Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hapa, "Redemption Song"

Originally sung by Bob Marley, this rendition of Redemption Song by the Hawaiian group Hapa is one of the songs I turn to whenever I need re-affirmation that there is goodness in the world. 99.999% of the time, it is not too late. There is redemption.

I admit; sometimes I can be so rararara speak out! that I sometimes forget that a whisper can be just as powerful as a scream. Sometimes it's the little details that make the most profound difference, rather than a huge act. A whisper can resonate the loudest across the vast expanse of the world and a pebble can produce the most enduring ripple as long as they are constant.

That being said, there is something so powerful whenever I hear a chant or a song from my ancestral tongues. Power. Mana, it is called in Hawaiian. Incidentally, Mana in Tagalog means inheritance. So in the words of my Hawaiian and Pinoy ancestors, Mana is a power that is inherited, passed on from a proud people whose cultures and traditions can never be vanished.

Sometimes I do worry, though, that someday my ancestral tongues will cease to exist. We had been silenced before  by missionaries and conquerors who told us our Native ways were savage. They used God as a justification for silencing our tongues, our songs, our chants, our identity. But they couldn't succeed, because Mana is not created by man and therefore cannot be taken away by man. And so we still speak, though not as loudly as we had before the time of James Cook.

What worries me is that there are some in my generation who think that modernity and progress means letting go of Nativeness, that in order to fly one must abandon roots. I am an American in my home country and yet in here, I hunger for the sound of Hawaiian, Tsalagi/Cherokee, and Maori tongues. I yearn for Bisayan and Tagalog that are not peppered with English words; bastardized BisLish and TagLish have become somewhat of a new status symbol that separates the elites from the non-elites. I long to hear pride and survival with each syllable spoken from my ancestral tongues.

Is that too naïve, too idealistic? Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but it is my truth.  



*Mom's Best Bets said...

interesting blog-you are a talented writer

the UNchecked other said...

Aloha & mahalo nui loa, *Mom's Best Bets. I try...

We must never permit the voice of humanity
within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.

--Albert Schweitzer

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Viktor E. Frankl