Sunday, 28 February 2016

"Notes from the trenches"

"Notes from the trenches"

"I hear your voice, and the sound of your sword"

I hear your voice
And the sound of your sword
As it plunged the body of your enemy
And heard your striking word
I hear their suffering cries
As the battle rages on
Further as the rotten order tremble
As their blood has gushing strong

I hear your voice
And the sound of the cogwheels of the machinery
Trying to create progress
Breaking the order of the reactionary
I feel the tremendous heat 
Coming from the steel foundry
If not the warmth of the cloth
Coming from the textile factory

I hear your voice
And the chant of the majority
As I see them in the streets
Clamoring for justice and liberty
I feel the hatred that has rising
As they confront the order trembling
Willing to fight as they are shouting
Willing to be beaten as the cops kept truncheons banging

I hear your voice
And the fire of the rifle
Creating a sound of freedom
On the countryside where enemies tremble
I feel the people rising
As their eyes entirely opening
The offensive has been coming
And the system has been running, retreating

To hell with the system
Make the enemies tremble
To hell with the system
The call of the risen people
To hell with the system
Fan further the flames of the struggle
To hell with the system
To hell with the system
To hell with the system
To hell with the system

"From the gleam of the steel church"

There are more memories
As I enter the Gothic edifice
As if summoned by the honest spirits
Like those of its stained glasses
Despite rust remained sturdy
Enough to say a bulwark against infamy
Coming from those social manges
That drives everyone into insanity 

Quite magical as I see
Especially at early night
As if drawing powers all from the moonshine
And keeping the holy fires 
As I hear prayers to the martyrs
If not age old incantations
Incense and candles burning
Whose fumes trying to cover delusions

The victims seek revenge against the leeches
The betrayed be against the order of thugs and parasites
That for years been trying to create an actually-existing hell
Such as near and surrounding the old steel church
And at its worst swarm with condemned souls
Social manges trying to fool everyone
With all the illusions and pseudo-happiness
That in the end with real tears, fears, and sadness

Yet to hear the priestly sermons
Coming from the centuries-old wooden pulpit
Quite inspiring as the clergyman extort the faithful
To bring an end to a so-called mess
And I translate emotions into words
Messages full of fire and brimstone
Setting fire to a damned world
Whose order is as rotten to its core

Flames of eternal yearnings
Enough to burn once suffering hearts
And the water as if like tears
Enough to quench thirst called despair
The sermons whose messages like fire and brimstone
Creating an expression of revenge
From the gleam of the old steel church
Trying to counter the modern rottenness and its stench


Third world country by the moonlight
The destitute yearning for a good life
As they see tangible illusions
Such as good vibes from the other side
Yet reality is all full of screams 
If not deafening silence
Coming from the urban enclaves
If not from the graves

Such unpleasant memories
Trying to be hidden by the authorities
In a way screams of protests
Trying to be blocked by various sound systems 
The system can't withstand the pressure
Despite statements and tangible "facts"
Yet failed to please everyone
Especially those victims unsung

In a way modern edifices
Trying to cover the stench of the dumpsites
If not tourist attractions
Trying to hide centuries old countryside repressions
I feel worrisome if not in despair
Enough to create words such as this poem
As I see the reality such as hell
Trying to be redescribed as heaven by a foolish few


Rains bring me memories
As I revisit the old university
Same old bullshit as I see
Yet college life seemed quite remembering
The joys, the suffering, the pain, the pleasure
Coming from friends, books, and the pressure
And even remember when I was watching
In one's mystic eyes coming from a beauty worth lovable

Those damned times as I recall
Like any other memories from childhood
From the four cornered rooms full of books
To the major thoroughfares full of various noises
Of parties whose drinking sprees with flowing wine
If not protests whose chants, confrontations, fighting against time
Hearts almost lost from issues, emotions gushing
Yet painful despite moving on as recalling and feeling

Such lessons has been continue to relearn
Knowing that most of the time it is forgotten
Yet those times be like becoming sadomasochists
Having pleasure and pain in recalling
And in translating those thoughts into words
As if tastes like wine from the darkest grapes of sin
Strange those days, damned college days
Enough to set the world on fire than to say "come what may"

Karen Mae, you lighted up my way
Until we see the world as if a funeral pyre whose flames stay.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

"Of Hopelessness and Commitment"

"Of Hopelessness and Commitment"

Notes after watching the play GAPOK
from Sining Kadamay

At first, this person is ought to say that the play, although it is short, shows the lives of those who are continue to resist amidst hopelessness as urban poor dwellers, especially amidst the threat in their communities, under siege by greedy developers as well as the failure to address problems surrounding the plight of these masses, particularly their right for shelter, livelihood, and perhaps a decent voice as any other members of a community especially in the developed enclaves of the metro.

