Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


20 Years After

Posted on February 20, 2006 by jimparedes

Guess who I wrote and answered back? Twice! Paolo Coelho! Yes, the writer of Alchemist, Veronica Decides To Die, Eleven Minutes, etc,, I found his website and wrote to him about 4 years ago commenting on a character whom I found so fascinating in his book Valkyries. He answered back within minutes. Anyway, 4 days ago I wrote him again just to leave a comment about how great his works are. The very next day, lo and behold! he answered me again.

‘Dear Jim,

My sincere thanks for your kind email.

Your thoughts about my work are important to me and I am grateful for your
interest.

May love be your guide in every moment of your life.

Paulo Coelho

www.paulocoelho.com.br

www.wariorofthelight.com.br’

What a thrill it is to communicate with a person of his stature. And it is quite a testimony to the man that he takes time to answer letters from his readers.

This is the season of EDSA and I am again being swamped by the media for reactions, guestings, comments, etc. More than a months ago, I taped the Inquirer TV Special on EDSA and it was shown on ABC 5 Monday night at 8:30. There will be another special this Sunday at 9PM on ABS-CBN and this one is interesting since new facts about the historical events will be disclosed for the first time. I am hosting this together with Bianca Gonzales. I have not seen it yet in its final form but I think it will be good.

Also, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) interviewed 20 people for the 20th Anniversary of EDSA issue and I was chosen to be one of the interviewees. My comments on the podcast are making waves around certain circles since I seem to have come on too strong. One comment I made is, ‘We should have knocked off a few people’ when asked about what went wrong with EDSA. Another one was something I said metaphorically, and actually in jest which went, “ I want to take a break from being Filipino” to explain why I am migrating. But there is a grain of truth there and it is that it is so dispiriting and stressful to be assaulted by bad news and endless political bickering daily, not to mention the burden of living with the ‘inertia of unchange’ that we seem to be trapped in here in the Philippines. This coming weekend, a very extended version of my blog entry entitled ‘Yes it’s True” will be then cover story in the Sunday Inquirer.

I seem to be all over the place and it is not something I am easily comfortable with. I just did not realize that my leaving is causing a little stir among some circles. I did not mean to discourage anyone especially to those who are staying put in this country. As I said in my blog, my leaving is as much about personal growth as it is about my disappointment with the political situation. Allow me some room to grow. I’ve also always said I will be back to fight another day.

Allow me to post some thoughts about EDSA.

Every year, the whole question of whether EDSA was a good thing or other questions to that effect is posed by writers and socio-political commentators to us. EDSA to me was a great moment when we expressed the best in us, and it continues to be a source of inspiration to be a better Filipino. Sure, people may argue that in many ways, the situation had deteriorated after EDSA and I will agree. But to say it is a failure based on what transpired after is a bit off. To many who were there, it was a real moment of transformation, a time when we left our petty minds and selfish hearts and heeded the call of greatness that had beckoned. It was a magical, mystical experience that excited our imagination to consider that we as a people can become much more than what we thought we could be.

The politicians, the leaders of many of our institutions, and the rest of us bstrayed EDSA. EDSA showed us the way but we chose another. EDSA did not fail us. To say it did is like saying Jesus’ dying on the cross was a futile exercise because the world today is still ruled by bad people. EDSA is a shining beacon for us that affirms our inner goodness and reminds us of the power we have, to change for the better.

I have no regrets about having participated in it, and I would wholeheartedly do it again. But I would change a few things: this time, I would make sure I spoke in a louder voice and did more actions AFTER instead of leaving it all to the politicians. For a few examples, I would have worked hard to convince the government to negotiate the national debt to zero, push the justice agenda, jail a few people, and partner more with the people in pursuing the agenda of real change more than kowtowing to the military, the politicians, the trapos, the businessmen and the other so-called power centers. The people gave the new government the mandate to change society. In many ways, it ignored the people and embarked on a restoration project that put back in power the other side of the elite that Marcos spurned. Soon even the old cronies were back in power. Somewhere along the way we forgot that it was a revolution of the people, for the people, by the people.

Of course, I do recognize that I am being simplistic here, and that hindsight is indeed 20-20. In EDSA’s case, monday quarterbacking may not even be possible yet. I remember a comment by a French historian on his thoughts about the French Revolution which transpired three hundred years ago. He said, “We are still trying to determine what really happened.”

Twenty years may still be too short.

Do you recognize the singers? Some of them do elicit double takes, don’t they?

