Friday, August 19, 2011

A GRANT WRITING CLASS TO HELP YOUR ORGANIZATION SURVIVE

“I was able to write and receive a $75,000 grant from HSBC then 8,000 Euros from Henkel to support our program with 910 children and 9,100 family beneficiaries. God bless and more power.” Carla Asperilla

I’m offering again my grant writing class for organizations and individuals seeking grants from both local and international funding sources. With over 30 years of grant writing experience for a variety of organizations I worked for or supported, from the arts to environment to education and to health causes, I’ve mastered what funders like to read and be convinced of.

Funders want to see a track record of your work, your unique ways in addressing a problem and your success stories. They want to know the problem you face, how you will address it and most importantly, how your efforts will contribute to the eradication or elimination of the problem. The latter is a tall order but funders these days want your efforts to be part of the solution and not a stop-gap measure. I’ll teach you to write precisely and with brevity yet encapsulating all that’s required above to present a winning proposal.

My whole-day proposal writing includes understanding the history and evolution of philanthropy, a review of successful proposals, current appropriate verbiage to be used, and how your organization is the most capable of tackling the problem. You’ll learn how to propose RESULTS rather than suggesting the problem as endemic.

For this writing class, we will review the current application for the $1 million dollar grant award of the Gates Foundation for libraries offering free internet usage and teaching to the poor (deadline is Sept. 30, 2011). We will learn to answer their proposal as a writing exercise. For those who are libraries and serious in applying, this class will be appropriate for you.

The site of the class is the Ateneo Graduate School at Rockwell in Makati. It will be at the Blue Room (2nd floor) and the class starts at 9:00 am ending at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, August 24, 2011. The fee is PhP 3,000 and includes numerous documents and materials (transferred to your USB stick) relevant to the course. One full free scholarship is available to an NGO upon review of its qualifications and need.

Reservations necessary: Please text/call John L. Silva at 0926 729 9029 or e-mail him at jsilva79@mac.com

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Zombading 1. A Movie Review



It was a cult mob last night, screaming, clapping at CCP’s main theater for the midnight showing of Zombading 1 (Patayin sa Shokot Si Remington).

We were the hard-core fans of Raymond Lee, come to see what had been tweeted and FB’ed and buzzed about for the past weeks. The title alone was a deviation of an already deviated subject. Something about gay Zombies.

We could feel the frisson from the cast and crew introduced on stage before the movie started. Raymond’s reputation precedes. Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Olivares, about a young gay boy who falls in love with a cop, showed seven years back, was totally raved locally, got incredible mileage and awards globally and ratcheted Cinemalaya, then a fledgling movie competition program into a beloved institution for film freaks.

In contrast to Maximo’s urban slum setting this movie is set in the province, and all of us displaced provincials get to see rolling hills, mature trees, fiestas, and a laid back life and clean air we know is good for us. In fact, Remington, the lead, is a young man who doesn’t want to move to the city for fear of lung cancer.

Remington as a young precocious fundie goes around identifying who’s bakla (gay) in his town and taunts them. Lots of angry bakla can’t hit the boy until he makes the mistake of encountering a grieving bakla widow in a cemetery. This queen turns out to be a witch and he curses the boy, telling him he’ll be queer when he grows up.

It’s 15 years later and the curse begins with Remington being chased by some hunky monster with a massive frizz who shaves all his body hair, including the pubic, makes him hanker for tight chick t-shirts, and makes him talk gay-speak fluently. And of course, what was once decent looking boy next door now acts, rolls his eyes and sashays like… uh, a full-fledged bakla.

While he’s morphing, there are the sub-plots. A series of killings going on in the town, all the victims, gay hairdressers. Their bodies found with too much make-up on, eyes still open and looking quite toasted. The police chief is Remington’s mom and along with her female side-kick officer and the woman mayor, seem to have, (eye-brows lift here) mannish dispositions.

Ah… we rollick and enjoy Remington’s liberation and at one point we are dancing with him as stars and fireworks and colors stream out of his cute bod. And then we’re all in his budding love story. He starts seeing his basketball mate and drinking buddy in a new light. There are sexually tense moments like up on a tree together gazing at a bucolic countryside or Remington clinging to his buddy driving a tricycle. And like most provincial boys, he is absolutely OK about Remington being gay and even makes the first move, boasting he’s no “virgin” to the scene. The seduction in the stairs and the first lips-to-lips elicited frenzied happy screaming in the theater. Our ultimate fantasy now on the big screen.

