I have less than a month of summer to go before classes begin. I’ve been preparing for it the same way the passenger of an ill-fated airliner prepares for impact.
This afternoon, I made the decision to close down Deantastic Tech, a blog about technology, the web and blogging, which I started barely a month ago. I thought it too heavy a burden, and I’m pretty sure that if I kept the blog, it wouldn’t be one of my top priorities once school begins. I will, however, continue to produce the Deantastic Tech Podcast, although I cannot say for certain how frequently the episodes might come.
I’ve also been leafing through my college entrance exam reviewers in preparation for the many entrance exams I will be taking later on in the year. So far, I’ve only finished answering MSA’s UPCAT reviewer. (The Science and Maths questions are a bitch to answer!)
Since the last time I blogged, Manny Pacquiao knocked out Ricky Hatton in the second round of their much-awaited bout in Las Vegas. While some people are not in the least interested in the sweet science, I happen to be a bit of a boxing aficionado (thanks largely to my father). So as Pacquiao and Hatton traded blows (one of them trading more vigorously than the other), I watched intently. I screamed as Hatton attacked Pacquiao…with hugs, clinching and then punching him at close range in what I thought was a ghei maneuver. When Hatton fell in the middle of the first round and again at the end of that round, I screamed again, delighted at the prospect of seeing the Hitman stumble like a drunkard over and over until he could get up no longer.
And when, in the second round, Manny introduced the pompous Hitman to his second loss with a fierce left to the jaw, I—along with countless other Filipinos in the country and all over the world, I’m sure—jumped and screamed in ecstasy.
Call it brutality, call it inhumanity, call it whatever you will. At the end of the day, whether or not he intended to, Manny Pacquiao made us feel proud to say that we are Filipino, at least for one day, at least for one moment in time.
Martin Nievera sang the Philippine National Anthem during the Pacquiao fight. Now, I couldn’t sing if my life depended on it, but it doesn’t take a genius to spot what was wrong with Nievera’s rendition of Lupang Hinirang. The first stanza was sung slowly, the pause between it and the second stanza was prolonged, and Martin made banat on the last note a la Star Spangled Banner. That rendition was starkly different from what is taught in public schools and sung in government offices worldwide.
Republic Act 8491, Section 37 sez:
The rendition of the National Anthem, whether played or sung, shall be in accordance with the musical arrangement and composition of Julian Felipe.
Either my preschool, elementary and high school teachers have a reckless neglect for our heraldic devices, or Martin sang the national anthem wrong.
Now, the same republic act requires us to sing the anthem “with fervor”, and I will admit that there have been a few times where I put my right palm to my chest and sang Lupang Hinirang without the ardor of a patriotic Filipino. But for Martin Nievera to blatantly ignore the rule when presenting the anthem in the world stage—even with the unauthorized use of a title card saying that the rendition was approved by the National Historical Institute—is annoying. Not blood-boiling, not infuriating, but annoying. Irritating. Especially considering the fact that artists who sang the Lupang Hinirang in Pacquiao’s past fights were in hot water for the very same mistake.
Martin’s take on his rendition:
“Well, it’s gonna be hard for me to apologize for something that I am not sorry for. I did not ask to do the anthem. Manny Pacquiao himself asked me to sing the national anthem.
“It was my honor to be blessed with this awesome responsibility and I have no one to apologize to because Manny asked me to sing this song. Obviously, he wants me to sing it the way I would sing it. I didn’t change any of the notes. I did not make it R&B.”
Manny asked you to sing it so you don’t have to apologize to anybody. Case closed. Makes sense.
The Pacquiao bout also gave us a glimpse of the 2010 elections. As did the fight, next year’s campaign will feature savage people trading punches and low blows, doing ridiculous things to themselves and their opponents in order to gain a coveted title as well as the cheers of the people.
Politicians wasted no time in leveraging the fight to benefit their campaigns. Gilbert Teodoro—oh, wait, I’m sorry, I meant Ka Gibo—purchased some airtime, although his advert was reportedly booed in cinemas. My local cable provider apparently sold advertising space during the bout, too, in the form of a news ticker sort of thing that displayed messages from people with familiar names. “Perseverance is the Key to Progress ,” (or something like that) read the message of one councilor. “Obey traffic rules and regulations,” read another. (That made me go WTF.)
The Ako Mismo Advocacy’s viral campaign certainly caught people’s attention, although I think the awesometastic dog tags were to blame.
At first glance, the message Ako Mismo attempts to get across is a noble one: pledge to do something to change the country and the world for the better.
But one cannot help but wonder if that is genuinely what Ako Mismo is for, or if the change-the-world-advocacy is merely a front for something less noble. After all, unregistered site visitors are greeted by a short flash presentation, are asked to cite their pledge (“Ako Mismo _______”), and are provided a registration form into which they can enter a truckload of personal information—name, age, gender, location, profession, even cell phone number.
When you’re urging people to pledge to do something for the betterment of their country, complicating the process isn’t very effective. And besides, I’m not entirely certain putting my advocacy to writing will make me strive harder to accomplish it.
The idea behind Ako Mismo is great. The implementation is another story altogether.
PHOTO CREDITS for the Pacquiao picture go to Flickr / coolmel.