"Iisang Dagat": The Wildest Lines That Got Our Attention
We wrote down the lyrics so you don't have to.
(SPOT.ph) Remember just a few days ago when the Chinese embassy released a feel-good anthem meant to rally the, uh, totally good and blemish-free relations between our two countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic? No? Managed to wipe the memory from your brain already? Well, we're here to refresh your brain cells; Ignoring your problems won't make them go away, as they say.
Yup, this exists.
The lyrics were penned by Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, as explained in the video's caption—which is, in itself, already a goldmine for quotable quotes. It is dedicated to frontliners from both countries, "especially the China Medical Expert Team to the Philippines," because, of course, this is their embassy, after all.
Complete with recorded scenes of Chinese support to the Philippines, the video shows "a new era partnership of mutual support during trying times and the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind advocated by the Chinese President [His Excellency] Xi Jinping." Let's read that again, just to be sure: "a community with a shared future."
Aside from the caption though, the lyrics paint a very optimistic future—for a "one sea" apparently. Whose sea? We don't know. Whose perspective is this? Both of us? Ours? May tayo ba? What kind of a relationship is this? So many questions, so many thoughts, so many possible meanings. And in case you wanted to go beyond a knee-jerk reaction, we invite you to check out a couple of lines from the short song. There's a lot of hopeful imagery in it. Prepare your eyebrows for some intense furling or raising.
These lines from "Iisang Dagat" deserve a close reading:
Binalot ng dilim, umaasa liwanag ay darating
Pagdating ng liwanag, na ating minimithi, ito'y nagbibigay ng pag-asa sa bawat bansa
Dahil sa iyong pagmamahal, na umaagos na parang alon
Ikaw at ako'y nasa iisang dagat
Ang iyong kamay ay hindi ko bibitawan
Hawak kamay tayo'y patungo sa maliwanag na kinabukasan
China's claims over the West Philippine Sea—using their "nine-dash line" to take basically the entire seas surrounding Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines—has already been proclaimed unlawful by a historic decision by the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands in July 2016. Despite this, China has continued to develop in the disputed territory, establishing two new districts—one on Spratly Islands, the other on Paracel Islands—in early April.
Just a few days before the Chinese embassy released their video for "Iisang Dagat," Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweeted that the Philippines filed two diplomatic protests to the embassy—ironic, we know. One on China's claims over Philippine territory and the other on a Chinese ship's "pointing of a radar gun" at our navy ship in our waters. Both diplomatic protests have been declared "strictly confidential," by the Department of Foreign Affairs. If anything, at least we now have a new song we know not to sing at karaoke.