But, there’s still the matter of the serial killings and oh, yes, a girl who’s smitten with

Remington before he turned gay. This is the nuanced part, executed quite well. Gay Remington searches his feelings, articulates it as best he can with the girl and we can relate to it. Interestingly though, Remington bares his warm feelings for her, in English, and that gave it a detached, disingenuous and comical feeling. Well done.

So, who’ll score, fair maiden who won’t give up despite her boyfriend now in gayspeak hairdresser mode? Or basketball buddy who in the course of the film gets looking sexier and everyone’s fantasy.

Quizzically, Remington gives in to the girl and goes off looking for the widow who cast the bakla spell on him. There is a reunion and a violent tussle between the two. Who wins?

And will the killer of hairdressers get caught? I will leak it though that the zapped hairdressers become happy zombies in the end.

The love angle ending was not my ideal (this is though Zombading 1) but then again this movie, pure camp, satire and black comedy in part defies any programmed endings we hanker for in the few gay movies that come our way. Zombadings seems aimed at a younger gay subculture with its own language, humor and poignancy. Sentimentality and a one-on-one buildup of affection wasn’t on the script and, actually, didn’t belong.

Acting was both thumbs up, particularly the guy playing Remington, his buddy, his police mom and the widow witch. Direction was great. The provincial settings were marvelous and production quality high. Clearly a quantum jump from Maximo.

This zany movie has pushed the envelope quite a ways. It’s a must see! Coming to theaters in August!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Travel Journal to Chengdu

I'm on a bus on Edsa headed north to Clark Airport. I'm off to Chengdu thanks to Air Asia. And this will be an ongoing account. No rumination, just straight from the hip and we'll see if it's as interesting as my thought pieces.

I can get a Philtranco bus here in Pasay just ten minutes from the house. It's 450 pesos (ten USD). It left exactly at 6:30 although their website said a six and a seven am departure. Need to tighten that up.

But here I am on EDSA which I usually drive on, now driven, doing well, no traffic and will have about three hours wait for the 12:05 flight. So far, the bus to the airport scheme is fine which has usually been the hesitation to getting a flight out of Clark.

As long as I have Globe Tattoo working and connected, this hour and a half trip isn't a hassle

The ticket lady in the bus hesitated. She apologized about asking. I asked what. Did I have a senior card?

This whole senior thing is new to me. I haven't gotten my senior card yet, probably out of denial or just not getting around to it. I was also struck by her question. For years people have always commented I was younger than my looks. Now the perception by others seem closer to reality. I told her I didn't but that I had a drivers license that showed my age. She looked at it without checking my face and gave me an 80 peso discount. Oh well, who's complaining?

Huge billboards of our Azkals soccer team with hunky bodies wearing only briefs. When the whole country was watching them win last week against Sri Lanka, we not only saw their skills but already had a fix on their bods.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll be boarding in an hour. Got to Clark about 2 hours and 15 min later.
Clark International Airport unfortunately is not up to snuff. We get off the bus and you see at a distance, all these scrapped airplanes and it looks like a junkyard. There's a mini store and got a bite but the flies were not enticing. I had asked for Globe prepaid card and the clerk tells me that he'll sell it if it's our "secret." Seems the competition is pissed that such a card is being sold and somehow has muscle power. Will report this to Globe.


Monday, July 04, 2011

One Irreverent and Funny Talk Coming Up!


What an absolutely great talk that was last Saturday July 2. It was important for me to describe the show since opening night was devoted solely to greeting guests and signing my book.

It's good to summarize the show in my head, become detached, see it from a larger perspective, talk out loud about the whys and the where for. In preparing for the show I realized how much writers like Walt Whitman, E. M. Forster and Margueritte Yourcenar, their writings, and their love lives had much to do with the making of this exhibit and the book.

So, the talk was packed with people and since there was much hearty applause, I will repeat the talk on July 23 and 30 2011. At 3:00 pm at Silverlens Gallery. See attachment.

Hope you can make it, see the photos on display, even the originals, and purchase a book which I will gladly sign. If you can't make either dates, the show is up till July 30. The gallery is close on Sundays.

Several gay friends and have brought their straight friends to the show (and vice versa) with the intention of coming out. They did, lots of happy tears, and the show has even another reason for its success.

See you there!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

NOW FOR A FUNNY LECTURE: USING "GAYDAR" TO PUT THE BOOK TOGETHER


It was a great book launch and photo exhibit last night. This Saturday though is the fun part. I want to ruminate out loud about some of these photos. I want to tell you how this all came about and how I chose the photos for the exhibit and the book. You might find it interesting about my take on identifying the affectionate part of the photos but not outright expose of a gay angle. And it will be funny because the whole research part and putting it all together was fun, if not, funny.
So come: July 2, 3:00 pm, Silverlens Gallery, 2320 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati City. Let me know if you're coming 0926 7299029 or jsilva79@mac.com

Thursday, June 02, 2011

FOR GAY PRIDE MONTH, AN EXHIBIT AND BOOK LAUNCH ON MALE LOVE!




You are invited to my exhibition and book launch entitled

A TOKEN OF OUR AFFECTION
Philippine Photographs of Male Affection First Half of the 20th Century

at
Silver Lens Gallery
2320 Pasong Tamo Extension

on
June 29, 2011
6:00 pm

Curator's Statement by John L. Silva

The existence of photography now going on two centuries has the historical breadth to record the advancements of mankind in that span of time.

Photographs have also recorded events that recur and are obstinate despite the progress seemingly achieved. War, famine, natural disasters are some of them.

And there are vintage photographs that record a social norm, fell out of favor, and now back in vogue. Men intimately posed a hundred years ago is one such set of images.

A Token of Our Friendship, Philippine Photos of Male Affection, First Half of the 20th Century is both a picture book and a photo exhibition to be shown at the Silver Lens Gallery on June 29, 2011, and curated by the author and photograph collector, John L. Silva.

The photographs on exhibit are chosen from the book and chronicle the beginnings of studio

photography, stiff and formal, copying that of painted portraits, incrementally moving to demure but evident affections. Faster shutter speeds, more efficient film processing, and portable box cameras made spontaneous or “stolen shots” possible, which included a greater display of friendship and camaraderie among male sitters both in or outside the studio. Inscriptions written on the back of the photograph, stilted and sentimental in the beginning, became more effusive and natural. By the macho 1950’s such restrained but affectionate poses were not acceptable until the sixties and seventies when gay liberation ended all restrictions on male love.

Original and reproductions of these images will be on sale and a portion of all book and photo sales will be donated to organizations promoting local HIV prevention.


Please RSVP at: jsilva79@mac.com

See you there!

Friday, April 15, 2011

They Engaged in Filth, Now They Engage in Cowardice

Last Friday, April 8, it was announced on Channel 5 that the station would file libel charges on me for calling them pedophiles. Last Saturday, the libel suit was reiterated by Ch 5 with the approval of Willie Revillame’s lawyer, Leonard de Vera.


Today, it was announced that libel charges will be filed by the parents of Jan Jan instead, and included Froilan Grate, Dr. Honey Carandang and myself with unnamed John and Jane Does.


In an apparently devious and rather naïve move, Manny Pangilinan who owns the station and Willie Revillame have made the parents be the accusers instead of them.


Few will believe that the parents are doing this on their own volition and that they have the funds to sustain a legal battle.


I will respond to their libel charges in due time but I can categorically state that I did not call Channel 5 pedophiles. That constitutes name-calling and that’s beneath me. And for me to have branded the whole station as pedophiles is terribly unkind. There are many more apt and precise descriptions of that station and its owner which decency inhibits me to state.


What they are really upset is my persistent education of the public about Republic Act 7610 for the Special Protection of Children. It is a criminal offense and four government agencies have categorically asserted that the Jan-Jan dance was in violation of that law. And today, it has also been opined by the Dept of Justice Head de Lima that she too feels that the incident violates the law. That same law is what our government uses to go after and prosecute sex traffickers, child pornographers and pedophiles. The severity of the accusation by the Philippine Government on the station and Willie Revillame and the implications as to the sort of company they are now lumped with and possible jail sentences is what unsettles them. They have therefore resorted to a libel case to attempt to silence me, Froilan, Dr. Carandang and the tens of thousands of people who have expressed righteous outrage over what is a clear display of child abuse.


But their bumbling move to make the parents carry the suit will blow up in their faces.


To the companies who once supported the show, your dropping ad placements were an admission that the incident was repugnant as well and you did not want your brand logos to be replaced with a crying sex dancing boy. You have asked for guidelines from the station to plan future ad placements. Their slimy move to make the parents carry the suit shows extremely bad faith on the station’s part by pitting the parents with consumer advocates, diverting the issue, and silencing the critics that warned you about this filthy segment in the first place!


