Category Archives: Freedom

The Historical Significance Behind South Africa’s Freedom Day

For South Africa, the road to democracy was a long and difficult one.

History states that South Africa’s freedom was hard earned, yet despite years of conflict, racial discrimination, and even bloodshed, South Africa continues to rise above its challenges.

April 27 also commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held in 1994. This was the first historical democratic elections where the first non-racial national elections was held. On this day, we not only remember the bitter history and wrongs of the past, but to celebrate just how far the country has come as a nation in building bridges to a better future.

Now, the country is on its 23rd year of commemorating its Freedom. Though South Africa is still in the process of achieving the truest essence of freedom, the need to acknowledge the good achieved keeps South Africa motivated and moving forward.

Last night, I was privileged to join the South African Embassy in celebrating the country’s 23rd Freedom Day Celebration.

To never forget one’s history, to fight injustice in all its forms and to see how far one has come – may it be for a person, community, or a country – is what makes freedom all the more significant and integral for humanity to thrive.

Thank you to the South African Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Martin Slabber for having me. I am one with South Africa in commemorating this milestone in your country’s rich history. Happy Freedom day my dear friends!

SA Freedom Day Celebration

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Bleeding Passions

I bleed every time I write.

When I say bleed, I literally mean exhausting every ounce of energy in me. Whenever I’m in the zone, I can’t be bothered ‘lest I look at the nuisance with murderous eyes. Inspiration comes in bursts, and seizing those moments are critical in the writing process.

I am done with sitting on the computer all day long and drawing blanks. It simply does not work for me. What works though are solitary walks, being with nature, exercise, reading, music. Just taking a good time out from the ‘job’ of writing.

So don’t be surprised if some writers you know are pretty sensitive when it comes to their copy. Each end product that comes out of every endeavor is, after all, a summation of their energies, all poured into a piece of paper.

With years of doing this for a living, some writers such as myself, are now more open to suggestion and criticism. Growing up means being open to improving your craft. But there will always be the problem of getting inspiration. Finding inspiration is the constant struggle for every single project I accept, not the criticism, nor the deadline.

How I wish that by simply accepting money and automatically churning content were that easy. It’s much more complicated than that: I need to know if the copy is worth my time, if the owners are worth my energy or if their business goal and passions are meshed with how to improve a particular system.

Obviously, being your text-book systems builder, I like to improve things. And this translates to how I work as well. If the copy that I churn from my fingertips help a business or a friend in improving a particular system, culture, business, etc. then I go for it with all my might. Nothing done in halves. A project/vision/team/person should be worth my energy, my ideals, my passions. Otherwise, I turn it down.

A few weeks ago I’ve been distraught. I haven’t been able to create. There were days of crying spells. I couldn’t eat and sleep. I felt like I was loosing my mind.

Then, unexpectedly, a family concern came up. The timing of it all. I’ve just successfully inked a major project with a very important client, when personal concerns such as hospitalization comes up. Two nuclear bombs on opposite ends. How lovely.

But surprisingly, during those days in the hospital, I’ve been able to write excellently given the dire situation I was in.

I wrote in the cath lab, the patient’s room, brainstormed on the nurses station while blatantly questioning the nurses’ competence, the timing of the patient’s food, the ambulance MD who hit on every single female nurse (and had the death glare of his life when he tried to get chummy with me), the billing clerks at the hospital…every angst I had during that hospital stint, I took out on the hospital staff and put in my writing. I had laser-like focus.

The hospital distraction helped me construct, compose, create. I was argumentative, fiery and passionate: the best recipe for creating, for writing.

I still have to finalize and close the current project, but the momentum has now resurfaced. Sometimes, it takes a life hurdle to shake you senseless and tell you ‘Get a grip! You got this’.

I may have bled buckets the past few weeks but every drop was well worth it.

Have you gone through the same dry-spells? How did you get your groove back on track?

Think of Greater Things – Rizal

“You must learn the science of life, a thing which your fatherland cannot teach you, so that someday you maybe useful to it.

If you remain here in my shadow, in this environment of business affairs, you will not learn to look far ahead.

You must think of other and greater things, the future lies open before you, while for me it is already passing behind;

Your love is just awakening, while mine is dying. Fire burns in your blood, while the chill is creeping into mine.

Yet you weep and cannot sacrifice the present for the future, useful as it maybe alike to yourself and to your country.”

Don Rafael Ibarra tells his son, Juan Crisóstomo Ibarra, before he sends him abroad to pursue studies.

[From the novel Noli Me Tangere by Philippine National Hero and freedom fighter, José Rizal]

noli-me-tangere-rizal