Through Sining Kadamay's first presentation in 2016, entitled GAPOK, features a family whose sons having warring views: the elder tries to defend their home from being demolished by greedy developers while the other, driven by hunger, is willing to evacuate and demolish their homes in exchange for a promise for a relocation site as well as a regular job in a construction company. These two brother's warring views involves a mother, whose leadership in a community group supported her eldest son's struggle for shelter and livelihood while trying to insist her younger son not to engage in demolishing but instead to fight and defend their home and their community, knowing that their relocation site is as underdeveloped if not prone to disaster, or having a job yet unlikely to be called "permanent" or any other sugar-coated promise as sly developers would say; worse, having a husband, father of the two and one of the leaders of the urban poor group, has trying to fight for his life in the hospital due to a serious illness.

Apologies if the video seemed to be blurry

Such problems would say that it is like any other story involving the Filipino poor, or as what Frantz Fanon described as "the wretched of the earth." Regardless of being stereotypically depicted as dirty, smelly, easy to used beings, of living in dwellings out of rusty roofs and plywood, with tarpaulins trying to keep away from heat and rain, of seeing drunkards if not fishwives, and flies over someone else's shit scattered in the streets, These people are struggling for their lives, rights, particularly those of shelter, food, jobs, livelihood, and others necessary for their well-being. They do work hard as any other citizen would do, yet these are driven by survival rather than to uplift their status in life, obviously marred by crisis as evidenced by rising costs of goods and services. 
However, these people are also easy to enticed by certain interests, whose tangible illusions being offered to them be enough to do something that can hinder other's right such as those of shelter and livelihood, "all for practicality's sake" as what they think of such as those of getting a job, money, and even a relocation site to start their lives from scratch; yet does not mean these illusions, although tangible, possibly get out from their sordid exisetence and uplift their lives as any other citizen has to achieve. Worse, can be short term that made some returned to their old communities and rebuild their lives on that same place as possible.

And these two warring ideas of the common urban poor dweller has been manifested in a form of brothers whose views be simply expressed into two different views: to defend their community or to demolish it, to fight for their lives regardless of hunger or to get away with it for the sake of petty comforts as any other poor being promised by a sly and self-serving rich; an allegory of what is commonly seen in a sordid community whose struggle also includes situations between life or death. 

Anyways, this writer, like all others who had watched, would say that through Sining Kadamay's presentation, it tends to apply Bertolt Brecht's idea of a community theatre whose ideas be enough to break away the fourth wall, if not going beyond the usual structure of the air-conditioned theatre whose plays has made everyone used to see, watch and enjoy with; just to emphasise truth through facts as being depicted in that presentation, that also somehow obviously being shown in districts affected by that two-faced development. Be it at Sitio San Roque, or even at Kasiyahan wherein that play has also been shown.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

"The clarion of People's War"

"The clarion of People's War"

Your pleasant voice is calling me 
Coming from the darkness breaking the silence
It opens the gates through which I will leave
From the comforts of which I used to

The call of the past calls me to fight
The cries of the future calls me to respond
The way paintings and pictures
Realities and promises abound
Of fields and forests everyone once adored
Has been given to greedy hordes
Their words like "prosperity" has fooled everyone
While their thugs brought one by one in cold blood
Their cries is calling me, and I won't calm down
Until I feel the smell of their blood
And the Cringing reality

The moon whispers about thy darkness
The stars are leading me towards the survivors
Once weak yet bound together gathered strength
Carrying their weapons cursing on the wretched order
Through theirs I see an unseen power
Praised by the unshackled people
Putting death on their enemies and freedom for the victims
With the latter spit in the once-proud foes now heads lay low
Let them choke with their lies once babbled in TV and radios
Social media sites trying to justify their terror
Let the woods grow up on their corpses
Let their blood fertilise freedom:
For their land, 
for their welfare, 
for their lives, 
for their revolutionary traditions,
passed from generation to generation

It is the real people's power
Unlike what the system babbles
True it may be the pictures
Of major street actions years ago
The clamours of the present may have taken the streets
But the clamours to assert the future has taken the fields and forests
A justice for the land
For it is worth called 'ours'
The way rivers have been flowing
Together with our blood for ages
The trees to the grasses
Has grown from the fields of our killed comrades
So are the rice and the communities built
From the backs of our people

Stay with us my friend!
Says the avenging people
Let the blood express, boil up with our hatred
Against the system, against those who put hell on us
Let every step on our land turn for their damnation
As they retreat from their operation, from their station
A revenge for the martyred comrades, to those of innocents
And to a land cherished now infested by worms
Whose mission is repression called "parasitism"

Let the struggle intensify us
For this war is sacred: PEOPLES WAR!

