Monday, October 26, 2009


When DTM Ro Leonora sent me a text message about having to judge in an impromtu speaking contest sponsored by the Rotary, I was surprised, pleasantly surprised that is. For some seconds I lost track of my listening to a prepared speaker whom I will evaluate in a few minutes. Of course, I said yes.

Then I realized, I am training a high school student at La Salle for a contest which as far as I know is sponsored by the same organization. So I quit the task as a trainer to give justice to the other constestants and to give integrity to the role of being a judge.

The day of the contest came. I did not see my mentee. There I came to know that he belongs to a different zone. I was utterly vindicated.

There were six contestants and the reveleation - which does not really caught us by surprise, all were ladies. Where are the gentlemen?

Well, at least one of the judges is and of course, the Chair, Boy Gequillana plus the master of ceremony whom is also a Sillimanian and and a debater (according to his introduction), including the two timers.

The timers. They are quire amusing, at least to me. I always remember street ice cream vendor passing by whenever, the four minutes is up. To the contestants, they might be a distraction. To some, a mental relief because finally they can stop groping for words. In toastmasters, since we are very time conscious or at the very least is conscious that we are timed (though at some point we ignore the red light because of some irrepressible hightened emotions), we use a timing device with green, amber, and red lights. No sound to signal the time as it will appear very disrespectful and rude to some extent.

The contestants. Some are promising speakers. Some needs a little polishing. Some are just there. Now I am rude again. At least i recognized I am. Some already are rude but hintless that they are. Most of them started in a pageantry manner like, "my question runs this way". On the fifth contestant who said that phrase, I am already on the brink of suffering nausea. I would have appreciated if they immediately read the question as it is. Moreover, it is quite obvious and evident that the contestants have memorized their opening statements. They flawslessly quoted famous peace giants like Mandela and Mother Teresa. I dont have a problem with that. The danger to that is the transition, from the opening to the body of their speech. Some into's do not connect at all to the body of the speech. It's a little aweful and disturbing to some extent.

An excellent speaker must have a balance of the two elements of effective public speaking.

One, is the skillful and intelligent analysis of the topic. We translate it as the "substance" in the score sheet. The very reason why a speaker exists is because he has a purpose of speaking in front of an audience. The audience does not deserve anything less. The speaker should at all times be guided with that purpose. I believe, the measure of how effective a speaker is, is when the audience, at the end of the speech is one heart and one mind with the speaker. That means, the message is effectively being put across.

Second is the media/tools by which the speaker used to speak with purpose. One is the voice. A speaker must know the quality of his voice. Employ vocal variety, as when you are excited, depressed, ecstatic, in love, angry. Second is the eye contact. This part is meant to establish a connection to your audience and to appear very earnest and sincere. Looking at them in the eyes means they belong. Third is the use of body language. "Action speaks louder than words". They convey more meaning to your words. They put more emphasis on your points, one by one.

At the end of the day, public speaking is a skill. It's only requirement is practice!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Wish I Were...

When life becomes too deplorable…When I cannot cope with the busyness of it…When I cannot comprehend its web-like complexity…When I cannot fathom the depth of the human psyche…When I loose the understanding between commitment and time-table…When I can’t seem to find myself…When I felt restless in the silence of the night...When life is like traveling in a sea of banality…When life’s a bitch and crap…

I wish I were a fisher folk and only think of making a catch. City dwellers will envy the freshness of the air…the greenery surroundings…the white-sand beach…the playful waves…the simple life.

I wish I were a farmer. When I am thirsty, I can have coconut water. When I’m hungry I can pick bananas from the trunk. When I’m tired, I can sleep under the shade of the tall tress. Life is simpler.

I wish I have the power to simplify. Anyone?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

No Copying Please!

The big round eyes of my Grade 4 teacher have the resolute power to make us focus on our own paper during daily quizzes and long exams. She would roam around the four walls of the classroom with her elongated brown stick as she executes careful, calculated steps following a certain rhythm. Not one of my classmates would dare to move his head sideward as that is tantamount to peeking someone else’s answer. The only allowed movement of the head is moving it up and down. When she feels suspicious, she would blurt out in a firm deafening voice, “No copying please”. With that, even moving the head up and down, is a mortal sin.

Yes, copying is taboo when we are inside the portals of the academe. And after being away from that institution, I realized that copying is not that atrocious after all.

I watched ASAP yesterday and saw Nina in tears after she was conferred the Diamond Platinum award or ten time Platinum reaching a total sales of 200,000 copies of her album Nina Live. I can’t blame her for being melodramatic. Her tears are not part of a script. Indeed, it was very monumental as she is the first Filipina to receive the feat after Jose Marie Chan. But its is public knowledge that Nina Live contains all revival tracks including popular hits like, Love moves in mysterious ways, Through the Fire, Burn, among others. You see, copying can give you a Diamond Record Award. Not bad after all.

When you plan to open your own business, franchising is the “in” thing. A colleague at work bought a Smokey’s franchise which makes business for him a lot easier. The brand name is already established so business is just a breeze. One will just buy the brand or to put simply, one will just copy the brand, and he will make money out of it. Copying is not bad after all.

Soap opera in television is not spared from copying too. Lovers in Paris, Pinoy Big Brother, Survivor, Stairway to Heaven, and many others are not created by Filipinos. And yet, Pinoys patronize them. To some extent, adaptations even rate higher than the original stories. Copying is not bad after all.

To copy is to make work easier. Does this mean, the modern human psyche is degenerating? Does this mean that creativity is passé. Does this mean that society does not anymore put premium on hard work, industry, and ingenuity?

No copying please!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

OUTPOUR of the Heart

I felt restless because of the words that i said. But deep inside me are words telling me that it was just an outpouring of my heart. I felt it was already too heavy to carry and it reached the brim of my emotional reservoir.

I had a serious talk with Sheila two weeks ago. Her words lingered until now, Jay you cannot do it alone. You are not the club. She was right. Sometimes, the best option is to say no, even if it means not following the dictates of your passion. Sometimes i thought of quitting. But no. It's against my will. I know the feeling is just fleeting. I will be back. I may detest it at the moment but I will find my way to it the soonest time. As I have said, I developed an addiction to it. So I had to cling to my passion! That's how i love toastmasters! It shed some light to me the dictum that says "we are happy when we are most miserable".

After one of our meetings, i had the luxury of a comfy ride with Jaclyn. She told me, time will come that its not fun anymore. Instead of being "destressed", its adds up to your daily stress. Am I near to it? I hope not.

Sometimes, i am grateful. Why? Because it moves me to write. Writing becomes my scheme for unloading the toxic contents of my heart. It is in the restlessness of my heart that i get to let it out and be renewed.

When will this last?