The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Friday, June 28, 2013

Whatever the First New Wave Song...

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This list of New Wave / Postpunk songs is extracted from a full and definitive article on Punk and New Wave that I wrote years ago, to be included in the essay anthology, entitled Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?which I will be publishing soon.  

Whatever the first New Wave song is remains to be debatable. Many references cite a Blondie song. Personally, I initially  went farther back in the 1960s to cite early songs by The Byrds ("The Bells of Rhymney" and "Turn! Turn! Turn!", both 1965), by David Bowie ("Uncle Arthur," 1967), Pink Floyd's first two singles ("Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play," both 1967), The Doors ("Light My Fire," 1967), and Velvet Undergound ("Femme Fatale," 1967) as probably the first New Wave songs. However, I realized--after careful consideration--that including anything from the 1960s would be dangerous. It might just open a floodgate for countless similar-sounding bands and songs from this decade: The Zombies, The Hollies, The Who, Small Faces, The Beau Brummels, and even The Beatles! And that would obviously be only diluting the definition of New Wave. After all, my primary purpose for all these is to clarify or put in a clear and well-defined perspective the genre of music now known as New Wave. 

Possibly the first New Wave band and song, Roxy Music with "Virginia Plain" (1972)

Therefore, for the sake of assigning a ground zero for the genre New Wave, I deliberately excluded anything from the 1960s, regardless if some of these recommendable songs carried a very New Wave sound. After all, New Wave as a music genre was not yet recognized in the 1960s; moreover, many references cite the 1970s as the birth of New Wave; although many journalists assign 1977 as the actual year. I go against this popular consensus, however. Personally, I assign 1972 as the actual birth of that distinct sound that came to be named as New Wave in the few years that followed: 1972, the year of release of Roxy Music's début album, which contained "Virginia Plain," which sonically bore the template of a typical New Wave song--melodic guitar-led intro, angular rhythm guitars and melodic but ear-catching adlibs, repetitive keyboard melody, steady bass, danceable drumbeats, a few stop-start in the song structure, and distinct vocal style. Add to that, Roxy Music's entire discography did not veer away much from its trademark sound; in fact, it even gravitated to the typical sound of New Wave, appropriately bookended by the band's final album, Avalon (1982), best represented by the song "More than This," which many music listeners and journalists acknowledge as New Wave proper.

So, here is a list of personally selected bands that I think best represents the music genre known as New Wave with recommended songs from proper début,  earlier, or landmark albums. Take note, however, that I used New Wave as an umbrella genre that includes offshoot or closely related genres or subgenres like Postpunk (Joy Division, The Slits), Synthpop (Depeche Mode, Strange Advance), Sophistipop (Fra Lippo Lippi, Johnny Hates Jazz), New Romantic (Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet), and Ska (The Selecter, Bad Manners).

1970s
Roxy Music – “Virginia Plain” (1972, Roxy Music)
Blondie – “In the Sun” (1976, Blondie)
The Jam – “Away from the Numbers” (1977, In the City)
Kraftwerk – 
Airwaves” (1975, Radio-Activity)
The Stranglers – “No More Heroes” (1977, No More Heroes)
Talking Heads – “Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town” (1977, Talking Heads: 77)
Television – “Guiding Light” (1977, Marquee Moon)
Ultravox – “The Wild, the Beautiful, and the Damned” (1977, Ultravox)
The Cars – “Just What I Needed” (1978, The Cars)
Devo – “Praying Hands” (1978, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!)
The Police – “Roxanne” (1978, Outlandos d’Amour)
Public Image Ltd. – “Annalisa” (1978, Public Image: First Issue)
Siouxsie & the Banshees – “Mirage” (1978, The Scream)
Adam & the Ants – “Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face)” (1979, Dirk Wears White Sox)
The B-52’s – “Rock Lobster” (1979, The B-52’s)
The Cure – “Fire in Cairo” (1979, Three Imaginary Boys)
The Fall – “Rebellious Jukebox” (1979, Live at the Witch Trials)
Gang of Four – “Return the Gift” (1979, Entertainment!)
The Human League – “Empire State Human” (1979, Reproduction)
Joy Division – “Shadowplay” (1979, Unknown Pleasures)
The Knack – “My Sharona” (1979, Get The Knack)
Martha & the Muffins – “Echo Beach” (1979, Metro Music)
The Pretenders – “Brass in Pocket” (1979, The Pretenders)
The Raincoats – “Life on the Line” (1979, The Raincoats)
Simple Minds – “Chelsea Girl” (1979, Life in a Day)
The Slits – “Instant Hit” (1979, Cut)
The Specials – “Doesn’t Make It Alright” (1979, The Specials)
XTC – “Making Plans for Nigel” (1979, Drums and Wires)