Since you are tracking Facebook and social media reactions, you will note the massive outpouring of anger in today’s announcement which will qualitatively expand and your companies will be the first affected. Consumers see through this ruse very clearly so we warn you not to consider ad placements until all libel charges are dropped. In fact, you all have a direct line to Revillame and Pangilinan. So, give them a call. They listen very well to those who hold the purse strings.


For foreign multinationals (P&G, Unilever, et al) you are painfully aware of the worldwide reporting of this incident and you will have a lot of explaining to do should you return to advertise in that sordid show. You now have Filipinos and worldwide consumer activists to deal with and they can exact worse consequences than you ever dreamed.


To our supporters, please keep up the pressure on our government (write on their websites, on their FB, to their e mails) letting them know we are watching and that we support the full application of Republic Act 7610.


Write to the companies and tell them we find no redeeming value whatsoever in continuing ad placements with the show. If they should capitulate, we have the power of choice and a continued boycott will be our forceful solution.


This righteous consumer anger was felt and heard from tens of thousands of Filipinos and friends around the world. So do your share in e mailing your concerns with the companies. You have seen better TV programming abroad. Imagine working hard and missing your family and children only for them to be subjected to prime time garbage. Do not let bad programming destroy your family values.


I am of the utmost certainty that we will prevail. We have truth and decency on our side no matter how they try to cow us. They have just made the supreme debacle of making us have to fight the parents. They have decided to hide behind them and use them. This despicable cowardice is apparent and will only hasten the end of the squalid programming they’ve inflicted on us for so many forlorn years.


Hasta La Victoria Siempre!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Topping the Grossness of Willing Willie

April 6, 2011

Fifteen boys came out of the van, ages ranging from seven perhaps to 18. They were held up in traffic and were late and I was getting a little peeved waiting.

They had come from the Pangarap Boys Shelter and their volunteer leader, a young German named Felix was sheepishly apologetic.

They looked out of place – not the jeans or the oversized t-shirts or the sneakers - in the American Military Cemetery. It was in their faces:

Why are we here? Who is this guy greeting me?

Looking detached, they looked hardened.

Felix contacted me weeks ago asking if I could give his boys a tour. I said yes, hoping to find a sponsor for them but if not, I’d do it for free. I heard good things about the shelter taking care of 100 male street kids and several dozen girls.

The smaller ones got to me, some bearing scars on their faces, a few looking too skinny. The older ones, having lived on the streets weren’t sure how to deal with my do-gooder smiling face. But despite appearances, I caught their stolen gazes of the whole expanse. Acres of perfectly landscaped garden, endless precise lines of crosses, never before seen huge trees, and an unusual open sided cylindrical building. They were at least curious.

I faced the boys slightly nervous that my Filipino language skills were being put to the test and even more important, calibrating my tour to children and young people which I’ve always felt to be challenging. But there was Felix, an idealistic German who came to the Philippines to offer a year of service with poor boys, probably paid nothing. He guilt-tripped me. But he wasn’t helpful by whispering before we started, that the tour may have been a silly goody-two-shoes idea. These boys have had it tough, many sexually abused and a cemetery wasn’t exactly on their bucket list.

A light-bulb moment. It was a week now, writing letters, signing petitions, going into a full Facebook war against advertisers, Channel 5 and Willie Revillame who decided in one of his sleazy segments to get a crying boy to dance like a hustler and have the crowd hooting like savages. (Since this piece was written, the show has been temporarily cancelled set off by a massive exodus of advertisers).

So, I decided, if that bully was going to make a boy cry and dance like a sex toy so he can get ten grand, Screw It, I’m going to give 15 boys with REAL LIFE nightmares the grandest tour they’ll ever know if only to relieve them of the REAL pain they’ve been through.

We started with the huge war maps, a challenge since it wasn’t a TV screen. They had to get out of their couch potato passive mode and make them examine countries, battleship formations, the arrows of engagement with the enemy, the history of World War II in the Pacific. Yes, the whole Kaboom for a bunch that were not my usual overeducated guests. My scholarly illuminations would have to be put on hold.

Where is the Philippines in this map, I bellowed for attention?

Aha, yes, young man you got it.

On this battle map of Manila, where is your home? There was quiet. Some mumbled, we have no home.

Shit, wrong question.

