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Friday, May 29, 2009

The Booksale Addict: Catchy Book Titles (3)

gross newsDying for a Hamburger: Modern Meat Processing and the Epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease by Ray Waldman & Marjorie Lamb

Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden


Gross News: Gross (but Clean) Stories from Around the World by The Sander Family


Holy Ghostbuster: A Parson's Encounters with the Paranormal by Kelwyn Roberts

I May Be Wrong But I Doubt It by Charles Barkley

Legends, Lies, & Cherished Myths of American History by Richard Shenkman


Sex as a Second Language by Alisa Kwitney

The Alarming History of Medicine: Amusing Anecdotes from Hippocrates to Heart Transplants by Richard Gordon

The Church of 80% Sincerity by David Roche


Till Death Do Us Part or Get a Damn Good Lawyer by Lynette Bowens

Monday, May 25, 2009

Church and Culture


... the church is not an independent, closed organism that has all the resources it needs for its own indefinite survival. We are hosted by a culture, and in order to survive in that culture... we must open ourselves to it and adapt to it.  We can have absolutely no chance of shaping it unless we can sense and respond to it, and this means adapting our interfaces, our "ports" if you will, to allow free transfer each way.  Of course, there are those who still see the church as a holy lifeboat, attempting to save as many as possible from the sinking vessel that is modern culture, and that any attempt to adapt it to will result  in us getting pulled down too, but it seems impossible to defend this position when we read of a God who got stuck in and involved in a culture at every conceivable level. 101-102



Brewin, Kester. 2007. Signs of Emergence: A Vision for Church that is Organic/Networked/Decentralized/Bottom-up/Communal/Flexible {Always Evolving}. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Intertextuality, Bricolage, and a Sense of the Fragmentary in "La Visa Loca"

Intertextuality, Bricolage, and a Sense of the Fragmentary in La Visa Loca





[caption id="attachment_2894" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="image lifted from 3.pb.blogspot.com"]image lifted from 3.pb.blogspot.com[/caption]

La Visa Loca is a tragicomical 2005 film spun around the life of “Jess Huson” (Robin Padilla), a commercial limousine driver and certified nursing aide who gets into a series of misadventures  in his desperate attempts at securing a U.S. visa.


The film makes use of several postmodern themes and techniques to weave a touching story out of assorted contemporary issues: diaspora (OFW phenomenon) and the fragmentation of the family, poverty and prosperity theology, colonial mentality and identity crisis, media and the commercialization of sacred symbols and practices, and others.  This study chiefly considers three features of postmodern culture that stand out in the film: bricolage, intertextuality, and a sense of the fragmentary.  A few instances of heightened irony and paradox, also markers of postmodernism, will be interspersed in the discussion.


Intertextuality is “the citation of one text within the other,” while bricolage is “the rearrangement and juxtaposition of previously unconnected signs to produce new codes of meaning.”1 Both result in the blurring of historical, cultural and genre boundaries.


The title itself is obviously a play on and appropriation of Ricky Martin’s  hit “La Vida Loca.”  In this context, the U.S. visa – a symbol of the American Dream -- is the “girl” who “make(s) you live (a) crazy life and (takes) away your pain like a bullet to your brain.”  This is dramatized by the crazy hodgepodge of US visa applicants at the early part of the movie who use convoluted logic and outrageously funny theatrics just to get the nod of the unsympathetic and unreasonably meticulous American consul.  The movie demonstrates the lengths to which many Filipinos will go just to make it to some greener pastures where, as one wit had put it, “the water bill is higher too” and where, in many cases, one has to live a crazy life of servitude.



Strange Planet, the British reality show which Jess had to participate in as the self-flagellating and crucified Kristo, calls to mind a host of similar television programs that feature the weird and the exotic from all over the globe (read: Real People, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, etc.).  What is ironic (or paradoxical?) here is that it is a reality show that is unreal ( just a show): it documents a contrived or made-up story of a supposedly penitent Christian who whips himself and gets himself nailed and hung on the cross to seek atonement for his sins or gain some other favors from the numinous. The real story is that the man Jess and the TV host, Nigel Adams, contracted for PhP 50,000 to become the Kristo took off with the money just before the filming began.  Incensed at the skulduggery, the Briton curses Filipinos for being such a “money-grabbing bunch of thieves” and swears that Jess never gets a visa (the old man earlier promised to help Jess get a caregiving job in Florida). Jess negotiates and impulsively volunteers to be the Kristo thus saving his only chance to emigrate to America.


