Music video ‘Save our Seas’ takes on new life amid outrage over China’s ‘Iisang Dagat’
MANILA, Philippines—A months-old music video produced by Filipino, Vietnamese and Malaysian artists is being breathed new life, putting into song the struggle for sovereignty in Southeast Asian waters and appearing to counter a Chinese embassy music video that has drawn outrage for its subtle message about China owning the entire South China Sea.
The music video, “Save Our Seas,” is a collaboration of Vietnamese and Filipino rappers Tu P and Marx Sickmind and Malaysian singer Mei Lee.
Set to a hip hop beat, it tells about the fight for sovereignty in the South China Sea.
Though it was first released late in 2019, the collaborative work made the rounds on social media again after the Chinese embassy in Manila released “Iisang Dagat (One Sea)” which was purportedly to promote cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lyrics of Save Our Seas appeared to be directed at Chinese actions in the South China Sea. Some of the song’s lyrics read:
They claim reclamation, but how can you reclaim what never belonged to your nation?
The UN court of arbitration state condemnation of continued aggravation
by the ones who want to take it
Historically there was freedom of the seas but no ownership
Now you wanna own the waters, even own the fish
Taking the food, causing destruction to our environment
The 2016 decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled that Beijing’s claims have no basis and its South China Sea construction frenzy was illegal.
An old Philippine Navy institutional video is also making the rounds on social media following the backlash against Iisang Dagat.
The Philippine Navy video, released in time for its 110th anniversary in 2008, showcased its capabilities with the song “Iisang Bangka (One Boat)” by the band The Dawn as background music.
The Chinese embassy’s Iisang Dagat was released a few days after the Philippine government filed diplomatic protest over a Chinese warship’s hostile act against a Philippine Navy ship in Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.
The Chinese warship aimed its weapons at the BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39) after the Philippine vessel radioed the Chinese warship for intrusion into Philippine territory.
The Chinese embassy production, according to maritime expert Prof. Jay Batongbacal, “is seen very clearly by most of our people as propaganda.”
Batongbacal, director of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said in an interview with ANC that while Iisang Dagat “supposedly highlights cooperation over COVID-19” it highlighted “the so-called Iisang Dagat which everyone knows is contested.”
“Everyone knows that China, in the eyes of the Filipino people, is taking away the West Philippine Sea,” Batongbacal said.
It was as if China was saying that despite the pandemic, it cannot be stopped from setting foot in all of the West Philippine Sea, he said.
Retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who played a crucial role in securing the Philippines’ historic victory against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, said “China’s propaganda is on overdrive.”
“China is not letting the COVID-19 crisis go to waste. As it donates PPE (personal protective equipment) to us, China strengthens its hold on the islands it seized from us,” he told INQUIRER.net.
Edited by TSB
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