Baybayin is dead, long live Baybayin!

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I’m back on the Blog after a couple of years to discuss death and disruption. I’ve always been fascinated with death. One of my early childhood memories was watching a VHS tape of Faces of Death. I was a compilation of clips of people getting into accidents, beheadings, etc. You know, normal stuff you see on the internet now. Back then, it was more of a shock factor.

As I got older, I became interested in dying cultures in Africa and Asia. It was natural I would somehow connect death with Philippine cultural practices. My first instance was a section of my Intro to Baybayin book in 2009, where I had a section titled “The Death of Baybayin.” About four years later, I was taking part in a Super Bowl street fair. After talking to about 50 people and explaining the basic script history, it wasn’t resonating. Maybe it was my voice or lack of eye contact. Maybe it was the story I was telling. It was then; I decided to experiment with using a strong absolute term like DEATH. Death is a bulldozer that forces conversations. I learned when you use strong terms; you get strong reactions with strong emotions. Strong emotions cause action. Action kicks Idea’s ass all day long. Death = Action

Even though this was only a few years ago, much has changed in the “Baybayin scene.” Interest has increased every year. This is measurable with data from my FB Baybayin page and private group.

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Facebook Discussion Group

Scripts have frequent exposure in news programs, social media, and even movies. New advocates have popped-up in the Philippines to expose scripts to a new generation.

For years, I, along with others, have championed the term Baybayin kill the erroneous Alibata term. Now it’s time to kill the term Baybayin. This will be a much more difficult task because there isn’t an obvious replacement…yet but maybe there shouldn’t be. As a refresher, Baybayin is a term that means to spell. It’s not a name but a description of an action. Maybe there shouldn’t be a name, and it should be called whatever the term is for writing/spelling in someone’s local language. More on this on another article. The timing of this also coincides with the recent activity around the National Script Act AKA the Baybayin Bill.

As I mentioned above, Action beats Ideas. Here are my action items:
– Move the Baybayin.com blog domain under blog.Kabuay.com. I’ll keep the domain as a landing page because people will still use the search term. I did something similar with an Alibata domain landing page.
– Acknowledging the issues with the term when conducting lectures similar to what I’ve done with prePhilippine and preFilipino.
– Get rid of the Baybayin School branding in my upcoming BalaySchool.org project.

Baybayin is dead, long live Baybayin

EVENT: 7/29 Workshop – San Francisco

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7/29 at the Bayanihan Center in SF
For just a $10-20 donation learn about FIVE different art forms from some phenomenal Bay Area, SF based Pinoy artists:

12 – 1 · Baybayin with Kristian Kabuay
Workshop on the native ancient writing system, Baybayin

1 – 2:30 · Improv with Aureen Almario & Joe Cascasan
An intro to the art of improvisation ~ the exploration of “letting go of fear” & group collab AND Sketch Comedy with Granny Cart Gangstas Sketch comedy writing workshop with the all-female sketch comedy group Granny Cart Gangstas

2:30 – 3:30 · Eskrima with Gregory Manalo
Learn the basics of Maestro Sonny Umpad’s Visayan Style Corto Kadena Eskrima System

3:30 – 5 · Comic Storytelling with Raf Salazar
Watch a special comics demo, and learn about storytelling through the art of comics with group exercises

EVENT: Workshop 3/26 @ Oakland

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This is for a pilot monthly Baybayin workshops. This initial session will be two parts: 1) “An Introduction to Baybayin” covering an overview of the script history to the modern context and 2) A hands-on activity with an in-depth overview of characters and techniques.

While the topic will be geared towards beginners, those who already know how to write the basics will learn my systematic techniques on strokes, teaching and transliterating.

At the end of the session, you’ll learn about:

  • The basic history of the script
  • How the script is being used today
  • How to write the basic characters
  • A technique that allows you to quickly translate words

You’ll get

  • A workbook
  • Paper
  • Calligraphy pen
  • Pencil

More details and register at my preFilipino.com online store

Event: Asian Art Museum 3/5-6 @ San Francisco

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I’ll be back at the Asian Art Museum in SF 3/5 & 3/6 for a large scale‪#‎baybayin‬ performance with my kulintang friends (Kulintronica & Titania Buchholdt) playing while I write. I’ll also have art on display and short talk. This is a collaboration with international Japanese calligraphy artist Aoi Yamaguchiwho’ll have taiko drumming. You won’t want to miss this!
https://www.facebook.com/events/1128208747219633/

Introducing the StinkyFish Podcast. IPO & Philippine Culture of Theft

Here we go again! After calling out the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines in my blog post, it made the rounds of social media and mainstream news.  ABS-CBN, Philstar, When in Manila, thousands of views, netizens comments on the IPOPHL FB page. I myself took part of the fun until I was banned by them 😦 At least I got a rating in. They can’t delete those. So with all that news coverage and comments, they had to make a statement and in typical lawyery fashion, they did and boy was it typical of the cancer that eats at Philippine government.

