“NOBODY reads your column anyway!,” an obviously agitated someone left this comment on my blog. I thanked him profusely because he could not have reacted that way had he not read any of my articles. If it were true that nobody else cares about this column aside from him, then he is my one and only reader. I could not thank him enough. At least, it’s “meron” instead of “wala.”
Over time though, you realize that there could be more than just one reader. My uncle Gerry, a church guy, would always castigate me whenever I write unkindly about the Catholic Church hierarchy. So there, I’ve got two.
Truth to tell, writing is a joy in itself. It is just a bonus when you figure that some people, aside from your supportive family, actually read your work. I have come across some folks, in person and through the web, who say they read Riknakem, and I’d know they really do when they begin to tell me stories they remember from my writings. When you often cannibalize your life in essays, it could get awkward when people know so much about you, but then suddenly you feel happy, not at all due to cheap fame, but because you realize that, you are not, after all, alone.
But the bigger bonus, dear karikna, bigger than what MWSS people receive, is when people are moved to act after reading your piece. It liberates you from the shallow confines of vanity; makes you feel empowered; gives you a higher sense of purpose. “Social thinkers have interpreted the world in various ways,” complains Karl Marx, “but the point is to change it.”
As our The Ilocos Times, Ilocandia’s bastion of press freedom, turns 53, let’s look at the following articles in retrospect.
Sex in the City: Porn call centers flourish in Laoag. This exposé was tackled in the Laoag City Council, and was investigated both by PNP Ilocos Norte and Laoag City. The dubious “call centers” still exist, but have reportedly slowed down in their illegal activities. Many porn agents lost their jobs because of the business slow down, but I am confident that they will soon find work they can be proud of and which will affirm their human dignity.
I feared for my safety when the article came out as I received threats both of legal action and physical harm. Standing on the side of safety, I practically did not have a social life for a couple of weeks. Good thing the local broadcast media also picked up from the article. It would have been much scarier if I was alone.
No 25 cents: Robinsons shortchanges customers. Thank God, the mall’s supermarket and department store have found ways to give exact change to their clientele down to the last twenty five cents. I know there is a shortage of small coins mainly because people keep them in dark corners and stagnant containers at home, so encouraging people to use their coins is the best solution to this problem. I was able to gather almost a thousand pesos’ worth of twenty five cents from friends and students (that means four thousand pieces of coins), and I brought them to the Supermarket, never mind the backache that resulted from carrying the heavy bag. Assistant Manager Irish Rafales was very grateful. She said the coins would be enough for a good three days. Sadly, Robinsons’ hardware store Handyman still shortchanges customers.
Fr. Jose Agustin. I would give a lot of money to this great priest’s program for future catechists if I could, but I really have very modest means. Some readers who were touched by the story of this sincere, generous, and really pious priest have pledged help.
I am Makoy. This article about popularizing Ferdinand Marcos and making him more relevant to our times was well-received by readers, many of them non-Ilocano. Already, people are suggesting cool and meaningful designs for promotional merchandise such as t-shirts, caps, bags, buttons, and bling-blings. If only this campaign could really take off.
Musings of a motorcycle crash survivor. Without claiming credit for this, I am glad that the city government is now strictly implementing the no-helmet-no-travel policy. Wearing a helmet may be a hassle, but it is really a little price to pay for safety. It saved my life, it could as well save yours. Too much reflection from my shining, shimmering, widening forehead, my Kuya Henry warns, may be distracting to fellow motorists, and so I use a helmet always and without fail.