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The "Revolt of the Poor" continues still

The "Revolt of the Poor" continues still

As everyone started to make various comments and rants about the 30th anniversary of the revolt at EDSA, it seems that the right to dissent is one of the most important legacies ever given in that event, all after the years wherein dissent was as tantamount to imprisonment or even death.

However, that dissent against the present administration is ranging from those who really opposed the system and its policies, to those who just for chrissakes opposing the head of state and his clique because of their blatant bullshit that has been happening day by day. And this person? Sees both of it as somewhat the same, yet in different view coming from these personages left and right.

To look back at those times, people from all walks of life were tired of policies imposed by the Marcos regime be it economic, political, or socio-cultural. True it may be that the administration had built brudges and roads, hospitals and schools, that there was growth and development, yet, on the other hand, that growth and development was debt-driven that until today everyone has to pay that goddamn debt that continues to grow thanks to those succeeding administrators who also believe that in loans means chances of development- or most likely in their colleagues's pockets and purses. 

True it may be that the past administration had tried to cultivate discipline and reviving lost dignity, a revisit to traditional values, if not a return to old, rural norms as part of cultural policy. Quite nice so to speak about these, and yet to think that there were numerous issues on torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, social injustices and the like, the word discipline was more of an alibi for fear: the way Pinochet, Soeharto, Ognania, Videla, and other strongmen did all for the sake of reorganisation and to accomodate various forms of support from the United States using "freedom and democracy" as its pretext. 
For sure one would remember military agents inside campuses, trying to stamp down dissent even to the slightest one such as complaining about rising costs of tuition fees or insulting the first family in case of Archimedes Trajano over Imee Marcos.

Such numerous issues has been generating dissent, that even until today, the strain of the past, like its earlier ones, has continue to aggravate be it from the peasant at Hacienda Luisita, Worker from Tanduay Distilleries, or a Student from the University of the East whose yearly tuition hikes and forms of campus repression creates a problem. Apologetics may babble PD 21, yet that scope was limited to rice and corn, was sugarcane included? Nope. Apologetics may also babble educational development, but how about the Education Act of 1982 that paved way to rising costs of tuition and other fees if not commercialisation of educational institutions? So was the so-called 13th month pay that has fforded to brag and yet hearing news about strikes like La Tondeña, Bataan, to those of Rustan's.

These problems that continue till the present day is an example of what Marcos had said. And these are manifestations of what he called as "Revolt of the Poor" that the Government tries to contain, control, if not to stop altogether with paper reforms and staming out dissent. True it may be that his government by decree had created an atmosphere of "Revolution" only to see its intensification as shown by its popular representation such as street protests in the city if not armed offensives in the countryside. The massive projects that has made the country given a semblance of development failed to appease a populace whom been affected by rising costs of goods and services, various forms of social injustices brought by unfair economic policies, if not torture and death because of its beliefs if not their reactions from issues such as this person stated. 

Worse, what makes these repressive and unjust measures and policies dangerous is that they are given sugarcoated alibis be it developement, progress, or even change, with all its various decrees tailor-made just to appease the affected sectors yet obviously benefits landed genteries and the like; what more of seeing apologetics paid to insist the "just-ness" of administrators be it from the "new society" to today's "righteous path".

But so long as the decades old situation prevails, of landed gentries trying to keep their interests, the revolt of the poor continues still, and will surely succeed so as to realise the promise of justice, land, bread, and jobs for the still-suffering Filipinos sedated by illusions and false promises.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

"Reaffirming Love, Reaffirming the Struggle"

"Reaffirming Love, 
Reaffirming the Struggle"

At first, this set of works was made days before Valentines day. As everyone had affirmed their love towards their partners, this person rather compiled his works, mostly a reaffirmation of both love and struggle given that he was inspired by a beautiful friend, if not the realities be enough compelling to translate into poems.

