Monday, October 29, 2012

Radio guesting, Cyberbullying and Social Media responsibility

I was working on night shift that day when I opened up this blog’s Gmail account. Then I saw a couple of unread emails.  What quickly caught my attention was this 2 day old mail with the title “Radio Interview”.   So I opened it up and read it. It was a radio guesting invitation on a Sunday youth oriented show.  And on a catholic Church ran station, Radio Veritas.

Radyo Totoo

Seven months ago, I just wanted to write. To think aloud. To be read by many.  I thought it was too soon for me to be invited to guest on a radio show. Though the idea excited me, of course.

And though I rarely mention the catholic Church in my articles, I am trying to make my posts to be as catholic as they are.  Well I hope that’s how they sound. And this specific post was probably the one that caused it. At first, I was hesitant on posting about that topic, the RH bill, as I had been writing and posting about it, against it, for more than 3 years already. Thru those times, I almost grew tired of answering the same sets of questions. And some other guys probably grew tired of me as well. And that became my inspiration in composing that blog post.

This gave me opportunity to need not answering those questions again. Or maybe not actually answering, but just typing.  I just needed to create a consolidated reply. Albeit I still missed some of the arguments I made before. It’s hard to put everything in a post anyway. But I guess it covered at least the most common ones. And it might be of use as a resource for others who will be asked the same set of questions about the bill. And of course it would help me replying if being asked by the same stuffs again. I’ll just give a link to that blog post. Then I’ll also get a blog view. And indeed, I got views I never thought of having in span of few days due to some groups and individual people’s link sharing (thanks guys). And more than what I had expected is that I got a radio guesting as a bonus. A blessing.

The date was September 15.  After attending the mass with my family, we went to a rainy 1-hour drive from Antipolo to SM North EDSA. The radio station was at the opposite side. As we were an hour ahead of schedule, we ate at the mall first. Then we head to the station. My sister who had her OJT at that station last year dropped by there also upon hearing about my guesting. 

Then I met the hosts of the show, Bro. Joseph and Bro. Noel.  We had a short briefing about the flow and told me that it will be just like a usual typical “kwentuhan”. The difference is that thousands of people around the country are listening. And it’s live. 

Me with Snacktym Berks hosts, Bro. Joseph and Bro. Noel

The topic was about the use social media and cyberbullying. Two days prior to that, it was in the news that the cybercrime law was already signed by the president. But it was not yet that hot of an issue at that time. It was on the broadsheets. Well, only a few seemed to be reading from the broadsheets nowadays. Almost 2 weeks had passed before the people infuriated with anger against the law.

I then gave a piece of my mind about social media, the possible dangers and the advantages that it can give to people. Like I said, it’s like a knife that you can use on its purpose in the kitchen or to hurt people.  Sometimes, people are not aware that they are already hurting others. They think it’s their right. That they are just being honest. But to hurt people because they think it’s just right because that person is hurting another, isn’t that making it an eternal loop of offending people? But some do it in purpose. Like trolling. Trolling is basically when one tries to disrupt harmony on online discussions and to annoy the other posters. And online trolling is one thing, bullying is another. But a troll can also be a bully.

Unlike bullying in the real world, online bullying is more difficult to avoid and get over with.  It can spread like wildfire. It can be ignited by utilizing the burning emotions of the people. Unlike bullies at school, they can be just 1, 2 or a group of person. And you can avoid them physically by hiding or running away from them. But online bullying is worse. It can grow in large proportions.  You can’t simply run or hide. 

But, you can go offline. And as much as possible, avoid firefighting. And just let the fire subside. The point is, people forget easily. And those who don’t like you after the bullying probably didn’t like you even before it started. And those who really know you will not be affected. If they are, then they didn’t truly know you at all. As long as you’re doing what is right, you should not be affected by bullying. Don’t get sidetracked. That’s one of the objective of the bullies and trolls. Just continue doing your thing and let the bullies enjoy their space and time. The more you ignore them, the more you are winning against them.

Behind the mike

And even though we catch people now doing bad stuffs thru CCTVs, this does not give us a license to hurt them in return.  It’s natural for us people to get emotional and angry. But let’s try not to let emotion bring the worst in us, even worse than the people we are angry with. And bullying is a serious matter because there are even instances where the victims committ suicide because of this. Here’s a post of a blogger friend about a talk given by a “bullying victim”, Christopher Lao and examples of people who killed themselves because of cyberbullying.

This is actually one of the bad things about social media. It gives everybody a sense of power. And power corrupts people especially those who do not know how to handle it. And it also creates an illusion of an absolute right to be heard no matter how trivial, violent or non-sensible our words are. And I hope I’m not one of them. If I’m like that sometimes, then forgive me.

One hour passed by swiftly. And the show ended. I had a great time. Although I had experiences speaking in front of crowds a lot of times before, talking live on radio was a first time for me. Hopefully it would not be the last. By the way, I was invited again once but unfortunately, my schedule won’t permit me that time.  Thanks to Radio Veritas especially to Bro. Noel and Bro. Joseph for inviting me. I really enjoyed that wonderful experience. More power to you and your show, Snacktym Berks. To my readers here, tune in to them as they air every Sunday, 4-5PM on Radyo Veritas, 846kHZ AM.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Knowledge, Humility, Wisdom

We continue to learn as we age. There’s this insatiable thirst for knowledge which is within our nature.  Though sometimes, pride gets in the way. Pride that makes us think we already know enough. Pride that diminishes or puts a halt on our appetite to learn.  It is something that usually leads us to arrogance.

