Impressing or Expressing?

Pursuing excellence to impress or to express? Image courtesy of Google Images


My English mentor in my high school sophomore year, Sir Marvin, recognized my talent in creative writing.  I was glad to know that I have a particular strength that I can indeed be proud of.  As a young teenager then filled with my own personal insecurities, I was yearning to find that inner treasure I can bank on.  To be excellent.  To impress my peers and my teachers.

But amidst all the grammar lessons he taught us, the literary pieces and the neologisms and all the other English-related isms, there is one thing I would surely never forget.

He told me, “You write to EXPRESS, not to IMPRESS.”

It was a lesson that time that I did not fully understand.  As I began to hone my craft in little ways, I developed my own corolary to Sir Marvin’s words: “You write for IMPRESSIVE EXPRESSION”.

At that time, it made sense.  Find something or build on something that makes you passionate to say what you want to say, or write what you want to write – then find the right “techniques” to deliver them in an awe-inspiring manner.

In a world filled with Dips (from Seth Godin’s The Dip) and industry leaders, managers, bosses and superiors with limited time, the world has become a system of “who-can-impress-me-the-most-in-the-shortest-amount-of-time”.  Competition becomes ruthless.  People, advertisers, marketers, politicians – they compete for the audience’s minds and utilize all sorts of gimmicks to gain attention, then perhaps eventually gain traction on their own campaigns.

I thought that perhaps, impressing is more important than expressing.

But I was wrong.

In my experience when my creative juices run dry and I encounter all sorts of de-motivations and the most daunting of writers’ blocks, I have observed one thing: I have focused too much in impressing, more than expressing.

What I did not understand back then, is that words, in the greater scheme of things, are just symbols.  They have no meaning when not put into context.  They are not enjoyed when randomly juxtaposed.

In the greater scheme of things, words, pictures, campaigns, and any form of language or media – they are supposed to be representations of authentic emotions and ideas wanting to be EXPRESSED.

I realized that perhaps “IMPRESSIVE EXPRESSION” is the art of finding the most precisest (pardon the intended wrong grammar) symbols, images, and/or words that would closely convey what we want to express.  Without something worth expressing, no attempt of impressing would work.  Though some impressions-for-the-sake-of-impressing may work superficially for the short term, they would undoubtedly crumble and be exposed as half-truths or lies in the long-term.

Now I know why the lesson is stated as “You write to express, not to impress”.  By focusing on sincerely expressing one’s idea, insight, or campaign, impressing the target audience follows.

By stating “one writes for IMPRESSIVE EXPRESSION”, there is an assumption that he must have mastered already the basic principle of “writing to EXPRESS, not to IMPRESS”.

In a world wanting to be impressed, the irony is to do so, one must be truly sincere in what he wants to express.

Let not the fear of having to impress the world cloud our mission – to express our innate excellence and talents to the world.

The Price of the Prize (of Greatness is Great)

Ten months being exposed to how the development sector’s problems, education-oriented goals & social impact driven motives are being married to business’s sustainable, viable & profit-driven objectives – I realize that the road to the true practice of CSR and social entrepreneurship is hard to travel. Talking about these seemingly feel-good things may be easy, but truly walking the talk is a whole new different story.

Truly, the price of the prize of greatness is great.

As the Phoenix Burns (Out)

“Rise up from the dust like a phoenix.”

These words, from Bamboo the band’s “I-You”, resonated to my whole being.  It’s as if they created that line solely for my consumption – it’s as if the line is tailor-fitted to who I am.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Phoenix who is in a never-ending cycle of painful death and majestic rebirth.  My fascination with the mythical creature dates way back in high school.

I honestly wondered, who would not be in love with the Phoenix story?  It tells a story of a young chick with all the big dreams of becoming a majestic Flaming Bird, for everybody to adore.  Then once it becomes who it wants to become, it must then face the pains of stepping down from the majestic glory and burning itself to ashes.  Death.  But the story does not stop in death, for a Phoenix emerging from the ashes, the dusts of pain, is a stronger creature compared to its previous incarnations.

My question: how long does the phoenix rise from the ashes after burning out?

How long is the recovery time?

How does it find the Herculean strength to rise up and vow to be stronger than before?

How does it muster the power to pursue its personal redemption?

How does it get the confidence that it will be stronger than before?

How can it get the self-assurance that same failures will not be repeated?  That it is past the foes and shadows it once feared to fought?

How does it overcome the fear?

The thing is, a phoenix needs to be stronger when it undergoes rebirth, because the previous status quo it once lived in will possess far greater challenges.

In facing uncertainty, having Father Time on its side allows the Phoenix to recuperate and complete the rebirth.


