Love, joy, ser­vice

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - OPINION - mtan@in­quirer.com.ph MICHAEL L. TAN

Last Wed­nes­day I wrote about the last stanza of our na­tional an­them “Lu­pang Hini­rang,” from which two words had been cho­sen as the theme of UP Dil­i­man’s “Linggo ng Paran­gal,” a week dur­ing which we hand awards to fac­ulty, stu­dents and staff for var­i­ous achieve­ments.

Read­ing that col­umn, I re­al­ized how ob­sessed I might have seemed, look­ing not only at how the na­tional an­them has evolved but also at the Span­ish orig­i­nal and its English and Filipino trans­la­tions. But that’s the way aca­demi­cians work, and I want to show to­day what all that work can do, in prac­ti­cal terms.

The two words that sparked all this dis­cus­sion were “Lual­hati’t pagsinta,” and as a starter for to­day, let’s re­view the four ver­sions of the na­tional an­them:

The orig­i­nal lyrics, by Jose Palma, writ­ten in 1899: “Tierra de dichas, del sol y amores, En tu regazo dulce es vivir. Es una Glo­ria para tus hi­jos, Cuando te ofenden, por ti morir.”

An English ver­sion by Camilo Osias, late 1930s: “Beau­ti­ful land of love, o land of light. In thine em­brace ’tis rapture to lie. But it is glory ever, when thou art wronged, for us thy sons to suf­fer and die.”

I’m skip­ping the first Ta­ga­log trans­la­tion, iron­i­cally done dur­ing the Ja­panese Oc­cu­pa­tion, and mov­ing on to this postWorld War II ver­sion: “Sa iyo Lupa ng ligaya’t pagsinta, tamis mabuhay na yakap mo, dat­apwa’t lan­git ding kung ikaw ay api­hin, ay ma­ma­matay nang dahil sa iyo.”

Fi­nally, we have to­day’s of­fi­cial an­them: “Lupa ng araw, ng lual­hati’t pagsinta. Buhay ay lan­git sa pil­ing mo; am­ing ligaya na pag may mang-aapi, ang ma­matay nang dahil sa iyo.”

Joy­ful, ro­man­tic

As I noted last Wed­nes­day, “lual­hati” does not ap­pear in the early ver­sions, but we find that even in the orig­i­nal Span­ish ver­sion, there is ref­er­ence to bliss ( dichas) and love ( amores). There is, too, the sweet­ness of life and glo­ria, the glory of dy­ing for the coun­try.

We find, in the first Ta­ga­log trans­la­tion “ligaya’t pagsinta,” which fi­nally be­comes “lual­hati’t pagsinta,” but ligaya is used to de­scribe the joy of de­fend­ing the coun­try.

“Lu­pang Hini­rang” is a joy­ful piece, both in terms of mu­sic and lyrics. In grade school at Xavier, were Chi­nese is taught, we were ex­posed to “Lu­pang Hini­rang” as well as “San Min Ju I,” the Tai­wan an­them. My fa­ther would joke about how “San Min Ju I” sounded like a fu­neral hymn, sung slowly and with very solemn lyrics. (It’s on YouTube.) He liked “Lu­pang Hini­rang” much more, even if he never re­ally un­der­stood the lyrics.

“Lu­pang Hini­rang” has ligaya and lual­hati. Ligaya comes closer to be­ing merry, as in ma­li­gayang pasko (merry Christ­mas), still different from masaya, which is be­ing happy. But lual­hati tops them all. Prof. JemJavier of the Dil­i­man In­for­ma­tion Of­fice de­scribes it as car­ry­ing “glory and splen­dor,” which is in­ter­est­ing be­cause the orig­i­nal Span­ish lyrics talk about glo­ria, a term that we use in many con­no­ta­tions for great joy, in­clud­ing, in­ci­den­tally, the sex­ual.

Lual­hati is the op­po­site of dalamhati. Note how both terms use “hati,” which is Malay for the liver, the seat of emo­tions. (To­day, Malaysians and In­done­sians use hati to re­fer to the heart as well.) “Lual” is out­side and “dalam” is in­side. Ex­treme sad­ness, then, com­prises the emo­tions kept in­side, emo­tions that con­sume the in­di­vid­ual. That’s why when some­one dies, we make sure the be­reaved rel­a­tives are al­ways with peo­ple, and the wakes are al­most fes­tive, all to pre­vent dalamhati.

At the last award­ing cer­e­mony we had in UP Dil­i­man, we gave one to fine arts pro­fes­sor and sculp­tor Rita Badilla-Gudiño for her “Paglu­luwal” project, which uses child­birth as a metaphor for life. Paglu­luwal is the word for birthing.

Lual­hati , then, refers to emo­tions that go out­ward or, more specif­i­cally, a joy that moves out­ward. Think of how it re­lates to so many needs in ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

We re­cently had a UP sys­tem work­shop to deal with the psy­choso­cial needs of our stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff, which have be­come more dif­fi­cult to deal with in our times. Last week I wrote a col­umn, “Home alone,” talk­ing about the irony of liv­ing in times where peo­ple might be sur­rounded by all kinds of gad­gets in their homes, yet end up feel­ing so very alone. It is made worse by the way th­ese new me­dia are used as new forms of as­sault on other peo­ple. Un­for­tu­nately, aca­demi­cians get caught here, think­ing they ex­cel when they use words to at­tack and hurt peo­ple.

The sys­tem work­shop ended with a syn­the­sis by Dr. Anselmo Tronco, head of psy­chi­a­try at UP’s Philip­pine Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, who noted how the dis­cus­sions sug­gest that we might want to trans­form UP into a uni­ver­sity that up­holds not just honor and ex­cel­lence but also com­pas­sion.

To serve oth­ers

Our na­tional an­them is not just joy­ful, but ro­man­tic. The orig­i­nal talks about our be­ing a land of the sun, and of loves (yes, plu­ral). The Filipino ver­sions use “pagsinta,” to love.

There seems to be a de­lib­er­ate choice of pagsinta, rather than pag­mama­hal. Ma­hal is more generic, of lovers as well as all the other sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers in our lives, par­ents, teach­ers. Pagsinta is more in­ti­mate, an in­trigu­ing choice.

In daily con­ver­sa­tions, love of coun­try trans­lates as “pag­mama­hal sa bayan.” We would never say, even in the­ater, O Bayan, O Sinta! But then, why shouldn’t we? It might help us to move from empty rhetoric and mind­less singing of “Lu­pang Hini­rang” to a deeper love of coun­try and of fel­low Filipinos that em­pha­sizes, es­pe­cially for lead­ers, serv­ing oth­ers.

Love. Joy. Com­pas­sion. Th­ese are words we avoid in schol­arly ar­ti­cles and ex­changes. Too emo­tional, I was told when I was study­ing. Yet when schol­ars com­ment on other peo­ple’s work, in jour­nals or through Face­book, there is no lack of emo­tions, in­clud­ing the vi­cious ones.

“Lu­pang Hini­rang” teaches us to rec­og­nize the im­por­tance of love and joy in our daily lives. I thought of the re­tir­ing staff who we hon­ored in a spe­cial cer­e­mony, in­clud­ing peo­ple who had been with UP­for­more than 40 years, serv­ing as cooks, wait­ers, or se­cu­rity per­son­nel. They must have found joy, love and pride in what they did.

Lual­hati is joy made ebul­lient by the love put in serv­ing other peo­ple. That de­mands courage, too, and com­mit­ment, in the face of pres­sures to leave gov­ern­ment ser­vice, to seek greener pas­tures. We stay be­cause we are in­spired by oth­ers, and be­cause we con­tinue to hope for better times.

From the 1970s on­ward, “Serve the peo­ple” was a clar­ion call in UP, bor­rowed from China. Through the years, it has be­come al­most a cliché, an empty slo­gan. Per­haps it’s time to re­vive its spirit, re­phrased so serv­ing can be serv­ing peo­ple, na­ture, the na­tion, what­ever we be­lieve in. Serve, with love and joy. Lual­hati’t pagsinta.

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