AGREE. My comment last Monday about Arnel Pineda’s “rape” of the Philippine National Anthem or Lupang Hinirang before the Pacquiao-Clottey bout in Texas elicited a favorable reaction from songbird Laura Aparri-Bacus. She agreed with me that singing the anthem should not be stylized. Laura texted that she respects a singer’s artistic freedom but when it comes to interpreting the Lupang Hinirang, one must do it in a martial beat or marching tempo as its composer, Julian Felipe, had wanted it to be properly sung.

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POINT. Laura has a point when she said in her text message that singing the anthem minutes before any boxing bout is not like performing in a concert. If I may add to her valid point, the anthem should never—again, never—be sung as a vocal gymnastics just to get the people’s attention and admiration. One should not “beautify” and “glamorize” the anthem because it is not like any other song that can easily be stylized. For “raping” the anthem before the Pacquiao-Clottey fight, Arnel should be penalized.

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ASSAIL. Another reader has a contrary view. He/she texted that when it comes to music, it’s more important to be able to express yourself rather than just follow old and boring tunes that no longer bring out any emotion. He/she even assailed me for my being a lyricist who has no clue about writing songs. “Shame on you. Stop writing columns that show how pathetic you are,” his/her text says.

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PITY. I pity this reader. It is clear that when it comes to singing the anthem, he/she does not mind if someone “rapes” it in favor of expressing himself/herself rather than do it the proper way. As lyricist of several festival songs, including Hiniusang Simbahan that has Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal’s imprimatur, I would feel offended and insulted if any of my songs will be “murdered” with a change of its lyrics.

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COWARD. This reader, by the way, is a coward for hiding his/her identity. While he/she claims to be a band performer whose group has already produced some albums, he/she didn’t mention the band’s name.

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RADIOMAN. This ex-radioman is now based in Mindanao after a Cebu-based station where he used to work for fired him after he destroyed expensive broadcast equipment. (E-mail: samcost@yahoo.com or call/text 09163999909)