Daily Archives: August 5, 2011
BY ALEX P. VIDAL
THE feud between two prominent personalities in our city can be attributed to their failure to communicate, although both their media admirers swear they also talked once in a while — when they were probably still on speaking terms.
The lack of good conversation results because people take conversational ability for granted. They think that a man has either been given the gift of gab or he hasn’t. The truth is that conversation is an art. Like any other artistic ability, it requires training and discipline. Practice improves it. So does being constantly aware of where conversational mistakes can be made.
I made a research on this problem and this was what I found out: Asking ourselves the following questions is actually a great help.
1. What are we talking about?
2. With whom we are conversing?
3. Under what circumstances is the conversation taking place?
4. Why are we engaged in this conversation?
5. How should we say what’s on our mind?
6. When should certain things be said?
According to Dr. Mortimer Adler, conversation has to have a solid foundation. Those involved have to know what the subject is. If they don’t, the talk will be lopsided. Like any jerry-built structure, it is bound to come tumbling down in confusion.
The following rules should be observed: Let’s begin by stating our own views in the shortest, clearest way we can. Have the other fellow restate them in his own terms and to our satisfaction. Then let’s do the same for what he has to say. If we insist on this, what we are talking about will be clear. And if we don’t hop, skip, and jump all over the conversational landscape thereafter, the subject won’t be lost.
Most people are interested in some subjects but not others, Adler observed. “If we and someone else share a common interest, fine. If not, we can try to establish it. But if, after a few good tries, we see that the other party doesn’t respond, don’t force it. If we do, we will very often find that we have wasted our time.”
He added that there are times and places for heavy talk, times and places for light talk, and times and places for no talk at all. “Many good conversations are botched from the beginning by the participants’ not being able to tell the difference. Let’s try always to weigh the external factors that can affect conversation. If certain favorable conditions are lacking, let’s try to estimate how much they will disturb the talk. If they are all lacking, if the circumstances are stacked against us, then we shouldn’t try. We have to play this by ear, but if we keep the circumstances in mind, we won’t make so many mistakes.”
Here’s the complete observation of Dr. Adler: “No one is more disliked than the fellow who argues for the sake of argument. He is the windbag who supports the notion that ‘talk is cheap’ when, in fact, it is one of the most precious things in the world.”
“To be merely contentious is not to converse. When we try to laugh off a telling argument or ridicule the other party, when we agree or disagree without understanding, when we become sarcastic, and when we break off a discussion on some pretext, we are not conversing. All we get is the result of our dubious tactics merit–the cheap victory that they bring.
“Every good conversationalist has a style. The better he is, the more flexible is his style. He knows that the vocabularies, experiences, blind spots, interests, and beliefs of individuals differ greatly. To get accross what he has to say, therefore, he is constantly making adjustments in his manner of speaking. He never falls into rigid patterns.
“As important as style in conversation is timing. We can do everything else correctly, but if we say the right thing at the wrong time, we’ve failed. Sensing the critical moment in a conversation is not easy. We know of no conversational skill more difficult to acquire. And the reason it is so difficult is that it requires us to listen to the other fellow.”
BY ALEX P. VIDAL
In this time of economic despair, we must be able to differentiate natural and artificial wealth as we struggle to make both ends meet and survive the avalanche of frustrations being felt by most income earners, especially those with no income.
Natural wealth includes consumable goods — food, clothing, housing, etc. — and the means of producing them. Money, in contrast, is artificial wealth. Its utility is merely instrumental–as a means of exchange and as a measure of value of real wealth. Our estimation of “real” wages in terms of purchasing power is a present day application of this basic distinction.
An article written by lawyer Jenelyn C. Baligat published in the July 25 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer recently made rounds and became the talk of the town in Facebook and campuses.
Entitled “Little by little, the bird builds its nest,” Atty. Baligat wrote about her personal struggles in life and how she managed to overcome tremendous odds as a never-say-die student struggling on limited resources and adopting discipline as a personal mantra–and turning despair into hope; and finally emerging ten feet taller.
Atty. Baligat wrote: “For those born with silver spoons in their mouths, life is comfortable and getting a college degree is not a problem, assuming they have the smarts for it. Silver or gold, spoon or otherwise, our family has none. Not even educational plans to finance our studies. But we had hopes and aspirations aplenty.
“I am the youngest of five children. My father is a policeman-farmer and my mother is a dry goods vendor. In our home in a small town in Isabela, my parents’ meager incomes were used to make both ends meet.
“But I dreamt big and I dreamt of what seemed impossible. Driven by interest and passion, armed with determination and faith in God, I enrolled at the College of Law of Saint Louis University in Baguio City several years ago.
“As my way of helping my parents and generous benefactors to pay for my tuition, books and case materials, I worked in the daytime as legal researcher for one of the Regional Trial Courts in Baguio, and went to school at night. I worked eight hours a day for four consecutive semesters, and such experience taught me valuable lessons in time management, self-discipline, tight budgeting and reasonable spending.
“The best days in the life of a working student are the 15th and 30th of the month. Having a regular salary, no matter how measly, allowed me to plan and allocate for my daily expenditures.
“As a self-supporting student I faced a day-to-day battle. I stayed in a small dormitory with four occupants in one room, definitely much less comfortable than living solo or with a companion in an apartment. But never mind the inconvenience. A dormitory space cost me just a little over P1,000 per month, whereas an apartment could have cost as much as P4,000-5,000 to rent, depending on the location and proximity of the place to the school. Add to that the utility bills (water, electricity, etc.) and your expenses can really go up.
“For meals, I had to content myself with ready-to-eat-food, a dish and a cup of rice from a clean carinderia nearby. Why pay every day for food that costs more than a hundred bucks when a P50-P60 meal can satisfy you? I honestly do not recall being taken to the hospital for my diet of carinderia food for four consecutive years.
