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ETHNICITY (and its rightful place)

We have the first wave of writers/readers creative e-mails. And what a wave!

One reader, Rene Bernales, told me that when he started reading my gripping and riveting book, he could not stop and had to lose a night's sleep. He then sent me one of his poems, written in the Visayan tongue and he asked me to translate/interpret it for him in English. Being hard up with my Bisaya, I believe this reader wants to get back at me for his sleepless night. But here is his poem anyway, an excellent example of how Ethnicity can be rightfully applied.

And lest you people out there, far away from Mindanao, think that Moroland is simply a place where people get kidnapped and ransomed by shadowy creatures from the marshes, think again. Moroland can be as tender as tender chicken and the national anthem! You do not have to know Tausug (the native tongue of the Sulu Archipelago)  or be Tausug (the dominant natives in the Sulu Seas) to enjoy the rhymes of my friend, the Great Jimlah, and the Moroland hymn of Dr. Ibrahim Bahjin.

Shoot with those laser printers, not with the AK47s!

And like they say these e-days, The Keyboard is Mightier Than The Sword! (Corollary: The Keyboard Controls The Smart Bombs, Too). So readers, writers, key in those bugs and bytes now and send them to us.

 The waves are coming!

Mga Panghupaw Sa Disyerto
(alang sa mga OFW sa Saudi Arabia)

by Rene Bernales, Jeddah, KSA

Silong sa nagalagiting nga kainit,
Dinhi sa kataliwad-ang Silangan,
Ania kami naningkamot, nag-paulipon,
Ilalom sa mando sa mga langyaw nga agalon.

Sunog na ang mga panit,
Naga-antos sa kainit,
Hawoy ang mga bukton,
Sa trabaho nga mag-hapon.

Ang mga kamingaw, pang-higwa-os,
Adlaw'g gabi-i, gina-antos,
Alang sa mga damgo ug pangandoy,
Sa banay, nani-nguha nga makab-ot.

Apan sa pag-abot sa kahaponon,
Diin ang oras naga-pahinumdom,
Sa sayong takna sa kagab-hion,
Makapahulay human sa panihapon.

Walay gangis, walay mangloy,
Nga mohuni sa sayong kagab-hion,
Ang tawag sa pag-ampo o 'Salah',
Maoy imong mabati, madungog.

Walay asawa, anak o hinigugma,
Nga mahinangop sa pag-tagbo,
Sa buhanginang lagwerta,
Sa villa nga mas mamingaw pa,
Sa k'webang bato - nag-inusara!

Ang villa nga maoy pinuy-anan,
Papahulayan sa gikapoy nga kalawasan,
Ang mamingaw nga lawak ug higda-anan,
Mao ray nakig-ambit sa kamingaw ug kasakit,
Sa mga kaguol ug kasubo nga gibati,
Dinhi sa Saudi mo masinati!!!

Ug sa matag karon ug unya,
Daw imong madungog, mapamati,
Ang matag pitik sa imong kasing-kasing
Taliwala sa kahilum nga daw makabungog.

Ug sa imong pag-higda, sa imong pagka-tulog,
Nagadula sa imong handurawan,
Ang banay nga imong gibiya-an.
Ug sa wala mo mamatikdi,
Ang mga luha sa aping mo midagayday.

Ang pangamuyo, mga pag-ampo,
Mao ray dalangpanan ni-ining dughan,
Uban sa paglaom sa Dios nga halangdon,
Sa kahitas-an dung-gon.

Ang mga pang-hupaw sa disyerto,
Balak sa mga Pilipino - nga sa langyaw nagpa-ulipon
Madungog, mabati - tahuron, dili tamayon!

Rene Bernales is a mechanical engineer working as Maintenance Supervisor at the Saudi Building Systems Mfg. Co. plant in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


Daman Hi Jimlah
(Tausug Rhymes of Jimlah)

In mga batah bihaon ini,
Tima tana-tana na
Timatangki layag na,
Impis pa tahuran na
Biluok pa, lahing na.

Kamayah kaw ha ran,
Ma-anib in labayan
Kalo kaw ma duyan,
Matiplok ha tangkayan.

Sipais bawis,
Biso-biso timbungan
Mamong hi batak kan ambong
Sin siboh-siboh da sila matahan.

Misan ako pa dagon pa bud
Papanungkuron lituk,
Pa pangutulon batok
Pa ragon pa niyog,
Pa pi-on sin layog
Pa tugpaon pa laud,
Pa kaytan mataud
Akohon ko llallah.

Jimlah is a good friend of mine
and jams with his electric guitar
on a clear calm night.


by Dr. Ibrahim Q. Bahjin
Jolo, Sulu

From the vast southern waters,
Lies the province of Sulu -
Where light first touched our unveiled eyes;
In whose breast we're reared to glow;
Her lovely skies and mighty peaks,
Elate her wondrous name;
Her bounty seas and riverflows,
Roar out her might and fame.

A garden of so many tales,
Told out so far and wide:
Whose beauty pours in anywhere,
To quench the thirsty hearts;
A land that is so pure and brave,
Where heroes and martyrs sprang;
To shed their blood in her defence,
From tyrants' evil fangs.

All hearts and soul we dedicate;
To Sulu our Native Land -
In warmth or cold we seek refuge,
By thine breast we all profound;
In all the things we say or do:
Uphold thy name in honor;
Upon our hearts inscribed a word,
Of love for thee forevermore.

Oh fair Sulu, our Native Land -
Remembered be thy name,
As an eternal heritage,
Our fathers did proclaim;
Proud sons are we to face the world,
Our emblem is thy name;
North, South, East, West we may wander,
As Suluans we will remain.

Author's Note:
This poem was written in the Holy Makkah on Dec. 9, 1980 and was subsequently rendered into music, The Sulu Hymn, by the author's mother, Hadja Ayesha Bahjin. Through a Sulu provincial resolution, the song became the official hymn of the Province of Sulu in SouthWestern Mindanao in the early 1980s, and is being sung during provincial meetings and formal occasions.


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