As a parting gift, I am reprinting the lyrics of a song that merely used me to express the spirit of what happened 20 years ago. If you wish to listen to it, I believe it is downloadable in Limewire. Otherwise, try this link.

Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo

‘Di na ‘ko papayag mawala ka muli.
‘Di na ‘ko papayag na muling mabawi,
Ating kalayaan kay tagal natin mithi.
‘Di na papayagang mabawi muli.

Magkakapit-bisig libo-libong tao.
Kay sarap pala maging Pilipino.
Sama-sama iisa ang adhikain.
Kelan man ‘di na paalipin.

Ref:
Handog ng Pilipino sa mundo,
Mapayapang paraang pagbabago.
Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan
Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas.
Basta’t magkaisa tayong lahat.

Magsamasama tayo ikaw at ako

Masdan ang nagaganap sa aming bayan.
Magkasama ng mahirap at mayaman.
Kapit-bisig madre, pari, at sundalo.
Naging Langit itong bahagi ng mundo.

Huwag muling payagang umiral ang dilim.
Tinig ng bawat tao’y bigyan ng pansin.
Magkakapatid lahat sa Panginoon.
Ito’y lagi nating tatandaan.

(repeat refrain two times)

30 to “20 Years After”

  1. jey says:

    i also wrote mr. coehlo after reading “eleven minutes” and he wrote me back! i am one of the millions who read and admire his work, and he has moved me the way your books have.

  2. tontopagihapon says:

    It’s alright Jim, take a well-deserved “break”. You’ve already done more than your fair share to make the Phils. a better place. We should all be grateful for this. Most especially, thank you for the music! Your musical genius and creativity has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the Philippine music scene. Siguro, yung mga kanta n’yo ng APO ay kakantahin pa rin for many generations to come. And thank you too for giving voice to the aspirations of many Filipinos. I can see from your musings that you have a vision for our country. Well, I just hope that from where you will be you will continue the good fight. OK, sige na. Mga kababayan, let’s give Jim a break! All the best Jim! Enjoy your remaining 1000 weekends (or hopefully more?)

  3. ~C4Chaos says:

    i couldn’t agree more with your take on EDSA.

    thanks for being a channel Jim. more channeling to come 😉 godspeed with the move.

  4. roy says:

    i watched the show last night in channel 5 (EDSA 20) and i just got goose bumps seeing the pictures and the stories of the ordinary people. I was crying when i saw the tv appearance of jim paredes, subas herrero and noel trinidad saying “sobra na, tama na and palitan na” over channel 4. I am sure all those who were here in the Philippines during the Martial law days will never imagine to say that slogan over a government TV. ALso the apo concert in channel 4 ( ithink that was outside the studios) was also shown, the best part for me there is the video of June Kiethly in Radyo Bandido. Did you shhot that video Jim.

    Anyway. thanks Jim for the pictures, videos and story of EDSA .

  5. Marie says:

    ‘What a thrill it is to communicate with a person of his stature. And it is quite a testimony to the man that he takes time to answer letters from his readers.’

    That’s exactly how I feel everytime you reply to my comments!

  6. Jim says:

    Jey–I am honored you put me in the same company as Paolo coelho, though I know I do not deserve it. salamat pa rin.

    tontonpagihapon–So glad you enjoy my music. I am really proud of it. Yes, I will use part of my 1000 weekends to rejuvenate so that I can live each one to the last. Instead of fading away, I will build up to a glorious sunset.

    I will continue the fight, and yes, I will be back someday.

    coolmel–you are most welcome.

    roy–yes, I had goosebumps reliving the whole thing while watching the special. Those were heady days. We were moving right in the middle of history’s main stage. More than at any time, I am quite emotional about this years EDSA. Yes, I took those radio bandido footages. Yes, that APO show was outside Radio Veritas.

    marie–what can I say! I am so humbled by your remark.

  7. sachiko says:

    hello Jim..how are you? i’m back blogging after quite a long hiatus. i got heavily involved into something and im hoping that going back to blogging will in some ways, divert my interest and concentration back into the real world.

    no chance of having a tour here in Japan? it would be a real treat to see the APO performing. 🙂

  8. Roy says:

    jim thanks for the response….i thought radyo bandido was a secret location then? how did you come to know about? I am just curious. By the way where was the radyo bandido located? I heard it was very near Malacanang.