Ok, where is the shelter? They strained looking for a clue and I kept egging them on. A boy found it, shouted “Pasay” and his finger aimed directly to the place they now called home.

Each time they bested me with the correct answer, I allowed no time for gloating. Off we went to the next wall and to the next and to the hallways outside before they could act indifferent.

My usual lecture script was out the window. What do the boys frigging care about the battle of Guadalcanal, or the China Burma Theater or the expansionist motives of super powers. That’s for another day.

So I got them to touch the smoothness and porosity of the Travertine walls. I made them look up to the frieze, commanding them to read important battle sites, Bougainville, Leyte Gulf, Bataan, Solomons. I made them stroke a gravestone, reading the engraved words together,

HERE LIES A COMRADE WHOSE IDENTITY IS KNOWN ONLY BUT TO GOD.

They pronunciation was askew at times, but they read it loud and in unison. I tried explaining the problems faced with the over 3,000 remains that were not identified. That was hard until a boy said quietly:

It’s like me before I got to the shelter. I didn’t know who I was.

We walked to a vantage point in the cemetery with a commanding view of the long entrance, the memorial court, and the chapel. I made them appreciate the straight lines of the Mahogany trees, the Memorial circle, the color of grass, the composition of the Acacia trees, framed by Travertine columns, and the vertical secular chapel. It was a crash course on aesthetics.

It’s usually halfway through the tour when I consciously stop talking to look back at my guests. The boys were now quiet, some taking in the distant clear views of Laguna Lake, and the mountains of Antipolo. Others had fingers tracing the etched names of the departed. Others were filled with awe and the majesty of space. They had lost their hardened, cynical looks, replaced with serene faces. They were engaged once again with their humanity.

They started to whisper among themselves. I sensed a question. The group chose the smiling one who asked:

How do you engrave a name? Can I learn that?

Another asked: Is it hard to climb a tree and trim it?

And another: Will I need dark pants to apply here? I like this place.

I looked the other way when they asked, so they won’t see my lament and rage. This is the sort of Q&A that you don’t see on TV. Instead we have shows that dangle thousand peso bills provided by Belo, or Smart, or Pepsodent, or Knorr, to dancing boys, girls, and begging old women for guffaws and a perverted notion of instilling brand loyalty and audience ratings.

Here in this expanse of green, mosaic patterns and a sheltering sky, these boys were checking their self worth and the possibility of a decent job. A few days or months before, a few of them probably had to macho dance for some pedophile before the Shelter saved them. How bizarre if not abominable that there are TV programs, supported by companies that mimic what poor boys actually do.

We rounded the memorial circle examining all the maps which fascinated them and ended inside a 60-foot tall chapel covered floor to ceiling with a mosaic of a maiden bringing flowers to lay beside the gravestones. The artistry and the diligence in creation captivated them, seeing yet another vocation to learn.

I told them about the lives of some of these young men, how they fought bravely, how they saved their comrades, how they died many, barely 20 years of age. They listened intently to the carillon striking the hour and playing a hymn.

The boys are light footed, expansive, with smiles all around, having seen something today other than shampoo commercials, macho dancing, or the grime of their neighborhood. The unusual breezy day is tonic; they fill their lungs with rare clean air.

It was hard to say goodbye to them. I told Felix to send me more and I’ll find the sponsors. He said thank you and I told him THANK YOU for being the foreigner who cared for our boys. Better than the local turds who’d peddle them on the street or on television.

I shook each boy’s hand giving them a lesson in civility.

I said Thank You. They said Salamat.

I said Salamat, looked quickly away and walked briskly to my car.

If you want to know more about Pangarap, make a donation, or sponsor the activities for the boys and girls, please call Tel: 834 1061 / 551 3733.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Letter to Ben Chan of Bench, one of the Willing Willie Advertisers


Ben Chan

Bench

Manila


Dear Ben,


You’ve had some incredible hunks up on your billboards, sixty feet high, really great eye candy. All my beef about billboards destroying the landscape and causing accidents and even toppling over people get a momentary pause when Piolo appears in your face larger than life showing off his pecs.


But lately, you lost it. I drove down EDSA one day and my jaw dropped seeing Willie Revillame on your billboard hawking cologne. WILLIE?


Did this country suddenly run out of cuties? How could you, the master of the male beauty cult, have equated Willie with the likes of Richard Gomez?


And now, I see Willie and I see pudge.


