Who on earth wouldn’t know about the story of Superman? The first superhero I have known.
Surely, he is not of this earth. He is an alien. From the planet Krypton. He got these super powers and amazing strength. And with superlative ability, he uses this for the good, for the pursuit of justice. He saves people’s lives who are in danger, whether that person is good or bad. He heals people who are injured and sick of pain. He fights against evil, against what is wrong and unjust. He helps bring peace and harmony to this world that is filled with turbulence and hate. He’s an ideal man. For he not just respects women, he respects other people who are not his kind. It seems, he doesn’t have demons to deal within himself just like us humans. It seems that his heart and mind are only engaged in goodness and purity. Not any instance will you find him thinking of revenge or to think of hurting someone weaker than him. No man could equal the pureness of his heart and clarity of his mind to do good everyday of his life. Definitely, he is not of this earth.
At the center of Superman’s costume, you’ll see a symbol resembling letter S. I thought, since I’ve known Superman, that it stands for the first letter of his name. In the movie “Man of Steel,” I learned that it is a symbol of hope. Superman was sent to this planet by his parents to bring hope to humanity. As a result, I can’t help but think that the story of Superman, everyone’s superhero, which was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933, is inspired by the life of Jesus Christ.
Like Jesus Christ, Superman grew up with his non-biological parents. Like Jesus Christ, Superman was ridiculed, bullied because he was different and strange. Like Jesus Christ, Superman can heal the injured and the sick. Like Jesus Christ, Superman was sent to this world by his father to live among us and bring salvation and hope to mankind. It is Jesus Christ that we reach out to when we find ourselves helpless and in need of mercy. In the movie “Man of Steel,” it is Superman that saves a life the last minute when a person thought there is no more hope and a future to look forward to.
“Man of Steel” is beautiful in its own way. Henry Cavill who played Superman is beautiful in his own way. And the one who thought of casting Amy Adams as Lois Lane is a genius! (Okay, I am biased here ‘cause I like Amy Adams very much!) And thank you Zack Snyder for giving me hope by making the film and reminding to me again about this first superhero I have ever known.
“The life of man upon earth is a warfare.” — Job 7:1
The following are six fundamental ideals you should aim for in transforming yourself into a strategic warrior in daily life:
Look at things as they are, not as your emotions color them. In strategy you must see your emotional responses to events as a kind of disease that must be remedied. Fear will make you overestimate the enemy and act too defensively. Anger and impatience will draw you into rash actions that will cut off your options. Overconfidence, particularly as a result of success, will make you go too far. Love and affection will blind you to the treacherous maneuvers of those apparently on your side. Even the subtlest gradations of these emotions can color the way you look at events. The only remedy is to be aware that the pull of emotions is inevitable, to notice it when it is happening, and to compensate for it. When you have success, be extra wary. When you are angry, take no action. When you are fearful, know you are going to exaggerate the dangers you face. War demands the utmost realism, seeing things as they are. The more you can limit or compensate for your emotional responses, the closer you will come to this ideal.
Judge people by their actions. The brilliance of warfare is that no amount of eloquence or talk can explain away a failure on the battlefield. A general has led his troops to defeat, lives have been wasted, and that is how history will judge him. You must strive to apply this ruthless standard in your daily life, judging people by the results of their actions, the deeds that can be seen and measured, the maneuvers they have used to gain power. What people say about themselves does not matter; people will say anything. Look at what they have done; deeds do not lie. You must also apply this logic to yourself. In looking back at a defeat, you must identify the things you could have done differently. It is your own bad strategies, not the unfair opponent, that are to blame for your failures. You are responsible for the good and the bad in your life. As a corollary to this, look at everything other people do as a strategic maneuver, an attempt to gain victory. People who accuse you of being unfair, for example, who try to make you feel guilty, who talk about justice and morality, are trying to gain an advantage on the chessboard.
Depend on your own arms. In the search for success in life, people tend to rely on things that seem simple and easy or that have worked before. This could mean accumulating wealth, resources, a large number of allies, or the latest technology and the advantage it brings. This is being materialistic and mechanical. But true strategy is psychological – a matter of intelligence, not material force. Everything in life can be taken away from you and generally will be at some point. Your wealth vanishes, the latest gadgetry suddenly becomes passe, your allies desert you. But if your mind is armed with the art of war, there is no power that can take that away. In the middle of a crisis, your mind will find its way to the right solution. Having superior strategies at your fingertips will give your maneuvers irresistible force. As Sun-tzu says, “Being unconquerable lies with yourself.”
Worship Athena, not Ares. In the mythology of ancient Greece, the cleverest immortal of them all was the goddess Metis. To prevent her from outwitting and destroying him, Zeus married her, then swallowed her whole, hoping to incorporate her wisdom in the process. But Metis was pregnant with Zeus’s child, the goddess Athena, who was subsequently born from his forehead. As befitting her lineage, she was blessed with the craftiness of Metis and the warrior mentality of Zeus. She was deemed by the Greeks to be the goddess of strategic warfare, her favorite mortal and acolyte being the crafty Odysseus. Ares was the god of war in its direct and brutal form. The Greeks despised Ares and worshipped Athena, who always fought with the utmost intelligence and subtlety. You interest in war is not the violence, the brutality, the waste of lives and resources, but the rationality and pragmatism it forces on us and the ideal of winning without bloodshed. The Ares figures of the world are actually quite stupid and easily misled. Using the wisdom of Athena, your goal is to turn the violence and aggression of such types against them, making their brutality the cause of their downfall. Like Athena, you are always one step ahead, making your moves more direct. Your goal is to blend philosophy and war, wisdom and battle, into an unbeatable blend.
Elevate yourself above the battlefield. In war, strategy is the art of commanding the entire military operation. Tactics, on the other hand, is the skill of forming up the army for battle itself and dealing with the immediate needs of the battlefield. Most of us in life are tacticians, not strategists. We become so enmeshed in the conflicts we face that we can think only of how to get what we want in the battle we are currently facing. To think strategically is difficult and unnatural. You may imagine you are being strategic, but in all likelihood you are merely being tactical. To have the power that only strategy can bring, you must be able to elevate yourself above the battlefield, to focus on your long-term objectives, to craft an entire campaign, to get out of the reactive mode that so many battles in life lock you into. Keeping your overall goals in mind, it becomes much easier to decide when to fight and when to walk away. That makes the tactical decisions of daily life much simpler and more rational. Tactical people are heavy and stuck in the ground; strategists are light on their feet and can see far and wide.
Spiritualize your warfare. Everyday you face battles – that is the reality for all creatures in their struggle to survive. But the greatest battle of all is with yourself – your weaknesses, your emotions, your lack of resolution in seeing things through to the end. You must declare unceasing war on yourself. As a warrior in life, you welcome combat and conflict as ways to prove yourself, to better your skills, to gain courage, confidence, and experience. Instead of repressing your doubts and fears, you must face them down, do battle with them. You want more challenges, and you invite more war. You are forging the warrior’s spirit, and only constant practice will lead you there.
Taken from the book “The 33 Strategies of War” by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers. First published in the United States of America by Viking Penguin. Copyright 2006.
Before I had my own computer, I would rent out in Internet cafes located in malls, or just anywhere where I found myself to be, just to write and publish my own articles and reviews.
I would shell out money from my own hard-earned income writing, rewriting, editing, then rewriting again, all the stuff that I wrote about as if they all matter to me, and hoping that maybe one of my articles would one day be important to somebody else. I don’t have a cult following but I still continue to write. And most of the time, I would stay in front of a rented computer for many hours because sometimes I would also do some research, and would check my grammar which I never perfected because even up to now, whenever I re-read what I wrote, I would find grammatically incorrect sentences and it would give me a heart attack then I’d immediately correct it. I write slowly because I think too much and yet I can write very long articles.
It was crazy doing something like that. I was so dedicated even if no one was paying me to do it. And even when I had no job, I would still rent a computer in Internet cafes/stores just to write and get my blogs and reviews published online. And to see them on the Internet was so liberating.
So my biggest regret was having to delete all my book and movie reviews together with my Multiply account (which is now a marketplace, no longer a social networking site). Because it feels like I wasted those hard-earned money that I spent just to write them painstakingly for hours and hours and publish them online in my social networking site that was Multiply. Fortunately, Multiply had this program wherein every time you posted something, it would automatically save a copy to my email. So what was left was the last reviews I wrote. And one of them was my book review on Friedrich Nietzsche’s autobiographical book, “Why I Am So Wise.” And I am happy to post it here in WordPress. Apologies for any wrong grammar.
Now, how can we basically recognize brilliance? We recognize that a brilliant or first-rate human being is agreeable to our senses: that he is made of a matter at once hard yet sweet and fragrant. He enjoys only what is conducive to him; his pleasure, his desire ceases as soon as the level of what is good for him has been overstepped. He divines remedies against injuries, he uses serious accidents to his own advantage; that which does not kill him makes him stronger. He instinctively gathers his sum-total from all that he sees, hears and experiences. He is a selective principle, he discards much. He is always in his own company, whether he deals with books, people or landscapes: he honours his choices by acknowledging them, by trusting them. He reacts slowly to all types of stimuli, with the very slowness bred in him by long years of caution and deliberate pride – he tests the stimulus that meets him head-on; no compromise is required. He believes in neither ‘misfortune’ nor ‘guilt’; he copes with himself and others; he knows when to let go – he is strong enough to turn everything to his greatest advantage.
Well then, I am the opposite of a Decadent: for I just described none other than myself.
— Friedrich Nietzsche (Why I Am So Wise)
I never heard of the name Friedrich Nietzsche until I got to watch the movie “Little Miss Sunshine,” where one of the characters there, a teenage boy, is an avid admirer of Nietzsche. A boy who has taken a vow of silence because of Nietzsche and because he has this dream of being a pilot. Since then, I’ve always been curious to know how it feels to be put under the spell of Nietzsche’s writings.
Today, the name Nietzsche means the father of modernism and the early existentialist, a philosopher. To me who doesn’t know him that well, I find these descriptions as mere words. It is because I haven’t experienced reading any of his books. So it is my rarest honor to declare that finally, I have read, of all his books, his autobiography entitled “Why I Am So Wise,” translated by Gerta Valentine, and here are some of the things I learned straight from Nietzsche himself.
He was born on October 15, 1844. His father was Carl Ludwig Nietzsche and his mother was Franziska. He had one younger brother, Joseph, and one younger sister, Elisabeth. Tragedy came to the family when his father died when he was around five years old. His brother also died two months later. He practically grew up surrounded by females, which included two maiden aunts. His role models were Voltaire, Rousseau and Stendahl. His first book, “Birth of Tragedy” (1872), was inspired by the works of Richard Wagner and Arthur Schopenhauer. His favorite poet was Heinrich Heine. He believed that genius is dependent on dry air and on clear skies. He preferred water over wine and beer. “Water is good enough… I prefer locations where I have an opportunity to drink water fresh from a fountain, for instance in Nice, Turin, and Sils; I keep a small glass by me wherever I go.” He loved to read his favorite books over and over again, “books that seem to have been written for me. Perhaps it is not in my nature to read many or a wide variety of books: a library makes me ill.”
He described himself as “by far the most awful human being that ever lived. However that does not mean I will not also be the kindest.” In this book, he also introduced himself as a missionary, a prophet, a leading philosopher and psychologist, a free spirit.
“To ‘want’ something, to ‘strive’ for something, to focus on a ‘purpose’ or a ‘wish’, all these things I do not know from experience. Even at this moment I look out upon my future – a wide future – as upon a calm sea; there is no foam of desire upon it. I have not the slightest wish that anything should change from the way it is; I myself do not wish to change. But I have always been like that. I never wished for anything. I am someone who can say at the age of forty-four that he was never interested in honours, women or money. Not that these things were lacking… For instance, one fine day I found myself to be a university professor! I never even thought about it; after all, I was only twenty-four years old.”
Nietzsche hated Germans even though he was a German himself. “I can’t bear this race which is always bad company, has no feelings for nuances (oh dear! I am a nuance), has no life in its feet and cannot even walk… Ultimately, the Germans have no feet at all, just legs…” and he really despised them to the core. “Wherever Germany reaches out to, she corrupts culture. It was the war that ‘redeemed’ the spirit of France.”
I also learned about the many books he had written and he explained his reasons or motivations of writing them. One of which is “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” which I felt was his favorite among his books even though not all people liked it.
“When Doctor Heinrich von Stein once seriously complained not to have understood a single word of my ‘Zarathustra’, I told him that that was as it should be: to have understood just six sentences or better; to have lived them, would lift a man on to a higher level among mortals than ‘modern man’ could reasonably hope for.”
According to Valentine, “He wanted to set generations of writers and thinkers free to try to find their own meaning of life, without being hampered by the rigid and inflexible rules and strictures of religious institutions… He gave his mouthpiece Zarathustra almost divine status to promote ideas Nietzsche felt he was born to fight for – to release Christians from slavery to the church and ordinary people from the curse of their ordinariness. He wanted to set mankind free.”
He was an atheist, he even proudly called himself the first immoralist. An anti-Christ. He questioned Christian morality.
“’God’, ‘immortality of the soul’, ‘redemption’, ‘heaven’, these are all terms for which I never had any time and to which I never paid any attention, even as a child – was I perhaps not enough of a child for that? For me, atheism is not at all a result, even less an event: to me it is instinctive. I am much too inquisitive, too sceptical, and too high-spirited to put up with an obvious if coarse answer. God is such a coarse and obvious answer, a lack of delicacy towards us thinkers – at heart He is just a coarse command not to think: thou shalt not think!”
Even though Nietzsche put down and criticized God and morality many times in this book, I did not feel any revulsion. I’d like to think that I understand where he was coming from. In fact, his animosity about the concept of God and everything else related to it made me hang on still to this Invisible Being, disregarding all these many names of cult and religion. Religion, to me, is irrelevant but I still want to believe on one thing – that there is a Supreme Being watching over me, Who created me, Whom I can reach out to in my darkest moments. Granting that He is a lie, and everything that is regarded sacred here on earth is a lie, including the Bible, well, I can’t live my life without believing in something, even if that something is the only thing that I will hold on to. I still want to believe on this one thing: hope.
For Nietzsche: “To redeem those from the past and to turn every ‘it was’ into a ‘that is how I wanted it’: that alone I should call redemption.”
There is this human act that I never bothered to question but something that Nietzsche had different feelings about but made sense to me. It was about compassion:
“Let us assume that our task, the purpose, the destiny of the task exceeds by far an average norm, then there could be no greater danger but to come face-to-face with this task. To become what you are presupposes that you do not have the remotest idea what you are. From this point of view, even the blunder in your life have a unique meaning and value, the occasional deviation or straying from the path, the hesitations, the ‘modesties’, the seriousness, wasted upon tasks that are beyond the main task. This outlines a great prudence, possibly even the highest prudence; whereas ‘Know Yourself’ would be a sure way to lead to downfall, to forget yourself, to misunderstand yourself, to belittle yourself, to limit and moderate yourself becomes reason itself. In moral terms: neighbourly love and living for others and other things may be the means of protection to maintain the most rigorous egoism. This is the exception where I, against all my self-imposed rules and conviction, take the part of the ‘selfless’ instincts: here they are engaged in the service of egoism and self-discipline.”
On other aspect of human relations, Nietzsche said: “It seems to me that the rudest word, the rudest letter, is still kinder, still more virtuous than silence. Those who are silent are almost always lacking in delicacy and refinement of the heart; silence is an objection, swallowing grievances makes for a bad character – it even upsets the stomach. All those who are silent suffer from dyspepsia.”
This book, just by its title alone, instantly gave me the impression that Nietzsche, the author, was too proud of himself. But isn’t this the quality of a writer? Conceited? And I learned this from our National Artist for Philippine Literature Mr. F. Sionil Jose. He said, “All writers are mayabang (conceited) and I am no exception. You will not be a writer if you are not mayabang. All of us are deeply conceited. Yung yabang na iyan, we express it in different ways. Some have it under control; some have it in the way they act, they speak, even in the way they write. Some mayabang writers cannot write about anything except themselves.”
Nietzsche was a mayabang writer as proven by this book – besides, this is his autobiography. He threw “decency,” “image,” and “reputation” out the window, then he said things the way he wanted it, dishing out words that can be considered “blasphemous” and offensive” by others. On the contrary, Nietzsche, who claimed to be an anti-Christ, unconsciously convinced me more to hang on to my faith. There are so many religions and religious groups out there – Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc. – and it is the right of every individual to choose what kind of religion he/she would like to believe in. It is also his right if he chooses to be an atheist, or perhaps even a Satanist. Unlike restaurants or businesses, in religion, there is no main religion. There is no main branch of religion where all the moral standards are based. Just the same, it is also my right if I choose to go solo as a Catholic, if I’d rather do my prayer in my room alone than be in a church for a lot of people to see. Each of us has our own spiritual journey to find out for ourselves and learn from.