Here’s the PDF if you want an “official” copy. Apparently you have to release it on PDF to be official. Now let’s breakdown the 2 last points. You can watch the video below for my reaction to the whole thing below…more on that later.

– Baybayin characters are commonly used as in the logos of several government agencies such as the National Museum, National Library, NCCA, AFP and others.

– Baybayin is an ancient script, and no one has the exclusive right to use it.

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First of all, so what if Baybayin is used on several government agencies. What is the point? Did they steal their logos from a designer? All their logos are original artwork. How does that justify stealing?

The 2nd point is where I didn’t expect them to go because even a child knows that if they create artwork using ANY writing system, they know it’s their personal creation. It’s also the same language Walker Underwear used to justify stealing my IP (artwork).

They mentioned “ancient” so does that mean that if it wasn’t, it would be OK? What’s their definition of ancient or did they just get that from somewhere else? They forgot that they’re dealing with Baybayin experts. For arguments sake, let’s say that it’s true that nobody can claim IP for Baybayin because it’s an ancient writing system no matter if they designed art based on the characters in illustrator or painted them. Using IPO’s same definition, the roman alphabet is also an ancient script so anything created using it as a base for the artwork cannot be claimed as IP. What does that now say about the logo for Shoe Mart? Is it not protected because nobody has the exclusive rights to the roman alphabet?

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Here’s something I created for a Surf Company. The Baybayin says Lakas. Because Baybayin is an ancient script, it’s not my intellectual property and anyone can copy the artwork on the shirt and use it for commercial purposes?

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Can people also use the SM logo and make products with it? Hell no! They would protect roman alphabet design to death but since they themselves stole a Baybayin based design, it’s OK for others to do so. Because IPO doesn’t know shit about Baybayin, they treat is differently. They’re basically saying that they will protect the roman alphabet but not Baybayin. How colonial minded can you get? The issue isn’t Baybayin but the artwork created from Baybayin. Get it? prePhilippine script design, typography, art and etc have to be protected the same way the roman alphabet would be. IPO was recently one of the organizers of a jewelry competition. Since nobody owns the rights to precious metals and stones, are their creations not intellectual property? Their logic is extremely flawed.

I do have to thank IPO though for getting me annoyed enough to take action and finally get my new podcast up and running. It’s called Stinky Fish podcast named after my upcoming documentary, Sulat ng Malansang Isda. IPO is definitely a Stinky Fish. Future podcasts will probably be audio only because video takes too long to edit 🙂

Here’s a Dropbox link as mentioned in the video to some of the evidence including concept designs presented, an invitation as a Baybayin resource speaker and timestamps. Want more evidence? Wait for John Leyson to drop the bomb soon.

The sad part as I read though all the hundreds of comments about this issue is that Filipinos aren’t surprised this happened. They’re used to theft, corruption, and being let down.

PS: Ticao Masbate Rizal stone was correct 🙂 My prediction of this Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines issue is that it will go to trial and IPO will win because of corruption.

PSS: The way IPO handled the issue shows how backwards thinking they are. You never delete comments! It shows your weakness and pisses off the people even more. Don’t be anonymous cowards. Sign your stupid PDF statement and let the public know who’s in charge. Also, don’t let your dumb employees comment on the issue praising where she works and giving you a 5 star rating while pretending to be a regular person. Below is a screenshot of Szn Crd defending IPO and rating 5 stars. Thanks to 龍瀧幽歌‎ from Baybayin discussion group on FB. That’s free advice. No charge.

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Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines steals Baybayin logo

Yes, you read that right. Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines stole their Baybayin logo. As you may know, I’ve gone through own issues with theft from Philippine companies. For the record, I contacted the agency for help but never got a response. My buddy Norman de los Santos goes through this several times a year as well with his fonts. This one issue is special because the agency that’s supposed to be the protectors of Intellectual Property in the Philippines stole a concept presented to them during the pitch phase! Design veterans know what I’m talking about. You have your pitch presentation and the client seems to like it then all of a sudden they used your ideas in the product. Very shady shit. So around 2011, John Leyson, who at that time was running the design agency, Liquid and Liquid pitched a redesign of the logo.

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As you can see there’s quite a difference from the cluttered original version. Below is John’s explanation of the logo and you’ll see that they even copied the description.
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From IPO
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This type of blatant behavior coming from the very top is disturbing. It sets a precedence for other companies who’ve already been stealing artwork. This is not fair use or taking inspiration. How can the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines enforce IP laws when they’ve broken it themselves and refused to acknowledge it? John Leyson and team have tried to resolve the issue directly with them but the arrogance of the agency forced this issue to be public. We’ve called them out on their FB page but they just delete the comments. Stay tuned….