-independent Poland was trying to show to the world, from clothing, faith, sciences, to those of military exploits against the Teutonic Knights, Russians, and Turks.

One example of his work was in 1860, when Matejko issued an illustrated album, entitled "Clothing in Poland" (Ubiory w Polsce), a project that also reflects his intense interest in historical records of all kinds as well as his desire to promote such interest among the Polish people in an effort to intensify their patriotic feelings.

The Szlachta gentry in the album "Clothing of Poland"
The Polish royal family from the work "Clothing of Poland"

However, Matejko's work was more of events related to his homeland's history. Like the earlier paintings featured in this post, it showcases how Poland expresses its once-cherished independence through events, of engaging in war like the battle of Tannenberg or of Vienna, to those of its neighbours paying homage in case of Prussia to the Polish crown.

Battle of Tannenberg
The Prussian Homage
King John III Sobieski Sobieski
sending Message of Victory to the Pope,
after the Battle of Vienna 

Matejko's artworks did include social issues as well as Scientific wonder, that also became a part of Polish struggle. One example was the painting "Rejtan", which symbolises the Fall of Poland and the protest of Tadeusz Rejtan against the First Partition of Poland during the Partition Sejm of 1773. Rejtan, in a dramatic gesture at the Sejm, is said to have bared his chest and laid himself down in a doorway, blocking the way with his own body in a dramatic attempt to stop the other members from leaving the chamber where the debate was being held. Leaving of the chamber would have signified an end to the discussion, and the acceptance of the motion, meaning the acceptance of foreign territorial demands.


Another was the "Union of Lublin", that signifies the creation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, that effectively replaced a personal union to those of a real union between Poland and Lithuania under an elective monarchy.

Union of Lublin

And speaking of Scientific wonder shown through art, Matejko features well-known scientists such as the alchemist Sendivogius showcasing his wonder to Sigismund Vasa, as well as the astronomer Nicholas Copernius, with his Heliocentric system. These two well-known scientists are Polish by birth, and loyal to its homeland and even offered services to the crown with the latter seeking knowledge.

Alchemist Sendivogius to Sigismund Vasa
Nicholas Copernicus

However, not all paintings are focused much on Polish history, but also those from other European countries such as France.  One example was of "Joan of Arc", the Maid of Orleans along with the retinue led by the young Charles VII, marching in Orleans. The setting, like other works, seemed to be romanticised. 

Joan of Arc "The Maid of Orleans"

Matejko the Freedom Fighter 

His work as a patriot wasn't limited to those of Painting or any other cultural work, but also in supporting, abit indirect in the Polish liberation struggle.

For during the January Uprising of 1863, in which he did not participate because of poor health, Matejko provided financial support, donating most of his savings to the cause, and even personally transported arms to the insurgents' camp, that somehow showed a profound expression of patriotism despite his old age as well as based from his observations during his youth.
He did also some paintings featuring scenes from the struggle, one example was the painting entitled "Polonia", which was made after the failed Uprising. There captives await transportation to Siberia. Russian officers and soldiers supervise a blacksmith placing shackles on a woman (Polonia). The blonde girl next to her represents Lithuania.


That artwork, like all others, expressed a desire for freedom knowing that Matejko himself has witnessed. He may not been imprisoned yet his works showed how his country has faced and trying to awaken its own patriotic feeling, knowing that his country became a mere governorate, almost stripped of its autonomy save a title "King of Poland" for a Russian Tsar. 


Like any other artist inspired by patriotic fervor, Matejko was just doing his job to educate his fellow Pole by looking in its past in order to create a future. Critics may have described his style being "colourful, detailed and imaginative", or even pointed to his use of traditional painting style as "antiquarian realism" or "theatrical effects". if not offending in case of the "Rejetan" that made offended a number of prominent members of Polish nobility, who saw the painting as an indictment of their entire social class.
And at worst, most of his paintings were kept during World War II as the Nazis systematically tried to destroy all Polish cultural artifacts in occupied Poland. The painting "Prussian Homage", together with the "Battle of Tannenberg", was on their "most wanted" list. Fortunately, it was hidden and safeguarded throughout the war in the town of Zamość.

Helena Matejko-Unyerzyska

Also to mention that despite his death in 1893, his daughter, Helena, did witnessed his father's yearning to see his country independent. Like his father who once funded and supported the insurgents in 1863, she did helped victims in World War I and was awarded the Cross of Independence by president Stanisław Wojciechowski. Coincidentally, Helena was also an artist as well as his father's model in some of his paintings such as the one featured above.


And as he dedicated his life in painting Polish history and most of which had no hidden messages, Matejko's latter works, starting with the painting Stańczyk (1862), are intended to inspire the viewers with a patriotic message.

Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts
(originally known as Kraków Academy of Fine Arts, wherein Matejko used to administer and train artists)

And like Matejko himself, who was influenced by Wojciech Korneli Stattler and Władysław Łuszczkiewicz, over 80 painters have been Matejko's students at some point, and many of them were influenced during his tenure as the director of the Kraków School of Fine Arts, enough to be referred to as members of "Matejko School": Prominent among them are Maurycy Gottlieb, Ephraim Moses Lilien, Jacek Malczewski, Józef Mehoffer, Antoni Piotrowski, Witold Pruszkowski, Leon Wyczółkowski, and Stanisław Wyspiański.

Admittingly speaking, Matejko's life's work is a work of a person who wanted not just to revisit history, but to reclaim a nation's identity and heritage. Furthermore, he's one of the painters, writers, cultural workers whom trying to invoke socio-patriotic consciousness to its own still suffering compatriots.