Reading this also felt like somebody just poured out his heart and soul as if there was no tomorrow and I was just there to listen and understand. Because just like the title of one of his books, Nietzsche, hailed as one of the great thinkers from the nineteenth century, was basically “human, all too human.”
Friedrich Nietzsche died on August 20, 1900. “Why I Am So Wise” (written in 1888 but only published twenty years later in 1908 under the title “Ecce Homo: How we become what we are”) is the last book he wrote before he suffered a complete mental collapse from which he never recovered.
I have to make a confession: I didn’t actually get this book the first time I read it. I was already halfway through the pages when I realized I didn’t remember a thing (!) so I closed the book, opened it, and read it again from the very beginning. Instead of reading it like a novel, reading it fast, I took my time to relish each and every word. In fact, instead of reading it quietly, I read it out loud. Hearing myself, this is where I truly felt that I was reading something that was written by a man from the nineteenth century. And this is how I got to experience that “poetic intensity and linguistic precision” of Nietzsche that the translator of this book, Gerta Valentine, was talking about. I understood now how it feels to be put under the spell of Nietzsche’s writings and it was marvelous. (January 13, 2012)
My colleague, Tita Jing, lent me this DVD of the movie “Faith like Potatoes” and the VCD copy of “The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” The former was something that Tita Jing recommended to me. The latter was one of my requests. Of course, it was Narnia that I watched first. Then Faith like Potatoes.
Both movies are okay. I’ve read the book of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and I still prefer the book than the movie. In Faith Like Potatoes, I like the characters of the story than the story itself. But it was still nice, full of positivity, which is what I need. But thank you to Tita Jing, to the movie Faith like Potatoes. Because if I haven’t watched it, I wouldn’t have seen the trailer of this movie called “Fireproof.” The trailer simply moved me.
So upon returning the compact discs, I asked Tita Jing if she has a copy of Fireproof movie. She has! She not only lent me “Fireproof,” she also shared with me her copy of the movies “Amistad,” “Nacho Libre,” “Flywheel,” and “Facing the Giants.” All five of them! So that left me with no option but to just stay at home and enjoy the movies! Of course, it was Fireproof that I watched first. One that I requested.
Fireproof is a story about a troubled marriage. About a fireman and his relationship with his wife. A marriage that is doomed to fail.
Ironically, the husband is a brave, kindhearted fireman, saving lives in the middle of fire, a hero to everybody except to his wife. His wife, on the other hand, is a beautiful, charming, hardworking, fine woman. Forced to get a job in a hospital to help pay for their growing household expenses, her work became her refuge to deal with her topsy-turvy relationship with her husband whom she hates so much.
What ever happened to these two wonderful individuals who were once in love and made that vow in front of God to stay together no matter the odds? They are okay individually, doing well with their respective jobs but at home, when they are together, they would always fight. They don’t sleep together anymore, don’t eat together, and would act as strangers around one another.
The wife would seek comfort from her female group of friends at work and aging parents, especially her mom who became mute because of sickness, her mom who inspired her to marry someone like her dad who was also fireman. And her pain was indescribable, wishing her mom could talk to her. The husband, meanwhile, was also doing the same thing, venting out his issues about his wife with his trusted friend at work, a happily married man, and also to his old folks back home, especially his father whom he feels understands him more than his mother does. Both husband and wife confessed to their respective supporters/friends that they were thinking of divorce.
Friends of the wife advised her to go on with her plan. That she doesn’t deserve him. But the father of the husband advised his son to postpone his plan. To hold it for 40 days and hang on still to save his marriage. His father said, “Just take it one day at a time.” Each day he must do something nice for his wife. And he should do this for 40 days. Then see what happens. “It’s what saved my marriage to your mom,” his father said.
