Thursday, August 28, 2008

Meeting greatness

Over these past many years, I have been privileged to meet, get to know and write about some of the great men and women of Asia (or GMWA as we have come to call them).

“Great Men and Women of Asia” is also the title of five volumes of easy-reading books (there’s more to come) that contain stories about the lives of Asia’s greats, both the known and the little-known, the times and milieu they live/d in and their contributions to enrich this part of the world through their selfless deeds, courage and creativity. Plus, plus.

Greatness of spirit or the G-factor is the plus that makes them a breed apart. It is a gift, a grace. The reason the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) picked these persons (and institutions, too) to be emulated.

The great news is that the GMWA series recently won the “Excellence Award for Best Writing in book form about Asia” at the 2008 Asian Publishing Awards held in Singapore. The GMWA books bested 79 entries from 23 countries. Congratulations to the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) and staff, Anvil Publishing, the books’ editors and the bunch of us writers who had consented to be harassed. We did great in our own little way. Greatness has certainly rubbed off on us.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kasilag: ‘Making a difference in music’

MANILA, Philippines—I was in Davao City last week for the soft opening of the Heritage Museum of the Pamulaan Center of Indigenous People’s Education and to attend the opening of the 2nd National Conference of Indigenous Peoples Higher Education in the Philippines. (I will write a feature story about the events in another section.)

While the members of the University of Southeastern Philippines’ Pangkat Silayan Theater Collective, gloriously clad in their ethnic attire, were playing genuine ethnic sounds, I thought of National Artist for Music (1989) Lucrecia Kasilag. She had worked hard to put ethnic music in the mainstream through her compositions, until the sounds became familiar and ensconced in the Philippine musical landscape.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The boy who ate MSG

In literature you have the boy who ate stars (two different works and authors from different continents but the same title) and in tabloid journalism the boy who had a fish for a twin. In the recent news we had the boy who ate MSG.

More than a week ago there was a news story from Sagay City, Negros Occidental about a two-year-old boy who had MSG (monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer commonly known as vetsin) to go with his rice. He must have had too much of MSG (as there was no dish to eat with his rice) and he got dizzy, fell down the stairs and hit his head on the ground. His destination was the hospital where doctors found him to have suffered from head trauma as a result of the fall.

According the news report by Carla P. Gomez (Inquirer Visayas) and from TV news online the boy was out of danger but there was bleeding in an area of the brain that needed attention.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

'Boses': Music to heal

"MUSIC is a holy place, a cathedral so majestic that we can sense the magnificence of the universe, and also a hovel so simple and private that none of us can plumb its deepest secrets... It is the sounds of earth and sky, of tides and storms... From the first cry of life to that last sigh of death, from the beating of our hearts to the soaring of our imaginations, we are enveloped by sound and vibration every moment of our lives. It is the primal breath of creation itself, the speech of angels and atoms, the stuff of which life and dreams, souls and stars, are ultimately fashioned."

That quote is from the Overture (introduction) by Don Campbell, the author of the amazing book, "The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit."