Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘politics’

Movie Perspective On “Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno”: Clashing Political Woes

I couldn’t wait to get into that cinema as my friend and I were antsy at that line to get our hotdogs and popcorn. We have waited to see the second part of Rurouni Kenshin movie for weeks. And the day has finally arrived.

I have been an ultimate die-hard fan of the anime series since highschool. To prove it, I have a few Kenshin collectibles like posters and soundtrack CDs (and I’ve memorized every song!). I never got tired watching the English/Tagalog-dubbed series over and over, regardless of being replayed on-air for the nth time. And when the live action series came out on silver screen last year, of course I did not miss it.

Just like for most Kenshin fans, both films did not disappoint, as they captured the very essence of the original series. Though there had been some changes in the storyline in order to crunch it to cinema time, the films remain faithful to the series, which was retitled then as Samurai X. The actors, which I believe were well picked, captured the very soul of the characters we had so well-loved, and the well-choreographed sword fights brought back my nostalgia of excitement.

Though the Rurouni Kenshin remake sticks to the original, the difference it made is how I viewed the story now from when I watched it more than ten years ago.

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno depicts one of the series’ darkest yet most significant battles. Kenshin was called by the Meiji government to eliminate Shishio Makoto, who was a former assassin like him at the fall of the shogunate. Seeing the dangers of Shishio’s backlash against Japan’s reformed government and to the innocent lives of its constituents, the former Battousai had to make a hard decision to take the assignment given to him. That means, leaving his newfound friends and the possibility of returning of becoming a killer once more.

When I was younger, this part was like a linear battle of good and evil. But if I would see it again at this point of age, I’d see more of its political point.

Though the story’s set up is in 1878, the political woes operating within its government reflect what could be happening right now. When Home Minister Okubo Toshimichi sought for Kenshin’s assistance, he gave him a truce to be rewarded and to acquit the atrocities they might have faced — like Megumi’s involvement in the opium operation. Though the public officials asked Kenshin “in good faith”, it is a cover up of the consequences they had committed. In the first place, Shishio had been serving them before the shogunate fell. But Okubo admitted that they had him eliminated because of the horrible murders he had committed, which were actually done for the sake of the Meiji government. Now, they did not expect for Shishio to be alive and was planning to take over the government that once betrayed him.

So, who’s right and wrong? Seems easy to answer when I was 16. But what complicates here was Shishio’s poisoned viewpoint and bitter hatred was just the result of another’s betrayal.

Today, I could see how those who want to remain in power try their best not to let their enemies have a seat in the government. If one dynast or administration loses its power in the government, their enemies who take their place can have the power to put them in jail or just get rid of them. They had to make sure that no one can stand against them so that their atrocities against the country would be kept secret and to remain in power. Heads of state would call this reform. But, actually, this is revenge.

The reformed government in Kenshin’s time reflects this fear in most of our present leaders. The terms of diplomacy they have as their weapon appears useless to a militant force who uses war as its strategy. Apparently, both sides could not meet, so they had to hire someone like Kenshin who has the skill for battle. Though the political perspective is not highlighted in both anime and film, it was made clear they the government is one of the binding forces that try to shape destiny, trying to pick on soldiers and ex-soldiers like chess pieces for their own purposes.

So, who’s the victim? Each becomes a victim when a vengeful decision was made against the wrong done to them. Even Shishio himself was a victim — to the hatred he kept against his enemies.

Kenshin himself had a different viewpoint from these political leaders. He saw the changes of the times, which are made by the choices those in power and the simple people, as well. He’s no politician, and never vied to be one. But, as an ex-soldier turned civilian, he was moved to fight Shishio when he saw innocent lives being trampled by these clash of powers. Here is a man who forsake the way the sword for peace and exchanged bloodlust into mercy. His character sounds too good to be true, but that’s the Kenshin we love. And this is the positive viewpoint he wanted to impart and leave in this bloodstained world.

So far, we left the cinema with a cliff hanging effect in us. Oh, yes, it’s a cliff hanging film, so as not to spoil those who have not seen it yet. But, I can’t wait for its third part The Legend Ends which will be on September! Right now, all I want to do is revive that Kenshin nostalgia by listening to my CD…um, anybody got a CD player? ­čÖé

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To the Old Leaders (and the Leaders After)

