Lately, I’ve been working on a draft of a supposedly six story saga about the Filipino nation. Honestly, I have yet to choose which literary medium will suit it best and actually try to write it. It’s an ambitious self-imposed project that I am definitely not ready for. It extends way beyond my capacity as an artist; and perhaps, that’s the reason why I take it to heart so much.
As to why I’m writing a blog post that is definitely out of my distinct aesthetic, well, as Edie Sedgwick once said: “When you start at 20, you have a lot of nonsense to work out of your system”. So here I am, in a rampage of verbal diarrhea. In the hopes, that I might be able to clear half of the bullshit swimming in my head on a daily basis.
R E C E N T L Y
R E A D I N G
Earlier this Thursday, I read this philosophical paper by Song Jingjing about the “Modernist Aesthetics in the Films of Wong Kar-Wai”. Let it be known that I’ve been obsessed with Wong Kar-Wai these last few weeks and had been scouring the net for his movies (In the mood for Love, Chunking Express, My Blueberry Nights). There’s something inexplicably intimate about the way he depicts his characters. It’s almost as though, you’re watching a story -like an unwelcomed and comfortably ignored guest- unfold right in front of you in a glorious cascade of colors and shaky camera shots.
To summarize, Wong’s characters are always self-contradictive. On one hand, they
are longing for the true love and sincere relationship. But on the other hand, they are
afraid of being hurt. In this way, they are always in the process of searching, escaping,
and rejecting, which finally lead them to the extreme loneliness and tough situation.
“Modernist Aesthetics in the Films of Wong Kar-Wai”
Not to mention, it is in his aesthetic that I found beauty and inspiration in the Manila urban underground. The daily commuters, the street vendors, the starving students. etc. The way he had captured his Hongkong, is similar to the way you can see the grittier parts of Manila -incandescent, isolated with a incessant, unshakeable feeling that there is something missing in the picture.
The thesis also alludes to Wong Kar-Wai poetically stating that:
Time is the main reason why people do not meet:
they occupy the same space, but in different times
W A T C H I N G
So I came upon this video on YouTube which almost resembles an earlier version of a travel vlog of Pre-War Manila.
Comparing modern-day Manila to the pre-World War 2 Manila in the video, you can see just how much the Filipinos had lost an integral part of our history by replacing these old Spanish-era buildings with the then chic art deco buildings after World War II. Perhaps, the trauma the city withstood was far too much to handle; that they stripped the remaining concrete of old Manila to make way for a new Manila -under the American influence. Perhaps, that’s the reason why Filipinos tend to have difficulties in terms of patriotism. The colonial mentality, as they call it. Praising the foreign while remaining apathetic to the local. Simply because the beauty of the old was torn down to make way for the shiny and new. Simply because the masses had forgotten the beauty of what we had lost in lieu to the devastating grief and loss.
It’s not fair to simply try to fit the Filipinos into one singular box that can portray the country’s heritage/culture as a whole. After all, we are the melting pot of all melting pots even before the Spanish came. We find no need to celebrate our diversity. Our diversity has always been a part of us. There is no distinct Filipino look, only an essence reminiscent of a pipeline country where the West seeped into East, and the East into the West. However, this lack of facial distinction and apathetic regard to heritage sites creates a cultural vaccuum. A cultural vaccuum that has yet to be acknowledged.