“In sticking to my budget, I bought no new clothes. Instead, I made do with my old wardrobe plus jackets bought from the tiangge or ukay-ukay to combat the cold weather in the city. I took no taxi rides. I frequently walked from the dormitory to the Hall of Justice and to the university. Walking served as good exercise for me, too.
“I had no expensive cell phone to use to share with my loved ones in Isabela my bittersweet stories and painful experiences. Instead, I wrote letters home. We spoke on the phone only twice a month. No frequent vacations for me despite having been homesick a lot because bus fare cost too much. I did budget for trips home on our semester breaks.
“For a poor working student like me, every hard-earned peso is a ticket to my goals of becoming a lawyer, changing the living condition of my family and extending help to the underprivileged, the lost, the last and the least.
“With the grace of God, and with good budgeting, the dreamer became a lawyer in 2007. It led me to believe that the poor are not destined to wallow in poverty forever. As the French say, “Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid,” which means “little by little, the bird builds its nest.”
“Let me now share with you some simple tips to save money and help your parents while you’re in school:
“If you have to live away from home, look for a clean boarding house or dormitory near the school. The closer to the school, the better, so you don’t have to budget for transportation;
“Eat healthy food at a clean, inexpensive food stall. If you’re a regular, the shop helpers will give you bigger helpings.
“If you have to take a ride, take the jeepney, the MRT or the bus, not the FX or the taxi. But walking can do a lot of good to your body. Safety and good health should be a primary concern.
“Buy school materials only when necessary.
“Bring just enough money for the day to avoid buying on impulse.
“Save P10 a day. In one month, you’ll have P300. In a year, you’ll have P3,650, enough to buy you a new uniform and a new pair of shoes for the next school year.”
Aristotle once stressed the notion of limited material needs. The proper aim of economic activity, he said, is to attain enough real wealth to take care of the material needs of the family or state.
Such needs are limited and can be fulfilled by a limited amount of wealth. The pursuit of wealth merely for the sake of possessing wealth, on the other hand, has no limits. It usually takes the form of accumulating a lot of money, which is more convenient to accumulate than real wealth.
The basic economic distinction between natural and aritificial wealth involves certain ethical principles. It assumes that a means derives its value from the ends it serves. Money is useful as a means of exchange or measure of value, and material wealth is useful as a means to the good life, since it serves to maintain life itself.
Hence, the pursuit of wealth for its own sake, which amounts to the chase after money, disorders the individual and the community since it takes the means for the end.
BY ALEX P. VIDAL
BOXING fans in Western Visayas will miss Antonio “Tony” Maloto, Sr. who was laid to rest at the Molo Public Cemetery in Iloilo City last July 31.
They will miss the small but ear-piercing voice behind the “Ladies and gentlemen…” introduction of amateur boxers that used to reverberate at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand to every point of Panay and Negros where amateur boxing tournaments were held under the auspices of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) and where Maloto was the official ring announcer.
Maloto was the “Michael Buffer” of Iloilo in particular and of Western Visayas in general. His face in boxing circle was as familiar as his voice for all fans of amateur boxing in this part of the country who have watched local tournaments here since the early 90’s.
Buffer is an American professional ring announcer for boxing and professional wrestling matches. He is known for his trademarked catchphrase, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” He is known for pioneering a distinct announcing style in which he rolls certain letters and adds other inflections to a fighter’s name.
When he was alive, Maloto used to tell me his idol was actually Jimmy Lennon Jr., an American boxing ring announcer who is employed primarily by Showtime as ring announcer for its Showtime Championship Boxing events and Strikeforce mixed martial arts programming.
He and Lennon almost had the same style and manner in delivering the introduction of fighters and announcing the results of fights.
Lennon was also employed by Fox Sports when the Fox network had rights to professional boxing and was the ring announcer for Don King Promotions’ fights that aired on various networks (including HBO, although King has largely promoted fights for Showtime since 1991). He is best known for his catchphrase, “It’s show time!”
Because Buffer is the more active and well-known among Filipino boxing fans, Maloto was easily connected to the American ring announcer who is a familiar face and voice in almost all of Manny Pacquiao’s Las Vegas fights.
Maloto, 64, succumbed to diabetes last July 10 after more than a year of battling the disease, according to Roland Magahin, Maloto’s former boss in the vegetable business in Iloilo Terminal Market.
When Magahin shifted from selling vegetables in the wet market to establishing dealership of the Concentrated Mineral Drops (CMD) food supplement, Maloto became one of his sales agents.
“When doctors rejected him (Maloto) and refused to admit him in the hospital, I gave him CMD which sustained him for almost a year until his death inside their house,” Magahin said. “But God had other plans for him, and CMD could not rescue him anymore.”
As ABAP regional liaison officer and founder of the Iloilo Amateur Boxing Development Club, Inc. (IABDCI), I worked with “Bords Tony” in more or less 100 tournaments since 1990 — from Iloilo City and various Iloilo towns to Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Nueva Ecija, Baguio City, Quezon City, Cubao, Ninoy Aquino Memorial Stadium.
When Team Iloilo went to Surabaya, Indonesia in 1997 to invade and fight the dreaded “Aseng Boys,” Bords Tony was left and was replaced by Alfredo “Pidong” Amistoso when he failed to obtain his passport on time.
Aside from being a ring announcer, “Bords Tony” was also our official matchmaker and member of jury. He matched fighters evenly in different barangays to give audience the kind of interesting bouts they deserved.
While he was brought to his final resting place, he was accompanied by family members and friends in the sports fraternity while the song “For Mama” was playing.
Goodbye, Bords Tony! May you continue to “get ready to rumble” in your new place where every moment must be a “Show time!”