Gloc-9 feat. Ebe Dancel – Sirena
The word “sirena” means “mermaid” in Pilipino, but is also used as a term ranging from slang to a slur for flamboyant gay men. Ako’y Isang Sirena takes this term, as well as the image of a father dunking his gay son into water, and turns it into a foundation for pride.
Gloc-9, though a straight man, takes on a variety of topics in his music. The lyrics, translated here, tell the story of a young man who struggles with his identity and violent pressures to act straight. Only when he’s the only child left to take care of his aging father does his father finally accept the son’s identity.
Caution: this video depicts scenes of violence. There is also a full minute of credits after the actual music video content.
Note: the word for gay man, “bakla,” is often used to also denote a gender apart from male. Since I’m a straight half-Filipina-American who only knows a little of the language and culture, it’s a little hard for me to explain the complications of Filipino identity politics. Yet it’s interesting to see that this song, which topped the music and video charts in the Philippines, takes on a controversial issue while upholding the Filipino family value of personal care for the elderly.