The healing/blessing crusade of “Brother Jake” in the movie obviously points viewers to that of El Shaddai founder Brother Mike Velarde, with all the produce-your-own-eggs, upturn-your- umbrellas gimmicks. This home-grown Filipino charismatic ministry itself refers back to the works of other televangelists.  As noted by Michael Allen in his review of Katharine Wiegele’s work on the El Shaddai:




...Wiegele notes that Velarde’s theology is strikingly similar to that preached by a prosperity Salvationist called Robertson on an American TV program in the mid-1980s. Like Robertson, Velarde began by running his own radio show on which he raised substantial donations by focusing on healing, career success and monetary rewards for those who say ‘yes’ to Jesus. The good news that he preaches is, in his own words, ‘an assurance of financial prosperity, good health and spiritual maturity and stability to them who believe and serve,’ especially to those who give generous donations to the El Shaddai organisation.  For his predominantly poor working-class Catholic listerners, Velarde’s material heaven-on-earth gospel was to prove a most attractive to the orthodox Catholic positive evaluation of poverty.2



But more than just bearing a striking resemblance to Robertson’s work (and to other local self-styled miracle workers like Wilde Almeda and Eddie Villanueva), Velarde’s theology and ministry reflect what travelogue writer James Hamilton-Paterson describes as the “Filipinos’ cheerfully eclectic, mix’n’match approach to religion”3 for in this religious movement one sees the amalgamation of some aspects of American-style televangelism (media network, fund-sourcing, and political alliances), Folk Catholicism (faith healing, personality cults, sanctification of religious artifacts, and veneration of saints),     Evangelical Christianity (folksy preaching and  Bible exposition), and Pentecostalism (emotional speeches and kinesthetic worship).  This smorgasbord of traditions is, of course, very Postmodern4 and neatly ties with theologian E. Acoba’s observation that “our contemporary postmodern Philippine context is actually extremely complex, rooted in multi-layered assumptions that define the many contemporary Filipino worldviews.”5


The Philippine religious context is thus an assortment of the pagan and the Christian, the religious and the secular,  and magic and realism as parodized in the film’s panning of televangelists, faith healers, mystics, and ventriloquists.


The centrepiece of bricolage and intertextuality in this film is the five choristers who frequently intrude into the movie to provide comic relief and general commentary or to personify Jess’ conscience.  While it partakes of the nature of a Greek chorus, it also bears the characteristics of a group of Pasyon singers recounting or commenting on, not the Passion of the Christ, but the struggles of an ordinary Filipino who is willing to go through the harrowing challenge of his personal Calvary to obtain salvation from the clutches of poverty. As the Greek chorus is stylized as a Filipino religious narrative, the Pasyon itself – originally intended to minister  “to the sick, dying, bereaved” and recited at burials6 but later used by Filipinos as a “line of protest” against the Spanish regime7 – is recast as a contemporary satire.  The sacred-profane divide is thus blurred, just as it is in the case of Mang Sancho (Johnny Delgado), Jess’ father, who would refuse to take a bath on a Lenten Season because it is "forbidden [by God]" but who at the same time spends his time watching on TV gyrating girls clad only in their lingerie. Historical and genre boundaries are not the only ones blurred in the movie, however. Even the thin line between the real and the unreal is blurred when the oldest female chorister moves out of her “virtual proscenium” to sit beside Jess and interact with him. The use of the choristers thus exemplifies the conflation of the past and the present, the religious and the secular, the serious and the comical.


We may view this eclectic parody of a film as evidence of the movie’s “incredulity towards metanarratives,”   but that topic does not fall within the scope of this study.  However, we can explore Brother Jake’s “Prosperity Gospel” as a Foucauldian Discourse (rule-making, power-conferring set of beliefs and practices) which intensifies the sense of the fragmentary in contemporary Philippine society.  For as one of the most vociferous critics of the Charismatic Movement argued:




There is much confusion, guilt, and heartache among charismatics and non-charismatics because of what they have been told about healing. The agony of disease and illness is only intensified when people feel that they are not healed because of their sin, their lack of faith, or God’s indifference to them.  They reason that if healing is available and they do not get it, it is either their fault or God’s. Thus, faith healers have left untold wreckage in their wake.8



Naturally, when “Health-and-Wealth Gospel” preachers conjure up a Puppet-God who in the end cannot be manipulated to churn out the expected material abundance, many believers are emotionally and spiritually wrecked.  Brad Burke put it this way:




We “instinctively expect” only good from this higher power, as if it were our legitimate cosmic right to perpetually enjoy the “Happy Meals” of life.  And when the “cosmic cashier” screws up and slides us something we didn’t order, we grow angry and start questioning the  cashier’s competency – not to mention his intelligence, motives, and dedication in serving us, the “paying customer.” 9