1980s
Bad Manners – “Special Brew” (1980, Ska ‘n’ B)
Bauhaus – “A God in an Alcove” (1980, In the Flat Field)
Berlin – “Talk Talk Video” (1980, Information)
Blue Peter – “Video Verite” (1980, Radio Silence)
Bow Wow Wow – “Sexy Eiffel Towers” (1980, YourCassette Pet)
Echo & the Bunnymen – “Do It Clean” (1980, Crocodiles)
Icehouse – “We Can Get Together (1980, Icehouse)
INXS – “Just Keep Walking” (1980, INXS)
Killing Joke – “Wardance” (1980, Killing Joke)
Madness – “Baggy Trousers” (1980, Absolutely)
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – “Messages” (1980, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark)
The Psychedelic Furs – “Imitation of Christ” (1980, The Psychedelic Furs)
The Selecter – “Out on the Streets” (1980, Too Much Pressure)
The Sound – “Heartland” (1980, Jeopardy)
U2 – “I Will Follow” (1980, Boy)
The Vapors – “Letter from Hiro” (1980, New Clear Days)
Young Marble Giants – “Credit in the Straight World” (1980, Colossal Youth)
Altered Images – “Beckoning Strings” (1981, Happy Birthday)
The Church – “For a Moment We’re Strangers” (1981, Of Skins and Heart)
Depeche Mode – “Just Can't Get Enough” (1981, Speak & Spell)
Duran Duran – “Girls on Film” (1981, Duran Duran)
Girls at Our Best! – “Warm Girls” (1981, Pleasure)
The Go-Go’s – “We Got the Beat” (1981, Beauty and the Beat)
Josef K – “Sorry for Laughing” (1981, The Only Fun in Town)
Men at Work – “Down Under” (1981, Business as Usual)
Modern English – “Dance of Devotion” (1981, Mesh & Lace)
New Order – “Dreams Never End” (1981, Movement)
Spandau Ballet – “To Cut a Long Story Short” (1981, Journeys to Glory)
Spoons – “Conventional Beliefs” (1981, Stick Figure Neighbourhood)
Thompson Twins – “When I See You” (1981, A Product of … [Participation])
A Flock of Seagulls – “Space Age Love Song” (1982, A Flock of Seagulls)
ABC – “Poison Arrow” (1982, The Lexicon of Love)
Blancmange – “Waves” (1982, Happy Families)
China Crisis – “Some People I Know to Lead Fantastic Lives”  (1982, Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms,
          Some People Think It’s Fun to Entertain)
Culture Club – “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” (1982, Kissing to Be Clever)
The Fixx – “Red Skies” (1982, Shuttered Room)
Fun Boy Three – “The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)” 
(1982, Fun Boy Three)
Haircut 100 – “Love Plus One” (1982, Pelican West)
Men Without Hats – “I Got the Message” (1982, Rhythm Youth)
Missing Persons – “Tears” (1982, Spring Session M)
Orange Juice – “Falling and Laughing” (1982, You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever)
Rational Youth – “Saturdays in Silesia” (1982, Cold War Night Life)
Strange Advance – “Kiss in the Dark” (1982, Worlds Away)
Thomas Dolby – “Europa and the Pirate Twins” (1982, The Golden Age of Wireless )
Virgin Prunes – “Down the Memory Lane” (1982, Hérésie)
The Waitresses – “I Know What Boys Like” 
(1982, Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?)
The Wake – “Heartburn” (1982, Harmony)
Yazoo – “Only You” (1982, Upstairs at Eric’s)
10,000 Maniacs – “Grey Victory” (1983, Secrets of the I Ching)
Aztec Camera – “Walk Out to Winter” (1983, High Land, Hard Rain)
The Big Country – “Fields of Fire (400 Miles)” (1983, The Crossing)
Blue Zoo – “Something Familiar” (1983, Two by Two)
Boys Brigade – “The Passion of Love” (1983, Boys Brigade)
Care – “Flaming Sword” (released as a single in 1983; an album
compiling all the band’s recorded materials was released in 1997)
The Chameleons U.K. – “Pleasure and Pain” (1983, Script of the Bridge)
The Creatures – “Dancing on Glass” (1983, Feast)
Darkroom – “Tears Hold No Cure” (1983, San Paku)
Dolly Mixture – “Will He Kiss Me Tonight?” (1983, Demonstration Tapes)
Gazebo – “I Like Chopin” (1983, Gazebo)
Gene Loves Jezebel – “Psychological Problems” (1983, Promise)
The Glove – “Like an Animal” (1983, Blue Sunshine)
Kajagoogoo – “Too Shy” (1983, White Feathers)
The Lords of the New Church – “Dance with Me” (1983, Is Nothing Sacred?)
R.E.M. – “Radio Free Europe” (1983, Murmur)
Real Life – “Catch Me, I’m Falling” (1983, Heartland)
Red Rockers – “China” (1983, Good as Gold)
Tears for Fears – “Suffer the Children” (1983, The Hurting)
The The – “This Is the Day” (1983, Soul Mining)
