Saturday, June 17, 2017
The Pen is Mightier than the Sword, or the Click is Mightier than the Firearm Rather: Globalized Journalism with NDB By: James U. Sy Jr.
Now on its 56th year, the Negros Daily Bulletin (NDB) is like fine wine, the older it gets, the better it is. Our President/Editor-in-Chief Mr. Ruperto G. Toga once reminished to me how the NDB, as a weekly, was printed in the 1960’s; the news were slow to collect because the communication systems were not that sophisticated back then. Add to that how difficult the old printing method was and you’ll see how the newspaper can only manage one issue per week. But that was back then. Today, the news flow freely and unhampered from all directions (hence, N-north, E-east, W-west, S-south) because of better communication and printing technology, a more systematic industry, and of course, the internet. NDB has withstood the test of time, spanning the term of nine Philippine presidents, and I am proud to be part of it. The title for this piece is actually a modification of the title of an earlier article I wrote for the 53rd Anniverssary Issue of NDB in 2013, “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword: My Journey with NDB.” I chose the pen (or more accurately, the brush in Chinese culture) as a metaphor because it represents the scholastic side of the warrior and it symbolizes a higher consciousness of oneself and maturity into a physically, mentally, and spiritually superior human being who ultimately understands life and its real purpose. NDB was and still is a significant stimulus to this self realization. The “Click is Mightier than the Firearm” is actually a play on the pen/sword metaphor, signifying the constant flux in the universe and the constant change of everything in life, including scholarship, technology, and journalism among others. Time changes everything. Those who can’t adapt and don’t evolve will perish. Today, the mouse has become on the same league, if not above, the pen. This best describes my 16/17 years stint with NDB as a columnist, feature writer, photojournalist, and reporter, thousands of steps and hundreds, if not thousands, of articles depicting the changing world around us. A consummate writer by heart, I use to type my manuscripts on a pica or elite typewriter, have a picture or two developed, and physically deliver the same to the NDB office for publication. That was then. Now the email works wonders. Less time required, no paper needed. The beauty of technology, and the speed by which we have to go by our modern world. I may pale in comparison to a hardcore all-around mediaman primarily because by profession I am not a mediaman I don’t have a degree in Journalism; what I have is a bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management from the University of St. La Salle (USLS) and Completed Academic Requirements (CAR)-level units for my Master’s Degree at Carlos Hilado Memorial State College-Fortune Towne (CHMSC-FT) (where incidentally I’m also the Editor-in-Chief for the Masters Program publication, Paglaum). I’m an industry man (as well as an entrepreneur), having had eight formal employers representing at least five industries. I was twice a banker, with Prime Savings Bank and East West Bank, both Bacolod Branches. I was a Purchasing Officer at Asian Alcohol Corporation (AAC) of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies (LTGC) before I took a teaching position with Bacolod City College (BCC) and College of the Arts and Sciences of Asia and the Pacific (CASAP)-Bacolod Campus. I write because I love to. Writing started out just as a hobby for me, in a way to also maintain my proficiency in the English language. I have come to realize that most employees stop learning once they leave school. Learning is really a life long pursuit because most of what we have learned in school during the first 20 years of our lives will become obsolete in the next 20 years. Using the brain continuously makes it active and healthy even in advanced years. Use it or lose it. Due to my background, I am a “specialist” writer. I write about things that I know best and love, starting with the martial arts when I began writing for the NDB. Over the years, I have written about Arnis/Eskrima, Judo, Karate, Aikido, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Boxing, Grappling, Jiu-jitsu, etc. (all arts I have studied before) and their proponents in Bacolod, Negros Island, and nearby places. No other writer in Negros Island Region (NIR) has penned such an extensive and non-partisan coverage of this specialized field in Negros. Since then, most of the grand old men of Arnis/Eskrima whom I have interviewed for these articles have passed away, the most recent of which was P/Sgt. (Ret.) Grandmaster Estanislao “Eslao” T. Guarra (1933-2016), the President of the Negros Occidental Baston Federation (NOBF), Inc. The articles I wrote about them will serve as a historical record of “mga tumandok nga mga hangkilan kag ang ila nga mga pamaagi sang pag-amlig sa kaugalingon.” Then I started diversifying. Not all people are interested in the martial arts and there are many topics under the sun that can be talked about. NDB is primarily positioned as a community newspaper, one where you feel like you’re really part of it. As such, when I started my column “Culture Nurture” there was that purpose of educating the public about countless issues and topics which will catch their fancy and make them experience the joys of reading while sipping a cup of coffee or swinging away in their rocking chairs or seated upright in their swivel chairs. “Culture” because it is the sum total of man’s achievements, everything about humanity. “Nurture” signifies growth, evolution, development, a way of life if you will. “Culture Nurture” has featured articles on diverse fields such as entertainment (movies, celebrities), history, religion, language and linguistics, banking and finance, frauds and scams, business, and much more. Of course, these pieces were written with globalization in mind. Nowadays, national boundaries become obscured as trade is now conducted through the net (and even newspapers are online as well), alliances among nations, such as the ASEAN and the EU, have a large impact in our economy and our standing in the international arena as sovereignty as well as a consumer and a producer. Not enough can be said about journalism with a global flare in such a limited space. Nevertheless, the NDB will always be in the forefront to deliver to its readers up to date and relevant news reports and special interest articles for them to continuously learn, regarless of age, and be abreast of the ever changing and more boundaryless world that we live in. Every writer leaves behind their legacy when they leave this world. This piece and all others before and after this will be my legacy left in ink. My heartfelt thanks to the ever helpful and accommodating NDB family: to Sir Pert, Arman, Henry James, Ms. Ana, Cyrus, and all the others.