Dear ex-politician.
We’re through with your speeches. It’s not yet 2016 but you sound like resonating it. Are you haunted by the ghosts of your guilt in office that’s why you keep on ranting your past achievements? Or are you scared that we not convinced enough of your contributions? Besides, you did not run to be famous. This lame motion had driven most to a misconception that politics is part-time showbiz. If only I can move the motion for the seperation of entertainment and state.
What I have heard from you is maddening for a sane person like me. What did I get from your fancy buildings and weird structures? Did it lessen the poulation of the poor and isolated? Did it brought up exposure to who’s guilty of corruption? We’re not asking for gods in the pillars of government. We’re looking for fathers and compassionate leaders ready to sacrifice their self-worth for the good of his people.
Your so-called achievements can only come for a season, but it is the meaningful legacy that lasts forever. Your name can be erased from the etches of time. But the sacrificial love you leave to the people you serve matters most. It is through this selflessness that changes a generation. This can make an impact to the next and can enrich the values of the generation after.
New politicians are emerging. I’m searching for the ones who would be kind enough to think of the people around them. Making robust speeches won’t work. We’re through with gimmick. If you have had been selfless enough when you we’re in position, I wonder how much had been changed in my generation today.
Sincerely,
Watching Citizen

Deafening the Political Word War

Noisy, crowded, brightly colored, and tense. That’s how I can describe a kick-off campaign rally. Yesterday, marked the beginning of the campaign season for this year’s elections. As mono-

People flood Plaza Miranda for the Team Pnoy Kick-Off Campaign

People flood Plaza Miranda for the Team Pnoy Kick-Off Campaign

colored groups poured into the rally site, so did the huge tarps and placards bearing the names of the senatoriables. It was a tense moment…maybe because of the atmosphere of the crowd hype then.

I was assigned to Team PNoy, the admin block. I felt like being drowned in a sea of yellow while the giant tarps tried to block our view.

All twelve candidates were given eight minutes to speak to the crowd. Some laid a glimpse of their platforms, some their dramatic life story, and some, as expected, gave their enemies some good bashing. One called the past administration as thieves, the other ranted on him being cheated in the past elections, and another emphasized on not to believe the “others” who were “pretending to ride with their platform”.

But during the days before the start of the kick-off campaigns, the word war between parties was already at bay. From “new opposition” claims to “racist” remarks, the media noted them all. Not one from both sides missed to answer the rant of the other.

It was sickening. The battle of politics has turned into a sour word war. And for me it’s a dirty game.

When I talked to a spokesperson of an election-regulating body in the Philippines, he mentioned that they cannot stop these parties or candidates from making personality-bashing at their campaign. Nothing in our law prohibits such campaigning. Besides, our constitution itself upholds the freedom of expression as we belong in a democratic country. He warned candidates to be mindful of such a campaign strategy. Not everyone buys it.

True enough, in all the five or more people we interviewed from the public, nobody likes the idea of personality bashing. All talk but no work, one of them says.

The dangers of negative communication. I wonder how far will such a war of words go.

It’s easy to criticize. It’s easy to show the ugly side of your enemy. It’s an effective way to make the crowd see you’re in the right standing while the other is not. But such a strategy is the downfall of both sides. Not only will his rival get a bruise from his words; the one who threw will get a bad score from the public.

Such a strategy is as immature as kids who fight back when being teased for having a bad hairdoo.

How desperate can one become just to get into power? This is how far we have gone in our brand of politicking. Aside from empty promises and dramatic stints, we’ve resolved to picking a fight through words and ego-lambasting. But by doing so, it does not uplift who a candidate really is. Besides, one should be campaigning for himself, not┬áembarrassing┬áanother.

I just hope that the public would realize that words alone are not the basis for choosing the best candidate (or the “lesser evil” as someone called it). Words do not make up who are worth to lead this society. Besides, while it’s still election season, all voters must choose who are fit to execute the roles a government position demands. Does the personality of that candidate fit the role to be a senator, a congressman or a local government leader? Do they have the skill, wits and political will of a lawmaker and leader? Do they have the heart to lead the public through their unique roles in the government?

Those word wars can’t reveal the answers for those questions. I hope every candidate will just be honest in their works. No more personality-bashing, please. It’s time to prove integrity by works and character alone.

The Search for Wisdom

Whenever I open my journal, I’m always prompted to reread past entries. I couldn’t believe what I was thinking then, as if I was reading another person’s entries. But through them, I could see how faithful the Lord has been and countinually is in my life.

Here’s a journal entry last July 29, 2011 worth sharing. Enjoy!

I am quite enamored by the thought to take up law. As I gather information from Malacanang as a reporter, I would sometime think that upon the need to understand more of the differences of the executive, legislative, and judiciary branch, I need a hardcore study of the constitutuion. Thanks to issues like the Spratlys visit of the five congressmen and the Ampatuans’ deceiving demand for a hospital visit (which was a supposed to become a hospital arrest), I am beginning to get a more details understanding of our nation’s law — but it seems not enough. As Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said in a Senate session on the PCSO anomaly, you cannot read the constitution in a day because it takes eight years to study the whole of it.