So one day, his son received “A Love Dare” notebook chronicling the steps to woo his partner back and bring back the closeness they once had. What was amazing was that it was all beautifully handwritten by his dad. So on day one, his father wrote what he should do. On day two, another act of kindness to do. On day three, third step to get your partner’s attention, and so on and so forth. With this the son followed word per word each new day. And each day his wife would reject his surprising, no, shocking but kind gesture. Each day, when faced with disappointment, the husband would call his dad and vent out his rage about his wife. His dad advised him to hang on. That it was the hardest part and he needed to be tough if he really wants to save his marriage. His friend also said the same thing and gave these beautiful, touching words: “You don’t just follow your heart, because your heart can be deceived. You gotta lead your heart.”
After 40 days, he didn’t win his wife back. The wife filed for divorce. And this made his heart broken. He believed that he had done all that he could and still, he failed.
Until his wife got sick. Not following any guide, or notes from his dad, he took care of his wife. It was Day 43. At that moment, the wife revealed to him the notebook that contains the “steps” from his dad. She just found it lying around and again, this left her shocked, to come to the realization that her husband was, indeed, attempting to save their marriage. And this left her more confused, because at that moment, she had fallen in love with somebody else at work. But her husband didn’t know. At that given moment, her husband said sorry for all the things that made her feel bad as his wife. For the first time, her husband finally realized his mistakes, and deeply, sincerely regret them. Will she continue with the divorce or not?
Many exciting things happened after that. So many surprising and shocking revelations. I guess my favorite was discovering that the “kind, charming, and helpful” doctor who had a thing for the fireman’s wife turned out to be married! And he was taking advantage of the woman’s vulnerable situation to win her heart and have her for himself. My favorite also was the wife’s conversation with an elderly at work. When the elderly advised her that if a guy is courting her while she’s married, what makes her think that he wouldn’t do that with somebody else. (Great point grandma!)
Indeed, life is like a dance, filled with twists and turns. Because in the end, it was the wife who finally reached out to her husband and asked him to come back to her.
This movie is dedicated to married couples. But I think everyone, especially the singles, would be able to relate and learn something from this movie. Especially on lessons about commitment. Oh, and by the way, I liked that part regarding the “Love Dare” notebook that I said was beautifully handwritten by the fireman’s dad. I discovered in the end that it was the handwriting of his mom who was from long ago wrote those steps to help her save her marriage to her husband, the fireman’s dad. Shocked, Caleb (that’s the fireman’s name, by the way) cried so hard and hugged his mom, whom he so much misunderstood.
First time I heard this album by Maegan Aguilar, I was so disappointed. I thought it was going to be a hardrocking, earsplitting music judging by its album cover showing Maegan in a rockin’ and rollin’ stance. It wasn’t, needless to say. I found Maegan’s music slow and boring. But despite that, I listened patiently to all the songs and after one play, put it on the shelf, together with my other collection. It took a long time before I listened to it again.
They say that you can get a glimpse about what a person is going through based on the kind of music or favorite song he/she listens to at the moment. I believe this to be true. Because when I got heartbroken (and I’m still healing a broken heart), Maegan’s “slow and boring” music became the soundtrack of my so-called “lovelife” — at least, at the moment.
In the album, Maegan’s “Di Kita Maiwasan” gave sentimentality to my post-breakup ongoing journey and it is for this reason that I suddenly and instantly liked the whole album. However, because Maegan sang it in a very tender and loving way she sounded more like she’s in love and not angry or sad. The effect to the listener (that’s me) is more of the opposite– I wanna fall in love again. Yes, I do wanna fall in love again while I was listening to this song. And yet when you listen to the lyrics, there is pain, regrets. I also like “Pinaikot, Pinatagal, Pinahaba,” a song about untruthful relationships. And Maegan sang it in a way that is calm, melancholic, introspective that it makes you wanna sit down and just think about the sweet memories with that special someone before the breakup. But what really stands out in the album, one that I listen to again and again, is the song “Nawala,” another song about love lost. This track I love because this time, she finally expressed all her feelings about the breakup, no holds-barred, no pretensions. It was so painfully honest that it was cathartic listening to it, and Maegan sang it with so much emotion, with rage, demonstrating her unique and powerful voice right in the middle of the song then ended it softly with words that spoke of longing.
Of course, this album of Maegan Aguilar is not just about heartaches and troubled feelings. There are happy, inspiring songs also, carrying personal messages of friendship and loyalty.