Monday, January 4, 2010

OASIS (November 16, 2009)

At 45, we tend to liken ourselves to that pistol with a hammer that allows us to always move forward.
For more than four decades, there has been an institution that seemed to share the same positive or possibility thinking with us.
That is, Mga Agos Sa Disyerto!
In Philippine fiction, the said “literary barkada” made it.
More like the Gothics or the Beats with social conscience.
On November 19, from 1p.m. Onwards, at the University of the Philippines' Pulungang Recto they will be again committed!
Social realists Efren Abueg, Rogelio Ordoňez, and Edgardo Reyes (plus or minus the departed Eduardo Ordoñez and Rogelio Sicat) have consigned to preserve their legacy via a reunion made possible by U.P. Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas' new chair Jimmuel Naval.
The U.P. College of Arts and Letters, Cavite Young Writers' Association, and U.P. Ugnayan ng Manunulat have collaborated for this historic event called Agos@45: Mga Kuwento ng Muling Pagtatagpo in which National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, who wrote the introduction to their book in 1964, will contextualize everything with their colleague's daughter, Luna Sicat-Cleto, and veteran fictionists Fanny Garcia, Jun Cruz Reyes, and Roland Tolentino.
Ateneo de Manila University's Corazon Lalu Santos, will let us peek into her dissertation entitled Mulang Talambuhay Tungong Antolohiya: Ang Pagbubuo ng Kasaysayan ng Grupong Agos -- ang mga Dayo sa Siyudad at ang Pagsagka sa “Disyerto” ng Panitikang Filipino: “While writing for magazines like Liwayway was a form of relief of their desert-like existence in the city, they also encountered a new form of desert in Philippine Literature in the guise of commercialism and the concept of literary canon. The group of young writer-friends went through this desert after a collective decision to push for a common literary goal.”
Last October 27, at the Tomas Pinpin Memorial Elementary School in Abucay, Bataan we experienced another oasis in the desert also known as journalism!
However, this time, we with Dr. Luis Gatmaitan spoke during their Secondary Schools Press Conference care of Bataan National High School's pride, Madame Josephine Pagaduan, and her son James, president of the Bataan Campus Paper Advisers Association, Filipino Supervisor Liwanag Santiago, and English Supervisor Dolores Taňada.
At a glance, they do not need our guidance anymore.
Region 3 is the defending champion in the national level!
Last week, after handling editorial writing and cartooning, we were tasked to speak about newswriting before the second-place winners from Region 4.
Department of Education Region IV (A)'s big boss, Dr. Paraluman Giron -- through its Regional Supervisor Yolanda Gilbuena and its Regional English Coordinator Cherrylou de Mesa -- asked us to conduct workshops for the Regional Training of School Paper Advisers and Campus Journalists.
It was supposed to be in October at La Vista Resort in Pansol but it was devastated by typhoons so it was transferred to Luisa Ridge Resort, in Bucal, Calamba in Laguna.
This year is designed as a writing camp: more systematic but less structured.
On November 9, we spoke before eight elementary pupils and eight high school students from Batangas and Batangas City, Cavite, Laguna and Calamba City, Rizal, and Quezon while on, November 12, before the youngsters from the cities of Antipolo, Cavite, Lucena, Lipa, San Pablo, Sta, Rosa, and Tanauan.
For three days, they stayed with their groups led by Dr. Tess Fortunato or Nancy Almonte or James Galvez or Celso Jaballa, for instance, who focused on a series of critiquing sessions in writing editorials, features, sports articles, as well as copyreading and headlinewriting, respectively.
In this live-in writeshop, we had the chance to train about 20+ kid reporters the whole day.
School paper advisers continued what we did on the second and third day.
What was alarming was not just the content but the form of their writing, especially their language.
Should we blame our indispensable yet humble cellular phones?
Both in English and Filipino, these Generation X-ers, or Texters, are struggling with the correct grammar, spelling, and punctuations.
In our own capacity, we imparted to them some reference materials we have been using from gradeschool to graduate school.
We owe a lot from, say, Sir Ernest Gowers' The Complete Plain Words (1954) or William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White's The Elements of Style a.k.a Strunk and White (2000) or Modern Language Association's MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide – which can also and always be found in The OWL at Purdue.
U.P. Sentro ng Wikang Filipino's Gabay sa Editing sa Wikang Filipino, on the other hand, is definitive and definitely a great step in standardizing our national language.
Sad to say, it is out of stock and it would take two or more weeks to reprint thousand copies of this slim and significant book valued at P90 only!
Indeed, it is a must in editing.
There ought to be a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Education (or Commission on Higher Education) to use it as our bible in balarila!
Otherwise, if we take each and every orthography as negotiable, how can we say if a word is misspelled or not?
In the light of language-is-alive alibi, we can never have a National Spelling Bee competitions for Filipino!
Especially now that the so-called Education Highway is considered to be the new oasis?
In the meantime, we have to deal with real-life deserts like school paper advisers and campus journalists' exposure to major newspapers and other reading materials, need for internet access, or time management of talented students who are into other “extra-curricular activities.”
Not to mention, lack of funds!
Meanwhile, we have been tracing the trail of our professional fee for judging in one Regional Schools Press Conference.
Was it a year or two ago?
And written on the sand too?
TEXT SUPPORT: It is impossible to lick your elbow.
CONSIDER THIS: Old friends are gold. New friends are diamonds. If you get a diamond don't forget the gold.Only gold can hold a diamond.

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