And if successful or failed psychosomatic healings in Miracle Crusades could cause disorientation -- if not disillusionment -- among the pious, so could a Lenten Season Panata (vow) which is duly performed but not duly rewarded.  Mang Sancho, for instance, once faithfully carried out his role as Kristo and his wife was miraculously healed.  In the end though, the wife goes to America and leaves him for an American husband. Says the old man to Jess who inquired why he doesn’t do Panata anymore: “I have a different faith now.  I no longer believe in sacrifices like those... She was healed, took off to America, and was gone from me. When she left, so did my faith.” Florentino Hornedo helps us understand the psychology behind this:




Why are “prosperity preachers” so popular and command mammoth crowds of people?  Why are shrines of petition which promise “perpetual help,” solutions “for the impossible,” festivals in Obando, Bulacan, where people in need of a life-partner, or an offspring so well attended?  The answer is the same as that which makes the devotees of the Nazarene in Quiapo congregate there is so huge a number of the ninth of January each year.  They pray for favors and they promise to do their part when they receive the favor desired. 10



And when the favour desired is not granted, the devotee eventually gives up the pledge.


At the end of the movie, Jess finally gets the coveted visa as a reward for his bloody sacrifice but, at the last moment, decides to forego his emigration plans to care for his aged, diabetic father and build a family with Mara with whom he fathered a boy.  The happy ending, however, is not so reassuring and leaves us wondering if this “neat” closure actually betrays a wish fulfilment, a hankering for wholeness in a contemporary society fragmented by colonial mentality, a multiplicity of religious contexts, and a “national policy [of] labor migration [which] results in marginalization, social dislocation, downward social mobility, and family fragmentation.”11


While not as phenomenal as The Matrix movies nor “pastiched” as the Shrek series, La Visa Loimage taken from http://www.cinefilipino.com/ca is a worthy contribution of Philippine Cinema to the enrichment of our postmodern experience.




image taken from http://www.cinefilipino.com/

Notes



1 Chris BarkerCultural Studies: Theory and Practice, 2nd ed. ( London: SAGE Publications, 2003), 209. See also Linda Hutcheon, “Postmodernism,” Simon Malpas and Paul Wake, eds., The Routledge Companion to Critical Theory (New York: Routledge, 2006), 116. "Text" is used here as "anything that can be read" and includes not only written material but virtually everything that may be viewed as signifying something.



2 Michael Allen, “Book Review of Investing in Miracles: El Shaddai and the Transformation of Popular Catholicism in the Philippines” by Katharine L. Wiegele. Australian Journal of Anthropology. 17 (2006): 376.

3 James Hamilton Patterson, “Spiritual Behavior,” New Statesman, 135 (2006) 4818:49.

4 see Charles Jencks, “What is Post-Modernism?” in Walter Truett Anderson, ed., The Truth About the Truth: De-confusing  and Re-constructing the Postmodern World (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1995), 26-33.

5 E. Acoba, “A Locus for Doing Theologies: Theological Stories at the Front Lines of Grassroots Missions Engagement,” John Suk, ed., Doing Theology in the Philippines (Manila: ATS/OMF, 2005), 25.

6 Noli Mendoza, “A Friend in Solidarity: Spirituality and Christology in the Pasyon of Gaspar Aquino de Belen,” John Suk, Doing Theology in the Philippines, 162.

7 Jim Perkinson & S. Lily L. Mendoza, “Indigenous Filipino Pasyon Defying Colonial Euro-Reason.” Journal of Third World Studies XXI (Spring 2004) 1: 122.

8 John F. MacArthur , Jr., Charismatic Chaos ( Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 256.

9 Brad Burke, Is God Obsolete? (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2006), 27.

10 Florentino H. Hornedo, The Favor of the Gods: Essays in Filipino Religious Thoughts and Behavior (Manila: UST Publishing House, 2001), 9.

11Athena E Gorospe, “Case Study: Overseas Filipino Workers,”  Evangelical Review of Theology. 31 (October 2007) 4: 370.

Works Cited:



Allen, Michael. Review of Investing in Miracles: El Shaddai and the Transformation of Popular Catholicism in the Philippines by Katharine L. Wiegele. Australian Journal of Anthropology. 17 (2006): 376-378.


Anderson, Walter Truett, ed., The Truth About the Truth: De-confusing  and Re-constructing the Postmodern World. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1995.



Barker, Chris. Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice. 2nd ed.  London: SAGE Publications, 2003.


Brad Burke. Is God Obsolete? Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2006.


Gorospe, Athena E. “Case Study: Overseas Filipino Workers.”  Evangelical Review of Theology. 31 (2007): 369-375.


Hornedo, Florentino H. The Favor of the Gods: Essays in Filipino Religious Thoughts and Behavior. Manila: UST Publishing House, 2001.