The Three o’Clock – “Fall to the Ground” (1983, Sixteen Tambourines)
X-mal Deutschland – “Boomerang” (1983, Fetisch)
The Alarm – “Where Were You Hiding when the Storm Broke?” (1984, Declaration)
Alphaville – “Sounds like a Melody” (1984, Forever Young)
Blue Nile – “Stay” (1984, A Walk across the Rooftops)
Bronski Beat – “Smalltown Boy” (1984, Age of Consent)
The Cult – “Spiritwalker” (1984, Dreamtime)
Dead or Alive – “You Make Me Wanna” (1984, Sophisticated Boom Boom)
Eurogliders –  "Heaven (Must Be There)" (1984, This Island)
Felt – “Sunlight Bathed the Golden Glow” 
(1984, The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories)
Fiat Lux – “Secrets” (1984, Hired History)
The Fiction Factory – “(Feels Like) Heaven” 
(1984, Throw the Warped Wheel Out)
Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax” (1984, Welcome to the Pleasuredome)
Friends Again – “State of Art” (1984, Trapped and Unwrapped)
General Public – “Never You Done That” (1984, All the Rage)
Howard Jones – “New Song” (1984, Human’s Lib)
The Icicle Works – “Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)” (1984, The Icicle Works)
Industry – “State of the Nation” (1984, Stranger to Stranger)
Information Society – “Running” (1984, Creatures of Influence)
Lloyd Cole & the Commotions – “Perfect Skin” (1984, Rattlesnakes)
The Lotus Eaters – “German Girl” (1984, No Sense of Sin)
Marc Almond & the Willing Sinners – “Gutter Hearts” (1984, Vermin in Ermine)
The March Violets – “Radiant Boys” (1984, Natural History)
New Model Army – “Smalltown England” (1984, Vengeance)
Nik Kershaw – “Wouldn’t It Be Good?” (1984, Human Racing)
The Pale Fountains – “Palm of My Hand” (1984, Pacific Street)
Platinum Blonde – “Doesn’t Really Matter” (1984, Standing in the Dark)
Prefab Sprout – “Cue Fanfare” (1984, Swoon)
Romeo Void – “A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)” (1984, Instincts)
The Room – “New Dreams for Old” (1984, In Evil Hour)
The Smiths – “Hand in Glove” (1984, The Smiths)
The Style Council – “My Ever Changing Moods” (1984, Café Bleu)
Tones on Tails – “Lions” (1984, Pop)
Wire Train – “Chamber of Hellos” (1984, In a Chamber)
a-ha – “Take on Me” (1985, Hunting High and Low)
The Adventures – “Two Rivers” (1985, Theodore and Friends)
The Armoury Show – “We Can Be Brave Again” (1985, Waiting for the Floods)
B-Movie – “Switch On, Switch Off” (1985, Forever Running)
Big Audio Dynamite – “E=mc2” (1985, This Is Big Audio Dynamite)
Clan of Xymox – “A Day” (1985, Clan of Xymox)
The Colourfield – “Thinking of You” (1985, Virgins & Philistines)
Communards – “You Are My World” (1985, Communards)
The Damned – “Grimly Fiendish” (1985, Phantasmagoria)
Del Amitri – “Heard through a Wall” (1985, Del Amitri)
The Dream Academy – “Life in a Northern Town” (1985, The Dream Academy)
The Essence – “The Cat” (1985, Purity)
Everything but the Girl – “Ballad of the Times” (1985, Love Not Money)
The Farmer's Boys – “Phew Wow” (1985, With These Hands)
Fra Lippo Lippi – “Shouldn't Have to Be like That” (1985, Songs)
The Grapes of Wrath – “Love Comes Around” (1985, September Bowl of Green)
Indochine – “A l’Assaut (Des Ombres Sur L’O)” (1985, 3
Love & Rockets – “If There’s a Heaven Above” (1985, Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven)
The Lucy Show – “Ephemeral (This Is No Heaven)” (1985, …Undone)
Propaganda – “Duel” (1985, A Secret Wish)                          
Pseudo Echo – “A Beat for You” (1985, Autumnal Park)
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry – “Hollow Eyes” (1985, Talk about the Weather)
The Sisters of Mercy – “Walk Away” (1985, First and Last and Always)
Strawberry Switchblade – “Let Her Go” (1985, Strawberry Switchblade)
Translator – “Gravity” (1985, Translator)
The Waterboys – “The Pan Within” (1985, This Is the Sea)
The Bible – “Graceland” (1986, Walking the Ghost Back Home)
The Big Dish – “Big New Beginning” (1986, Swimmer)
The Bølshøi –“Sunday Morning” (1986, Friends)
Book of Love – “I Touch Roses” (1986, Book of Love)
Cactus World News – “Years Later” (1986, Urban Beaches)
The Call – “Everywhere I Go” (1986, Reconciled)
Crowded House – “Now We’'re Getting Somewhere” (1986, Crowded House)
The Cutting Crew – “One for the Mockingbird” (1986, Broadcast)
