Language Struggle, 4


(Below is an exchange I had with Melanie Lapid on popular culture and the language struggle in the Philippines. Her email has been removed.)

Melanie, aloha:

You are right. Armed with our critical tools and skills, we go the popular culture way. Mindful of what we can and what we cannot do, that is how we are going to advance our cause.

We must admit this: we cultural workers have the ideas but we do not--at least from our ranks at Nakem Conferences--the power of the purse. That is where that 'industry' thing can come to be our ally. 

We need to fund this struggle, and fund it well, in terms of both concepts and currency, this last one meaning the cents that we need to buy the cup of coffee to make us stay awake, so that on the crossroads and on the wayside, we are not going to go astray or fall asleep or both--oh, the cents, the cents, the cents to perk us up so that we will not be enervated by all these wars, big and small, within and out, that we have to contend with each day.  

So there: engage and deploy--deploy and engage--but we are armed as well with the critique for that engagement and deployment. After all, there is war here, really. 

The better soldiers in this war are those who are ready with their ideations about the fundamental things of our struggle.

Best to you in the name of the anito of our languages and cultures.

Aurelio Agcaoili
Nakem Conferences

On Fri, 11/21/08, Melanie Lapid <
removed> wrote:

From: Melanie Lapid <removed>
Subject: Re: [DILA] Sisikat no reng amanung rehiun (The 
regional languages are on the rise)
Date: Friday, 
November 21, 2008, 12:24 AM

Thanks for your profound comments and kind words, Prof. Agcaoili. I agree with you on the possible pitfalls of culture as we know it getting sucked into the pop "culture" industry and all that it stands for. And I understand those who are wary about getting "contaminated," the risk of becoming "one of its own."

On the other hand, by not have anything to do with "shabby and inane" shows, we might be leaving the field open to our opponents by default. By holding on to our standards (cultural, literary, etc.), without being too snobbish as to avoid all contact with this sector, we will probably be doing the industry, and society, a service.  It
is there, so we might as well use it for our noble objectives. As you say, the better for us to promote our cause.


El dom, 16/11/08, Aurelio Agcaoili <> escribió:
De: Aurelio Agcaoili <>
Asunto: Re: [DILA] Sisikat no reng amanung rehiun (The regional languages are on the rise)
Fecha: domingo, 16 noviembre, 2008 3:01
You are probably right on that one note on the power of popular cultural forms as some kind of a tentative gauge for how much success we have gained. 
But believe me: popular culture is one tricky business as it is based on the ugly reality of 'industry' and how this industry turns culture into one of its own to
account what we teachers and students of cultural criticism call '
culture industry.' 

I do agree though that we have a moral duty to penetrate' culture and its industry to make our message known and that the more Kuya Germs we can win to take side with us--and the more of those shabby and inane Wowowee and Eat Bulaga take up our cause, the better for us to promote our cause. 

Between our silence--which can mean acquiescence, in truth, in fact, and in practice--and our getting into the mold of popular culture to tell that this systemic and systematic oppression and internal colonization has to come to an end and soon, this second one is a more productive option. The deal really is: let us roll our sleeves. 

Then again, we need critical minds to do critically-oriented pop culture.

A Agcaoili
Nakem Conference 

On Sat, 11/15/08, Melanie Lapid

From: Melanie Lapid

Subject: [DILA] Sisikat no reng amanung rehiun (The regional languages are on the rise)
To: DILA@yahoogroups. com
Date: Saturday, November 15, 2008, 3:47 AM
Sasabian dang ing kareng mass media, kareng bageng pangmalda, la lalto deng bayung pangimut.

Mipaintagun (king e ku sasarian) ketang milabasan a Sabadung bengi )(Duminggu na palang ganingaldo) a ayalis ke king Master Showman Presents/Walang 
Tulugan nang German Moreno ing TV

Magsalita ya i Ronnie Liang, metung a finalist king Pinoy Dream Academy. Pakilala ne 
ing kayang bayung CD ing Ngiti (Ayli). Anyang kitnan de ot inabe ne ing 
Kapampangan kareng kantang atiu karin, sinabi nang usu no reng amanung pang-rehiyun ngeni, masali no kanu kareng malda, uling tatagkil la king pusu. Balamu, bagya-bagya, akukwa ta na ing kekatamung pakirasan. Nung angga kang "Kuya Germs" miraras na iti, tutu pin sigurung malapit ta na karin.

They say that mass media, or popular culture, are a reflection of new movements or currents in society. 

I happened to watch, by accident, German Moreno's Master Showman Presents/Walang Tulugan last Saturday night (or rather, Sunday morning). Ronnie Liang, the Pinoy Dream Academy finalist, was introducing his new CD, Ngiti (Ayli)["ayli" being
the Kapampangan version of Tagalog "ngiti" meaning "smile]. When asked why he chose to include Kapampangan songs in the collection, he said that regional languages are now in, and hot with mass audiences, because they touch the heart. It looks like we are slowly beginning to achieve our objectives. If even "Kuya Germs" is reflecting
the trend, then, maybe we have almost arrived.

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