MacArthur, John F.,  Jr., Charismatic Chaos. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992.


Malpas, Simon and Paul Wake, eds., The Routledge Companion to Critical Theory. New York: Routledge, 2006.


Paterson, James Hamilton. “Spiritual Behavior.” New Statesman. 135 (2006): 48-49.


Perkinson, Jim & S. Lily L. Mendoza. “Indigenous Filipino Pasyon Defying Colonial Euro-Reason.” Journal of Third World Studies. XXI (2004): 117-137.


Suk, John, ed. Doing Theology in the Philippines. Manila: ATS/OMF, 2005.


Scott Magkachi Sabóy








Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cool Notebook Covers (1)

Found these in a local school supplies store. Corny to some for sure, but  maybe  better  to others --  better than  just showbiz faces on our kids' notebook covers. :)


Cool Notebook Covers 1




stradmore1

stradmore 2

Friday, May 22, 2009

AUS Page Update: "The Bodong has no Ideology"




[caption id="attachment_2840" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="The Sleeping Beauty of Tinglayan, whose legend sprang from a tale of tribal conflict, is in peaceful repose, oblivious to the tribal conflicts that once slaughtered many of her children. (AUS PHOTO)"]The Sleeping Beauty of Tinglayan. (AUS PHOTO)[/caption]

Fellow Kalingas and non-Kalingas who take great interest in Kalinga culture may wish to read the following recently updated AUS materials:


1. AUS Memoirs: "Venture to Harmony: Restoring the Butbut-Sumadel Bodong. Gus Saboy used to tell me that the Butbut-Sumadel tribal bodong (peace pact) he brokered with a dear family friend, Lutheran Pastor Luis Ao-as was his greatest challenge as a peacemaker.  That brief historic moment was to him more than finishing a four-year course.  As far as I know, this peace pact has never been broken since its restoration by these two Kalinga pangats (tribal chiefs/leaders).  This article is incomplete, however, because I haven't found yet the other pages of this segment of Gus' memoirs. :). Click here to read the article.


2. "Tribal Peacemaking: Proposed Strategies and Skills" by Pastor Luis L. Ao-as. Pastor Ao-as, a Lutheran and a member of  the Kalinga tribe of Basao, is one of the most admirable Christian Kalingas I have been privileged to know. His being a Christian has not barred him from contributing greatly in the refinement of the Kalinga indigenous knowledge system. In this article, he shares (originally with the Peace and Order Council of then Kalinga-Apayao) the insights he and Gus Saboy learned from the Sumadel-Butbut peace mission.




To intervene in a tribal conflict implies the ability of individuals and organizations to (1) understand its sources (traditional customs) and direction, (2) know how to select goal(s) for intervention, and (3) systematically develop strategies and skills for pursuing those goals.


The traditional custom of revenge is the central reality around which social conflict occurs among the Kalingas.  To revenge is to gain some kind of social status in the Kalinga system which at this time is upheld by many people in Kalinga.  Not to revenge is degraded by some, if not by the majority, of the Kalinga society. - LLA



Click here to read full article.


3. "Report on the Restoration of the Sumadel-Botbot Bodong (Peace Pact)." Gus Saboy's report to then Kalinga-Apayao Governor Amado B. Almazan. Read this article.  A "Press Release Version" here.


4. "Letter to Ireneo Uyam."  After the exchange of the Sipat, there appeared to be renewed tensions between the two tribes which occasioned the writing of this letter to a certain "Ireneo" which I assumed to be another Kalinga leader, Ireneo Uyam. He expresses here his fear that should the recently restored bodong be severed once again, militarization of Tinglayan will ensue.  Thankfully, the said tensions eased and peace was preserved.




We cannot live by hatred or recriminations.  For to live with such human failings would ruin  lives instead.  There is everything to gain by forgetting and forgiving.  On the one hand, there is plenty to lose by harboring consuming hatred and sharpening one's penchant for vengeance against his fellowmen, particularly to those who have brought disaster and enduring pain on the lives of others.  We are not living for the past.  We are living for tomorrow; we cannot be prisoners of an unwanted past....


You could just picture vividly the repercussions if anything like that which is planned would happen at this time.  In this tribal conflict, I must tell you that we would not know where the Government will stand.  The Government will have to fix its posture and brace up for a punishment of both tribal groups.  And you know who will suffer most if military operations will again be waged in the municipality of Tinglayan.  The killings and brutal military abuses which our people suffered in Tinglayan, particularly in the Bangad, Tinglayan, Basao, Bugnay, and Botbot areas are yet too fresh to forget.  And we do not like this to happen to Sumadel. - AUS



Full article here.


5. To view scanned text of agreement of and signatories to the 1981 restoration of the Sumadel-Botbot Bodong, go to this page.