Died Pretty – “Blue Sky Day” (1986, Free Dirt)
Easterhouse – “To Live like This” (1986, Contenders)
Erasure “Who Needs Love like That?” (1986, Wonderland)
Eyeless in Gaza – “Welcome Now” (1986, Back from the Rains)
The Flaming Mussolinis – “My Cleopatra” (1986, Watching the Film)
The Fountainhead – “Rhythm Method” (1986, The Burning Touch)
Fruits of Passion – “Love’s Glory” (1986, Fruits of Passion)
The Go-Betweens – “Head Full of Steam” (1986, Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express)
Guadalcanal Diary – “Pray for Rain” (1986, Jamboree)
The Housemartins – “Happy Hour” (1986, London 0 Hull 4)
I Start Counting – “Letters to a Friend” (1986, Translucent Hands)
Jimmy Jimmy – “I Met Her in Paris” (1986, Here in the Light)
Lick the Tins – “Belle of Belfast City” (1986, Blind Man on a Flying Horse)
The Lover Speaks – “Still Faking This Art of Love” (1986, The Lover Speaks)
Lowlife – “Wild Swan” (1986, Permanent Sleep)
The Mission U.K. – “Severina” (1986, God’s Own Medicine)
Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls” (1986, Please)
Peter Murphy – “Canvas Beauty” (1986, Should the World Fail to Fall Apart)
Red Box – “Heart of the Sun” (1986, The Circle & the Square)
The Shop Assistants – “I Don’t Want to Be Friends with You” (1986, Will Anything Happen?)
The Smithereens – “Blood and Roses” (1986, Especially for You)
Two Minds Crack – “Upside Down” (1986, The Victory Parade)
The Weather Prophets – “Almost Prayed” (1986, Diesel River)
The Woodentops – “Shout” (1986, Giant)
World Party – “All Come True” (1986, Private Revolution)
The Beloved – “A Hundred Words” (1987, Where It Is)
Black – “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” (1987, Wonderful Life)
The Bodines – “Therese” (1987, Played)
The Christians – “Ideal World” (1987, The Christians)
The Close Lobsters – “I Kiss the Flowers in Bloom” (1987, Foxheads Stalk This Land)
Curiosity Killed the Cat – “Down to Earth” (1987, Keep Your Distance)
Flesh for Lulu – “Postcards from Paradise” (1987, Long Live the New Flesh)
Immaculate Fools – “Tragic Comedy” (1987, Dumb Poet)
Midnight Oil – “Beds Are Burning” (1987, Diesel and Dust)
Primal Scream – “Gentle Tuesday” (1987, Sonic Flower Groove)
The Railway Children – “Gentle Sound” (1987, Reunion Wilderness)
Scarlett & Black – “You Don’t Know (1987, Scarlett & Black)
The Screaming Blue Messiahs – “55 the Law” (1987, Bikini Red)
Shelleyan Orphan – “Midsummer Pearls and Plumes” (1987, Helleborine)
The Wedding Present – “Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft” (1987, George Best)
A House – “I’ll Always Be Grateful” (1988, On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round)
Camouflage – “Strangers’ Thoughts” (1988, Voices & Images)
Celebrate the Nun – “She’s a Secretary” (1988, Meanwhile)
The Darling Buds – “Hit the Ground” (1988, Pop Said…)
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – “Circle” (1988, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars)
The Godfathers – “Birth, School, Work, Death” (1988, Birth, School, Work, Death)
Grace Pool – “Awake with the Rain” (1988, Grace Pool)
The House of Love – “Christine” (1988, The House of Love)
Johnny Hates Jazz – “Different Seasons” (1988, Turn Back the Clock)
The Mighty Lemon Drops – “Inside Out” (1988, World Without End)
Mighty Mighty – “When You Trusted Me” (1988, Sharks)
Morrissey – “I Don’t Mind if You Forget Me” (1988, Viva Hate)
One Thousand Violins – “If Only Words” (1988, Hey Man That’s Beautiful)
The Pursuit of Happiness – “She’s So Young” (1988, Love Junk)
The Soup Dragons – “Soft as Your Face” (1988, This Is Our Art)
Tuesday Blue – “Love Me Simple” (1988, Shibumi)
Voice of the Beehive – “Don’t Call Me Baby” (1988, Let It Bee)
When in Rome – “The Promise” (1988, When in Rome)
The Wild Swans – “Whirlpool Heart” (1988, Bringing Home the Ashes)
16 Tambourines – “Bathed in the Afterglow” (1989, How Green Is Your Valley?)
1927 – “That’s when I Think of You” (1989, …ish)
Kon Kan – “Harry Houdini” (1989, Move to Move)
The Ocean Blue – “Between Something and Nothing” (1989, The Ocean Blue)
The Orchids – “If You Can’t Find Love” (1989, Lyceum)
Red Flag – “Broken Heart” (1989, Naïve Art)
The Stone Roses – “She Bangs the Drums” (1989, The Stone Roses)

