Friday, January 13, 2012

SSSH: The Radical Art of Shutting Up by Shouting


Contrary to common knowledge, this is probably the real first word we ever learned as babies. But sssh, adoring parents wouldn't like that, won't they?

As much as we'd love to enjoy life, let's admit it: there are so many rules and laws from the day we were born, and probably more will be enacted until the day we die.

Don't do this. Don't do that.

Don't wear this; don't wear that.

Don't say this. Don't say that.

Don't behave like this; don't behave like that.

One of my fondest embarrassingly amusing childhood memory was about a time a neighborhood friend of mine had a quirky time after we first discovered our first vulgar word.

In the bicol dialect, it was 'kito' (sex).

And so we'd giggle as we mention the word over and over again between ourselves, without really understanding what it means. It was just fun. It was our secret.

Until my mom heard me accidentally say it inside the house when I got home that very night.

With a stern voice, she warned me not to say it again. Then, she turned around and walked away.

I don't remember why I did it, or what came over me. Maybe it was because I had so much fun just laughing with my friend over that newly-added vocabulary. Or maybe I was in my pre-adolescent rebellion.

Involuntarily and subconsciously, I shouted that word aloud.


My dad, who was playing a video game in the old Nintendo Family Gaming System, didn't flinch.

But my mom, who must have been a ninja during her teens, seemingly teleported from across the room and delivered a resounding slap on my face.

My dad looked at me.

And that concludes the first lesson I had about social norms.

Was it really wrong to say such a word in the first place?

Nowadays, I hear children mouth off unimaginable vulgarities in the internet gaming shops. I hear children and parents have a lovingly vulgar exchange of words in public. And who can blame them? Society and media has redefined the social norm.

People who are not vulgar are the ones who are deviant now.

And people who are not afraid to speak the truth are deviant now.


Recently, I have been checking my online habits, and I do notice that I am indeed being a bit too radical in how I phrase my rants in tweets, Facebook posts, and comments on various discussion threads (particularly when its about politics – especially biased reports. Blame my propensity and fervor for interpellation on my debating team experience. Oh how I miss those intelligent debates!)

Even in religious discussions, I do tend to be outspoken (Oh, I remember that book by CCM! ). Whether it was the influence of my pastor or something inert, I can't really tell. But as a radical, I realize that we are in a generation where 'being politically correct' has become more important than being 'fundamentally true' (I wanted to say Biblically true, but not all my arguments are about the Bible).


Should I be silent about my thoughts?


Should I be silent about my opinions?


Should I be silent about my beliefs?


Should I be silent about my faith?


Will my silence be ever heard? Or will the shout of my heart be ever silent?

(Photo credits to Joseph Christephen Valente. The photo/poster is actually for a non-related topic to this post. But hey, ideas are ideas. And yeah, if you're interested – join us on February 3 at the Asian Mansion near Greenbelt.)


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