  9. cbs says:

    yo, jim! lapit na nga pala uli ng edsa. alala ko tuloy nung mga unang araw nya, andun kayo ng apo sa ch. 4, me dala kang videocam, sabi mo, “i’m going to record history”.

    hayy, nasan na ba’ng (edsa) barkada ngayon?

  10. maricar says:

    i think it’s human nature to feel good when somebody acknowledges or appreciates what we do. and if the acknowledgement is coming from somebody we admire, then it doesn’t just feel good, it feels great!

    after all these years, i still get a kick when you reply to my comments in your blog. you’ve always been so generous with your time even way back then. i think i still have one of your replies (to my fan mails before) that you typed on your commodore 64. 🙂

    you can’t help it if a lot of people will make a big deal out of your migrating to OZ. well, it is a big deal. but this is something that you have to do for you and your family. i know that you will always be Pinoy wherever you are.

    btw, i’ve been listening to your Collector’s Item album and my favorite is ‘Kasal’. bandang-banda ang dating. baka pwedeng i-revive ng mga pinoy bands of today? pwede ring kayo ulit!

  11. aidz says:

    maraming salamat sa pagbibigay ng link sa “handog..”, matagal ko na itong hinahanap sa mga record bars. sana kantahin ninyo ito sa “apo experience” sa megamall 🙂

  12. junger says:

    edsa.

    things happen because they’re allowed to happen.

    most philippine leaders, politicians and the whole political system is still under u.s. control.

    let’s not fool ourselves.

  13. lance says:

    hi mr. paredes, lance again.

    and yes, it is true how grateful it is to be answered-back by a man of a stature. it is actually an achievement for us ordinary people. it is the same feeling i have whenever you post a reply to our comments. ^^ APO still rocks. i’m just 20 yrs old but i love your songs. a heritage. memories of my mother.

  14. ingwid says:

    Hi Mr Jim — I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now. I felt jitters when I listened to your song “Handog”, I feel proud to be a Filipino. I also listened to the pcij podcast. I am feeling a bit nationalistic. And just like many of us Filipinos, I am worried what the next years will be. Hopefully a better and wiser one. Thank you for being an inspiration. Kanina lang I realized how in one way or another a person can stop thinking about him/herself and just care about his/her country — at least you’re fighting for something. Looking forward to your next article.

    http://homepage.mac.com/ingridnavarro/PhotoAlbum19.html

  15. enigma says:

    Pilipinas, lahi ka ng dakila!

  16. Jim says:

    sachiko–we missed youi. welcome back. Sorry but no Japan on the horizon so far.

    roy–yes it was a secret location. On a hunch I found it sa old RJ building. It was uncanny. Yes, that was my footage.

    cbs–yes, and I did record it!! heh heh. Some Japanese news agencies actually paid me dollars for some of the footages.

    Maricar–tama ka. It does sound so alternative. That was one of our big numbers before. I even played the lead guitar.

    aidz–we probably will not sing it since it needs women’s voices but we will sing something new and equally moving.

    lance–salamat

    ingwid–salamat sa bisita. This is a special EDSA time for me since I will be leaving na.

    enigma–Totoo. Magaling ang Pinoy. Dapat matuto lang tayo to get our act together.

  17. Anonymous says:

    You did not come on too strong in the pcij interview. For those who are guilty of what you are lamenting, they may feel that you came in too strong. For those honestly yearning for good, honest, hardworking, clean government—you said it plainly.
    The problem now in our country is that most people today compromise. They compromise Catholic values and morality to gain ahead. You said it! The important thing is do what is right all the time, even if it hurts. Say what is right all the time, even if it hurts. Our very existence on earth is to please God and not men.
    Happy migration!

  18. k says:

    Hi. I am an avid reader of your and Ala’s blog. I really admire the way both of you think. 🙂 although ngayon lang ako nag comment. 🙂

    I am 18 years old and you and Ala inspire me a lot. 🙂

    I watched Probe last night, and my admiration for what you are as a citizen of this country grew. 🙂
    One of the lines that struck me was, “We were ready to die for the country, then we realized that we have to live for the country first.” (o basta something like that. hehe)

    wala lang. Nakakatuwa ka po e. Good luck to you and your family!:)

    God Bless!

  19. talksmart says:

    Hi Jim. I never thought I would bump into a blog from a guy whom I admire his singing talent so so much. And you just don’t know how my family loves you so much. Great blog thoughts you have!

  20. Soul_Seeker says:

    Hello po!