1990s
9 Ways to Sunday – “Midnight Train” (1990, 9 Ways to Sunday)
Anything Box – “Living in Oblivion” (1990, Peace)
Cause & Effect - "You Think You Know Her" (1990, Cause &Effect)
The Lightning Seeds – “Pure” (1990, Cloudcuckooland)
The Sundays – “Here’s where the Story Ends” (1990, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic
Heavenly – “Lemonhead Boy” (1991, Heavenly vs. Satan)
Riverside – “Cinnamon Eyes” (1992, One)
The Other Two – “Movin’ On” (1993, The Other Two & You)
The Listening Pool – “Oil for the Lamps of China” (1994, Still Life)
Love Spit Love – “Am I Wrong?” (1994, Love Spit Love)
Northern Picture Library – “Catholic Easter Colours” (1994, Alaska)
Trembling Blue Stars – “For This One” (1996, Her Handwriting)
Babacar – “Midsummer” (1998, Babacar)
Antartica – “Absence” (1999, 81:03)

2000s
Desert Wolves – “Mexico” (2000, Pontification)
Vermont Sugar House – “Braveheart” (2008, Carlton Gardens)
Bad Lieutenant  – "Sink or Swim" (2009, Never Cry Another Tear)

2010s
Chvrches - "Clearest Blue" (2015, Every Open Eye)
No Devotion - "" (2015, Permanence)
Primal Scream - "Where the Light Gets In" (2016, Chaosmosis)


Final Note
While the book is yet to be published, I will be including more entries to represent the missing years in every decade; for example, I am still on a hunt for a New wave band that will best represent 1970, 1971, 1997, and for the most of the noughties (2000s).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mr. Brown, Let Me Call your Attention

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Sa Bawat Pahina ng Literatura

Mr. Brown, Let Me Call the Attention of Whoever Edited Your Latest Book
(On the Grammatical Importance of Definite versus Indefinite Articles)
by aLfie vera mella

The Dan Brown's "the gates of hell" metaphor has generated countless reactions and articles from not only fellow journalists but also bloggers and ordinary readers and spectators.

