Kaleidoscope Memories

For twenty pesos, you can take a peek at a different world filled with colors, shapes, and patterns. Spin it, twirl it, shake it, and let the beautiful world unfold before your eyes.

It was the kaleidoscope. It was the twenty-peso kaleidoscope that my father gave me when I was about six years old. It was about six inches long whose tube has a green color with drops and sprays of other different colors that looks like the psychedelic variant of jawbreaker candies. Back in the days of my childhood, of simplicity, of actually exploring on real things, I considered my kaleidoscope as something of great value. I brought it to school, brag it among my friends, and played with it whenever I got bored with my action figures.

As I grew up, I shifted my focus on other things. From the small peephole of the kaleidoscope, I focused on other bright, moving, and colorful things of the real world. I got engrossed with other things that are “in” during my growing up years – action figures of Gundam robots, computer games, and mini 4WD race cars among others. I totally forgot about my kaleidoscope.

Sadly, I can no longer find that kaleidoscope that my father gave me when I was a little boy. Maybe it got lost in our old house. Or maybe my parents gave it away, together with my other childhood stuff, during the time when I was away for eight years, studying. Odd as it may sound, I felt that something was also taken from me with the loss of that kaleidoscope. You may argue that why whine on that cheap toy when I can always buy a new one. But there is something on that green, psychedelic-looking, six-inch tube. It has a sentimental value. It has good memories with it. It reminds me of the days of me being innocent and carefree. It reminds me of the good old days of my childhood.

Then, there is this anthem by Francis Magalona called Kaleidoscope World. It was a song included in his 1995 album Freeman and later included in the compilation album, Best of FrancisM. Though I admit that it was already a bit late when I discovered this song (I think I was already in High School or about six years after it was originally released), I immediately fell in love its subtlety, catchy chorus, poetry, and its message.

The chorus, with its utmost simplicity, speaks of the vibrant and colorful message. Who would not love the lines “Every color, every hue is represented by me and you. Take a slide in the slope. Take a look in the kaleidoscope. Spinnin’ round, make it twirl in this kaleidoscope world..” ?

We all have different interpretations of songs. My understanding may be different from you or the composer. I saw Kaleidoscope World as a song of harmony and unity. It is the perfect example of “unity in diversity”. We may be different by race, color, social status, age, gender, intelligence, and power but we all form the beautiful and colorful shapes and patterns in the kaleidoscope. Together, just like the pebbles, papers, and other stuff inside the kaleidoscope we can form a beautiful world, a harmonious dimension, and a colorful humanity.

Perhaps, this is Kiko’s legacy not only to the Filipino people but to the whole world. This song, if only its spirit is lived and understood by most people, can be an anthem of change. This song can be a catalyst to inspire more people to accept each other despite of our differences. By this song, together with other great songs that speaks of peace, unity, and harmony, the world will know peace.

I first met Francis when I was about four years old. My kuya, an artist, was busy then painting a portrait of Francis Magalona in a one-eighth illustration board at our old kubo. The face was familiar. He’s the man behind the infectious patriotic song Mga Kababayan Ko. And I have watched him on the movie Mama’s Boys with Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., and Anjo Yllana.

I saw Francis as a revolutionary young face that will achieve great heights. He challenged the conventional music style of his age. His music paved way for the unification of the then-opposing sides of Pinoy hip-hop and rock by experimenting on the merging of rap with rock music. After all, music is the language that should unite us, not divide us.

But more importantly, I saw Francis as a young man, whose heart is united with his beloved land. He redefined patriotism. He made it easier for the youth of this generation to appreciate and understand. And he showed us how great a race and nation we are.

Pride. Identity. Meaning. Perhaps, he saw that before we can shout to the world that we love our country, we must first know what it really means to be a Filipino.

I saw Mga Kababayan Ko then as an anthem which promotes Pinoy pride and identity along with the songs Ako’y Isang Pinoy by Florante and Tayo’y mga Pinoy by Heber Bartolome (and later recorded and reinvented by the Man from Manila himself). These three songs, together with our regular Monday school anthem Ako ay Pilipino, were my first inspirations to love my country, to appreciate my Pinoy identity, and to be proud of my ancestry. And this was long before Pinoy Ako by Orange and Lemons and Noypi by Bamboo.

He may have gone at a young age but what is more important is that he had lived his life with meaning. He has influenced a whole generation. He has inspired many with his music. And with that, he is already immortal.

For the past months, I have always been stuck in front of a clean paper, staring at it for hours, unable to write. Maybe it’s writer’s block or lack of creative juices. Or maybe I fear that my readers would not appreciate my work. That is the reason why this blog has been “dead” for a long period of time.

As I have mentioned above, it was only during High School when I discovered Kaleidoscope World. the funny thing is, during the time when this song was originally released, it was also the time when I have been so engrossed with my kaleidoscope. I came up with this article earlier this morning when I tweeted about kaleidoscope and whether the kids of today know what this is. It is inspired, of course, by Francis Magalona’s song. I asked myself, when was the last time when I actually held and peeked at a kaleidoscope? What happened to my old kaleidoscope?

And then it came to me. I suddenly remembered the happy memories associated with my kaleidoscope. I felt young again, energetic, and full of dreams. That nostalgia brought me inspiration. And I didn’t realize, I was already writing this piece.

Perhaps, all I need is a little push from Kiko. Or his song for an inspiration. And just like a kaleidoscope, all I have to do is to spin it round, make a twirl, to see different patterns, colors, and shape.

I now see things from a different perspective.

Mabuhay ka at maraming salamat Kiko! Maligayang kaarawan!

Kickass photo courtesy of scarypet.deviantart.com