6. AUS Memoirs: "The Bodong has no Ideology." The "Kalinga Bodong Congress" was the brainchild of Gus Saboy. In this portion of his memoirs marked  "12 o'clock mn, September 15, 1998" on the original manuscript,  he gives a backgrounder on the Kalinga Bodong and the codification of its pagta (by-laws). By ideology he specifically meant "Communism" and "Democracy."




The curse of the Bodong institution is vengeance-killing and were it not for this tolerance or freedom which has become a part of the system, Bodong would have been one of the most wonderful arts of governance mankind had ever discovered.  For vengeance killing in the Bodong has also institutionalized the art of killing for the sake of honor, pride and for the thrill of it.  In those early days, head-hunting was a fad.  The Bodong either would spark head-hunting expeditions or would force down a ceasefire in the tribal conflict towards bringing about a restoration of the severed peace pact.  But the essence of this is that there is no Bodong if there is no blood spilled as a result of murder or actual physical injuries.  The Bodong practice has showed man to play God and to take upon himself the power and privilege that belongs only to the Maker.  Thus God said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”


...To me, Bodong has no ideology.  It exists as a way of life developed through years of continued governance under its indigenous customs and traditions.  Communism as an ideology has its own dogma and philosophy and so too with democracy.  And here is the purity of the Bodong being challenged and threatened with adulteration and prostitution by cultural soldiers of fortune and ideological poachers... - AUS



Click here to read full article.


7. AUS Profile. Updated info/complete profile of Gus.  Click here to view it.





[caption id="attachment_2841" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="The Peacemaker. Gus Saboy in a reflective mode during the Sumadel-Botbot Bodong negotiations."]The Peacemaker. Gus Saboy in a reflective mode during the Sumadel-Botbot Bodong negotiations.[/caption]

AUS Page Update: "The Bodong has no Ideology"




[caption id="attachment_2840" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="The Sleeping Beauty of Tinglayan, whose legend sprang from a tale of tribal conflict, is in peaceful repose, oblivious to the tribal conflicts that once slaughtered many of her children. (AUS PHOTO)"]The Sleeping Beauty of Tinglayan. (AUS PHOTO)[/caption]

Fellow Kalingas and non-Kalingas who take great interest in Kalinga culture may wish to read the following recently updated AUS materials:


1. AUS Memoirs: "Venture to Harmony: Restoring the Butbut-Sumadel Bodong. Gus Saboy used to tell me that the Butbut-Sumadel tribal bodong (peace pact) he brokered with a dear family friend, Lutheran Pastor Luis Ao-as was his greatest challenge as a peacemaker.  That brief historic moment was to him more than finishing a four-year course.  As far as I know, this peace pact has never been broken since its restoration by these two Kalinga pangats (tribal chiefs/leaders).  This article is incomplete, however, because I haven't found yet the other pages of this segment of Gus' memoirs. :). Click here to read the article.


2. "Tribal Peacemaking: Proposed Strategies and Skills" by Pastor Luis L. Ao-as. Pastor Ao-as, a Lutheran and a member of  the Kalinga tribe of Basao, is one of the most admirable Christian Kalingas I have been privileged to know. His being a Christian has not barred him from contributing greatly in the refinement of the Kalinga indigenous knowledge system. In this article, he shares (originally with the Peace and Order Council of then Kalinga-Apayao) the insights he and Gus Saboy learned from the Sumadel-Butbut peace mission.




To intervene in a tribal conflict implies the ability of individuals and organizations to (1) understand its sources (traditional customs) and direction, (2) know how to select goal(s) for intervention, and (3) systematically develop strategies and skills for pursuing those goals.


The traditional custom of revenge is the central reality around which social conflict occurs among the Kalingas.  To revenge is to gain some kind of social status in the Kalinga system which at this time is upheld by many people in Kalinga.  Not to revenge is degraded by some, if not by the majority, of the Kalinga society. - LLA



Click here to read full article.


3. "Report on the Restoration of the Sumadel-Botbot Bodong (Peace Pact)." Gus Saboy's report to then Kalinga-Apayao Governor Amado B. Almazan. Read this article.  A "Press Release Version" here.


4. "Letter to Ireneo Uyam."  After the exchange of the Sipat, there appeared to be renewed tensions between the two tribes which occasioned the writing of this letter to a certain "Ireneo" which I assumed to be another Kalinga leader, Ireneo Uyam. He expresses here his fear that should the recently restored bodong be severed once again, militarization of Tinglayan will ensue.  Thankfully, the said tensions eased and peace was preserved.