Why is it compiled and posted on that special day? True that everyone has put their so-called "good vibes" into their partners, trying to create an impression that their love lasts "forever" as media outlets trying to show. But as for this person's impression would say that love, like hope, and faith, will always be part of struggle, especially those who really yearn to break free from repression and to create something in which love is more than what commonly seen and hope as what commonly thinking of. 

And since this person is inspired from a friend, her wit-tempered beauty is somehow creates an impression that her love is selfless to those who truly appreciate not just her beauty but also acknowledging her yearning such as freedom and justice the way she practised her craft if not showing concern to those who are in need. She may be as beautiful as any other model, but since this person has been friends with her, he sought more than beauty alone: be it the love for knowledge and to be a person for others, that somehow far from any person packaged enough by the system as "ideal" or any other similar word.

Anyways, to cut the story short, these are made for her and to those who reaffirm both of love and struggle, or perhaps, affirming love in this world meant to be renewed. Here it goes:

"My love, my refuge"

My love, who used to from afar
I greatly miss you as I am inspire
Through you, you gave me hope and strength
As I face my foes creeping from the dark
I want to shout your name to the skies and to the stars
Whose glow will lead to you and to your lonesome heart
For I greatly missed your warm embrace and your loving kiss
Enough to bring me ease and bliss

My love, whose concern is undaunt
Unwavering beauty tempered with thy strength
Like roses whose petals and thorns
whose colour red is the colour of blood when bled
Through caverns, trenches, to the hills and in the dusty ways
Carrying your memories for it will never lead me astray
Make me inspire through you whose love enough to surely miss
Enough to bring me ease and bliss

My love, enough to be refuge
In endless battles companion worth true
Amongst thy colleages and friends called
I know you're willing for reply is sure
Somewhere in the depths of the night and someone intent lies
Together we will put an end this treacherous blight
Make me inspire through your love just like this song I sing
And a promise of hope worthy bring

Woe upon them We'll fight,
woe upon them to end their break;
Woe upon them who seeks our lives to take.

"The flower of the resistance"

You have never bowed to someone for they are worth nothing
For your heart and soul is for someone worth love and caring
As the sword you have sharpened greater till it worth killing
And at night comes the call for the uprising

You're the faith, hope, love, when these words are applying
And the sword hails your struggle in every fighting
Every single soul in your land are now awaking
It will never settle less than glory-everlasting

Your beauty and charm inspired us for total uprising
And your voice has heard the people, and now awaking
Every single soul from the grave lies the flowers blooming
A single spark comes million flames eternal burning

"Inspire to love and subvert"

The sound of passion recalls you
As I hear your loving voice
As I see your admiring beauty
Tempered with your wit and heart

I find it amazing to see
Even though it is too late
Maybe because even we've been friends before
It seems that on those few days we met it made me end up in ecstasy.

Strange knowing that those times
For it seems like the once silent seas revived its waves
A once barren mind has been filled up with passions
Enough to translate into various poetries and proses

True that I am not like any other person
Still bred in the past within this so-called present
Stucked up with sketchnotes and books
four cornered rooms yet heart's brewing subversion

And in it perhaps lies loneliness 
If not being taunted, bringing pain if not madness
Enough to justify being imprisoned
In invisible prison cells if not in really four-cornered rooms

Yet through you seems that I feel the love that's almost lost through years
For you Inspire me more the way you leave memories in a series of stories and poems
That maybe it adds fire to the readers, some if not few
Whose heart is both for love, hope and liberation

Am I wrong? I hope it's not
Knowing that I truly feel through you that damn word called love
Or maybe because I am selfless
Enough to bring joys in every lonesome heart.

"A poem for a friend"

As I see the stars glowing from the east
Trying to give hope in the dark hours of the night
And one of which is really glowing for long
The way your love makes a friendship strong 

Begotten by the struggle like the day we first met
Enough to say you are more than beautiful as what the pictures been set
Your friendliness is more than what others called charm
Your wit, your courage the enemies may felt your harm

These past months created new chapters in our lives as we're trying to care
Coming from the crafts we truly love to share
We even learn from the pasts so as not to fail
Overcome shortcomings that are trying to derail 

But above all, love is more than the usual
We love everyone the way we reaffirm the struggle
Let our love and hope be the ideal
Enough to overcome threats the way stars retain its sparkle 

Monday, 8 February 2016

"ChinaTown Ramblings"

"ChinaTown Ramblings"

(or how this person enjoyed the Lunar New Year)

In Chinese culture, the Lunar New year is a time for celebrating good luck and happiness, all with great abundance as evidenced by a shower of surprises to family, friends, as well as to the community.