Most of the reactions, however, delve on the subjective—whether it was offensive or not.

To me, though, Brown obviously erred on the objective side—on the grammatical side, to be specific. He used the definite article 'the' instead of the indefinite article 'a.'

In English grammar, 'the' pertains to specificity; therefore, to claim that a place is "the gates of hell" means that that place is definitely the one and only “gates of hell," nothing else, nowhere else. This makes the claim false, especially in a fictional or figurative sense, because Manila—in terms of traffic jams, pollution, prostitution, and heat--is not unique. These characteristics are apparent also in many other cities in the world, in varying degrees of course; but nevertheless, if anything, Manila is just one of those hellish or horrible cities in terms of the conditions cited.

In fact, according to Forbes.com, the "Five Dirtiest Cities in the World" are the following.

Baku, Azerbaijan
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Port au Prince, Haiti
Mexico City, Mexico

Manila is not even on the Top 5 list. (Maybe this exclusion might offend some people. Imagine, Manila was left out!)

Therefore, I still stand by my point of view as an editor that Brown erred in his use of the correct article adjective—he should have used “a gate of hell” instead of “the gates of hell” to qualify the fact that Manila is only one of several hellish or horrible cities in the world, whether fictional or not.

Although, Brown is not solely at fault. Remember, for books like that, there must be at least an editor who should have taken care of that.

Such a trivial piece of detail to spend time on analyzing, psychologizing, and philosophizing, some might quip. However, if there would be no one to commentate on things like this, then who would? The world might then be much fuller with less intelligent or critical thinkers, which is also unfavorable for the sake of the progress of the human mind in general.

The Last Leaf
Personally speaking and disregarding grammar, I don’t see any offense in Brown’s depiction of Manila, for that matter, simply because the descriptions that he wrote of Manila (or even the Philippines in general)—sad to say—had sparkling grains of truth to them. The moment we deny that the Philippines has no problems with traffic, garbage/waste management, and prostitution, the more the country would be unable to solve such problems. The logic? If there’s no problem, then no need for solutions.  Then let the country continue to stink and rot with all those glaring truths. Afterwards, blame the delusional and onion-skinned leaders and citizens of the greatest and most beautiful country in the whole wide world.

Bawal ang Bata!

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Sa Madaling Salita

Bawal ang Bata!
(On Hypocrisy, Rudeness, Insensitivity, and Legality)

Para sa mga nag-oorganisa ng mga pagtitipon at pagdiriwang, kung ayaw niyo ng may batang dadalo e dapat ilagay n’yo sa imbitasyon o tiket para malinaw sa mga magulang na bawal ang bata. At pag sinabing hindi puwede ang bata—dapat maging pantay—talagang walang bata—kahit pa ang batang ito ay anak ni mayor o ng miyembro ng komite. At sa mga dadalo, pag malinaw na walang bata, e wag nang ipilit na magsama ng batang anak. 

(The legal definition of ‘child’ generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority; in Canada, the age of majority is 18; therefore, anyone who is 17 years old or under is legally considered a minor [Wikipedia].)

O
n June 14, we attended the celebration in Winnipeg of Philippine Independence at Marlborough Hotel as part of the Filipino Journal family.

Funny and annoying detail was, the event's theme was "Celebrating Families," and then one of the organizers upon seeing that Inna and I were with our four-year-old son Evawwen as we entered the hall, she gave us a condescending look of disapproval. And then it did not stop there. When we were requesting for a high chair, we heard the same organizer’s saying that they could not give us an extra chair and commented whisperingly that we should not have brought a child with us in the first place.

This was the second time it happened with the same event and with the same organizer.

For one, Evawwen was as always manageable and relatively behaved and did not stray far from our table and never cried or put a tantrum, ever. Second, as usual, there was no indication on the ticket nor in the event program that children were not allowed; third, we were there not as gatecrashers nor hangers-on so we deserved recognition, and last, there were also another family who came with a child.

Because I am an understanding, well-mannered, and intelligent person, I didn't react untowardly to that person’s disrespectful, discourteous, unethical, and socially unacceptable behavior. Her faults were 1) if the organizers didn’t like children at the event, then they should have indicated that detail clearly on the forty-dollar ticket, 2) if the said organizer didn’t approve of our bringing our kid with us, then she should have  called me in private and expressed her disapproval and gave me her reasons so at least I could have explained my side and been able to tell her that they should have indicated that detail on the ticket if that was very important to them, and 3) uttering unsavory remarks against someone especially in public and at the person’s earshot is plainly rude, unethical, and unbecoming.

