“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. My all time favourite saying by Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) which causes me to believe that my dreams may come true.
From the age of seven until sixteen years old, I sold in Cebu what Filipinos called STREET SNACK FOODS; these are generally eaten between regular meals. Similar in some respects to the packets of potato crisps you can buy in the UK. I did this every day from about nine in the morning until very late at night, and the time spent doing this taught me how to dream. During my selling journeys around the streets, whenever I saw a flashy sports cars or big luxury mansion, I would often say to myself, soon I will have these things, but then eventually the reality took over. How? When? Oh, it is impossible! It is only a dream!
There is a date that I cannot get out of my mind. It was the evening of 21st of June 2004, when I was 13. I was selling snacks in Tabunok Public Market with my friend Randy Jerald, who was selling cigarettes and candies. As we were walking on the streets, three cars pulled up across the road and about a dozen men jumped out wearing black suits. They had guns and baseball bats in their hands and went to Andrew’s Disco Bar about 50 metres away from the market. About 30 minutes later, we suddenly heard three loud bangs, and many men and women from the bar ran out screaming.
Then the gunmen came out and immediately drove off away from the area. We joined several people on the street and cautiously walked to the door of the bar to see what had happened. How foolish we were! It was the first time Randy Jerald and I had ever seen a dead body.
The inside of the bar was magnificent with velvet walls, richly covered easy chairs, glass tables, numerous mirrors and lights everywhere, but lying on the floor were three dead men with four other men seriously injured with blood on their heads. However, all the bystanders disappeared when the police officers arrived in their patrol cars. One police officer took us to one side and said, “You stay there and don’t be nervous, we are taking both of you to the Tabunok Police Station to have a talk and find out what happened”.
We spent six hours in the police station with this and other police officers and eventually discovered that the raid had been carried out by the Akrho Brotherhood Organisation-quite a famous gang in Cebu. The reason for the raid was corruption. The Akrho Brothers had lost a big construction contract to another organisation from Manila.
When I arrived home there was a man waiting for me from the Cebu Daily News. Because I had seen everything that had happened, he asked me to write a story about it. They published this story with bold headlines and at the top of their editorial page.
The next day my aunt phoned. She is a bank manager at the BPI Bank in Manila and she said, “I have read your article. It was very good, but could be very dangerous for you. Don’t do it again!”
I had not thought that writing would become my biggest passion as previously I just loved singing and dancing since I was very little. Up to the present time, I have written many articles in the Philippines, about the corruption in education, about religion, about business and many feature articles, and poems as well. All these have been published in newspapers. I also write as one of three Philippine representatives for the international online newspaper called “ALL VOICES” which is an American Company.
About 90 percent of Filipinos are Catholic and go to church regularly, some almost every day. That is why I am so terribly perplexed, that how can this great God-fearing country be one of the most corrupt countries in the World? Several times I have been threatened, and been advised to stop writing these articles by many people. Then I asked myself, “WHY? OH WHY?” And I want to shout, “Stop this Repression, and Uphold personal Freedom of Expression!” I want to stop all the corruption in my Philippines where we have the most corrupt leaders of any country. How can they paste posters on buildings, large posters of themselves where they are always smiling? I am very depressed and hurt about all this.
Now, I have this very rare opportunity to live in a free country, which I believe is truly free. I really want to minimize the corruption in my country and I hope it will become corruption free in future. I want to continue writing articles on political issues, and reporting about events based just on raw truth and facts.
I know that ‘Journalism and English’ is a tough course at Bangor University and many of my friends and even my family have tried to discourage me. They say that the reason, there is no specialized course in Journalism in the Philippines, is because it is the most dangerous field within education. Murder, killings and kidnappings of journalists and student journalists in my country is out of control. Yes, they may be right, but they certainly do not know the passion I have for writing the truth. It is risky! Yes, I know it is risky! However, it is my passion, my life, and I want it to become my career.
Therefore, I want to enhance my writing ability and to improve my English skills. English is really my third language and I am very hopeful that you (my tutor) will assist me in learning the beauty of the English language and so push me along the path of my chosen dreams.
I have to agree with what Eleanor Roosevelt said so many years ago, I have my dreams too, and I believe that my dreams of today will become my reality of tomorrow.