From fireworks, dragon and lion dances, and looking for countless good luck mementos, that event has been a series of photoshoots enough to fill the albums in various social media accounts, while others tend to visit temples all for thanksgiving followed by a dinner treat be it a simple noodle and dumpling, or a lauriat feast with Chinese Fried Chicken, Peking Duck, and Fried Rice along with a cup or glass of tea.

And as the new dawn brings hope and aspiration for everyone, this person shared his experience in enjoying that event from the World's oldest Chinatown known as Binondo, in the City of Manila.

At first, he visited the Te Ya Kong Taoist Temple, where he, alike any other people inside offered thanks to the deities, placed burning joss sticks in every urn intended to every deity inside, and then drank ginger brew which is offered free to its devotees and visitors alike outside the temple proper, in a manner similar to the Sikh Langars, with he drinking two cups of it enough to quench his thirst if not to have least in his tummy.

The Cross of Sto. Cristo de Longos
After visiting the temple, he went to the Sto. Cristo de Longos cross near Binondo Church, wherein Filipinos and Chinese alike venerated as what they say "its wish granting properites". And although it is meant to be for the Catholic Christians, the cross has been a part of religious syncretism of both Hispanic Christianity and Chinese Taoism, wherein Chinese Christians rather placed joss sticks in the urn instead of candles in the candle rack. The Sto. Cristo de Longos cross is to the Chinese-Filipino Christians as to the Nazarene to the brown-skinned folk.

Inside Lan Zhou La Mien
(source: Flikr)

But life within that holiday spree is incomplete without food. Somewhere at Chinatown there's a noodle house known for hand pulled noodles. Lately, Binondo has a lot of small Chinese restaurants that are opened by newly arrived mainland Chinese immigrants. The food they serve, whether coming from North or South, is refreshingly authentic according to the region they come from, yet with unbelievably cheap prices.
Along with some friends, a bowl of Beef Noodles hath been served as well as steamed dumplings and a pumpkin 'hopia' cake. Sadly, this person didn't took a picture of steamed dumplings aside from that Beef soup whose noodles is hand pulled. Perhaps the people behind that establishment is seriously continuing a tradition of making noodles using one's talent than the usual machine-made in certain noodle houses at Chinatown. 

And since evening comes and everyone is still enjoying the festivities, the world's oldest Chinatown made everyone, full-blooded or not, Filipino or foreign, having profound memories be it from the goods they bought or the selfies they caught. It is like any other holiday, happened to be reserved for the Chinese like Hari Raya Puasa for the Muslims, but since they are also Filipinos, then why not be celebrated by fellow Filipinos as well? After all, they lived in the country for years, and most of them spoke the language such as Filipino!
Also to think  that despite brewing tensions between two countries over disputed islands like Scarbrough and Spratlys, of hearing various rants and brouhahas in social media sites, of cold war hysterias two and fro against a fellow Asiatic, should not also mean disregard, of not attack the traditions of those who had settled in their adapted homeland for good, whose blood has somewhat invigorated alongside the Hispanic and the Anglo-Saxon; and despite having a different language and culture, has trying to remain a part of a country's way of life, in a way everyone has putting joss sticks at the Longos cross and having Binondo Church stood in that once called ghetto having Taoist or Buddhist temples.

Also to think that from the prominent to the ordinary, these people, be it full blooded or intermarried with the natives, has somehow adds life in a way everyone ate fried noodles to fill up their hunger-panging stomachs and engaging in fengshui in search of a flow of endless prosperity. People like Jose Rizal, the brothers Luna, San Lorenzo Ruiz, Sergio Osmeña, and some of well-known heroes has Chinese blood. While Ma Mon Luk, Ignacio Pawa, Carlos Palanca of La Tondeña were full-blooded Chinese, Yet they chose to remain Filipino with all their lives. These people, despite having ancestors coming from different lands, chose to remain a contributor in the country's development, be it culture, politics, economy, and social affairs. 

Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Friday, 5 February 2016

"Honour thy Father" from this person's view

"Honour thy Father" from this person's view

(or all after watching "Honour thy Father" 
and how this person sees it as a fitting tribute
For the writers Gogol, Dostoevsky, and Chekov)

At first, this person is ought to say that the movie "Honour thy Father" is a good work compared to those mainstream movies frequently shown in that controversial "Metro Manila Film Festival" happened last 2015.