Get Well Soon

Intertwined, as if, as one

Emotions that picture battles not won

Hoping things will get better, not bitter

Making the fairy tale a true happy ever after.

Circadian Haiku

Shades of green, dreamy

Blurred, vague, blinding light

Sunrise! It’s out of my hands!

Impeachment of CJ Corona: Political more than Legal

Impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona: Political more than Legal
            Alas, after 5 months and PhP 5.7 million, a verdict has been bestowed upon CJ Corona.  With an overwhelming senatorial vote of 20-3, Corona is now impeached from his position as chief justice of the Philippines. 
Presider Senator Enrile, in his final vote, stated that the decision has both legal and political implications.  I personally believe that the trial has more political repercussions rather than legal ones; this can be immediately considered as one of the P-noy administration’s highlights towards the president’s campaign of “matuwid na daan”.
Going back before the 5-month trial, I believe Corona’s affiliation with former President GMA and his role in the disbanding of the Truth Commission, together with the TRO on GMA’s banning to leave the country, led the P-noy administration to usurp from Corona the chief justice role.  Now that GMA’s ally and appointee is gone from being the highest ranked judge of the land, P-noy can now aggressively pursue GMA and her cohorts and make them liable for their supposed corruption.
“No one is untouchable,” said Senator Trillanes.  This highly-publicized trial is a shoutout to people in government that no matter how high-ranking one’s position is, the P-noy administration will find ways to expose corruption.  The political implications show that P-noy has a greater control, having now the capability to appoint a new chief justice that can be advantageous to his political interests.
Now that I’ve written the previous paragraphs, I would like now to focus on the following detail: the three (3) senators’ premise on why they did believed Corona was not to be impeached.
Senator Joker Arroyo.  Arroyo’s main statement is “This is not justice, political or legal; certainly not the law… it is only naked power, as it was in 1972.”  The senator’s statement clearly shows his belief of the impeachment trial being a show of power by P-noy, more than anything else.
Senator Bongbong Marcos.  “When the furor has died down and this political storm has subsided, I know that like the lady Justice we shall find solace in the fact that this decision, though maybe not popular, was fair, impartial and just.”  The keypoint that struck me in the senator’s statement is political storm.  His statement shows how he believes that politics may have played and may be still playing a role in decision making, interfering from objective “lady Justice”.  On a side note, this decision of Marcos, in my personal opinion, may be a political stand and strategy to be the opposition to P-noy’s agenda.  If Marcos should run in the future, he may be planning to be the political opposition of the current P-noy administration.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.  “Does SALN omission amount to an impeachable offense? NO! SALN carries light penalty, allows correction.  I am insulted by the way your minds run.”  Senator Miriam’s stance illustrates how she upholds legal basis above anything else.  Her interpretation implies that yes, Corona has committed wrongdoing but it is not an impeachable offense.  However, there are some reporters offering insights that Senator Miriam has ties with the chief justice, and that she will also vote “not guilty” as a sign of pakikisama.
This event can now be written in the history books.  Though filled with greater political implications rather than the pursuit of legal justice, I am satisfied with the final decision.  Although, I must admit that I am pro-administration because of P-noy’s promise of anti-corruption.  More political rather than legal this decision may be, my only hope now is the P-noy administration not betraying my faith in their pursuit of the greater good.  I used “faith” because I am not that impressed with P-noy’s track record, however, his promise to weed out corruption is enough to persuade me to believe in his platforms.
Yes, this may be a show of political power; this may be more political rather than legal.  But if this political current is heading towards the greater good, towards P-noy’s “matuwid na daan”, I shall willingly go with the current.  However, I now possess a more scrutinizing eye for the current administration.  P-noy has no more excuses to fail in jumpstarting a great pursuit to eradicate evils in the government.
Amidst the political implications of this trial, P-noy, do not waste my faith (and with others that I share the same faith) in letting you run the show.

Instant Connection

Recently, I have explored how various devices have allowed us to be online anytime, anywhere.

Most of us now have iPhones and tablets and laptops and WiFi and everything.

Then it made me ponder: do our cravings for instant connection resulted from technology, or did we innately have that need to connect instantly?

Did Facebook create the need to connect, or did it just address the existing need?

Do people really need to update the world a tweet at a time?

I do not know the answers. But one thing is for sure: the digital revolution and our capability to instantly connect will reshape many facets of the world.

Imagine accessible education, a video conference away from letting a teacher literally simultaneously teach millions of people from different countries.

Imagine making long distance relationships more bearable.

Imagine students bringing thousands of books everyday without feeling fatigue – all of them are stored in a tablet.

We live in exciting times. The challenge now is utilizing our renewed capability to instantly connect to innovate organizational processes, execute previously unimaginablr projects, and just redefine the boundaries of what is possible.