It’s true that world government interest me, but somehow the urge to gain more knowledge in the political arena is enticing. Now, I understand why most broadcasters end up as politician — the ones who monitor the law, become makers of the law to ensure their own protection. As they say, being educated and knowledgeable can make one survive this harsh world. But it is not enough to last for eternity.

While I considered law in my next five-year-goal, I have mixed feelings. I fear that pride was just trying to set in, as my craving for knowledge is not in the right motive, perhaps. On the other hand, I am hopeful, maybe I might have a purpose in dwelling into the barbaric side of politics, hoping to change its tides.

Though powerful, the law and the knowledge of the world will one day be gone. The Lord said that heaven and earth will pass away but His Word will remain (Luke 21:33). All of my supposedly eight-year study will all go to waste, and compared to an intimate five-minute meditation to the Word, which is the Highest Law, it’s no match. So what if I become a good lawyer yet I am foolish towards the Greatest Judge of all? If I am to dwell in these things without setting my heart right, and for myself and in Christ, all other things that I’ve worked for will burn in fire — so then, only my love for Him will remain. In this way, I see how foolish is the way of the world but great is the way of His love and wisdom.

To study or not to study? I guess I don’t have to study — unless the Lord tells me so. For now, I believe that while I am placed in the midst of mass media and politics, He is just opening my eyes to the truth of these things. But I am not to look at them by its physical state. I believe that one day, no one will set aside God’s compelling presence at the Senate and Congress. It’s true that we had to put the spiritual aspect into the physical facts. But there’s no reason to separate His love and glory just as our law separate the church and the state. One day, His glory will fill the earth and we’ll drop our law books and tear up every house bills because of His everlasting glory — such a glory that none has yet experienced and yet it is so wonderful we would shut up, bow down, and worship Him.

Raised Within Realms of Influence

It’s the first time I’ve witnessed an oath-taking ceremony of newly-appointed government officials in Malaca├▒ang itself this Monday. After the President lead the ceremony, he would pose with these officials along with their families for posterity’s sake. But all these are too common for me, as it goes like any event in the palace. What caught my eye were the little kids that were brought along for the oath-taking event. As family members of these officers, they were given an opportunity to take a pic – and a memory of standing close to the President of the Philippines. After the photo shoot, some of them had ran along the aisles, giggling and dancing as they are not aware of the stoic ambiance of the president’s abode. They’re just kids, after all.

I wonder how big can the impact of politics be to a little child? Growing innocently in a crucial environment, they are not aware that they are absorbing the very essence of politics until they’ve fully embraced it once they come of age. Noting several political dynaties, most of the leaders we have today have grown in families that owned a portion of the state’s power, if not the whole state at all. What they are today is caused on how they were molded and what they were exposed to┬áduring their formative years. Yet, they once knew nothing and once they felt the gravity of power and influence they affirm it as their own.

I must say, if I would see something like this years ago, I might hate them. I must admit, I used to have insecurities myself. I hated people of influence. I hated people of power. These kids, like the ones I’ve known in my elementary years, have the tendency to be proud. They seem to have the right to brag, especially that they have the access to allies of wealth and power.

But, I myself have been proud. And that is the pride of the worm.

Yet, who am I to blame them? I have no right. Some of them may become proud of their heritage, some of them may stay behind the limelight, but we all become what is absorbed into us. We may become popular or notorious to the public eye but what really matters in how God sees us. He may or may not have brought us into politics but in the end, whatever has been lent into us, even the influential ancestry that has been handled down into our hands, will soon pass away. It will just be between us and the Lord. How we see ourselves into His heart is all that matters, for we are created only for Him.

Sadly, most of us do not see what we are in God’s eyes. I hope these kids will grow knowing the purpose they are made for. Indeed, one might say, “I believe in God, I go to church on Sunday, etc, etc,” but it’s not the rituals He’s looking for. It’s our relationship with our Creator and how close we are to His heart.

They are the same as I am: a people of worth and┬áa people worth dying for. That’s why┬áJesus died on the cross. Now, I have to learn how to love them as┬ámy own for they are just like me: my Father’s creation.

Besides, I also have my own childhood memories of Malaca├▒ang. I had toured the museum part during our Grade 3 educational trip haha. But, nothing beats a good smile beside the nation’s Commander-in-Chief.

Can I say these kids are luckier? Maybe not. We’re all just the same from the start to the end. ­čÖé

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