We cannot live by hatred or recriminations.  For to live with such human failings would ruin  lives instead.  There is everything to gain by forgetting and forgiving.  On the one hand, there is plenty to lose by harboring consuming hatred and sharpening one's penchant for vengeance against his fellowmen, particularly to those who have brought disaster and enduring pain on the lives of others.  We are not living for the past.  We are living for tomorrow; we cannot be prisoners of an unwanted past....


You could just picture vividly the repercussions if anything like that which is planned would happen at this time.  In this tribal conflict, I must tell you that we would not know where the Government will stand.  The Government will have to fix its posture and brace up for a punishment of both tribal groups.  And you know who will suffer most if military operations will again be waged in the municipality of Tinglayan.  The killings and brutal military abuses which our people suffered in Tinglayan, particularly in the Bangad, Tinglayan, Basao, Bugnay, and Botbot areas are yet too fresh to forget.  And we do not like this to happen to Sumadel. - AUS



Full article here.


5. To view scanned text of agreement of and signatories to the 1981 restoration of the Sumadel-Botbot Bodong, go to this page.


6. AUS Memoirs: "The Bodong has no Ideology." The "Kalinga Bodong Congress" was the brainchild of Gus Saboy. In this portion of his memoirs marked  "12 o'clock mn, September 15, 1998" on the original manuscript,  he gives a backgrounder on the Kalinga Bodong and the codification of its pagta (by-laws). By ideology he specifically meant "Communism" and "Democracy."




The curse of the Bodong institution is vengeance-killing and were it not for this tolerance or freedom which has become a part of the system, Bodong would have been one of the most wonderful arts of governance mankind had ever discovered.  For vengeance killing in the Bodong has also institutionalized the art of killing for the sake of honor, pride and for the thrill of it.  In those early days, head-hunting was a fad.  The Bodong either would spark head-hunting expeditions or would force down a ceasefire in the tribal conflict towards bringing about a restoration of the severed peace pact.  But the essence of this is that there is no Bodong if there is no blood spilled as a result of murder or actual physical injuries.  The Bodong practice has showed man to play God and to take upon himself the power and privilege that belongs only to the Maker.  Thus God said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”


...To me, Bodong has no ideology.  It exists as a way of life developed through years of continued governance under its indigenous customs and traditions.  Communism as an ideology has its own dogma and philosophy and so too with democracy.  And here is the purity of the Bodong being challenged and threatened with adulteration and prostitution by cultural soldiers of fortune and ideological poachers... - AUS



Click here to read full article.


7. AUS Profile. Updated info/complete profile of Gus.  Click here to view it.





[caption id="attachment_2841" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="The Peacemaker. Gus Saboy in a reflective mode during the Sumadel-Botbot Bodong negotiations."]The Peacemaker. Gus Saboy in a reflective mode during the Sumadel-Botbot Bodong negotiations.[/caption]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Swine Flu After Effect"

This mutant photo was emailed by Anthony Herron. Hmm... At least the H1N1 virus doesn't make one  look as hideous and as un-huggable as Gollum. :)  This one even looks like it's got Master Yoda's gazillion mediclorians. Now, who says mutations are 99% deleterious? hehe



h1n1

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Classic Jewish Insults & Curses"

I got these "six classic Jewish insults and curses" from Alan King's delightful work, Great Jewish Joke Book [(New York: Crown Publishers, 2002), 8-9]:
alan king ♦ May you inherit a hotel and die in every room.

♦ May you grow like an onion, with your head in the ground.


♦ May your bones be broken as often as the Ten Commandments.


♦ May you have a son named after you soon.


♦ May the souls of all of King Solomon's mothers-in-law inhabit you.


♦ May God mistake you for your worst enemy and give you all the curses you wished on him.

Candy Pangilinan's Ethnic Slur (3)

Human Rights lawyer Jose Molintas was interviewed yesterday by local TV host Pia Gutierrez on the Baguio City government's declaration of Candy Pangilinan as persona non grata.  Part of the discussion fell on the name Igorot.  Molintas explained that some natives, like the Ifugaos and the Kalingas, actually do not want themselves to be called Igorots and prefer Cordillerans instead.

The name issue is not new of course, for it has sporadically sparked spirited discussions for decades now, as  documented by Gerard Finin in his 2005 book, The Making of the Igorot.  And it will continue to be debated on until we mountain people do not realize that arguing over whether to call ourselves Cordillerans or Igorots doesn't really magically transform us into a greater community, anymore than changing our names by a court decree transforms our personality.  The ethnic names we wear are products of historical accidents (or political machinations, if you please) and we will remain stuck or stamped with these while we live. On the other hand, what we make of our identity is our own choosing.  We can choose to be called Cordillerans to avoid the negative connotations of the name Igorot, but if by our speech and behavior we are no different from the people we despise or the animals we fear, that newfangled name will bear as much stigma.