It is deemed controversial, in a sense that the event is itself rigged, of having that film be disqualified as "best picture" despite its basis not to be given with, if not seeing the festival's officials favouring  "box-office hits" yet deemed nonsensical compared to this and other independent movies with good storyline, directing, or even screenplay end effects.

And although this person is ought to say that the film "Honour thy Father" seemed good to watch, it is not because of the artist, of the director, of the screenplay, but because it reflects the reality behind what this person, as well as others concerned stated: Of almost seeming to "declare how humanity is united not by its inherent goodness but its capacity for evil," as well as seeing the world "literally brimming with scumbags and hypocrites of almost every kind".

That in every scene lies a brewing thought of a person driven by desperacy to use illegal means such as resorting to becoming a member of Acetelyne Gang to steal money from a church known for its "prosperity gospel", enough to pay his wife a ransom, if not paying everyone who had been victimised by a ponzi scheme. Sounds true isn't it? Especially to those who are victimised by those schemes and series of swindle brought by con men using "business" if not "faith", of becoming "prosperous" in this earth if not having souls "entering paradise".

Actually, in those scenes shown in that movie, this person would say that it is more deserving of a written work (preferably a novel) prior to being shown as a film, of a Dostoevsky, Gogol, or Chekhov like masterpiece with some Nihilist perspective, of "a will to power" and "beyond good and evil" as the protagonist resorted to use illegal means to resolve the problem, of perhaps having a win-win solution. The protagonist had seen how people gone attracted at get-rich-quick schemes, of the prosperity gospel to save souls, but in the end he sought its limitations, what more of its degradations as people, including the protagonist himself has felt in it.

And perhaps concluding what Anton Chekhov said during his sojurn at Sakhalin:

"There were times I felt that I saw before me the extreme limits of man's degradation."

Well, perhaps, also in this person's view, that if given chance, the film fits to be remade as a "period film" situated in the mid-late 80s or 90s America, since it was also the era of "get rich quick" schemes and "prosperity gospel"; and in it also somehow mocks Ex-president Ronald Reagan's policy as well as those from the Christian Right, be it from  Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Pat Robertson whose programs in the television glorify free trade capitalism and the use of religion as a get-rich-quick scheme in the name of "saving souls" from damnation.

Sorry to say those words, for this person's observation on that movie somewhat corresponds to those times. Of scandals involving getting rich and saving damned souls only to see the inconvenient reality of how people getting desperate, that even until today these same people still facing same old scumbags, hypocrites, and its victims.

Pictures from the "Philippine Entertainment Portal" and "Holywood Reporter"

On National pride and Class consciousness

On National pride and Class consciousness

Every nation has its own identity, and in every identity must have been imbued with a unique feature that classified as its own. And one of that feature is National pride. National consciousness, that is, alongside class consciousness may likely to have conquered and survived in a hostile environment set upon to everyone by both nature and fate. And though this, it has survived the wave of time, though progressive means and through the acceptance of what the person is, in order to uplift and to reach what is supposed to. Unlike those whom rather accept-only to become extinct or in the verge of destruction.

National pride, or as what others ought to say as 'Racial pride', coming from this person's own perspective does not mean superiority as what other people used to think of in case of Hitler or any other chauvinist tyrant, but rather keeping one's embedded consciousness as part of a nation, a recognition since that they uphold its revolutionary tradition, its faith, and honour to its homeland; as well as being working class and on how to emancipate from it in order to create a new order in a new society, and to serve the aspirations of the people, both local or from its foreign brethren. 

One of which this person is still thinking of is that “how the nation is still struggling to achieve independence despite being independent for years?” Or "how come people continue to clamour for emancipation against foreign and domestic repression? Is it because of events and personalities that exposed the actually-existing repression brought by the system? Yes, but its idea and inspiration emanates from the people who used to work hard yet still being maltreated by foreign as well as domestic oppressor; as well as the fact that in that rotten society, whose policies and actions that hinders the emancipation of both the nation and the labouring people makes a nation itself weak and vulnerable to oppression. The majority of the oppressed, especially those whom doing menial labour and having a low way of life are the bulk of the liberating, forces since they are the ones whom are being disenfranchised, and thus likely to rebel against the repressive social order the system has been made towards its subjects. 
Just like the agrarian uprisings, millenarian revolts, and various forms of mass actions in the Philippines or in any other underdeveloped country whose primary intention is to redeem their homeland and themselves from foreign and domestic oppression, as well as to form a new society they have wanted, trying to unite material and spiritual wealth to create a healthy living whole that benefits the individual and the society. And from these unsung masses, along with their leaders whom used to get killed for their beliefs, gave inspiration to others with the idea why they have wanted “freedom”; and that "freedom" doesn’t mean “freedom as a nation” but also “freedom” from its class in order to build an just society, through national consciousness, merit, and of hope towards one another.