Ben, no matter what Audition tells you, WILLIE’S NOT CUTE. He’s nowhere close to the hunk material you’ve foisted on our nanosecond fantasies which made us buy the briefs and everything else.


Since he’s not cute nor my fantasy I think of everything else he represents. Like 74 women and children trampled to death on his dangling-money TV show. Or him sneering at President Corazon Aquino’s funeral. Or now, making a little boy cry while coaxing him to macho dance.


When you made Willie part of your sales harem, people got a whiff of reality. We all realized that you would overlook all the scandals and sleaze that Willie represented and market a cologne named after him. It was about making money and, sadly, nothing else.


That’s pathetic Ben. You got a clothes and lifestyle empire with family auxiliaries like Oishi and you could be headed for prominence, written and lauded about for being the country’s eminent guru in creating wealth through beautifully photographed bodies.


Instead, you’ve decided to cast your sales fate with a guy riddled in scandal and whose show has been slammed by the country’s social welfare department (DSWD) and Human Rights Commission as having committed serious child abuse.


And pissing off a lot of people, many of them your customers.


Unlike Jollibee who nobly decided to pull out their ads, it seems you’re still plugging the cologne on a show you actually keep alive.


No matter how much you’ll spray his cologne on that set, we have the abused crying Jan-Jan on YouTube and on rerun and the smell of sleaze isn’t going away soon.


Why don’t you just realize the serious pickle your company is in and withdraw your support for the slimiest show in the world? You must have some smarts to make money elsewhere without having to use bullies that abuse boys.


Ben, listen: MACHO DANCING IS PROSTITUTION WITH A DANCE BEAT. And in our country with pedophilia around, it’s bad enough that a boy, somewhere at this very moment, is actually doing the dance FOR REAL. What’s the point simulating it on national TV? To make more call boys? Is that your company strategy of what the youth market should be?


See how low your empire has stooped to for the bucks?


You stick to Willie and we’ll shop at Pennshoppe and all the other alternative places. We’ll forego Oishi and get Jack and Jill. Have you checked out the massive, angry, world-wide talk about Willie on Facebook? Boycotting your goods is no idle threat. And it will only expand. Think Egypt.


There’s some great billboards out there. The new Folded and Hung guy with the six-pack leaves me breathless.


All you got is Willie and his pudge and a crying boy seared in our memory.


Don’t associate with sleaze. You’ll ruin your whole life’s work.



John L. Silva

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Letter to Manny Pangilinan

Mr. Manny Pangilinan

Chairman

PLDT

Manila

Dear Mr. Pangilinan,


What’s befuddling about this Jan-Jan incident is you.


You run a fairly sizeable empire, created wealth and jobs, feted and awarded as a management genius and could ride out the next decade as statesman, philanthropist and businessman extraordinaire.


Yet, you also have a television station with a reviled noontime show host who through the years demeaned the poor by dangling money and promoting begging and at one point causing a stampede killing 74 women and children. Other Willie Revillame daily fare has been to insult women and do anti-gay buffoonery. And now this host coaxes a young crying boy named Jan-Jan to dance like a male stripper and get 10K that either came from your company or from sponsors.


There seems to be a disconnect here. You have all these income streams, the envy of many companies here and abroad and yet, there’s one, probably not even profitable at this point, that secures corporate sponsorship and charges air time to get an audience hooting and howling over sick and lewd contests.


You’re urbane and probably like me have gone to a strip show at some point. If you haven’t, I’ll tell you that it’s not really much fun being in seedy places and the guys or gals on stage are going through the motions of looking sexy but if anyone had a scintilla of compassion can catch glimpses of humiliation through the hubris.


So what made your producers and Willie think this was going to be fun for a six-year old boy? At that age, he could only cry.

The only other country that does this sordid thing is Afghanistan where fundamentalist Taliban men coax their boy lovers to dance or get beaten up and killed if they don’t do it well. At least we are not at that stage yet but could if this filth continues.

So, I’m back to wondering, if you seemingly have the wherewithal to make your companies profitable here and in the region, doing it the old Capitalist way, why do you have to stoop down to make money by mimicking the sleaze of strip show and massage parlor owners? Why do you make your well-paid host come out looking like a pimp? And why must an under-aged traumatized boy be used? Don’t your TV producers have the slightest clue that such use constitutes child abuse? Are you hiring intelligent people? And can they explain to you how their sick and disgusting show material contribute to the well-being of our nation? Or at the least, just your well-being and stature?


