Saying No to the Business of Injustice

As much as I admire pop bands like Faithless, Gorillaz (love them!), Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, The Pixies, Gil Scott Heron, Devendra Banhart, Snoop Dogg, and The Klaxons (the list goes on) who declare their reluctance to perform in Israel, there might be another option.

It is certainly a brave thing to say no to your fans and to high-level exposure, not to mention the big bucks.  It might be braver to go there and tell the audience that ticket sales will be donated to pay for much needed medical supplies for the people of Gaza.  Now that would be something else.


About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. His latest book is BLOODRED DRAGONFLIES, published by Deep South in South Africa. Check out the official blog page for Bloodred Dragonflies. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. San Anselmo Publications released HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS in 2019 followed by CROCODILES IN BELFAST & OTHER POEMS in 2020 - both books can be purchased through their Facebook page. View all posts by matangmanok

8 responses to “Saying No to the Business of Injustice

  • Diana Yap

    Good day, Mr. Agustin. I’m Diana and I’m currently a freshman student in Ateneo de Manila University. I am to do a report about your poem, “Litel Mis Pilipings” and I was hoping if you could give me some details about yourself (birthday, education, career, fun trivia, etc.). And if it is not too much to ask, also your opinion on the poem so that I can compare it to mine. Sir, if you could, please e-mail me. Thank you so much for your understanding and assisstance. God Bless!

    • matangmanok

      Hi Diana, you can go to and also look for the Tulaan sa Tren by the National Book Development Board of the Philippines – as well as read throug this blog if you want. I don’t explain my work, but I do love hearing what readers have to say about my writing. You can tell me what you think and then ask some questions, that I don’t mind. I can’t promise that I’ll answer all of them though. 🙂

      • Diana Yap

        Thank you Mr. Agustin for the website. I apologize if you tried to email me within the week. I am unable to access my email account.
        I think that Litel Mis Pilipings is about the exploitation of children, particularly little girls. Since little girls are described as innocent and naive, I believe that your poem shows how programs such as beauty pageants expose these little girls in adolescent to adult situations. The little girls are given an early idea of sexuality because of their outfits, performances, and make-up. They are made to practice hard in order to win. For me, having the contestants nameless suggests that since not all of them pursue a career in showbiz after work, they will hardly be remembered. I find that the questions in the last part imply the abuse that affects the contestants.
        If I may Mr. Agustin, what inspired you to write this poem? Why did you enclose the question “Kailan ka rereglahin?”? And why did you place “Komersyal ng mga kunwa-gamot pambata” and “Komersyal ng sanitari napkin, export quality” in the poem. Thank you for your help Sir. 🙂

      • matangmanok

        Diana, a side note: it is interesting that you ask me all these questions in English when the poem is in Filipino.

        Look for the context of the poem. In this case, what daily TV show in the Philippines had this particular contest? Who were the hosts? Try to look for footage of the show in the early 1990s. I wrote many poems during that period (1992 February, if I remember right) – I don’t ask myself why I write particular poems, I just do. As for your other questions, you will have to refer to the TV show and might be surprised how close the poem is to the actual thing.

        ps there is a poem in my first book, Beneath an Angry Star, which might provide you with a bit of information regarding the same TV hosts. The poem is called “Kuwentong Kalbo” and relies heavily on some knowledge of the tragic life of Pepsi Paloma. Or perhaps not. Be warned, there is a rape scene in that poem. Gudlaks. 😛

        And you do know that now you are bound to help me promote my new books, right? hahahahahaha

  • Diana Yap

    Sorry, sir. I know that it’s in Tagalog. It’s just that I’m more comfortable in English and if I were to write whatever I wrote down in Tagalog, it may have taken me much more time. I will check on the poem. Thank you very much for your insights. 🙂
    I’m actually quite used to promoting things, Mr. Agustin. I will definitely mention all your works during my report. Hahaha

    • matangmanok


      Malungkot, napakalungkot kung ganoon ang kalagayan ng mga mag-aaral diyan sa Arrreneowww. Hindi lang pala malungkot kundi nakakatakot isiping mas palagay kang magsulat (at mangusap?) sa Inggles sa halip na sa Filipino. Maliban na lamang kung galing ka sa ibang rehiyon ng ating bansa at kung matatas ka namang magsalita sa wikang iyon ng rehiyong pinagmulan – iyon mauunawaan at matatanggap ko. Makikita mong may kakaibang pag-uugnay na dala ang wika, na ang bawat akda ay may kinakausap. Paano ka kinakausap ng akdang “Litel Mis Pilipings,” Diana? Tinatamaan ka ba? Pinaiisip ka ba? May iba ka bang nadarama o may bagong kaisipan bang ibinabahagi o ipinahihiwatig sa iyo? Sa iyong kasalukuyang kinalalagyan, paano nagiging makahulugan ang akda sa iyo?

      Sana maging pintuan ang tulang ito sa higit na mapagpalayang paglalakbay mo.

  • Diana Yap

    Para sa akin po, hindi ako sang-ayon sa pang-aabuso sa mga babae lalo na sa sitwasyon gaya ng tula niyo. Tutol ako sa mga beauty pageant dahil hindi naman nagbibigay ng respeto na tunay. Ang respeto ay para lang sa mga hitsura nila. Hindi naman lahat ng babae ay payat, matangkad at maganda ang mukha. Para naman sa beauty contest na pang-bata, parehas din ang opinyon ko ngunit dahil bata nga lang sila, lalo akong tumututol. Bago ko po nabasa ang tula ninyo, nakakakita na po ako ng mga palabas sa tv tungkol sa mga beauty pageant na pang-bata. Naaawa ako sa mga bata kapag hindi sila nananalo dahil pinapagalitan sila ng mga magulang nila. Dahil sa tula ninyo nakita ko po na mayroon pang ibang aspekto sa mga beauty pageant na nakakapagpabagabag.

    • matangmanok

      Natagpuan mo ba ang EAT BULAGA! footage? 🙂

      This poem was very popular when I was doing poetry readings in different venues… I wonder if I should make an MP3 file of it just for fun.

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