The song “”Bayan Ko” (or “My Country”) describes in so many ways a person’s loyalty to one's country, like that of a person who is in a far-off place facing sacrifices and challenges. For those who are not well versed with the song and therefore couldn't relate with its message, in view of language barrier, it doesn't really matter but for those who may be curious to know what it is all about, the song simply refers to nationalism and loyalty to one's country.
This blog shall not endeavor to dig into the origins of the song, its evolution and how the song was utilized by political leaders, opposition groups and nationalist movements raising clinched fists for certain freedom-related causes because I for one is not privy to all these. Rather, it shall delve on how the meaningful lyrics of the song jibe with a person’s sincerity and faithfulness to help one's country to wake up and help its Government do the right thing for its people.
A friend of mine migrated to the West Coast with full of dreams for her family and loved ones. I recall, when I met her in one of international gatherings several years ago while we were still in our respective home countries, there would be some discourses about the relevance of overseas contract workers and other migrant workers’ remittances to a particular country’s economy. She would also impress to me that there’s no way which could make her leave her homeland and stay in another country, transfer the technical knowledge and render professional services to a foreign government. I’ve known my friend to be more of a nationalistic type of person, as much as possible, she would rather serve her own country first before others. As a matter of fact, even most of her fashion “bling” accessories were handmade of indigenous people. She was loyal to her native land and very supportive of the programs of their Government.
I was surprised to learn that she and her family had transferred to the U.S. via a political asylum basis. Her family belongs to a minority group in their homeland based on my understanding. I don't know what really happened, what made her change her mind, but to make the story short, they made it here in the U.S., despite the entirely new and diverse setting, different people, race and religion. They became successful and enjoyed a better life because of guts, determination and hard work.
While her family are benefiting from the fruits of their labor, not to mention the perks and incentives from her employer and the advantages of being a citizen in an adopted land, she sees to it, all the time, that she’s in constant contact with her colleagues and peers in her home country. In fact, she had subscribed to certain cable TV shows so she could be updated of developments about her home country, particularly on current affairs and economic related matters, apart from global news on the internet and online articles. In times of calamities, she would try her best to donate something and initiate fund raising activities for the victims and affected families, despite of her being preoccupied with so many things. She doesn’t falter to help her country in any way she can, sans recognition, photo ops and klieg lights because she feels that a little aid would make her country rise up again, grow and prosper without setting any conditions, time frame and boundaries.
What my friend unceasingly does could be her way of responding to what it means to be loyal, faithful or should I say patriotic to one’s native land. Being loyal and patriotic don’t specifically mean all the time that one has to be radical, i.e., joining mass protests, toppling inefficient leaders or becoming a soldier to fight for one’s country. It could be simpler than that, just like what my friend is doing. While she could probably be suffering from loyal challenges, i.e., torn between her newly loved country and her dearly native land, the situation, however, does not bother her at all. And this to me is something heroic as my friend views loyalty to one’s country from a different perspective and not just merely from political and economic stand point. Her loyalty comes from the heart, particularly her pure intentions to help. One time she said that in order to be loyal in any given situation, be to your partner, country or anything, one must learn to how to love and embrace the strengths and weaknesses of the other. In this case, she has learned to love more and totally embrace her poverty-stricken country and at the same time contributing something in any way she can for it to thrive.
We have to face the fact that people has the option and the need to roam around to seek for greener pastures. We wander from one place to another to search primarily for much better situation for our family. Leaving one's native land is not bad and does not make a person disloyal at all. Note that we are all mere migrants here on earth. In fact, even the first settlers here in America are migrants, they came from other places mainly for the same reason to look for “food on the table”. What is important however, is that where ever a person is, he or she should show his/her love and respect to the newly adopted country in various ways, such as following rules and regulations (e.g. paying taxes, etc.), develop new friends but at the same time keeping the love for one's old country.
In retrospect, loyalty or being faithful is a virtue. In fact, God said we should be loyal to HIM. Of course, there are ways and means on how to be loyal to one’s country, family, religion, and the like but I shall refrain from elaborating on the other aspects (such as family, religion, etc.) as it would boil down to ethical standards. I intend to steer clear of touching “ethics” per se as it would make this blog messy, a topic which truly could be debatable to some.
Going back to my friend’s case, she genuinely possess the virtue of loyalty to her home country and it is something uncommon nowadays, reflective only of her being good-natured person. She has definitely not forgotten her native land and she always tries her best to help by making herself available to them in times of need and I hope everyone of us, regardless of one's race, should feel and do the same thing as my friend.
The video of the song “Bayan Ko” courtesy of You Tube, as shown below, was beautifully rendered by an amazing foreign-trained choir from Korea. The choir presented a non-Korean song but their version reinforced the intent of both the lyrics and melody of the song which are beyond doubt full of sentiments and meaning that even, I myself, was truly touched by it….(hmnnn, starting to have clouds in my eyes….!)
Magnifico! Bravo! Korean choir, you guys rock!