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Diversity is beautiful

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Every now and then, there are differences of opinion that shock me, the latest of which being the whole fuss around Coca Cola’s It’s Beautiful commercial at the Super Bowl. The background of the story goes like this: Coca Cola translated the song America the Beautiful into different languages with people from different cultural backgrounds singing the part where their own language is featured. There was even a Filipino girl who sang some parts in tagalog (hurray!).

http://youtu.be/ilxRtxqYWt0

The combination of different languages and voices in this ad gave me goosebumps. I thought that the commercial is effective and just plain wonderful! It reminded me of the time that I was learning Dutch through songs. It reminded me of a dream of teaching children about cultural diversity, and what a fun way to do it through music! It reminded me of this famous Mandela quote: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

But there’s no pleasing everybody. Some were outraged because the song was not in English! Time’s article was right on target. #fuckcoke trended on Twitter. The irony of it all? The softdrink company launched the ad to celebrate the country as a melting pot of cultures.

I didn’t understand the hate behind the ad so I thought, maybe I’m missing the point. I tried to put myself in their position by thinking: “What if Bayan Ko, a patriotic Philippine song, is sung in different languages? Would I get postal?” No. I would be proud. Because it means that whoever will do this will take time understanding the song and translating it well. Understanding the song would mean getting to know the language. And there is no other way more effective in immersing in one’s culture than learning one’s language. In the end, it would be a celebration of the Filipino language.

The haters missed the point. It’s called diversity. #

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