Coloring books, a bio on Nur Misuari and soon, an English-Bahasa Sug dictionary

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/5 March) –  This year’s harvest of Mindanao books begins with  three coloring books on peace, joy and love; an “authorized biography” of Nur Misuari; and soon, the first  English-Bahasa Sug dictionary.

Davao City-based artist Kublai Millan’s illustrations are featured in the three coloring books published by the Peacebuilders-Community University Peace and Reconciliation (UPAR)  launched at the Abreeza Mall on February 13: Kalinaw (Peace), Kalipay (Joy) and Gugma (Love).

“Nur Misuari: An authorized biography” is written by a medical doctor,  Tom Stern, a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, and is published by Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Another medical doctor, Benj Bangahan, a professor at the University of Santo Tomas, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and practitioner in internal medicine and chest diseases at the UST Hospital since 1978, is the author of the first English-Bahasa Sug dictionary.

The manuscript, a total of 1,999 pages on short bond paper, has been completed and is ready for publishing.

Bangahan said the dictionary is “a result of a nine-year struggle with sweat, practically done single-handedly, done at home when free from my university obligations but of course with a number of long distance consultants made of friends and relatives in Sulu and Zamboanga.”

Bahasa Sug is spoken by the Taosug in Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

Bangahan said there are two dictionaries on Bahasa Sug-English but this is the first English to Bahasa Sug dictionary.

Three themes

The Peacebuilders Community said in a message on the inside back pages of the coloring books “Kalinaw”  (Peace), “Kalipay” (Joy) and “Gugma” (Love) that the three themes are “important to today’s generation of children.”

“This is a project that will serve the University PAR-Team in their exploration as peace builders, while also providing children with artwork that is local to the Philippines and expresses fundamental values,” it said.

Millan used three visual art styles in illustrating the three themes.

Each page contains an illustration and messages on peace, joy or love to accompany the illustrations.

Some of the peace messages are: Peace means doing reforestation, Peace is a family adventure, Peace means living harmoniously.

Some of the joy messages are: There is joy in listening to traditional music, There is joy in uplifting others, Joy is a mother and a child.

Some of the love messages are: Family bonding is a reflection of love, Let’s show our love in respecting the elderly, Plant a tree for the love of Earth and mankind.

The coloring books are available at Coffee for Peace along Matina St. in Davao City or the Peacebuilders Community office above it. The group’s website said the books “will be sold to popular book stores, to various educational institutions as values formation materials, and to business corporations who want to advocate values formation among children.”

Authorized biographer

Stern, the author of Misuari’s “authorized biography,” is the husband of Yolanda Ortega, who was President of the Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce of the United States when the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Ortega was appointed by Misuari as “MNLF Ambassador to the Americas.”

Stern wrote: “Over the next years, we came to know Misuari well, hosting him in America and arranging speaking arrangements for him at the University of California, Berkeley, and consultations with scholars from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, plus assisting him with meetings at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.”

“Because by 2005 I had written several books, he selected me as his official biographer, and because of her influence and sophistication, he appointed Yolanda as MNLF Ambassador to the Americas. I agreed because what I had learned about Misuari and the geopolitics in East Asia convinced me of both his importance as a historical figure, and of the importance of Sulu, Mindanao, North Borneo and the Philippines to world events,” said Stern.

He describes Misuari as “Moro National Liberation Front founding leader and Central Committee chairman, United Nations Peace awardee, Nobel Peace Laureate nominee, Aurora Quezon Peace awardee, Supreme Datu or Leader of the Bangsa Moro Highlander Tribal Communities throughout Mindanao, Royal Datu of the Sultanate of Sulu; and Datu Seri Panglima Darajat Kinabalu (State of the Sabah, Malaysia), PhD Honoris Causa in Humanities and International Relations, signatory to the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, the Jeddah Peace Accord, and the Jakarta-Manila Final Peace Agreement of September 2, 1996.”

Some of the titles Stern described about Misuari are mentioned for the first time. (MindaNews)