    I agree with what you said. EDSA wasn’t a failure. We failed EDSA by forgetting what it stood for and by choosing to go another way.

    I don’t have TFC so I’ve just been reading all the articles I could find about EDSA. The stories of ordinary people who participated in EDSA–yours included–are so touching.

    All the best when you migrate to Australia. You’ll always be Pinoy wherever you are.

  21. charisse says:

    Jim,
    Like you, I have been following up on Coelho for the last 9 years, starting with The Alchemist. And you know what, I have learned to incorporate the wisdom and his rhetoric with the way I live my way until today.
    Can’t wait to get hold of his Be Like The River Flow. 🙂

    I want to congratulate you for this site. For the longest time, I’ve been meaning to write you about it. Can I just tell you that I grew up attuned to your life as a celebrity despite the fact that details remained scarce all these years. 🙂

    For some reasons, your writing inspires me, if I were to be specifically referring to something you posted last July of 2005 – enunciating about your life after you and your wife went through an operation. I recall reading it a few days after I, too, went through one.

    Keep on inspiring people. I will be watching over your future musings. Mabuhay ka.

    -charisse

  22. charisse says:

    Jim,
    Like you, I have been following up on Coelho for the last 9 years, starting with The Alchemist. And you know what, I have learned to incorporate the wisdom and his rhetoric with the way I live my way until today.
    Can’t wait to get hold of his Be Like The River Flow. 🙂

    I want to congratulate you for this site. For the longest time, I’ve been meaning to write you about it. Can I just tell you that I grew up attuned to your life as a celebrity despite the fact that details remained scarce all these years. 🙂

    For some reasons, your writing inspires me, if I were to be specifically referring to something you posted last July of 2005 – enunciating about your life after you and your wife went through an operation. I recall reading it a few days after I, too, went through one.

    Keep on inspiring people. I will be watching over your future musings. Mabuhay ka.

    -charisse

  23. Anonymous says:

    hi jim, it is sad and ironic that i was watching the EDSA doco on Probe (TFC) last night and knowing that the the country is in the throes of a similar crisis. i have not lost hope yet. as long as people have the courage to speak up, there is still a chance even if maybe not in this lifetime…

  24. Screwed-Up AKA SnglGuy says:

    It’s really sad that after 20 years, this country still hasn’t gotten off the ground (actually more like sinking). We missed that opportunity for greatness all because of these trapos and stupid voters who keep voting them into office.

    Sorry if I sounded crude, but that is how I feel. I felt betrayed. I was 25 and full of hope in 86… I should have known better. But still, we keep hoping… how pathetic is that?

    Have a great weekend Jim, God bless! 😀

  25. Jim says:

    anonymous–salamat!

    k–your observation is absolutely right on. The hard part is ‘living’ for the country. Thanks for reading our blogs.

    talksmart and soul_seeker–thanks for the visit.I appreciate your comments. EDSA is forever. And being Filipino is too.

    Charisee–I hope you continue to recover. I am grateful that in some way, you find this blog inspiring.

    anonymous–now is another time to speak up since our freedoms are once again threatened. Let’s all do our share.

    screwed up–Your feelings are shared by many. But what can we do but be hopeful? While I may be ldeaving, I still consider Philippines as home, and so must be hopeful!

  26. BabyPink says:

    kakatuwa. the thrill you felt when mr. coelho wrote back, i feel the same thrill when you write back. hehehe:)

    when i told one of my friends that you’re actually leaving, her reply was: “wow! it’s that bad, huh? jim paredes is leaving. depressing.”

    and, we were quiet for a few minutes.

  27. charisse says:

    jim,
    no matter what, we have your blog to share with.
    i still have your email add, so, write on! 🙂
    i must say you have made a difference in this world, i could not point out in detail what, but i strongly feel you did.

    just don’t forget to come back home. i still fream of meeting you in person one day.
    goodluck in all your endeavors with your family.

    -cha

  28. charisse says:

    ops, i meant dream there! *grin*
    typo error…

    cha

  29. Anonymous says:

    I have a confession … this is the FIRST time that I listened to the lyrics/melody of “Handog Ng Pilipino sa Mundo” …

    Oh woww…. that was heavy then ..
    and still most relevant now ….

  30. MelaCane says:

    jim,
    i got an email from the man too
    i’m beginning to wonder if its really him writing those,
    you know, anyways, i got an email from him and im glad



Leave a Reply



  • display_thumbnail.php

  • October 2018
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • Google counter



↑ Top