I am a Kalinga and I am not ashamed to be called one. I also call myself an Igorot and I am not ashamed to be called one.  I do not need to change my ethnic name to create for myself a good reputation or to help construct a pleasing communal identity.  I need only  recognize what makes my ethnic name sound dreadful so I could shun  it; I need only strive to live up to the values we mountain people uphold and so make a difference in my own little corner.  Jose  G. Dulnuan said it so eloquently:


I am an Igorot. Let me be treated as I deserve -- with respect if I am good, with contempt if I am no good, irrespective of the name I carry.  Let the term, Igorot, remain, and the world will use it with the correct meaning attached to it. [quoted by Wm. Henry Scott in his essay, "The Origin of the Word Igorot," in Of Igorots and Independence (Baguio City: A-Seven Publishing, 1993), 67.]


That correct meaning will only be used by the world  largely if  some of us cease to be the stereotypes many outsiders have cast us in: booze-bamboozled hunks zigzagging out of some folkhouse along Magsaysay or Lakandula in the wee hours of the morning; leather-clad jeepney drivers making urinals out of roadside gardens; toothless, feathered and tailed, camera-loving grannies making brisk business at Mines View or the Botanical Garden who can't explain what their native ornaments represent; the Kalinga kawitan (lit., "rooster")  who has a penchant for belligerence, threatening lowlander-neighbors with decapitation over a petty misunderstanding; and the lordly yFontok who thinks some folks are meant to be his/her footstool.

That correct meaning will only be used by the world if we live by the best qualities of the native exemplified by  a host of Igorots in the arena of  business (Jack Dulnuan), politics (Joe Molintas), literature (Luisa Igloria), the academe (Albert Bacdayan), showbizness (Marky Cielo), or other professional fields, as well as by a still larger number of mountaineers in the fields of our ili who live humble but decent lives.

So whether we call ourselves Cordillerans or Igorots doesn't really make much difference; dealing with the harder issues does: how our behavior and speech have helped construct Igorotness, how we should react to ill-informed statements about us, what image of the Igorot our leaders have projected, what should politicians do beyond declaring someone a  persona non-grata to help ensure that outsiders become more sensitive to cultural diversity, how our schools could educate Igorots and non-Igorots alike about the checkered history of  Igorots and other indigenous peoples in the country, how far have our churches gone in helping  build up indigenous systems and practices, and how local and foreign media can help promote a better understanding of traditional culture.

***




Monday, May 18, 2009

Candy Pangilinan's Ethnic Slur (2)

Candy Pangilinan's public verbal and written apology has not doused the flames of another e-bonfire of inanities similar to the one that raged when the "Francesca in France" issue was still red-hot.

One only has to visit Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) to get a feel of this blaze.  Most of the comments to the PEP article on Candy's faux pas surely  titillate the gossip-mongers, but only foment more misunderstandings among us.



Take, for example, this vacuous comment by one who aptly called him/herself "Showbizbuddy":

Huwag na sana maging OA ang remark ng iba against Candy kasi obvious naman na hindi intentional ang ginawa niya. Saka hindi naman racist si Candy kapag nga nasa abroad yan Pinoy agad ang hinahanap niyan para makausap. E kung foreigner na racist ang makakausap niyo baka mas malala pa ang sabihin sa ethnic minority sa Pinas e. Take the remark constructively Igorots! We love you naman -- huwag kayong mga balat-sibuyas sa mga tukso ng mga komedyante at mga kababayang miron na walang magawa: We are proud of you and Candy as well I am sure. (15May2009 00:54am)



Naturally, Showbizbuddy's attempt to chip in his/her one-centavo to buying Igorots out of this flame backfired (mixed idioms and metaphors intended :) ). Consider:

♣ Branding the Igorots' reaction to Candy's slur as "OA" could only further antagonize some Igorots


♣ Reference to foreigners as being more racist towards Filipino ethnic groups is fallacious (red herring) and missed the bone of contention (i.e. ethnocentrism/discrimination among Filipinos themselves)


♣ Her/His positive-thinking advice: "Take the remark constructively Igorots!" positively identifies a Filipino who lacks sensitivity to the cultural and historical undertones of this issue


♣ To top it all, expressing one's love for Igorots and pride in what they represent while telling them not to be balat-sibuyas (lit. "onion-skinned," which, in the Philippines, means you're a bundle of nerves, not 90% fat-free) smacks of hypocrisy.


