Wednesday, June 21, 2006
This second time, there was a bit of a controversy because some of the people in the audience did not understand what the presentation was all about. They sort of accused (probably too strong a word to use here but I can't think of any) the Kalanguya performers to have called on evil spirits in their midst (which of course was a very big insult to the Kalanguya believers). But even then, this accusation made the performers ask themselves what they did wrong or uncultural or unclear. They found out that there was not much introduction as to what is going to be presented because they assumed that the audience who are all ministers of God among minorities (like the Kalanguya) would know better than to believe that the Kalanguya believers would dare to "call evil spirits" in the midst of believers. Some comments made by two or three people made the Kalanguyas think that they are accused of being syncretistic.
My heart went out to them. Tribal people (at least my tribe) look up to missionaries. Somehow, there is a blind belief that a missionary can say or do no wrong at least when it comes to judging other people. Apparently, these tribal performers were branded as unbelievers when in fact they went there to testify to the grace of God in their lives by showing an audience who and what they were before and who and what they are now that God has brought changes in their lives.
Personally, I think that it was just a matter of interpretation or misinterpretation. The performers assumed that the audience knows what is going on--that they are seeing a life of "Then and Now" but as it turned out, this assumption was not present in the mind of some of the audience and so it resulted to some unnecessary comments. Kalanguyas are culturally bound to assume very much. They assume that other people are smarter than them; that all their brothers or sisters in the faith will give them the benefit of a doubt--that a person won't think this Kalanguya would say or do something that will offend someone else and so if it happens that someone is offended by what a Kalanguya does then that someone is assumed to think that it is not intended in any way. Due to all this, it hurts the Kalanguya too much when he is deemed to have acted in an offensive way when in fact he did not. I guessed what I am saying is, we should not overreact about things that we don't understand. Because in that overreaction, we might undermine someone else's cultural orientation. Having said that, I am proud to quote what the hurt Kalanguya said after mulling over the situation. He said, "It's good that this happens. Now, we know that before any performance, we need to know who our audience are. What are their dearly-held values? How would they react to this? And now, we know better than just go up the stage and dance and recite our rituals without specifically stating that we are testifying to God's love to us by showing them aspects of our past animistic culture/religion and how God changed it."
Kalanguya, keep on! You are doing a great job! After all, it is to God whom we shall account our deeds... Let him who doesn't understand be enlightened and let him who is enlightened share the light to others...
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Southern Subanen MTTs IN ACTION!
In my past entries, I have asked all of you to pray for the Southern Subanen Mother Tongue Translators' Workshop that Bong and I were planning to conduct in Zamboanga Sibugay. Praise and Glory be to God for His faithfulness in answering your prayers, and our gratitude to you also who prayed for this ministry.
Pastor Lumawan (Bong's dad) invited 20 pastors and laymen/women to attend the workshop (and I went like WHAT??? 20 TRANSLATORS FOR ONE LANGUAGE???) so I prayed for lesser... (hehehe) Only 11 participants came during the first day but on the second day, there were only 5. The participants represent 3 provinces of Mindanao (Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay), all Southern Subanen native speakers. Their motivation is very high so we are considering doing another workshop this year. It will take a lot of my time away from Kalanguya (not to mention Agta/Ayta workshop) but it is very inspiring to teach this people. :) Bong and I will try to get NPMTTA (and other organizations) involved in this. And we're prayerfully hoping to have one of these Southern Subanen translators to qualify for AGS next year. Following is an excerpt from a letter that I wrote to a mentor of mine during the worskhop.
"I was apprehensive when I first came but now I'm glad I said yes. This was supposed to be a vacation, but I'm pleased with the way the Lord has been working. The receptiveness of these people is just so inspiring. They are very eager and really motivated. It reminds me of my fervor during the early phase of the Kalanguya translation. It not only reminded me, it refreshed me and renewed my fervor too. I was kind of on a 'mild depression' after we finished consultant checking our Kalanguya translation, but now, I'm back (I always get depressed after a big project (heheh). Praise our great God for His imagination... :) even behind my tired mind and spirit, He is there giving me the much needed nudge, and now He did not give me just a nudge, He really took away the clouds that has been clouding this plan for the past two years. A Subanen tribal queen committed to financially support the translation and Dad is also working on getting the provincial government to support it by including dictionary making in the translation project. There's still a lot to be done here but I know that God will touch people who will do this work with Bong and I or even without Bong and I. ":)
There is also the possibility of inviting some of the Southern Subanen MTTs to go up north to attend NPMTTA or LMTTT and I think that would be good. If the LMTTT continues and they will be having Book workshops like we had in NPMTTA, the Subanens (not Subanon, they are very particular about that. A Subanon, according to them is anyone who settles along side a river :) can benefit from that too.
Our immediate need for these new translation team is computers and translation programs/tools... Pastor Lumawan (Bong's father) is working on getting the government involved but from experience, I know that government assistance takes forever sometimes, so if we can have other sources, it would be better. The translators (Subanen Team) will be drafting 10 chapters each of Genesis by hand these coming months. I promised to send them the Translators Handbooks (paperback/hardbound) that Seed company sent me a few years ago. Other than that, their resources are very limited. Some of the Pastors who are teaching at Biblical institutes have access to Bible dictionaries and other commentaries but not all of them have that luxury.
Following is the Team's Plan for the Future. Please pray for them.
The Subanen team have assigned 10 chapters each of Genesis to be done by the five translators with at least 3-5 chapters exegeted, drafted, comprehension checked, committee checked, and BTed by the end of 2006 and ready for consultant checking on the third Southern Subanen workshop in the Summer of 2007.
The translators, being church pastors also agreed to prepare their Sunday Sermons or Bible study topics from the book or chapters that are assigned to them to translate to aid them in exegeting/studying the passages they shall translate.
Monitoring shall be coordinated by the Rev. Fortunato Lumawan and shall be relayed to Bong and Margie Lumawan.
In the immediate future, the SS Translation team hopes to send one of their members to take the Linguistics and Bible Translation Training in AGS. They also hope to send one or two to attend the Dictionary making workshop of the NPMTTA in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya later this year.
Future plans as Indicated by the Participants
- Frequency of workshop – Twice a year (May and December)
- Workshop Topics
- Translation Principles and Poetry Workshop to finish Chapter 2 of Jonah, Checking of Drafted book (Jonah for December 2006)
- Peer checking workshop/Team building workshop
- Dictionary Making Workshop
- Book Workshops (Genesis – Summer 2007)
- Grammar Workshop
- Discourse Workshop