You can wind down your career and go offstage being adulated and remembered for making progress for our country. But in the cultural upliftment realm, your Revillame show sullies everything you want to be fondly remembered. In fact, at this point, I find your decision to revive a pathetic TV show that insults people and a nation, for the purpose of making money, obnoxious and abominable. I will encourage people not to patronize any of your products and services as well as those companies that patronize that show for so long as it continues to air.


Given the firestorm out there, Revillame is now your costly nightmare. Drop him, revive your good standing and bring decency, self-respect, and pride among our people, especially our children.


Sincerely,

John L. Silva

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

IF WE FORGET WHO WE ARE, THEN WHO ARE WE? THE AMERICAN MILITARY CEMETERY TOUR. JAN/FEB 2011 SCHEDULES



History fades and we know little about the sacrifices and heroism by young men and women in uniform who gave their lives for the freedom we now take for granted.


Come and join John L. Silva’s history tour of a serene cemetery containing the remains of 17,206 American, Filipino, and other nationalities who fought in the Pacific theater in World War II.


Walk the Travertine stone halls engraved with the names of over 36,000 soldiers missing in action. Review the mosaic maps showing the most famous battles in the Pacific, from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima culminating in the 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf which liberated the Philippines.


Learn about the architect Gardner Dailey, his vision, design and landscaping of the cemetery and why it is now considered a monumental gem to honor soldiers and the most visited historical site in the country.


John will highlight some of the more important soldiers buried there, from poets to five brothers and to an African American hero.


The tour lasts 1 3/4 hours and visitors are encouraged to bring a hat, a camera, and, if you wish, a small bouquet of flowers.


Reservations necessary: 0926 729 9029 or e-mail jsilva79@mac.com


Tour dates and time: Tour starts promptly at 10:00 am.


Tour dates: Jan. 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19 21, 22, 26, 28, 29, 30, Feb 2, 9, 11, 12, 13, 2011



Directions: Old Lawton Ave., Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila

Google Map http://bit.ly/d1bYdA

Meet at Memorial parking site (rear)


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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A HALF-CENTURY OF SOLEMNITY AND HONOR: THE AMERICAN MILITARY CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL

by John L. Silva

It will be 50 years old this December 8, 2010. The 152-acre American Military Cemetery and Memorial in Makati, increasingly surrounded at a distance by hovering high-rises in Fort Bonifacio, still manages though to impart a sense of space, tranquility and honor to the soldiers who served and died in the Pacific Theater in World War II.

Among the 14 permanent military cemeteries that the American Battle Monuments Commission administers throughout the world, the Manila cemetery contains the largest number of remains (17,207) and is the only cemetery in the Pacific. It also has the singular distinction of containing the remains not just of Americans but also of Filipinos who fought as Philippine Scouts and other nationalities in the Allied Forces including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, China and Panama.

Cemeteries have an air of melancholy if not sadness exacerbated perhaps by sculptures of mourning angels and the physical decay on mossy headstones and rusty mausoleum gates. Not in this cemetery.

Every one of the 17,000 white marble headstones, quarried from Carrara and Lassa, Italy,

are regularly scrubbed and glow, the names chiseled half-a-century ago still reading clearly. 3,644 of the remains are unidentified and their headstones are inscribed as comrades whose identities are “…known only to God.”

There is a stately feel, driving slowly on its boulevard flanked by Mahogany trees passing perfectly aligned headstones laid in eleven concentric circles around the Memorial court. Mounting gentle steps to the court there is a 60-foot high chapel, ramrod to the sky, gracing over two wide hemicycles of Travertine limestone surrounding the court. 24 pairs of fin walls

support the hemicycles bearing the chiseled names of 36,285 men and women from the Navy, Army and Air Force, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard and the Philippine Scouts. Except for a very few found in the ensuing years, the names on the walls meant their bodies were never found.

The Cemetery was designed by a Bay Area architect named Gardner Dailey (1895 – 1967). Dailey designed the homes of many wealthy San Francisco families and his buildings included museums, hotels and several campus buildings at the University of California Berkeley.

Dailey won the commission to design the Cemetery on land donated in 1948 by the Philippine Government to the United States. Prior to the commission he had designed buildings and tropical landscapes in Central America. In the Philippines, he applied his interest in landscaping by creating a Cemetery amidst a botanical garden with tropical flowering trees, shrubs and plants. A half-century later the Acacia trees he designated throughout the site have a solid majesty to them, shading headstones, its jagged limbs upward, seemingly in supplication to the heavens.