The world is changing, fast. Those who are stubbborn and refuse to adapt will be left behind, while a promising future awaits the eager learner and innovator.

The Alchemist and the Philosopher’s Stone

This, I must say, is what I consider the best essay of my life.  Written when I was a junior high school student, this piece exudes the raw passion for expression I have through writing.  I hope you enjoy!

Winning entry to the Essay Writing Contest in English of the 49th Annual National Convention of Junior Members and Teachers of the Children’s Museum and Library Inc. by Patrick Adriel Aure of Lourdes School Quezon City. The topic is: “Is a society without media possible? Discuss and explain.”
The Alchemist and the Philosopher’s Stone
“Ordinary people have denied the existence of the Philosopher’s Stone, saying it’s all myth and fantasy, that such valuable object is just an old wives’ tale; but extraordinary people, or what we call the alchemists, believed on its existence – that it has affected every life on this world through its magic. Thus, these people were enlightened for they knew the Stone’s essence – WISDOM.”
Media would have beaten Jesus Christ, Buddha and Mohammed if it was part of the survey asking who is the most influential person of the century.  Thank the heavens, for media as a person would surely lead all people into an unknown culture, even perhaps create a religion named after itself. In fact, the media is so influential that people treat it as a vaccine for all diseases – curing the ailment of idiocy and complete ignorance; and also it is treated as the most contagious and most lethal virus – infecting unimmune people with its massive influence and charisma to the point of transforming a person with media as its soul.
It is a known fact that people would want to crucify media and punish him for his grievous sins and heinous crimes. Everybody blames everything on him. When moral issues are raised, who else is blamed? When fallacy surfaces and truth disappears, who else is blamed? When people get sick and tired of being sick and tired from all the blood-boiling events, who else gets the blame? He has been abused, misused, beaten and battered by people, yet he continues to incarnate in many forms, if not, resurrecting himself and prove the essence of his existence. After suffering these injustices, why does he continue to live on and on?
Simple. He continues to survive because its inexistence is the very synonym of apocalypse. Without media, a society is not possible and without society, there will be no way life can continue.
In the beginning, there’s one thing every being of this world always looked for. When man fell due to Adam and Eve’s disobedience, this even became more evident. Thanks to our innate curiosity and drive for knowledge, we will, and I mean always will, rigorously search for the TRUTH. Whatever it takes, as long as there is this drive, we will continue to quench our thirst amid the lies and fallacies within.
Media has served as the vessel for truth. With its power to influence, it has disseminated the information people need to satisfy that urge for veracity and clarity.
Transforming itself to various forms, it has fulfilled its expected duties to people. As the splendor of visualization, the capabilities of television have been fully utilized. People have attained knowledge through watching segments from other countries. Moreover, through the brother of television we know as the internet, various information surpassing all limitations have become possible. As the patrons of anti-ignorance, the radio and newspaper have worked together to deliver every detail of truth in the current events.
Other ways by which media became truth’s vessel is through its power to entertain. Yes, people yearn for truth, but they love entertainment. Shifting shapes from music to arts to soap operas to variety shows, it has become a necessity for life – much like how people value food and water.
Whether every creature on earth would agree or not, media has become the very synonym of life. People, consciously or not, totally embraced media through either complete acceptance or complete rejection. What only made the difference between acceptance and rejection is that allowing acceptance enabled people to be enlightened in the harsh realities of life, but not to the point of allowing it to take over and become media’s slave, when in fact it must be the vice-versa. On the other hand, utmost rejection has only solidified its status in the society, for an implication states blind rejection only proves narrow-minds and complete ignorance. Ignorance to the truth is not the nature of man, for rejection of such things only leads to death – death of the mind, the heart and the soul.
People may argue that media has also become fallacy’s vessel. In fact, the argument is supported with strong evidences such as bribery and death threats.
What we can say for this matter is that “every lie contains the truth.” Amid the tricks of the fallacies lies the explanation of the truth. It’s only up to us people in deciphering the truth behind lies, aided with our eternal urge for it.
Now it has been proved. Society without media is impossible. The question this time is: would you be the mediocre person, taking such power for granted, or would you be an alchemist, deciphering the media as the Philosopher’s Stone to transcend into vast heights and be enlightened with the euphoria of truth? Would you continue to pretend to reject media and ignore the information and the truth when in doing so you go against the very nature of man?
Wake up! Believe! Let not the connotation of media hinder you from achieving the truth! Let not the assumption of lies become a weapon against your ardent search! Let not the harshness of life become your fear in achieving wisdom!
It’s only when you know how to use the stone the time when you’ll fully utilize it. It’s all about how you handle things, not letting things handle you.
Become the enlightened alchemist that knows how the media works in our lives!
“Ordinary people have denied the existence of the media, saying it’s all lies and fallacy, that such power is just invented for the fall of every man; but extraordinary people, or what we call the alchemists, believed on its existence – that is has affected and in fact became life through its magic. Thus, these people were enlightened for they knew the stone’s essence – TRUTH.”

