Supertyphoon Hagibis gives new wind to Philippine disco band

MANILA (Reuters) – For a four-decade-old Philippine disco band, the namesake supertyphoon bearing down on Japan has brought a sudden rush of interest in its macho act.

Sonny Parsons (R), leader of Filipino boyband Hagibis, poses for a photo with fans at a fastfood restaurant in Manila, Philippines October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jerome Morales

Known as the Philippines’ “Village People”, all-male band Hagibis has been going since 1979. While some members have changed over time, it has retained its act featuring tight black trousers, leather jackets, open shirts, shades, moustaches and suggestive dance moves.

“Hagibis is getting indirect publicity worldwide,” said 61-year-old Jose Parsons Nabiula, who goes by his stage name Sonny Parsons and has been with the band since the start.

“It reminded everybody of my group’s existence… Some people are making fun of it, some people are very serious.”

Typhoon Hagibis is due to make landfall on Japan’s main island of Honshu on Saturday as the most powerful storm to hit the capital in six decades.

Google Trends showed that search interest had spiked this week in Hagibis the band as well as the typhoon.

Hagibis means speed and strength in the Philippine language Tagalog.

Tropical cyclones in the Western Pacific Ocean are given their identity in sequence based on names provided by 14 regional countries.

People had been joking about the vigor of Typhoon Hagibis and comparing that to the band, Parsons said.

Parsons said he hoped the inquiries and feelers pouring in for Hagibis would translate into bookings for a band that currently performs around twice in a month in the Manila area.

A former elected official, he now also juggles his performances with film-making and a construction business.

“Maybe after a month or two I will be expecting a lot of concert offers,” Parsons said.

Typhoon Hagibis looks on track to hit Japan a month after another destructive typhoon and Parsons said he was worried about the damage.

“I hope that Hagibis storm’s show happens in the middle of the sea,” Parsons said. “Definitely, people will absorb the wrath of typhoon Hagibis and I feel bad about it.”

Hagibis is best known for its members’ macho image and songs extolling the beauty of women. The group’s hit songs include “Katawan” (Body), “Legs” and “Babae” (Woman).

While the storm did not enter the Philippine territory, its extension brought scattered rain showers and thunderstorms in central and southern parts of the Southeast Asian nation.

Sonny Parsons (C), leader of Filipino boyband Hagibis, poses for a photo with fans at a fastfood restaurant in Manila, Philippines October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jerome Morales

Hagibis had used its renewed fame to warn Filipinos in Japan ahead of the storm’s landfall, Parsons said.

He hoped the band would get the chance to go to Japan after the typhoon.

“We will undo the sorrow and depression people experience,” Parsons said. “If the singing group will have a chance to go to Japan, we will help you forget the typhoon.”

Editing by Matthew Tostevin & Shri Navaratnam

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Pakistan police register blasphemy case against ‘disco mullah’

(Reuters) – Pakistan police said on Wednesday they were investigating blasphemy allegations against a man dubbed the “disco mullah” who quit a career in pop music to become a preacher.

The case against Junaid Jamshed, a member of the deeply conservative Tableeghi Jamaat organization, was brought by Mobeen Qadri, a member of the religious political party Sunni Tehreek.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in Muslim-majority Pakistan. But the law does not define what is blasphemous – anyone can file a case alleging their religious feelings were hurt for any reason.

Qadri filed the case against Jamshed after he used the example of one of Prophet Muhammad’s wives to illustrate an argument about the failings of women in a video.

“Now the case is with the investigators,” said Mehmood Ahmed, a police officer in Karachi. “We will have to arrest Junaid Jamshed and it is up to him if he moves bail and goes to court against this.”

After the video went viral, Jamshed released a video apology. “This is my mistake and it is because of my ignorance, because of my lack of knowledge,” the 50-year-old said. “With a clean heart I ask that Allah forgive me and I beg and beseech all Muslims to forgive me. This was not on purpose.”

Rights groups say the law is mostly used against minorities and the poor to settle personal scores or seize property.

Before becoming a preacher, Jamshed was a pop star with a string of chart-topping songs and albums. He retired in 2001 and announced that he was devoting his life to Islam.

Jamshed has previously drawn criticism for saying that women should not be allowed to drive or leave home without a male guardian.

(Editing by Katharine Houreld and Jeremy Laurence)

Reuters: Oddly Enough


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