Sunday, March 08, 2009

Farewell, FrancisM

In my nearly 40 years on this earth, few deaths, aside those of whom I know personally, have had relevance to me. I am referring to people who I have no personal connection with, people who I have not even met personally but somehow made a lasting impression on me.

It is one of the ironies in life, where sometimes people who are near you don’t have as much an impact or influence on you than someone who is so distant from you they might as well be in another planet.

Take for instance Ninoy Aquino. I never met the man nor had the chance to even see him in person while he was alive as I was still too busy with the concerns of an early teener than the affairs of the state. But his life, work and ideals have an impact embedded in my own consciousness that as I now perform my duty as a public official, I look to his ideas and principles as model for my own.

One of those whose death, but most of all, whose life, has etched a mark in my yardstick of life lessons is Francis Magalona--- the Master Rapper, The Mouth. His passing came as a reminder to me that our time on this earth is not ours to waste but is lent to us in order to contribute to the rich color of what FrancisM called the Kaleidoscope World.

We do not know when our lives will cease but we should be aware that we only have one life to live, and it is our duty, even our obligation to make that life productive and relevant. No matter what status in life we are in, we are all called upon to make full use of the time allowed us on earth.

Francis Magalona did just that. Although he has left this world at the young age of 44, it cannot be said that he lived a mediocre life. Perhaps one may even look at it as if he knew that his time on earth will not be long since he was able to make his life relevant to the world at an early age.

At an age when many have not even realized the purpose of their lives, Kiko had already distinguished himself and inspired others with his talent in performing. There are not a few in my own generation who developed their own talents because of what they saw in The Man from Manila. He gave Filipino culture a fighting chance against the onslaught of foreign pop influence, making a mark in the genre of rap, rock and hip-hop.

But he did not stop there. Taking it a step further, he used his talent to promote nationalism and Filipino pride by taking on themes which highlighted social, cultural and national issues which affected and afflicted Philippine society.

I would say that his work as an artist, which was actually a social commentary, had a profound influence in my own thinking as I was maturing during that time. Music and pop culture always has a big influence on the youth. In other countries, artists who sing about hate, racial tensions, addiction and depression contribute to the high rates of drug use, suicide, violence and spread of anarchy. But Francis’ themes of national pride and patriotism somehow kept the Filipino youth in check, and instilled in their minds and hearts the love for our country, its culture and its heritage.

Even when death seemed to catch up on him, he kept his performance level in high gear and lived a fulfilled life. In the homestretch, he still found the desire and drive to prove his love for the country and inspire others to do the same.

In yet another creative endeavor, he found a way to promote nationalism through fashion, by launching a clothing line which bore the symbols of our country, the Three Stars and a Sun.

It gave me such pleasure to see people, young people at that, proudly display the Three Stars and a Sun on their shirts, caps, keychains, etc. For me, it is a great statement of nationalism for one to be proud to wear the Three Stars and the Sun, in the same manner that Americans show their pride with the Red, White and Blue or the Stars and Stripes incorporated into designs.

Once again, Francis Magalona showed how to live the one life he was given. While we mourn his loss at a young age, I also think that we should celebrate his life which was lived not only for himself  and his family, but for a country that deserves more patriots like him.

Farewell, Francis. And Thank You!

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