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What makes a Chronicler
January 26th, 2008 posted by DCT under Adamson Chronicle, Uncategorized. [ Comments: 7 ]

Between the twin worlds of detachment and fondness lies ambivalence. For several years now, I savored my existence within that limbo. So many things that belonged to the past just had to take the backseat as a series of new challenges eventually flooded the present. Life just had to go on.The Adamson Chronicle is a perfumed ghost—a sniff of her and you just know she has snatched you back to her fold. It is her essence to be omnipresent despite or maybe due to her blindfold. She is the fellow writer you’ve intellectually crossed spades and hedonistically shared rounds of beer with, and the reader with whom you sign a love-hate contract for a piece of paper. Heck, she is the entire university populace—the paying student-publishers, the sometimes adversarial administrators and to some extent the guilt-stricken faculty members, and all other sorts of characters in between.

Such is Lady Chronicler’s influence that leaving the university grounds does not guarantee getting rid of her entirely. Definitely not from a campus paper editor who literally saw blood spilled on his first few weeks of college life. That blood belonged to then-AUSG president Rolando dela Cruz with whom he struck a comradeship in iron will. Later, truncheons would blow the noses of the editor’s friends who just turned out to be fighting for students’ rights. Along with them, the writer was thrown by circumstances to lead a very radically different life very much apart from his otherwise scholarly or academic undertakings.

Yet that writer-editor succeeded years ago in dumping his memory of Adamson Chronicle like some gadget that has outlived its usefulness. It just happened, like some drug addict who threw all his guts out and finally achieved clarity. I was a success in betrayal. Familial responsibilities caught up with time. I was a kuya after all to six siblings and life wasn’t getting any rosier with a father who continued to defy career suppression of Marcosian proportion and a mother who could not withstand the rigors of rural life to which my family was forced to subsist.

There were other factors that came into play but I’m not going to belabor those points at the risk of sounding like a walking apologia for the unfolding events. Suffice it to say that the scholar in me took the driver’s seat this time and rode to the information superhighway like a madman deprived of fuel for a very long time. Life offered a different route. What KM = Kabataang Makabayan was to hardened activists now meant Knowledge Management, LFS became the theatrical Last Full Show, and a host of other mastered acronyms and jargons ended up as forgotten coffee, bitter to the taste and cold to the touch.

It would be easy to conclude that I became a sellout, especially finding out that I am writing this from New York as a communications consultant. And I hasten to defend that nothing is farther than the truth. I may have changed gear but it is mainly to allow other leaders to run the show this time. Reading now how they put up a good fight when the going got tough, I can only say that it was a decision well-invested.

Allow me to link you back to another time. Other leaders came before my term, who selflessly trained upcoming editors and writers of the paper. Rino Reginio first saw my potential from the results of the editorial exam that led to my first shot at the associate editorial position, right hand to then editor-in-chief Alwyn Vicente. Rino would later call me the “hara-kiri journalist” due to my confrontational write-ups. Alwyn has reserved for me the terms “licentious” and “uncharitable”. They are both heroes and amazing mentors to me, and I’m sure they always held my best interest at heart. The chain goes further back to previous editors like Dennis Solatan and the late Donnie Montalban who guided them in return.

Like today’s editors and writers, The Adamson Chronicle and its editors then lived up to their times’ different challenges and circumstances. Unfortunately, fate rendered for the Adamsonians of my time a more disquieting onslaught of both arrogant and subtle abuses. As the voice of the students, it was no time to wax poetic. Still, we had to strike a balance between literary creations and editorial engagements.

As in all marketplaces of ideas, what proves relevant to the time rules. At that time, the Adamsonians wanted their voices heard—from how they oppose the student magna carta ill-crafted by the then-ironically repressive Office of the Dean of Student Affairs (ODSA), the malignant yearly tuition hike, to abusive faculty instructors and stinking toilets. Ad nauseum. The Adamson Chronicle listened and became the freedom wall inscribed with the students’ sentiments and frustrations.

From what seemed like successful efforts by ODSA (previously named Office of Pastoral Affairs (OPA) to quell the student population into absolute submission, the university suddenly woke up to a startling first issue that laid bare the wounds inflicted by the previous years’ efforts at suppressing student rights, thought to be finalized by the banning and dismissal of several militant students and student-government (AUSG) leaders led by Rolando dela Cruz.

ODSA has never been so wrong. Where it thought it succeeded in crippling the student government, the upcoming events will prove otherwise. The reawakening militancy of the Adamsonians apparently threatened the ODSA leadership and in duplication of its past efforts at sowing fear and confusion, tried but failed to stop the rage and the terror it bred itself in the coming days.

The Adamson Chronicle, the only institution left with enough fight in its spirit at that time, took a stand and added its voice to the growing discontent. Some would argue the paper provoked the students to take to the streets, but all that argument is nonsense. The publication exists to tell the stories of its publishers, the students. After all, we are students ourselves. If The Adamson Chronicle members cannot live up to the students’ sometimes arduous demands, these members have the option to quit. If we cannot rise to our call of duty, our actions or inaction are accountable to the Adamsonians. We will be judged, and if found wanting, must give way to other writers who can take the mantle.

To sin by silence when we should protest disenfranchises our publishers, the students, who spent part of their tuition to give us that fateful chance of a lifetime to be their representative voice. That is the real challenge of the writing role all Chroniclers play, and to squander all that privilege would be a terrible waste. We are called campus journalists for no small measure. The demands are tough, and the stakes are high.

In the end, what being a Chronicler tells us is that we may try to evade responsibility and close our senses to the truths happening before us, but in the end the choices we make once we put on our Press badges will define the person that we become. The Adamsonians are our only judges and masters in determining whether or not we stink for the job at hand. But when we do a great job of it, the Adamson Chronicle to us becomes a perfumed ghost—indelible, perpetual, and resilient.

DCT has blogged 1 posts


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