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So what am I doing here?
Having some fun at Patrick Recording Studio.:-)
Creating documentary video is cool yet very challenging. It is a complicated form of art- a combination of different forms of art which makes it a bit exhausting especially if you do it alone. I started this hobby back in 2006 when one of my clients asked me if I could do an infomercial video for their tourism spots. I was into print ad and video making was new to me at that time. Nevertheless, I accepted the job and hired talented staff to work with me. I wrote the script, hired videographer and directed the entire project. It was a very unforgettable experienced, indeed. After my first video project, I started to get more of this kind and learn its intricacies. This is one of the most challenging works I discovered. Slowly, I learned its different stages-from script to the final DVD output. The work is demanding that I must learn how to use the camera, edit videos, and today, I can’t believe I’m doing the voice over too.
Doing voice over is not easy as it may sound. I can easily sense a good quality voice with correct diction. This is the reason why a lot of voice talent who worked with me sometimes spent several hours in the recording studio for a 15-minute video script.
This time, however, I was forced to do the voice over of my documentary video due to circumstances beyond my control. It was not that easy. Fortunately, the owner who is also the one in charge of technical works in the studio was so patient with me.
One important lesson I discovered, it was easier to do a voice over when you are relaxed and you enjoy what you are doing.
For the past week, I was hired to do a photo documentation of Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute’s (MPI) 3-week long training workshop at Brokenshire Resort and Convention Center, Davao City, Philippines. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to start on its first week of training due to my hectic sched. Nevertheless, my week-long experience was a fruitful one. I learned lots of things; not only in the new features of my camera but above all, I discovered MPI-the people within and around it, and the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Programs and Services. I also discovered that there are great people from all walks of life and from different parts of the globe working together for peace and harmony regardless of religion, cultural differences, race, gender, age, and profession.
This year’s event is the 13th year of MPI training for peace builders. Its theme “Restoring Justice, Building Peace” is aptly connected to the global call for justice and peace. Converging to discuss and learn possible ways to advance peace and harmony are 130 participants and 15 facilitator/trainers from 22 countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Fiji, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Laos, Myanmar/Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor Leste, United Kingdom and USA. The training started last May 14 and will end on June 1, 2012.
On its second week opening ceremony, Prof. Alzad Sattar, delivered a moving, inspirational message that is worth pondering. With his permission I am posting his message to this site. Hope it would inspire us all to work and live for PEACE as the holy Bible says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God”.
Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)
Peace advocates and peacebuilders… peace be upon us all.
Let me begin my message with my personal experience and how I become peace advocate like you. I grew up in a conservative Muslim family and I studied in a conservative Madrasah/Islamic school in my beloved province of Basilan. You can now picture out what kind of person I was. I was born during martial law period where military who happens to be Christians and rebels who happen to be Muslims fighting one another. Many members of my families and relatives died at that time. Rido or family feud was also prevalent. My mother once related to me a massacre incident where my grandfather, my uncle, my older brother and a relative got killed at the same time. My father was shot dead in front of me when I was 10 -11 years of age. In fact, if time allows I can even relate the whole story in detail. When I have my tertiary education I enrolled in AB Political Science. That’s where I got exposed to the real situation of the Philippines particularly the Mindanao. The All-Out-War during the time of Erap Estrada administration in 2000 where they ate pork in Camp Abubakr and desecrated the mosque and the Holy Qur’an, followed by the Warrantless Arrest of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Administration in 2001 against the Abu Sayyaf Group, where majority of innocent civilians illegally apprehended by the military, with due respect to the good guys of men in uniform, and put them behind bars without due process of law and the situation of Muslims outside world like Palestine where children are killed helplessly created hatred in my heart towards non-Muslims. To cut the story short I became an activist and a radical human rights advocate or Muslims Rights to be specific. During the warrantless arrest of Arroyo administration mentioned above, I took the cudgel of exposing the human rights violations done by the military through Friday sermons, meetings, fora, conferences and even during my classes as I was then teaching Bill of Rights at the time. To stop me from doing so, men in uniform illegally apprehended me while on my way to school to teach and unjustly branded as Abu Sayyaf. After 3 days of persecution I landed in Provincial jail of Basilan and incarcerated for more than 2 months until finally out, through bail bond despite the fact that there was an order from DOJ national “All Abu Sayyaf Suspects, No Bail Bond Recommended”. In fairness with the judge at that time who is a Christian himself, he did not hesitate to approve my bail after series of hearings. The agony did not stop there, it took me more than 4 years to be acquitted from the case. There was even a time when I studied in the University of the Philippines, Diliman for my Masters in Islamic Studies one of my brothers called me up and told me that I need to come home immediately because I have a hearing the following day. I rushed out to the ticketing office and bought a plane ticket and got home the same day, only to find out the hearing is postponed. But believe’t or not my dear peacebuilders, what had happened to me was a blessing disguise in some way or the other. If you ask me why? The answer is because it paved way to my “paradigm shift” from a radical activist to peace advocate through interfaith dialogue. This was because during my incarceration Muslims and non-Muslims are living in harmony inside the jail. I started to realize that we can live hand-in-hand despite our differences in beliefs and faiths. So I actively participated in interfaith dialogue and other peace related activities in and outside the country. To conclude, I know everyone has a story to tell. But, whatever your story is, be it personal or not, political or not, remember that “THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PEACE.” Peace is everybody’s business regardless of tribes, races, religions and even professions. As Jesus Christ said “Blessed are the peace makers.” I am also reminded of a verse from the Holy Qur’an which says: “O people, verily, We created you from a male and a female (Adam and Eve) and made you into nations and tribes for you to know and understand each other (not to despise one another). Verily, the most honorable of you in the sight of God is the one who fear HIM most.” Therefore, if we can be friends why become enemies? Let us work one another and make the world a better place to stay not only for us but to include the next generation to come. I hope I inspired you all to become more dedicated and committed peace advocates and put aside grudges, hard feelings, and bigotry.
