Even birds...  

Posted by Laya in

I am tempted to do a Franklin Roosevelt and call June 2, 2009 "a date that shall live in infamy." At the 11th hour, when most of the nation was already asleep, our great and valiant legislators, many of whom are now in their last terms of office, passed House Resolution No. 1109 calling for a constitutional assembly, or con-ass. Knowing, however, how trigger-happy these same legislators are to pass their much-lauded Right of Reply bill with which they will seek to require us to make sure that they will personally rebut anything we might blog that they might construe as demeaning to them, or else they will use all their vaunted riches to send us to jail, I will just content myself with explaining how I chose my name.

Being a Star Wars fan since childhood, I adored Princess Leia. I wanted to be like her, but since there were no spaceships around, I figured writing a story like hers was next best. Funny, however, that as a child, I was at some degree aware of the concept of intellectual property because I never resorted to the fan fic type of writing (not that I knew then about fan fic). Instead, I created my own characters and my own universe. This time, though, the princess was not going to wait to be rescued. She would carry the sword, she would be the heroine. In a nod to my original inspiration as well as my own roots, I called her Princess Laya. I was then about fifteen.

The story started out as a space opera same as Star Wars, with the age-old theme of battle between good and evil. Her people had been enslaved, but were still fighting for their freedom. Laya didn't know who she really was, but her family had given her a "forbidden name," first, because it meant freedom, and second, because her people wanted freedom so much that Laya was a name given only to their princesses and queens. Through the years, however, it has undergone a lot of metamorphosis, from space opera to fantasy. The conflict remained the same, but the story in my mind became an allegory of a nation. Princess Laya, however, still stands, holding her sword, ready to fight on the side of good.

When I changed my e-mail address years ago, I didn't want to use my real name. All the other names I tried was taken, so finally I ended up using Laya's name for my e-mail. Then I wandered into a yahoo chatroom, and got so used to being called by that name that it stuck. I am even thinking now of officially changing my name or registering it as an official nom de plume.

When I think of Laya today (her handwritten, half-finished story reposes in a box at home, needing to be typed), I associate the name with a song I have also always loved since I was a child. It is the song we associate with EDSA, the song thousands upon thousands of Filipinos sang while they prepared to repel tanks and soldiers with their bare hands . One of the most beautiful songs our country has ever had.

Bayan Ko

Ang bayan kong Pilipinas
Lupain ng ginto't bulaklak
Pag-ibig nasa kanyang palad,
Nag-alay ng ganda't dilag...
At sa kanyang yumi at ganda,
Dayuhan ay nahalina.
Bayan ko, binihag ka, nasadlak sa dusa.

Ibon mang may layang lumipad,
Kulungin mo ay umiiyak,
Bayan pa kayang sakdal dilag
Ang di magnasang makaalpas?
Pilipinas kong minumutya,
Pugad ng luha ko't dalita,
Aking adhika, makita kang sakdal laya...

My Country

My country, the Philippines
Is a land of gold and flowers
Love is in her hands
She freely gives beauty and splendor...
And because of her sweetness and beauty
Strangers were attracted
My country, you were taken captive and plunged into the depths of despair.

Even the bird that has freedom to fly
Would cry if you caged it.
Would not such a lovely country
Aspire to escape?
My treasured Philippines,
Home of my tears and torment
My own desire is to see you fully free...

This entry was posted at Wednesday, June 03, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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