Thu. Jul 29th, 2021

QUITE true to its reputation as a master news illusionist, on April 26, 2020, the Philippine Daily Inquirer ran this story: “Chinese embassy’s ‘One Sea’ video draws wave of anger” by Pocholo Concepcion and Rey Anthony Ostria.

The paper reported: “Netizens raged after watching the video of the song ‘Iisang Dagat (One Sea),’ co-produced by the Chinese Embassy and featuring Camarines Sur Vice Gov. and ‘Jukebox Queen’ Imelda Papin, Chinese diplomat Xia Wenxin, Chinese-Filipino singer Jhonvid Bangayan and Chinese actor Yu Bin performing the song with Chinese and Filipino lyrics.

“Uploaded on YouTube on April 24, the video has tallied 73,000 dislikes and 792 likes as of this writing.

“Thousands more vented their ire through Facebook, as well as on the Twitter account of Papin’s daughter Maffi Papin Carrion.”

I hesitate to dwell on the cited figures of likes and dislikes. The boosting mechanism inherent in online posts puts doubt on the integrity of numbers. They could be manipulated depending on how much you have to spend to generate desired likes or dislikes, or how large a machinery you could mobilize to achieve needed results.

What I would rather seek to clarify is the evident malice the Inquirer proceeded from in treating the issue. The very opener says it all: “Of all the metaphors it could use…”

The phrase is sarcasm, as indicated by the abbreviation it suffers. That’s style, in any case, and all writers have the license to do so. But elsewhere in the article, the writers make statements that serve to enlighten readers on exactly what metaphor was being referred to in that opening phrase.

Under the subhead “Shared waters?” here is what the writers say: “What mainly set netizens off was the song’s titular ‘sea’ being a body of water supposedly shared by China and the Philippines — Asian neighbors locked in a longstanding dispute and on-and-off diplomatic spats over maritime claims in the West Philippine Sea.”

See the Inquirer sleight of hand?

To readers conditioned by the paper and its ilk in the US-promoted anti-China hate campaign among Filipinos, the very simple trick of citing the “sea” in the video title accomplishes the equation of that word to the “body of water supposedly shared by China and the Philippines — Asian neighbors locked in a longstanding dispute and on-and-off diplomatic spat over maritime claims in the West Philippine Sea.”

In other words, what the Inquirer passed on to readers was the idea that what “Iisang Dagat” in the video refers to is the West Philippine Sea.

I viewed the video over and over again just to check if this was so. In none of this viewing did I ever find a foot that said “Iisang Dagat” is West Philippine Sea.

I checked YouTube and discovered that there is this other video, another version of the original, which instead of the singers cited by the story (Papin, Xia, Bangayan and Yu Bin), what appeared were merely the lyrics in subtitles corresponding to the song audio.

With the alternative treatment, it became unmistakable that what Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, who wrote the lyrics, meant by “Iisang Dagat” is — far from being the West Philippine Sea — the common struggle of Chinese and Filipinos against the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the benefit of readers, here are the words sung in “Iisang Dagat”:

Iisang Dagat

Sa lamig ng panahon
Tayo ay hinahamon
Binalot ng dilim
Umaasa liwanag ay darating

Pagdating ng liwanag
Na ating minimithi
Ito ay nagbibigay pag-asa
Sa bawa’t bansa

Dahil sa iyong pagmamahal
Na umaagos na parang alon
Hawak-kamay tayo’y patungo
Sa maliwanag na kinabukasan
Ikaw at ako ay nasa iisang dagat
Ang iyong pagmamahal
Aking kasama
Ang iyong kamay
Ay hindi ko bibitiwan
Maaliwalas na kinabukasan
Ating masisilayan
Sa lamig ng panahon
Tayo ay hinahamon
Binalot ng dilim
Umaasang liwanag ay darating
Muling sisikat ang araw
Ang init ay madarama
Ito’y magbibigay ng pagasa
Sa bawat bansa
Dahil sa iyong pagmamahal
Na umaagos na parang alon
Hawak-kamay tayo’y patungo
Sa maliwanag na kinabukasan

(English version)

One Sea

In the cold of weather
A challenge we encounter
In the bleak of the night
We direly wait for the coming of light

When light does come shining on
In cherished brilliant sheen
Oh, marvel at great hope it heaps on
To every nation

Because of your deep consuming love
That sweeps like one powerful ocean wave
Hand in hand we go on a journey
To what we’ve always dreamed as glorious new day
You and I together in one single sea
Between us is all heart
We shall never part
Your hand in mine gripped tight
We will survive this fight
It won’t be long before we see the dawning
The day of final reckoning
In the cold of weather
A challenge we encounter
In the bleak of night
We direly wait for the coming of light
The sun will shine once more
Will warm our hearts true as before
Oh, marvel at great hope it heaps on
To every nation
Because of your deep consuming love
That sweeps like a powerful ocean wave
Hand in hand we go on a journey
To what we’ve always dreamed as glorious new day.

With the above lyrics, how could the Inquirer ever have thought of deducing that what is being alluded to in the video is the South China Sea, err, as America would term it and as the Inquirer would repeat after it time and again, the West Philippine Sea?

And setting the words against the visuals of the video, there is not a foot of an image showing such a sea.

There are just two peoples working hand in hand in all aspects of science, medicine, health technology and day-to-day economics during the coronavirus crisis, never for once losing grip of one another, but ever sweeping each other with powerful waves of love so that thereby they are tossed above the tempest of the Covid-19 pandemic — thence to sail on to the breaking of a new silver lining. (ia/SovereignPH.com)

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