Saturday, March 17, 2012

Freedom from Billboards

Abe V Rotor
Empty giant billboard frame built atop a building along power lines and a busy street in Metro Manila.

Don't go out to the streets, don't!
But if you must, don't forget to wear a hard hat. 
Mark your route away from towering billboards - giant sails sailing in the sky.
Bigger, taller than the sails of galleon ships, the steamer, and the clipper.
These giant sails sway in the wind, bending to its force and direction, but going nowhere.
So they just stand firm: building, steel frame, tarpaulin, fighting the gusty wind.
Shaking, vibrating in intensities that cause headaches, blurred vision, panic at the thought of earthquake and storms.
And responding to weather warning, are hauled down and rolled.
After the typhoon is over, are back, sailing the sky again.
But how many cars, houses have been destroyed, how many victims pinned under crushing steel frames and flying debris? 

They block the sky on blue days or gray, harangue vision and attention.
But what do they tell?
Products and services - vicious, assuming, bold and fresh, ads and lies.
They make you to spend more, building a culture around brands and trade marks.
They spread sex and violence, consumerism, bilmoko (bili mo ako) among children. 
They cause road accidents, traffic delays, honking cars.  (Move on, move on!)

It's a democratic world, don't argue freedom and human rights?
Advertisers cry freedom of expression through billboards, artists of their art (?),
commerce and industry of free market, media of information. 
And ask, who owns space above our heads? The sky?  The city?
The poor citizen is the victim.  He falls into a tender trap of capitalism, of materialism as measure of progress.

Don't talk of your rights, just don't go out into the streets.
And keep away from these billboards, whether as passerby or resident.
And if others do the same, these billboards will be hauled down one by one.
Then the sky is free once more.
You will not wear a hard hat,
People will live more decent lives.
And enjoy Freedom from Billboards. ~   

Accident Prone Traffic

Abe V Rotor