Friday, June 14, 2013


It already happened before. It is again happening now. Instead of bringing their heartaches and protests to the streets, there are those who compose songs, sing them, and thus deliver their messages of heartaches and sorrows. This indirect but forceful approach of the so-called “Protest Songs” had their origin particularly during the Martial Law times when social protests were not only taboo but the protesters themselves were looked upon as enemies of the State. But the songs remained and the regime was gone. While still relatively few, there are now also songs of protest about one social issue or another. While those who hear such songs with their negative message might want to remain “positive” about the sad facts or pitiful events that they themselves see and/or know taking place in the country, the protests brought forward by the songs remain relevant and incisive. So goes a part of a song of recent vintage:

“Kayo po na nakaupo,
Subukan niyo naman tumayo,
At baka matanaw, baka matanaw ninyo,
Ang tunay na kalagayan ko.

“Tao po, nandyan po bq kayo sa loob ng
Malaking bahay at malawak na bakuran,
Mataas na pader pinapaligiran,
At naka pilang mga mamahaling sasakyan,
Mga bantay na laging bulong ng bulong,
Wala naman kasal pero maraming nakabarong.”
(Upuan, Gloc-9 with Jeazell Grutas of Zelle)

In free translation – with gratitude to the song writer and appreciation to the singers – the song forwards a heartache felt by the suffering poor addressed towards the luxurious rich. The song invites the rich to please mind the poor – instead of simply enjoying and wallowing in the their wealth. The song makes the contrast between those who have practically nothing vis-à-vis those who in fact have everything. The song then asks that the latter (the wealthy) will please look around and mind the sad and pitiful predicament of the former (the miserable).

The song ends saying that hopefully the rich would not but pretend not seeing the plight of the poor because then, no eye doctor would be able to improve their eyesight – adding, “Bato bato sa langit, and matamaa’y wag magalit,” i.e. would that those who feel hit and alluded to by the song, be not angry!