In fact, Filipinos can be classified as an example of these as a struggling, proletarian nation. That after centuries of subjection by foreign imperialists and its puppets, of their efforts to degrade and enslave the inhabitants, Filipinos, particularly the oppressed masses in the rural areas has tried and failed in its struggle for national and social liberation, but their heart of being a “free” nation and its identity as a “Filipino” prevail, and so its class consciousness as a proletarian. And in spite of its hardships given, their deaths, banishments, still their identity and their hope remain as they continue fighting.

And to think that these same Filipinos, in spite of being independent since 1946, the remnants of the old system prevailed, and so are the its ruling classes. Being a semi-feudal, semi-colonial country always carries a large strain of its age old repression and disenfranchisement, for since that system, which actually weakens the nation, makes vulnerable to foreign and domestic oppression. Will the Philippines or any other still underdeveloped country be called independent if not for being a vassal of foreign imperialism? Most policies are tailored to accomodate foreign and not of domestic interests while rejecting, if not diluting provision which supposed to benefit domestic interests particularly te laboring masses for its land, labor, welfare. The struggle to destroy the old order remained still, for as the oppressed, imbued with hope and faith as part of the nation, or as makers of history wanted to destroy in order to set a new society under them, or as what Karl Marx said a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” must have been. 

Also to think that National pride, regardless of its deeply-rooted values ought to be kept cherished, has becoming a mere façade within an actually-existing puppet state, acting on behalf of a foreign "overlord" or perhaps "international capital" itself. That through meaningless slogans, sentiments that carried little or no patriotism, it somehow one would really think that today's Nationalism almost becoming worth nothing- especially to nations wherein opened much to cosmopolitanism, and lessening its patriotic, working class appeal in the name of globalisation; or in other words, sacrificing its own dignity all for a few bucks and "an illusion of progress."

Imagine, everyone has encountered the mercenary traditions of the system with its armed forces, the curtailment of civil rights and freedom of thought especially amongst activists and other progressive leaning persons who advocate genuine national pride and class consciousness, of several scandals wherein corrupts the country and of life itself, of policies that hinders domestic development and upliftment of communities, and even the "rise" of false "patriots" who are in fact mere puppets of a foreign oppressor, who utilizes a "washed-out" patriotism and blaming the genuine patriots who supported a dignified state and a progressive community of peoples imbued with patriotic sentiment and of class conciousness as members of the working class.

Noticing about these facts, it seems that "a need for genuine national pride through working class patriotism" is encouraged as a means to counter the growing effects of wholesale westernization, of globalization also encouraged by vested western interests as well as of bourgeois-chauvinist "nationalism" which is limited to buying goods and watching boxing matches and of the like, including contemporary music which in fact emulates much of the west. People somehow may ought to undersand the fact in order to break off ties from it, of needing Bonifacios not Aguinaldos, of needing De Los Reyeses, of Evangelistas and not those of collaborators a la Paterno, Buencamino, or the Boot-kissing Tirona, also including post-war people like Manuel Roxas, who had bannered "buying Filipino goods"while at the same time kissed the shoes of the imperialist with policies catering to the latter.

And to think that patriotism and working class consciousness goes side by side in fighting against the old social order, and to build and just and dignified homeland within the international community of peoples, also wanted to realize according to the late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's statement:

"In the past we had no fatherland, nor could we had one. But now that we have overthrown capitalism and power is in our hand, in the hands of the people, we have a fatherland, and we will uphold its independence. Do you want our socialist fatherland to be beaten and to lose its independence? If you dont want this, you must put an end to its backwardness in the shortest time and develop a genuine Bolshevik tempo in building up its socialist economy. There is no other way... "

It is somehow true for as workers of every nations, living in a nation in fact a nation of profiteers wanted genuine national pride, this time imbued with class consciousness to counter, destroy the age-old chauvinist "nationalistic" appeal of the profiteers and of the like and to build a real homeland wherein it genuinely uphold its independence whilst cooperating with all nations in building a community of peoples: just, peaceful, prosperous. Due to the fact that nationalism, in a proletarian sense, is more national than the bourgeoisie, since they (the proletariat) showed its real contribution to the country; however they remained poor since their fruits of hard work are destined to those whom are greed in nature.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

"How is the Zoo going?"