That is why another commenter, "Pinkcheeks," retorted as follows to show she wasn't tickled pink by Showbizbuddy's facile remarks:




Showbizbuddy,


Don’t be ridiculous.. you are another Candy.Don’t say you love us, its very obvious that you are just saying it just to shut us up. You are very wrong foreigners are very sensitive about racist remarks…in most countries they have antidiscrimination law. If that joke was said overseas that could have banned Candy in the entertainment industry..thats how serious it is. It just sounds simple because we are in pinas..and apology is enough to repair it.We are not being OA please dont call us that.Dont make more damage.she has already apologized. (15May2009 06:46am)



It is not only the inconsiderate comments of non-Igorots that have stirred the coals, however.  Some of my fellow Igorots are to blame as well for their unfiltered retorts, like these strings of threats and put-downs from "Fireman"  (boy, was he on fire!) and "Lydnare," respectively:



aba,ang kakapal din ng pagmumukha ng babaeng ito!

akala mo kagandahan! wag na wag kang magpapakita o tumuntong man lang sa Baguio!

baka gawin kang joke ng mga Igorot! sobra kasing OA at pilit magpatawa kaya tuloy ganyan ang kalalabasan mo.

dapat ibigti kang patiwarik Candy! kung umasta ka para kang sinu! (15May2009 11:14am)


Being an artist is being able to intertwine with appreciation, respect and aesthetics. Primarily candy has none of the traits! No appreciation for his hosts, no respect for others, and truly lacking of the aesthetics of humanity. She is just an artist, she is just a lame show of a circus. (15may200915.38pm)



It is bad enough that the un/ill-informed would speak about  or for Igorots whom they only know for their feathered headgears and woven tails. The more tragic thing is when we Igorots ourselves unwittingly build on stereotypes about us by our untempered responses to derogatory remarks against us.


Related Post: "Candy Pangilinan's Ethnic Slur"

Friday, May 15, 2009

Igorot! (3)

Igorot 3

Related Posts: Igorot! (2), Igorot! (1), Igorots & McDonalds

From W.H. Scott's "The Defense of Igorot Independence"


... during those three centuries when Spanish firearms never really conquered the lofty liberty of the Igorots, they were paying a heavy price for their independence.  Moving off into more remote parts of the Cordillera, they had to pit their brawn and brains against raw nature and sterile soil.  And while they learned to carve whole mountainsides into terraces to wring out a bare subsistence of living, their tribute-paying brethren in the lowlands were learning to farm like Spaniards and to cook like Chinese.  While Graciano Lopez Jaena was ornamenting the Spanish press with his graceful prose, and Jose Rizal was hobnobbing with European scholars in a half a dozen foreign languages, their illiterate Igorot compatriots were being exhibited in the Philippine exposition along with other native plants and animals.  In their mountain province independence, the Igorots missed out on all those convenient innovations enjoyed by their conquered brethren -- the iron plows, the horses and cows, the pancit and pan-de-sal, the camisas de chino and barongs tagalog, the grade school primers and those prestigious blue eyes and curly, blond hair.  It was a heavy price to pay for liberty.  And it is a price not yet fully paid.  For even their descendants who are congressmen, professors or bishops must send their children to government schools where they dutifully stare at textbooks which say they are different from all other Filipinos because of migration.  But never a word about their 350-year resistance to foreign aggression.



- William Henry Scott, "The Defense of Igorot Independence," Of Igorots and Independence (Baguio City: A-Seven Publishing, 1993), 38-39.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Candy Pangilinan's Ethnic Slur

I only learned of comedienne (sorry, comedy person) Candy Pangilinan's "TAO PO AKO, HINDI PO AKO IGOROT" [I am a human being, not an Igorot]  slur after watching ABS-CBN's morning showbizcast today.  The actress was shown tearfully and profusely apologizing to the Igorot community for the insensitive statement  she twice uttered in public.


It was stupid of Candy to say such a thing,  but it was also wise of her to issue an immediate and sincere apology -- says something about the good in her as a performer, a Pinay, and a UPian.  That we all commit mistakes (I myself have said a million-and-one words that hurt a lot of people and I have had to apologize as much) doesn't mean we are less noble; we only become so when we stubbornly refuse to own up to our faults and ungraciously behave when we take the flak.  We need to learn from all these and move on with a renewed commitment to fairness and goodwill and so be closer to the ideal person within.


It would be interesting to compare the reactions of bloggers and other cybernauts to the ethnic slurs of Candy and those of "Francesca in France" who has yet to apologize to Igorots for her haughtiness.  :)


Other related posts:


Francesca & Igorots (II)


Re: Call Centers and Racism


Call Centers and Racism


The Gallant Igorots of Bataan


1st International Conference on Cordillera Studies



A Columnist's Woes

[See some reactions of Igorots @ Baguio City Online, and read the text of Candy's apology @ candiva.multiply.com.]