The Only Way to Live in this Era

The Only Way to Live in this Digital World 
Welcome to the digital world, where we can all have our dream digital lives through various social media!  We are in a world where we can have 1000+ friends, express our thoughts, and virtually erase space and time between human beings due to the ability of instant communication!
We now have the opportunity to brand ourselves; after all, we choose what we tweet, what pictures we post, what e-mails we send, etc.  We all have the ability to forge our identity to our liking!
…don’t we?

Ironically, we don’t have the ability to FORGE our identity to our liking.
The picture of this post is indicative of what kind of world we live in – social media have seemingly transformed into the digital equivalent of the “all-seeing eye”.
We CAN’T dare to live in states of illusion and fake profiles, distort one’s self and lie.  With the digital all-seeing eye, we cannot fool ourselves into thinking that we can fool other people.
The digital all-seeing eye is composed of REAL people yearning for REAL interaction, wanting to experience REALITY.  The reality of human beings.  The reality of establishing relationships. 
The thing is, social media DOES NOT enable us to FORGE our identity; rather, it is a medium by which the world can appreciate our TRUE, AUTHENTIC selves.  
The digital world facilitates our quest to show the world how authentically unique we are.  Any attempts to fool others are futile.  
Consider a hypothetical business or corporation wanting to project an image of social responsiveness and high standard of ethics.  We visit its hypothetical web site, read its pledge to CSR, still read further on its attempts to make the world a better place.
For a time, as innately trusting and good-natured human beings, we trust what we see.
Then, scandals can happen – in its full sensational glory.
What if this hypothetical business, behind the scenes, treats its employees like slaves, like dirt?  What if an employee somehow manages to showcase the truth, post it on Facebook and make it go viral?
Down goes the “image” the hypothetical corporation is trying to convey.  Social media is like a railway for the bullet train of authentic stories – it spreads things fast, making stops at every corner of the world, then speeds up in its lightning fast glory.
As we reach the end of this post, all I want to convey is that we cannot afford to live the lie in front of a digital all-seing eye.  In traditional business jargon, it is not even cost-efficient nor cost-effective – the effort of lying to the world cannot simply be done.  And if somehow a lie does slip, the digital all-seeing eye is always watching.
It’s hard to be consistent if we are not authentic.  Actually, the only way to consistently live a projected image is if the latter is REAL and AUTHENTIC.
For non-believers in the omnipresence of a Higher God, at least believe in the “demi-omnipresence” of a digital all-seeing eye.
People will always be watching.
People will always yearn for the real thing. 
We have no other choice.  With a digital all-seeing eye and God’s omnipresence watching all over us, the only way to live in this era is be yourself – without lies, without deceptions, without illusions.
And the great thing about this era is this: an authentic self that is dedicated for the common good is rewarded with real, heartwarming appreciation.

On Fire – My Basketball Perspective



Fake, up and under.

Post fadeaway.


Every serious basketball player, be it in the streets, in the amateur league, and especially the professional league, has experienced being dominant in the court. Spectators have many terms – being on fire, being in the zone, red hot, shooting streak, etc.

It is that feeling when you can do no wrong, and no one can bother you. It is that feeling when one whispers to himself, “Damn, I’m Jordan / Kobe / Olajuwon!!! !@#$ nothing can stop me!”

I wish I could always feel that emotion, and be in that state of being. It’s as if my mind and my body fuses together to amplify the focus. No distractions. No humor. Just the right moves at the right time.

Paradoxically, everything in my perspective becomes slow, including the defender’s reactions and even the movement of the ball. Yet I know these things happen real fast, given that basketball is a fast-paced sport.

Physically, my body heats up. It feels so light and it itches to move and do it blazingly fast. I don’t feel tired. I don’t feel out of breath. I feel in control.

I feel that I’m the master, and opponents are mere cones waiting to be exploited.

Being on fire, amplified with momentum, is very contagious. Teammates read each other with utmost precision; the correct pass at the most opportune moment. Nothing can stop us!

I just wish that I can always enter that zone. Perhaps that’s when practice and conditioning comes in – correct practice habits embedding muscle memory, and intense conditioning allowing the body to be at peak position.

Perhaps the reason why my basketball idols, Kobe, Olajuwon and Jordan are considered great basketball players. They can enter the zone the most frequently, and thus dominating the opposition.

Razor-sharp, laser-like focus. This is one of the best emotions that I want to feel frequently in my lifetime.

I’m on fire.