The end rooms of each hemicycle contain 27 imposing wall maps in tinted concrete, mosaic and ceramic of the Philippines, Asia, and the Pacific. With markers, colored arrows and text, each map give brief histories of key historical junctures beginning with the Japanese occupation of the Asian mainland, the attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the swift takeover of Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Malayan Peninsula. One map entitled Defense of Luzon illustrates the gallant and heroic stand of American and Filipino soldiers repulsing Japanese invaders and stalling their advance for five long months until Bataan and Corregidor finally surrendered in May 1942.

Significant battles now dimly remembered are permanently enshrined on the walls extolling the Battle of the Coral Sea and later the Midway Atolls where sizeable Japanese naval forces headed to invade New Guinea, Australia, Hawaii and Alaska were destroyed and driven back.

Other important battles such as Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands and Iwo Jima (the latter taking almost a month to recapture by Allied Forces) gives a sober pictorial rendering of how the Allied forces regained Japanese occupied islands at the cost of tens of thousands of lives and over two years of continuous fighting. The map of interest to many is that entitled Return to The Philippines, October 1944,

detailing the combined American and Allied Forces, 200,000 men strong, destroying most of Japan’s remaining naval ships in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and returning, as promised, by General Douglas MacArthur.

In the blur of tens of thousands of names inscribed on the walls and those carved on the headstones that encircle the Memorial, there are poignant stories. Twenty pairs of brothers are buried side by side. On the wall of the missing are noted five Sullivan brothers, Frank, Joe, Matt, Al and George. When their light cruiser USS Juneau was torpedoed off the Solomon Islands, three would die instantly. A fourth would later drown and survivors recounted that the remaining brother George, in grief and despair, went over the side of the raft and disappeared in the water.

On the wall of the missing, soldiers who received the Congressional Medal of Honor while alive or posthumously like Private George Watson has his name engraved in gold. In March, 1943 Watson rescued fellow soldiers in the water after their ship was bombed, off New Guinea. He drowned, dragged down by the suction of the sinking ship. For his selfless act he would be one of seven African Americans who received the Medal of Honor and the only one to receive it for action in the Pacific Theater.

On any given day, surviving American and Filipino relatives can still be seen visiting headstones bearing flowers. At the Memorial, relatives would pose for photos beside the inscribed names of loved ones. With the passage of time, the emotional pain and tears are less evident than what one would witness at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC. Here, the gathered relatives and friends softly talk about “dad” or “lolo” (grandfather) or “uncle” recounting snatches of character and bravery to the younger members present.

Most of the soldiers were young, many under 20 years old. By war’s end, 100,000 American men and women from the various services died in the Pacific Theater (60,000 Filipino soldiers, guerrilla fighters and an estimated one million civilian deaths died in the same period). Many of the American soldiers died during the early part of 1942 and the latter part of 1944 coinciding with the defense of the Philippines, the Bataan Death March, the return of American forces, the Battle of Leyte and the eventual liberation of the country.

A half-century later, gazing at the perfectly lined crosses on the grass, one wonders if these soldiers were alive today, would they think their sacrifices worth it? Current world events with power shifts, long standing tensions and expansionist desires continued soon after war’s end and not abated.

On December 8, 1941, 30 year-old Infantryman and poet Henry G. Lee was stationed in the Philippines and realized that the attack on Pearl Harbor would soon change his world completely. He wrote this poem, later found while imprisoned at a POW camp north of Manila. He died in January 1945 in a bombed Japanese cargo ship along with other POW’s off Formosa.

Entitled “Prayer to Battle (To Mars)” he wrote:

“Before thine ancient altar, God of War, Forlorn, afraid, alone, I kneel to pray.

The gentle shepherd whom I would adore. Faced by thy blazing plaything, slips away. And I am drained of faith – alone – alone.

Who now needs faith to face thy outthrust sword, Bereft of hope, turned to pagan to the bone. I kneel to thee and hail thee as my Lord.

From such a God as thee, I ask not life, My life is forfeited, the hour is late. Thou need not swerve the bullet, dull the knife. I ask but strength to ride the wave of fate. And one thing more – to validate this strife, And to my own sacrifice – teach me to hate.”

Henry Lee’s name is carved on the wall of the missing at the American Military Cemetery.