Wednesday, May 06, 2009

FROM THE BARREL OF MY PEN
By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio

PHILIPPINES: A NATION OF CHAMPIONS, NOT SERVANTS

I watched the Pacquiao-Hatton boxing match over the weekend and I never saw Hatton, the British opponent, even for a second gestured a prayer. But Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino champion, did so many times. It helps to show you worship God in Heaven before the worldly crowd and television audience. God likes it very much. Yet I can’t say for sure whether God helped Pacquiao to win. I believe his prayer to God helped himself. And he demolished the British “Hitman” to pieces.

Talking about the same boxing event at Las Vegas, Nevada, a controversy emerged revolving around the way Martin Nievera, a Filipino pop vocalist, sang the Philippine National Anthem. According to officials of the Philippine Historical Society, Nievera violated a certain law that prohibits changing the tempo as composed by Julian Felipe, a Filipino patriot, from the early days of the Philippine Revolution. I did listen to the “polluted” tempo that Nievera used in singing a la cabaret. Perchance because of his ignorance of the history of the Philippine Revolution, his singing styled failed to emit any patriotic Filipino sentiment. Now Filipino singers should learn from that mistake.

Speaking of Philippine historical bits and pieces once again put me into a recollection mode.

Former Mayor Ed Koch of New York in the early 80s once attended a Filipino function held at the Silver Palace Restaurant in lower Manhattan in honor the birthday anniversary of Jose Rizal, the Filipino National Hero. In attendance that night were former Senator Ernesto Maceda, former Senator Heherson Alvarez and his wife, and former journalist Alejandro Roces . They were in the United States as political refugees from the Marcos regime.

At the gala reception, the former New York City Mayor Koch received a gift of two famous revolutionary books written by Jose Rizal, the NOLI ME TANGERE and the EL FILIBUSTERISMO. Remember that Rizal’s authorship of these two novels caused his death by firing squad . I just wondered whether the former mayor has bothered to read the books. I never had a chance to ask that question .

A sense of Filipino patriotism as symbolized by the singing of the Philippine National Anthem or a sense of respect for Jose Rizal, who died in the fight for freedom and justice for the Filipino people, would be best captured in an honest and effective rendition of anthem’s message and effective portrayal of the Filipino hero’s sacrifice for his country. Commercializing these two Filipino values should forever be shunned.

Anyway, a Filipino won in a contest against a non-Filipino for the glory of the Philippines. That ’s good enough nowadays since some crazy journalists are branding the Philippines as a “a nation of servants.”

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