"How is the Zoo going?"

(or notes after Manila Zoo)

by Charlene Bernabe

Mali the Elephant at Manila Zoo
(source: GMA News)

Since its establishment in 1959 in the former Harrison Square in Malate district, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, known by many as the "Manila Zoo", has brought memories to those who had visited there, especially children who had fondness for seeing various animals.

And since April 2015, the 5.5-hectare (14-acre) zoo has been home to about a thousand animals from 90 species coming from both Philippines and Abroad. Animals like the Asian Elephant, African Giraffe, Bengal Tiger, Monitor Lizard, Hippopotamus, and others, that has made people from all walks of life see how these creatures has made that said place well-known for generations, especially those of Children during their field trips if not family respites during weekends. It is also home to many plant collections, from the botanically rich and diverse Philippines and other countries within the South Pacific region.

A sorry state for the area and its inhabitants

However, despite being visited by many, the Zoo has been criticised due to its inadequate animal care and surroundings deemed unsanitary for the viewer and the animal itself. And despite operating in accordance to the Animal Welfare Act of 1998, the zoo has been a subject of public scrutiny in regard to their animal welfare standards especially from its "Wildlife Rescue Center" that serves as repository and shelter for its confiscated, sick, or injured wildlife species. Several concerned groups like the "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" (PETA) has called for the closure of the zoo after pointing out numerous issues, besides its global campaign claiming how zoos aren't beneficial to animals given its repressive condition.

One issue being tackled by PETA is the state of Mali, the aged captive elephant in that said zoo as well as in the Philippines. According to the group, Mali spends her days pacing the same concrete area after being transferred from Sri Lanka to the Manila Zoo in 1977. It's sorry state includes isolation and captivity-induced foot problems, and according to World-renowned animal conservation expert Dr. Jane Goodall, she also learned that Mali "has not even had basic blood work conducted in the three and a half decades that she's been at the zoo."

A just rehabilitation? Or Selling it altogether in the name of commercialisation?

Few years ago, a total of 1.5 billion pesos will be allocated for the rehabilitation of the zoo, and be implemented through a public-private partnership with a Singaporean firm. But rumors about its "rehabilitation" includes an alleged sale to private interests especially those yearning for a commercial complex, that affects not just the state of animals but also hundreds of 60-70 year old trees, that somehow showed how that said area also served as a "green lung" in an highly urbanised metropolis be threatened by those whose usually disregarded effect includes increased urban heat, noise, pollution and even loss of sense of place.

Perhaps the concerned, driven by nostalgia and a desire for the coming generation to enjoy nature within the city, expressed that even if it is considered one of the world's dirtiest zoos, Manila Zoo is undoubtedly one of the few remaining spacious green spaces in the City of Manila coming from the original "Harrison Square". It's just cool looking at those trees, especially those stood for 60 to 70 years, yet still standing amid all these mess within the degenerating metropolis.


Charlene Bernabe is a student major in "Broadcasting" at the University of the East. This work is supposed to be for academic purpose as part of a groupwork.


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

"To Egor"

"To Egor"

"Egor Letov" by Leo Chelny

Its been years passed since you left
Leaving most of your works and memories
Of songs that made people be in the streets
That according to your plan your songs be enough
To provoke people against the order like a rolling stone.

Armed with a guitar and along with a band of misfits
Your songs provoked one after another to storm the streets
If not the halls listening to "Your Defence"
To those of "Stopping the Rolling Stones"
And sailing the "Caravel" for the "Solstice".

I may understood abit of your words, for I am not a speaker of Russian
But with the tone of your melody to the expression of your message
Enough to say "Compelling" as I hear your music
Playing till pleases my ears
And be inspired to create words whilst
Borrowing your subversive tones

Subversive as it invoked protests, of lighting fire against the system for its hell-like mess
Intextinguishable flames both of hope and fear
For your songs bring crowds to the streets
And reawakening the old whose yearning for its pasts
Like the Red Flag flying in Aurora's mast

Of seeing failures as those on high can't "show political will to deal the problem despite promises with words like 'Kill'
Damn those fucking assholes babbling their promises
Whose intention is to peddle illusions if not to shut people up with their delusions.

As you left few years ago few care to remember your song,
Your Journey,
Your Contribution to struggle "for liberty"
Despite different tounges I'm still trying to understand the message 
Whose call is more than an expression
But a call to arms.

A requiem for Egor Letov 9 years after his death