Being a well-adjusted and socially and multiculturally oriented person, I knew very well that to react publicly in a confrontational, similarly rude and unethical way would have made me nothing different from her. This was the reason we just ignored her bad behavior and simply went on our business of being there—that was, to enjoy the dinner, socialize with some people we know, and listen to the speakers and watch the performers amidst the noise of some of the attendees who couldn’t care less except for the delicious crème brûlée.

However, the next time I encounter a similar incident with this same person, I will no longer ignore her; I will ensure that I stand up to defend my principles: I will not confront and call her attention in front of the people around, but rather I will ask her if I can talk to her in private, and there shall I discuss with her my issue about her action. I will also write her a formal letter to document the incident, making all the members of the committee copyees so they can discuss about putting the rule “No children allowed” on the tickets for their next event to be fair with the invitees and attendees if having children at such events really bothers them.

Sa Madaling Salita
Ang isyu rito e hindi yung pagdadala ng bata sa mga pagtitipon na ganoon kundi ang pagiging malinaw sa rules and guidelines” na nais ipatupad ng organizers. Kung ayaw nila ng bata e di linawin nila sa tiket—“Bawal ang bata!” Pangalawa, ang pagpaparinig o pagpapasaring e isang napakasamang kaugalian. Kung may hindi ka nagustuhan sa sinabi o ikinilos o ginawa ng isang tao e tawagin mo sila at sabihan sa pribadong pamamaraan. Kungi di mo ito kayang gawin e tumahimik ka na lang. Huli, wag kang maging ipokrito—kapag nagsalita ka e punung-puno ng ideals at values ang namumutawi sa iyong bibig, subalit hindi mo naman ito isinasakilos.

Final Note
I, Charina, and Evawwen with (1) Chiwee (an RN coworker of mine at Riverview Health Centre who is the president of a community association), (2) Gem Anis (fellow Filipino Journal columnist), (3) Philip S. Lee (24th and current Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba), and Larry Vickar (CEO of Vickar Automotive Group)--all photos taken at the Philippine Independence celebration in Winnipeg, held on June 14, at Marlborough Hotel in Downtown Winnipeg

The person in question was one of the speakers. How I cringed in disbelief and disgust as she peppered her speech with idealistic and rhetorical statements about the importance of ‘family’ and ‘values’ in the Filipino culture and yet had the temerity to express her rudeness and distasteful action to a family who had done nothing wrong in a legal or technical perspective.

But, the question that might be in the minds of many observers: Why did we need to bring our child/ren with us to some social gatherings like that?

So long as an event does not bear the rule "No children allowed," we have the legal right to take him with us--as long also as we are able to manage our child's behavior and take responsibility for his actions. Social events are opportunities for educational experience for the child in the aspect of socialization, enabling him to develop further his social skills.



Saturday, June 15, 2013

Too Much Rhetoric Equals...

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Yesterday, we had a busy yet wonderful day. We had lunch at one of our favorite Filipino resto--Asia Bowl--then we went to Chapters Booksellers (bought Classic Pop issue 4 and NME's 100 Greatest Britpop Songs), had my haircut; and finally in the evening, we attended the Philippine Independence Celebration at Marlborough Hotel (as representatives of 'Filipino Journal,' which is a pillar in the community).

Funny and annoying detail was, the event's theme was "Celebrating Filipino Families," and then one of the organizers upon seeing that Inna and I were with our four-year-old son Evawwen, she gave us a look. And then when we were requesting for a high chair from one of the servers, the same organizer said that they could not give us an extra chair and commented whisperingly that we should not have brought a child with us.

This was the second time it happened with the same event and with the same organizer (last year).

For one, Evawwen is as always manageable and relatively behaved and does not stray far from our table and never cried or put a tantrum--ever. Second, there's no indication on the ticket or in the event program that children are not allowed; third, we were there not as gatecrashers nor hangers-on--we were there to represent Filipino Journal of which I am the associate editor; and last, there were also a few other parents there who came with children--albeit a bit older.

