The Grey Chronicles


Frankness and Relevance

Many colleagues describe me as brutally frank, bluntly telling it the way it is, or directly speaking my mind. On deeper contemplation, I believe that the reverberating slogan for this is one Cory quote “One must be frank to be relevant.” My own father even cautioned me that my frankness—especially written—will get me into trouble. He never let me enroll Journalism at the University of the Philippines. I successfully passed the admission examinations with Electrical Engineering as my choice under quota degree; and Journalism as non-quota choice. I was one of the few from our region to be fortunate enough to be granted an UP System Development Scholarship [XDS] among the million UPCAT examinees. I opted to go to a military school, instead.

In previous posts, I have revealed to you, my dear readers, that I am not a good speaker, that is why I write. In school, I fared miserably in subjects requiring me to speak. I may not be the best writer out there, or even in this blog «The Grey Chronicles», but I catered to the idea of continuously improving my writing skills even before continuous improvement became a buzz word.

In secondary, to pass the course, an elective English as Performing Arts which required us to present a period-drama, I chose to play the rich father speaking only two lines (in the first thirty minutes), and becoming an invalid (for another hour of the presentation) after the accidental death of his love-torn daughter. Knowing me as a budding writer, I declined every opportunity offered by my teachers inviting me to join oratorical or extemporaneous speaking contests. But, I was also fortunate to become the school representative in science quizzes, writing camps, or on-the-spot poster-making contests. I often won them and received school accolades. Yet on the last Recognition Day for our batch, I was forced to deliver the Class Will and Testament, having been an honorable mention of the graduating class. I delivered, but couldn’t cut it.

In college, with the required two semesters of Speech courses in a military academy, even my classmates, mistahs, also members of the Toastmasters’ Club, offered help in speaking like a native English speaker, just so I can pass the final examinations. Fortunately, it was only the subject that I have to take. In all other subjects, I had gained considerably high marks exempting me to take the finals, much envied by most mistahs, even other upperclassmen, that I was always their waiter (fetch me coffee, bring me food, do my laundry) during each final examinations week.

When I was an Engineering Management Trainee [EMT], the batch elected me and another writer, who became a very close friend and also brutally frank, to write sort of a Class History for our Graduation Ceremonies. We wrote drafts separately then fused it into one speech. Fearing I had to speak publicly again, I volunteered to read only the last third part of the speech, giving most of the delivery to my batch mate. The batch’s Graduation was attended by the biggest names of NSC: the Chairman of the Board, the President/CEO and others in the top management. The next day, our batch were called for an emergency meeting by the head of the Training and Development Center, and castigated us because the delivered Class History was too frank, too brutal, and was deemed ungrateful of the opportunity for being part of the NSC’s Engineering Management Training program. I rendered graveyard duty after the Graduation Ceremonies, thus I was excused from attending the said meeting. My close friend reported back what was said in that meeting and I have also received the same feedback from other batch mates. I countered that the speech also offered suggestions and recommendations for improvement.

Of late, almost a deja vu, but under virtual reality, the same thing is unfolding before my eyes. My father was right. But I would not cower. The one value he taught me was persistence; another was courage. To face adversity is not to accept defeat; but an opportunity to reflect on things one cannot change and what one must do to change adversity to opportunity.

People are mentally blind if they are looking without seeing. Silence, laughing through the pain, or ignoring the obvious, are but simple symptoms of this mental blindness. It only took one man to stand before an armored tank for the world to notice the events in China’s Tienanmen Square.

With the pervasiveness of the Internet in our daily lives, standing before a armored tank might be no longer necessary. Blogs can do amazing things for people who are mentally blind. In Egypt, Wael Abbas (2008) write “some even consider that bloggers achieved in a few days what human rights organizations have failed to do in ten years.” Blogs generate frank and relevant conversations. Bloggers and so many others have spoken truth to power, and had the courage to stand up against entities that would rather hide the truth.

The posts in «The Grey Chronicles» might be brutally frank, bluntly telling it the way it is, or directly speaking my mind, as I promised to do when I started all these. It might even get me into trouble, as my father warned. But at least being frank, I am also being relevant. And that keeps me alive, and keeps the writer’s fire inside me alight!

Nobody can really take away the fundamental right of each human being for self-expression. For me, writing is. Doing so, would be like letting the world slide to the Stone Age, when only scratches on stones and barks were relevant. Recalling my favorite poem, Desiderata, “Even the dull and the ignorant, they too have their stories.”

This is my story. To be or not to be frank, that is really the question.


Abbas, Wael (2008). When the Line Between Journalist and Activist Disappears, Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents. Reporters Without Borders, March 2008. p. 40-42. back to text.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 LicenseDisclaimer: The posts on this site do not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; and unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


1 Comment »

  1. I’ve seen progression in every post. Your newer posts are simply wonderful compared to your posts in the past. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by seo company — 2010.January.24 @ 08:29 | Reply

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