POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 16 June 2011, Thursday
Last week I was pleasantly surprised to find that a friend, Sarah Bulalacao Grutas, is now social media director for the National Youth Commission. A young person herself, Sarah is a cum laude graduate of the University of the Philippines, with a Creative Writing degree from the UP’s College of Arts and Letters.
We met when we were both working for Fox Books, a now-defunct publisher of literary materials that sadly, felt the financial crunch and had to fold. A pity, because it had published a wide assortment, in both Filipino and English, of works by Filipino writers, such as Beverly Siy, Haidee Pineda, Vlad Gonzales, Anna Ishikawa, and US-based humor writer Jay David, among others.
But I digress. More on the Philippine literary scene in another column. Today I give way to news from the NYC on a couple of things, one of them being the rising transport fares that will negatively affect many students.
The NYC recently appealed to the management of the Metro Rail Transit and the Light Railway Transit to grant fare discounts to students. NYC chairman Leon Flores III urged the Department of Transportation and Communication to issue such a directive, citing the fare discounts for senior citizens.
Sarah says a recent NYC survey shows that most students who take the MRT and LRT have a daily allowance of only P100 pesos, half of which goes to transportation expenses. LRTA public relations officer Irene Valensarina told the NYC that LRT is not currently giving discounts to students, but is studying this given the impending increase in train fare. Ryan Abiñon from the office of the MRT general manager likewise said that as of the moment there are no directives from the management regarding student discounts this year.
I remember being an impecunious student with a limited allowance, and walking as much as I could instead of taking jeepney rides to save my allowance so I could buy books – mostly Star Trek fotonovels and Golden Age science fiction and fantasy.
I recall a story of a local author who, when they went to a city in the Visayas for a workshop and to sell his books, said he overheard a couple of students debating which one of his books they would buy, because pooling their resources, they could afford only one, which they would share.
How do we think we can manage to continue giving the world a superior workforce with language skills if our young people don’t have the reading habit? Much has been made of giving more English-language training to young people to fit them for careers in BPOs/call centers and to work as OFWs abroad. But how can they learn to speak and write English well if they cannot read books in that language, being unable to afford them?
I can attest to the power of reading to build vocabulary and instill by osmosis grammatical and syntactical rules. The brain recognizes patterns; read a lot of books and you will unconsciously pick up the flow of the language. You will recognize when something doesn’t “sound right”. And an ear for language is essential for mellifluous writing.
So, going back to the point, I hope the LRT and MRT give discounts to students so those inclined can afford more books. (Or food, because who can study properly with a growling stomach?)
And while they’re at it, booksellers might consider decreasing book prices. Same goes for sellers of electronic book readers like the Kindle. E-books can be had for free, especially older titles; newer ones go for a minimal cost, like ten pesos. If Kindles or similar devices were made more affordable, reading would be more popular.
Meanwhile, the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations Awards Foundation, Inc. or TAYO Foundation is proud to announce the launch of of “TAYO 9”, the ninth annual search for the best youth organizations in the country.
TAYO 9 was launched in ceremonies coinciding with the release of the book entitled [R]evolutionaries, commemorating the first six years of the TAYO search and the inspiring stories of TAYO awardees. The book is available in all Fully Booked branches and the TAYO Secretariat.
The TAYO Foundation aims to discover and recognize exceptional youth organizations that have contributed to the development of their local communities, schools, or work places through innovative development projects. Since 2002, over a thousand youth organizations have joined the annual TAYO search and are now part of the TAYO youth network.
The TAYO Awards are open to youth groups, organizations, clubs and societies whose membership and leadership are composed of at least 15 members who are 15-30 years old. Ten of them shall be chosen to receive cash grants of P50,000 each to fund existing or future projects.
TAYO is online with a newly updated website, http://www.tayoawards.net. Interested youth organizations can both access information on the current search and submit entry forms online.
It will be a TAYO first to accept “virtual entries”, enabling an even more far-reaching search and allowing organizations from far-flung areas to submit their entries without cost.
The deadline for submission of entries is 31 July 2011. Entry forms may be also be downloaded from http://www.nyc.gov.ph. Text 0917 TXT-TAYO (898-8296) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the TAYO search.
TAYO 9 is presented by the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Inc., and organized by the NYC with the Office of Senator Francis Pangilinan. Also supporting the search are the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, Philippine Information Agency, Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation, and the Philippine Center of Young Leaders in Governance Foundation, Inc. ***