I am an understanding, well-mannered, and intelligent person so I didn't react untowardly to that stupid habit of some people to belittle children and uttering negative remarks at earshot.

However, the next time a similar incident occurs with that same narrowminded person, I will make sure that I stand up and confront that person right then and there.

Ultimately, that person in question was one of the speakers--and how I cringed in disbelief and disgust as she peppered her speech with idealistic but empty statements about how Filipinos' way of valuing their families and their community are one of the best in the world.

Such hypocrisy! Such narrowmindedness. Too much use of rhetoric equals hypocrisy and absurdity!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

On Acknowledging Grains of Truth With

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Balat-Sibuyas Ka Ba?
(On Acknowledging Grains of Truth with an Open Mind and on the Ability to Think Contextually)

Buti na lang ako, hindi pikon!

H
owever, many people—Filipinos or not—seem to be very reactionary to certain trending issues despite the fact that there are grains of truth in such issues. They fail to think in context. They fail to dig more deeply into the meanings and repercussions of things. They easily succumb to their own violent and hostile reaction without analyzing first the situation surrounding certain issues.

Here are two examples of trending issues online these days, at least in the Philippine community, and here are my views on them.

On Dan Brown’s Depiction of Manila as “the gates of hell” in His Latest Fiction Novel Inferno:
I think that the real patriots here are those Filipinos who acknowledge the validity of the criticism--whether in a fictional or a reality sense—and then continue on by suggesting or coming up with possible solutions to the obvious problems that have been ailing the country as depicted in the description, or at least promoting awareness about the decay of the country—decay which may still be alleviated if only citizens contribute to the solution rather than to the problems.
Those who deny the validity of the criticism or cover these up are actually those who hamper progress. Because of their denial of the problems, they prevent themselves (and some other people who they might influence) from coming up with possible solutions. Therefore, they are the real culprits of the country's decay; they are the non-patriot ones--their denial prevents solutions because to them there is really no problem.
They are as bad as those who criticize and do nothing at all.

Dan Brown is an American author who became controversial also for his previous novel The Da Vinci Code (2003), which inflamed many usually religious people.

On Filipino Comedian Vice Ganda’s Distasteful Joke about Newscaster Jessica Soho:
Don't take comedians seriously. That simple. Their talent or chosen profession is just to make jokes about anything at all.

People should learn where to get their dose of intellectual wisdom or useful pieces of advice.

I don't really mind whatever kind of joke the likes of Vice Ganda spits out of his mouth. He's a comedian. That's what he does.

What parents should teach their children is simply this: Don't believe what comedians say. Laugh at them or laugh with them, but don't take them seriously.

If one wants to learn, read a book or watch an educational film or listen to a philosopher, an author, or any other intellectual professional.

A comedian is simply not a recommendable source of valid pieces of intellectual and sensitive educational information.

I am not amused, impressed, nor commend Vice Ganda's style of humor. Actually I am not amused nor impressed by the style of humor of comedians whose topics revolve around sex, racism, cultures, and physical traits—not only in the Philippine comedy but also the comedy shows here in Canada I am not generally impressed.

My issue actually is that I don't want governments to start banning comedians and censoring comedy shows because, after all, comedians and comedy shows must not be taken seriously and are not appropriate sources of educational information and moral values. On the other hand, I don't recommend being onion-skinned and overly sensitive.

Because, the more onion-skinned a person is, the higher the level of his sense of insecurity and the lower the level of his self-esteem.

The more ridiculing a person is of others, the higher also the level of his sense of insecurity and the lower the level of his self-esteem.

But seriously, what is baffling is the fact that amidst all these issues—there are people who cry foul, there are people who can tolerate such antics, and there are those who simply don't care?

Why?

Simply because people are diverse.

Just don't fall in the dangerous folly of thinking that what you think or what you feel is what others also feel. That's a folly I call monopoly of sentiment. Don't think that your sentiment is the only valid sentiment. Express yours, but acknowledge those of others.

Sa Madaling Salita
Karaniwan, kung sino ang mababa ang pagpapahalaga sa sarili, sila ang madalas mapikonn. At kung sino ang malakas manlait e sila rin ang karaniwang medaling mapikon.

Or, in Simple Words
If the level of a person’s sense of security and self-esteem is high, she is less likely to get offended by criticisms made by other people. The more in denial a person is about the negative characteristics of something she likes, the less she is able to find possible solutions to alleviating these problematic issues.