Thank you for listening and have wonderful and fruitful sessions until the end of the course.
Prof. Sattar is one of the MPI 2012 facilitators and the Undersecretary of Madaris Education, DepEd ARMM, Isabela City, Basilan. He can be reached through his email address: email@example.com
I don’t know why but children is one of my favorite subjects. Wherever I go, I love to stare at them, and discuss lots of things with them. Kids are just, beautiful, lovely, amazing-no matter how dirty or malnourished they are. Could it be because of their innocence and uncomplicated viewpoint of life? Or am I not yet over with my childhood days? Whatever.
For the past days, I was so busy with my video documentary work. Taking pictures and videos are both fun and stressful. In one particular setting, my attention was caught by a bunch of curious and noisy kids watching us while I was giving instructions to those involved in the production. At break time, I tried to get a snap shot of them but they were too shy and quick. Every time I turned my camera to their direction, they turned their heads and ran away as if I was going to shoot them with gun. At last, I was able to get this shot after how many attempts…:-)
Friends come and go and so are visitors. For the past days, I was so busy doing this huge commissioned painting at home. As early as five in the morning, I have to wake up, take a bath, and off to the canvas. This is my routine now. Paint. Eat. Sleep. Take a bath. And paint again-from sun up to sun down. Every three in the afternoon, I have to take a short break for snacks. Though I already have something to consume inside the house, I always buy a turon (Banana Lumpia) from those two little kids who keep on coming every three in the afternoon. The girls aged six and five would drop by in the house to sell their crunchy and delicious turon. Then they would stare into my canvas and ask a lot of questions.
“It’s beautiful but I don’t understand it.”
“It’s a flower but it looks… I don’t know.”
“When can you finish that?”
“Would you mind if I’ll give this painting to you as my payment for your turon?” I asked them.
“NO!” they firmly answered.
“Lugi mi (It’s our loss).”
“What we need is money.”
“Your painting is so big and we can’t carry that.”
“Our parents will get mad at us”.
Every day at 3 p.m., they never fail to drop buy and sell their banana lumpia. And every day, I keep on telling them about my proposal- a 48” x 69” painting in exchange for two pieces of turon. Believe me; it was easier for me to close a fifty thousand deal to some of my clients than to these two little kids. They thought it wasn’t a fair deal and they were on a losing end. Anyway, my persistence came to an end when one warm afternoon, at 3 p.m., the two kids bid farewell.
“This is our last chance to sell these delicious turon to you…”
“Why?” I was surprised.
“Adto mi bukid ugma (tomorrow we’ll go to the province).”
I didn’t know what hit me, but I felt down hearing those words. For two weeks, these kids had become a part of my daily routine. I was all alone in the house, and these little angels became my company at 3 p.m. As they waved their hands, I also gave them my best wishes and prayers.
A day after the kids bid goodbye, a group of young ladies dropped by and introduced themselves as Lorna, Aida, and Fe (of course these are not their real names ). From their looks I could tell that they belonged to a certain church and they wanted to proclaim their beliefs. We had different perspective when it comes to Christian faith but as courtesy, I didn’t object to whatever they said. It was better to avoid argument and finish my work rather than staging a debate about salvation. After all, only heaven knows, and nobody holds the ultimate truth. In few minutes, they thanked me for sharing my time and bid farewell.
Yesterday, another unexpected visitor came while I was busy polishing my work. A filthy woman in her fifties dropped by and mumbled words that I didn’t understand. She was carrying a lot of useless items in her big plastic bag. She then stared at me and shouted, “Gago man diay kang buanga ka! (You crazy idiot!).” I was a bit shocked but continued to work on my canvas. She stayed for half an hour talking to herself and from time to time she would shout at me. Then she left without bidding goodbye.
One big painting.
Three types of visitors: the cheerful-innocent-profit-oriented kids, the three ladies who shared their views of salvation, and a mentally challenged old woman who didn’t say goodbye. How about you? Who is your visitor today?