Like the Philippines's Juan Luna or Felix Hidalgo, they tried to counter every slander as possible through their talent, however, unlike the former two whom emphasising reforms and perhaps less toying the idea of struggle, Matejko's contribution to the independence struggle, although indirect, remains important to those whom had greatly fought and died for it.

And despite seeing recent trends in the field of arts and culture, there may be painters, artists, cultural workers who afforded to follow the same path as Matejko or any other painter whose heart clings to patriotism and to bring awareness, regardless of the style, the appearance, least the message be enough to touch one's heart, to agitate, and to sting those who slander or repress, foreign or not.

That's all for now. Sorry to use Wikipedia for the pictures and the story surrounding his life and works. 

Saturday, 2 January 2016

What's wrong in using a different plate?

What's wrong in using a different plate?

What's wrong in using a different plate?

From a man coming from a known clan
He thinks that all is but formal
In a way he insists the right plate
No matter the dinner is informal.

Likely to call him traditional
A patriarch, a man of morals
Sorry if that is delusional
Since his upbringing made he partial:

Of Idealising the perfect pasts
Of men and women taking higher degrees in big four universities
If not taking well-known licensed courses for high-paying jobs
And pitting down those finished undergraduate degrees
As if they aren't gaining success

And I, with a friend keeping ourselves silent
Nodding, if not thinking of leaving after finished eating
Of a well cooked, mouthwatering dinner
Just to evade that old guy bragging:

Of insisting he as right given moral ascendancies
Or continuing an age old tradition in front of friends and me
After all you're province bred and we grew in the city
If not insisting the tradition of a career-oriented, scholarly family
And idealising a past as if future be similar to what he sees

In the end, he did a mistake. 
It's not all about the choice of one's plate, 
but the way he treat things as if the world pleases his.

Remember the Intercon!

Remember the Intercon!

"After 46 years of loyalty to its Manila and foreign patrons, InterContinental Manila Hotel has closed its doors, with eternal death awaiting the great Leandro V. Locsin's major work in the future cosmopolitan area of Makati. As we have seen the demise of another Locsin work, the late Mandarin Oriental Manila Hotel, we condemn the demolition of these symbols of 1970s Filipino masterpieces done by our very own. When will developers realize that everything is not about money or making profit of a certain piece of land? There are other ways of making profit off the property without harming these works. We do hope that Ayala Land, Inc. scrap their idea and go on with adaptive reuse."

- Arquitectura Manila

It's been last year since one of the iconic structures in a still developing Philippines has to end its contract, and this year, be closed away for good.

Seeing reports in social media sites, of messages giving thanks to its customers, and the really concerned struggling to defend iconic post-war structures, edifices such as Intercon had been served well-known guests, of becoming like any other prop in a show or a movie, all due to its modern appearance made by a well-known Filipino architect, Leandro Locsin.

However, in its closure and eventual demolition, it seems that most developers has disregarded every iconic structure, of being decades old yet part of one's post-war heritage. That few years ago, Mandarin Oriental Manila, also made by Locsin, had been closed and nowadays in its state of being demolished piece-by-piece, with its last report having an accident occurred such as a foreigner suffered by an accident caused by a falling debris.

Such events made most of the concerned worrying about the state of post-war yet iconic Philippine architecture in this so-called modern world. True that Makati and even the entire Metropolitan Manila demands new this and that, so is new edifices enough to keep a district's prestige such as the Philippines's "Little Manhattan", yet Manhattan or the entire New York City also keeps its iconic edifices such as the PanAm building, the Empire State, Chrysler, and others that made New York City "the city that never sleeps."

And as said earlier, with these kinds of reports affecting Philippine architecture, thenmaybe sooner or later there are more iconic buildings that has to be vacated and be demolished afterwards in the name of "modernity". Ironically, these buildings are modern and adaptable, willing to withstand time with all its reinforced concrete. 

Worse, as what Irish Constantinou said through a Facebook post made months ago: 

"Unfortunately old buildings are not important for us. Commercialism comes first before preservation of history. I am sure that they figured it would be economically rewarding to demolish and replace with a new high rise."  

Anyways, the predominance of commercialism or even consumerism made these bullshit happen. Regardless of being designed by a national artist and worth considering as a national heritage site as a post-war International-Style hotel, still the contract has been expired, and the owners of the entire lot (including the building) care not to think of keeping it no matter how prominent or well known it was, and instead favouring that is something new and appealing. And in that same Makati for sure one would remember the old Rizal Theatre, the Monterrey and Gilarmi Apartments, the former head office of San Miguel Corporation, and others, that somehow made that old Makati town became a city as its witnesses. 
Yet sadly, these these are all demolished just for the sake of commercialism. People may have understood why the place be demolished and create a new edifice, but for some, particularly the concerned, would think that such remarkable edifices, whether it was made during the Spanish, American, or Early and Middle age of the Republic, has to be recognised and be left alone supported by retrofitting and adaptive reuse, given its importance in the district's history. For sure one would wonder why most districts within Paris remained as it was in its recognisable pasts same as Berlin, Shanghai, or Peking. 

There may be modern and state of the art edifices, all with its fine features, so is the old regardless of its decade being built knowing how it became part of one's history and memory. 

And like its new counterparts, it has fine features as well, with the willingness to adapt changes. Hope that people ought to understand the value of heritage, and that is more than old houses and churches. 

Anyways, Remember the Intercon! Another Icon soon to be fell under the wrecking ball that ought to be stopped and the building be defended, maintained, and readapted.