By contrast, the more knowledge we gain, the more we realize there are more things in this world that we do not and will not know.  A realization which makes us humble.  And this humility will lead us to wisdom, wise enough to know that things are not always what we initially perceived based on our limited knowledge. And that we have to think twice or even more than that before we can draw a sound conclusion.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Peer pressure: Because we never outgrew it

I can still remember when I was in elementary. It’s either you call names or you’re called names. I was  called not just by a single tag but a lot.  Then for the others, the list was long. There’s always this smelly guy. And that girl with dark armpits.  And the one who slipped at the hallway.  Then the guy with acne-infested face.  And even our teachers were not spared. All those ugly stuffs attached to people. And we recognized them by those tags, not by their names. Not their personality. Not the good things they did. Not their achievements.  It’s how they looked. It’s that one mistake they did. It’s their not-so-pretty features.  

It was how the cool dudes in the class called them. And we would imitate. Even if we didn’t see it personally, we used the same words for the poor guys. Even if it might not be true. But it didn’t matter. ‘Cause if we didn’t join, we might be their next target. We would not be cool also. And we would risk to be branded as kill-joy. And we would be out of the circle. 

It won't

I got swayed as well. I also called names.  I distanced myself from the “losers”. And now I regret it as I lost the opportunity to know those other guys. I’m sure there were interesting things to know about them. Maybe some great ideas to learn. They should also have good stories and great times to share. But I was not able to hear them. I succumbed to peer pressure.

It’s forgivable. We were kids then. Maturity was not yet in our vocabulary.  We’re just trying to have fun. And now we’re older. We’re supposed to know more. We understand things now. We think and act better. Or do we?

A lot of us choose things because other people like them too. Especially the popular ones. We believe in what is being said by someone who is famous because…he’s famous .  We speak the same “personal opinion” because it’s what the majority thinks. And that seemed to be the most practical thing to do. The easier choice.  We’re safe with numbers. It might be awkward if we go against the flow. Everyone’s all right anyway, so why question their decision? Or does anyone among them even question their own options before choosing it?

The vicious cycle (from

And we hate some stuff. Even if we don’t truly understand them, it’s easy to hate some things that are perceived to be shunned by the majority. They despise them. So we think there’s a valid reason for that. So we also have to hate it.  Similarly when we were kids where one of our friends pick a fight with a person or another group, we're expected to be enemies with them also.  Even if we don’t have a personal reason to hate them.  We’ll surely find one. And we must, or else.

Peer pressure is still affecting even the not so young populace.  We sure do. We succumb to what the majority feel or say. At least that’s what the media want us to perceive. Think about advocacies, elections, choice of lifestyle, schools, your job, stuffs we buy, etc.  Are we really making our own decisions?

Most of us wanted to stand out but continue to think and act with mediocrity. We refrain from thinking deeper and just move along with the average. And we all wanted to achieve true joy in life. But we let other people decide the things which will make us happy.

Sometimes, a smile makes a big difference.

I just hope that I get a chance to talk to those guys I distanced myself from when we were young. I already got to talk with some. And I’m happy about it. My theory’s right. They are very interesting people.  More than I thought actually. A lot of them are already successful in life. Many of them are happy. They are nice and warm people. They show genuine eagerness when you get to talk with them. A lot of things I am learning from them. I felt guilty. Maybe they forgave me for what I did years ago. They understand that we were young then. I was immature. I was clueless with what I’m doing in my life.  And someday, I hope that time comes when I will become a fully matured and critically thinking person. And today, I decide to be a happy man.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Judge and miss the choices

I’m guilty of judging people.  Call it “first impression” but sometimes my mind works and talks of a lot of things to me just by looking at a person’s appearance. Though during my college years, it helped me survive incidents like holdups in jeepneys and buses. When I saw people who looked suspicious and acted differently, it’s either I alight from it or move away. 9 out of 10 incidents, I was right.  It’s not an exaggeration. I actually had more than that number of holdups and snatching experiences.

Men by nature are quick to judge. Maybe an instinct. Probably one of our traits that made our ancestors survived. They reacted quickly upon first judgment which helped them escape dangers during those eras.

Run for your lives!

At present, nothing really changed. People are still naturally reactive. And quick to judge on just about anything. The predators who are now more sophisticated and intelligent know this. When they want to make their prey move to their chosen direction, they sow fear. And the prey will react , controlled by emotion most of the time. They thought they have options and that they are thinking freely to move away from danger. Not realizing that they were just being pushed by fire to make them reach the slaughterhouse quickly.  And that prey mentality makes it quite easy for the predator. 

You’ll be told about the dangers of venturing into something else that you’ll stick to what you are doing no matter how much you hate it. And that you need to support this idea because if not, we’ll starve to death. Or something like that. We were told that we can only vote for these people and we have no other options. That they are the only ones who are capable and experienced to run the country and therefore we should not experiment with unknown guys.  Then you judge at first glance. And lose sight of other options.

Sila lang daw puede (photo from

But keep in mind that some of these warnings and dangers are true. And the only way to recognize which is authentic is by using logic above emotions. And only a few are able to manage and calculate their actions. And only some take the risks. And by doing so, they attain better control of their emotions and reactions. It gives them more room to think thus having more options compared to those who just react to fear. These are the ones who are not pushed around to forced choices.

These individuals see the better options. They will find more worthwhile things to do in their lives.  Or will think of a more beneficial idea for the people.  And will find better candidates or parties to vote for in government positions. And will think, hear and speak of better things amidst the noisy choral emotional crowd.

Currently, I’m training my mind to refrain from judging people quickly. I always give other people the benefit of the doubt. Or no doubt at all. Just a blank page without presumption of character.  We can’t like everybody. We also can’t be liked by everybody. But we can be civil and tolerant. Though being tolerant has its tolerance. And before reaching that point, leave. So you can keep cool and calm. And that we may all live happily ever after.


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