For the love of the written word

Archive for the category “Real Personal Stories (Really!)”

How to Polish It Off in Front of the Camera Without Really Trying


Going viral recently is an interview of this famous sexy actress turned senatorial candidate by a veteran journalist. Reading the transcript of the interview was not as awkward as watching the footage of the exchanges between the actress and the journalist. It makes people think: What kind of candidates are we exactly getting?

While I have never ran for public office, it is my personal view that candidates should NEVER attempt to face the cameras without keeping in mind a few pointers:

  1. Remember that journalists may not be forgiving when they punch in the questions, so be prepared to take (hard) questions. Study if you must!
  2. Politics is not acting. You can’t fake it (or you can try to, but it will show). Have personal views on political and social issues. These are one of the most often asked questions by journalists. Mean it.
  3. Draw up your platform. Journalists will always ask this because this is what constituents need to know. Know what your political party’s platform is (of course, Philippine political parties don’t really have an ideology or strict political platform to base their stance with, but that is a different issue altogether). You just cannot show up on the boob tube and radio and simply say you have the heart and willingness to serve. Is this idea still selling with the public?
  4. If you get stuck in a question, just eat humble pie and be simple. Do not look like you are squirming in your seat trying to find the answers. Be straightforward. You the owe the public some decorum for watching you on tv. Try to look smart at least. Study how seasoned politicians like Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama respond to sticky situations.
  5. Talk to the viewers, not just the journalist. In interviews of veteran politicians, you will find them responding to the reporter but are actually talking to the viewers. It’s the whole package—the response, eye contact, and body language. One running for a high public position should exude this confidence and aura of reaching out to the public. You are not just explaining your views to the interviewer; you are presenting yourself to the public.
  6. People are SMARTER now.  The public may be forgiving, but be prepared to become the butt of jokes for weeks.
  7. PRACTICE public speaking PLEASE! Rehearse anticipated responses to common questions. Some candidates get an image counselor and spin doctor for this. If you belong to a political party, see how your party can help you develop this. If not, get help from professional public speakers.

Let me just capture some of the funny remarks on Twitter.



Hope we don’t find a lot of these in the months to come.  No offense to the candidate, but what was she thinking?


Meeting with Friends: Making Meaningful Relationships

(Source: Anchor.Org website)

(Source: Anchor.Org website)

During a recent wake, I’ve reminded of a wake I attended a few years ago, also with a batchmate. It was even made sadder by the fact that she was a dear cousin of mine, who succumbed to cancer. She was a close friend of mine in high school, and over the years I would see her and we would chat occasionally until the news came that she was deathly ill. I was with her during her last few days at the hospital.

From that time since then, I’ve had schoolmates and friends who have passed on to the next life. It’s sad to meet friends only during wakes and funerals. You talk about the memories you’ve had with the deceased in the past—as in long PAST. It’s the same even with classmates who are still alive. You meet to attend a wake and talk about the good times. After spending a few hours talking, you go home, exchange numbers, and then WHAT? Almost always, it takes weeks and even months before you send a message to your classmate, if at all. That’s it.

I have to ask myself this question: Why do I have to attend reunions like this because somebody’s dead? Why can’t I meet more friends under less depressing conditions?

That changed my perspective. Why meet up with friends just because somebody’s dead? Why not find the time to meet more, during fun times, and make a connection?

It’s so easy to be blinded by deadlines, workloads, and chores at home and at work. One could easily be so caught up with all the world’s distractions. But if we just take a day’s off to bond, to simply touch someone else’s life with our presence, then that will make a whole lot of difference to you and your friend. It doesn’t have to take a whole day to just chat with a friend.

And so it has become my own conviction to reach out, connect with old friends, create new ones, and make these relationships MEANINGFUL. And this means going out more to mini-reunions and other activities. Some may or may not welcome it, but that’s their problem, not YOURS. If you have a family and guilt over the feeling that you are choosing friends over family, why not make it a family affair? The key to all of it is finding balance.

So reach out and touch a friend. He just might touch yours.  You’ll never know until you make that move.

A Christmas Ghost Story

This happened a few years back when my son was just 4 years old.  He is now 10.

We had an old neighbor who just enjoyed talking to my son when he was a toddler.  He was an old man who didn’t have a family of his own and stayed with a niece and her family.  He was a kind man with a gentle demeanor, and every time my son was out to play he would be waiting on a bench outside his home, chatting with his young neighbor who was still babbling with his words then (he had a sort of baby talk that sounded cute).  Maybe because my son was cute and bubbly and the old man (Uncle Fred, he was called) liked him a lot.  We liked him back because apparently, my kid also liked talking to him.  We were new settlers in the village, and Uncle Fred was just one of the first neighbors who welcomed us in.

My son loved to play outdoors, and every time Uncle Fred was out he would just watch the kids and chat with them.  Despite the fact that Uncle Fred’s niece had quite a large family to keep him company, me and my husband could sense that he was in fact lonely most of the time.  Going out of the house was an escape, and once he was outside it took him a lot of time before he went in again.

 (Source:  Throw Yourself Like Seed)(Source: Throw Yourself Like Seed)

In a way, Uncle Fred was my kid’s playmate.  He’d show his toy or ball to the old man and Uncle Fred would ask him questions or tell him stories.  This is what I knew from my kid’s nanny at least.

The Catholic that I am, I’ve been always taught to pray for the souls in Purgatory.  These are souls that have been saved by God’s mercy but have to undergo a place of purging, or Purgatory as we’ve been taught.  I’ve learned somewhere that it is during Christmas time when most of the souls are released.  So, it has always been my habit to say a prayer for them, especially for the people who are to depart from this world tonight.  Creepy as it may sound, I do that every time.

Every Christmas morning, my husband, kid and I would go to my in-laws to spend the whole day with them.  As I try to recall now, it was an early drive (about 6:30 am) because nobody seemed to be up in the neighborhood yet.  As our car passed by the corner where Uncle Fred lived, we were met by the kindly old man.  My husband slowed down the car and opened the window.  We greeted him a Merry Christmas and he greeted back and waved to my kid who was seated at the back.


(Source: Flicker)

(Source: Flicker)

Uncle Fred was his usual gentle self, dressed in white shorts and sleeveless shirt.  We wondered how such a kind man would choose to remain a bachelor.

So that day was spent in revelry and merry-making.  We got back home late and my kid’s nanny recounted how her day went at home.

“You know the old man at Ate Vicky’s house?  He died this morning,” the nanny said.

I was slightly surprised and saddened by the news.  “Really?  He looked strong and healthy.  Was he sick?  What time did he die?”

“Ate, he died at 4am this morning,” was the nanny’s startling reply.

My husband shook his head in disbelief.  “That can’t be.  Maybe you mean 4pm?”

The nanny looked at both of us and answered straight away.  “No.  He died this morning at 4am.”

It was my turn to shake my head, explaining this time our refusal to believe.  “We just saw Uncle Fred this morning.  He greeted us, we even opened the car window to greet him.  He was flesh and blood.”

The nanny was stunned, her words seemed to be shaky.  “What did he look like?  Did you notice anything different about him?”

Come to think of it, we did.  We noticed he was dressed all white.  There was nobody else on the street that morning.  He had the kindest face in all the years that we’ve seen him.  Did that prove that what we saw was a ghost?  Your guess is as good as ours!

To this day, I still remember Uncle Fred, and continue to pray for the souls in Purgatory especially at Christmas time.

A Blessed Christmas to All!




Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: