Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Basic Poem Writing

A freshman college student who is so dear to me, a struggling campus journalist once asked me for a “non-technical” and “non-scholar” poem- writing tips. Though I am not truly a writer by profession or a poet in the true sense of the word, I just told her to write, write, write and write. Write as fast and as many as she can but she have to write as she talk and do not get tired (but make herself relax) and do not be ashamed and afraid of committing errors (grammatical or otherwise). Mind not what your readers may say or feel against you. Expect not all of them understand what you write. In short, do not let pass any opportunity for a writing exercise. I just reminded her of some practical things. This is what I have told her more or less :

Imagine yourself as a movable CCTV camera : capturing, recording, photographing, using words as your “output cable” and monitor. I told him to try this exercise : Inside a crowded area,- an airplane for example or bus terminal, sit tight and still (or slowly move around). Open your eyes (Do not forget, you are a movable CCTV camera). Look in front of you, to your left and to your right, and occasionally to your back. What do you see? Write down or remember exactly what you see. Toy with words by describing the scenes, color, shape, texture, tone and sound. Remember again you are a movable CCTV camera so you take a long shot, medium shot and close up. One thing is certain, sensory experiences can sharpen our God-given creativity. So all we have to do is - and I think I do not have to reiterate this – be sensitive to the people and things around you.

The Barangay and SK polls will be held Monday and the election fever is on and as I travel aboard a tricycle going to our place, while the tail of Typhoon Juan subdued the air, here’s what I have observed :

“Crowded vehicles come and go; some are fast, others are slow, the clouds are dark , the strong winds blow, etcetera…”

These observations of mine can be translated or developed into a poem. How good and well it is crafted I cannot tell but surely they became a poem nevertheless. Here it is :

Two Typhoons

Crowded vehicles come and go, they jive, they glow
Some are too fast, others are too slow
The clouds above are dark and the wind strongly blow
But as usual the atmosphere, almost like in a circus or a freak show.

You may call me the persistent pessimist in the front row
But this election is far to be a unifying bond, still a dividing saw
Not minding first how to serve, but to how to gain influence and amass dough
Or to please their patrons, the one who loves pink and the other one blue.

They say that the typhoon crawls above the Philippine archipelago
Politics, the way it is practiced here, is as devastating as catastrophes do
As long as we don’t participate in governance, we, the common tao
And amidst corruption and irregularities we keep our arms akimbo!

The farmers solar-drying their palay are in a hurry too
Collecting the golden grains from the concrete road and patio
And to save their precious produce is the foremost thing to do
For another typhoon is coming, not one (Juan) but two!

Notice how my previous observation became a significant theme rooted to my work while my view on our present political system eventually emerged. And for me, this is Poem Writing 101….

(Photo from Google images)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Why Only Padre Damaso?

No doubt that the current debate on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill serves as an anvil where we, Filipinos shape and strengthen our sentiments and condemnation against the clergy and the CBCP, if not the whole Philippine Catholic Church hierarchy. My “we” here pertains to the Catholics who are pro-RH bill. And while we curse from the top of our lungs our priests, the bishops and the lay people of being “hypocrites”, “gender insensitive”, “anti-poor and anti-women”, “sexual molesters”, “Modern-day Fathers Damaso” and other accusations – no matter how legitimate they are - let us also remember that aside from the two contending forces- those who support the HR bill and those who are against it – we tend to loose sight on how wealthy and powerful and nations that influenced such local legislative initiatives. As we lambast our priests, bishops and lay people, we ignore the questionable foreign policies of such powerful and dominant countries, cultures and corporations who support such policies. Especially Uncle Sam. Allow me to direct you to two important and recent events on Hillary Clinton and Bill Gates of the Gates Foundation on population control.

And no matter how we deny it, there are still invisible foreign hands in every major Philippine political affairs. And even series of social changes since the beginning of our supposedly independence from foreign domination, particularly the US, was not able to generally change such reality.

In minds of the US policy makers, as far as you understand, does “reproductive health/services/rights” include abortion, or doesn’t it? Let us hear it directly from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Last April 21, 2009, as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Congressman Chris Smith as the alter ego of President Barack Obama : "And so we have total transparency, does the United States' definition of the term 1) "reproductive health" or 2) "reproductive services" or 3) "reproductive rights" include abortion?"

Reportedly she answered: "We have a very fundamental disagreement. It is my strongly held view that you are entitled to advocate, and everyone who agrees with you should be free to do so, anywhere in the world and so are we." But like a fish, she was caught through her mouth : "We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women's health and reproductive health includes access to abortion that I believe should be safe, legal and rare." See? But our pro-RH Bill legislators are denying to their teeth that it will ultimately fall to abortion. Saying that the US, or Clinton, has nothing to do with the RH Bill. Clinton, by the way is one (5th) of Forbes' 2010 World's 100 Most Powerful Women list.

The same thing happened some years ago when a despotic Philippine political leader justified his declaration of Martial Law saying it has nothing to with Uncle Sam or something to that effect. Or that the sorry state then (and now) of our economy has a little thing to do with transnational and multi-national corporations and the injustice and inequality that they bring. The people in the government then lead us think that it was just a product of the wild imagination of the Communist-leaning labor unions including the left-leaning radicals in the 50s up to late 80s. They made us believe that the poverty that we are experiencing as a nation is self-created by us, Filipinos.

But there we have it from Clinton herself, one of the highest authorities on the subject. At least there now is no doubt that the Obama administration will be endorsing legalized abortion as part of its policy towards developing nations like the Philippines. It seems that in the controversial RH Bill, the terms “reproductive health”, “maternal care”, etc. are juxtaposed to imply the need to legalize abortion. It echoes from Washington to Manila.

And to fuel up this grand “Contraceptive Imperialism”, to borrow the word from Atty. Jo Imbong, the world needs the ever-reliable American philanthropy.

Annually, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) give the so-called Population Award on a person and organization that has met its criteria for population control. And the 2010 Population Award goes to Bill and Melinda Gates. But Bill Gates and his wife Melinda were not there to receive the award and it was accepted in his behalf by William H. Gates, Sr., Bill’s father. The couple were in Mexico for a business trip.

According to Vincenzina Santoro,- an international economist who represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations, just few days after the said award, the Gates foundation pledged a considerable sum to support the UN led initiative called “The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health” which is “hosted and administered by the World Health Organization” and includes approximately 300 NGOs such as Planned Parenthood and organizations like the UN Population Fund. Of the 300 NGOs, how many of them are from the Philippines? And how much money being poured from it to the Philippines? Nobody knows. One thing is certain, worldwide, resource generation and fund campaigns such as this is initiated and gaining popular support from topnotch corporations in exchange of a future global society of “few, chosen and quality” citizens and nations.

As early as 1983, Ray Ravenholt, a former official of the US Agency for International Development or USAID, an agency actively funding population control in the Third World, has given an insight into the real reason behind US concern : “Population control is necessary for the normal operation of US commercial interests around the world.” Is that reality no longer true today?

Why would innocent words such as “maternal and child welfare”, “reproductive services” “reproductive rights” and “reproductive services”, and even “family planning” would always lead to population control through abortion or contraception?

I maybe wrong but maybe the stipulations in the RH Bill are perhaps the true “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and not only our erring priests and bishops as claimed by many (?) of us Catholics as result of this recent debates on RH Bill…

(Photo from Shots)