My Inspiring Conversation with a Twelve Year Old Boy

Egay and Laika Performing in the 4th Philippines Summer Ballroom Championship

My brother, Egay, aged twelve, had a dance sport competition last Saturday. It hadn’t been a year yet since he joined the world of Dance Sport, but he got to join two competitions already out of several competitive pairs from his batch. On his first competition, Egay and his partner got 10th place out of 31 couples in the entire Mindanao, and it was the first time he got his own award and certificate. Since then he was motivated to dance more.

On his second competition, the 4th Philippines Summer Ballroom Championship, a nationwide competition hosted by Davao City, Egay and his partner Laika got to join. In this said competition, Egay was quite anxious because he got to dance and compete with his own trainers from the studio he was enrolled at. Yes, you read it right, Egay was competing with his own trainers aside from those pairs around the nation. Even though he hadn’t said it, I knew by a glance that Egay was quite concern about it.

During the dance, I was surprised. Egay didn’t have the energy he once had during the first competition.  He was really good at it, but last Saturday he hadn’t given his best. Egay and Laika got into the second round, but after that round, they were dropped. They weren’t able to get in the Finalist round. Even so, we’re very proud of him. It was a nationwide competition, lots of pairs, but he was blessed enough to proceed into second round.

After their entry, I saw Egay sitting alone on the top most stairs in the gymnasium. He was far from our post. He was staring down at the pairs who were dancing at the final round. I went to him and sat close next to him. And I said, “Congratulations.” He didn’t reply, he was just silent, trying to convince me that he was busy looking at the dance. But he was contemplating deeply.

Momentarily, Egay said, “We’re dropped. We didn’t make it to final round.”

“That’s ok. At least you got into the second round. But hey, what happened?” I asked him. “You’re good. But you didn’t have the energy and amore unlike before.”

I saw him knit his brows and he looked at me this time with little embarrassment on his face. He told me, “I didn’t give my best today. Partly I did it intentionally. I did it intentionally.” He repeated.

“Why?”

“I was nervous. Lots of couples. Good couples.”

“But you’re also good. You know it. Why did you lose confidence?”

“My partner is not good!” He burst. And honestly, I wasn’t surprise; he told us many times that he didn’t like Laika as his partner. “How can I have confidence if she’s not good? I’m disappointed. That’s why I did it intentionally to not give my best.”

“You shouldn’t say that. Everyone starts at not being good. And you shouldn’t be disappointed just because Laika is not good. You’re the man here, right, and because you’re the man then you should handle Laika, because that’s what you do in dancing! The woman follows your lead! ” I said.

He looked troubled again. Then he said to me, “I know that, Te. I do understand Laika. I always try to understand her! But it feels so wrong! She’s been dancing for two years, and she’s still not good at it! She doesn’t know. I’m disappointed because I can’t understand why she’s still not good after two years.”

Ah, I get it.

Egay was a very intellectual boy, he was very talented and smart, he was a fast learner, and his standards were often high. And we all knew that Laika didn’t passed Egay’s definition of good, but we always correct him. When we talk to Egay, we do it in a mature way, because Egay is very mature for his age. And you need to answer him very well because he’s quite a Philosopher. Egay often could not understand those people who couldn’t learn fast like him, but he knows anyway that there are such people.

“Well, even so, don’t be disappointed with your partner. Give Laika another chance. You know, just do your best, show to her that you’re doing your best, Egay. Motivate her instead. If she sees you at your finest, she’ll be embarrassed of herself for not giving her best, and later she’ll learn.”

Egay was silent after that. Another hit song started, and the finalist continued dancing on the ground floor. Egay then said, his face now wasn’t much troubled unlike earlier, “See that boy Te, number 157?”

“Yah, I actually like him. He’s really good. And always smiling.”

“They said my style is like that. And he’s a champion many times. He started when he was four years old. He’s so good now.” He said, and I knew for certain that Egay looked up to that boy as his inspiration.

“You can dance even more than that.” I told him.

“In Manila, I will give my best. I wanted to dance and give my best. However…”

“However?” I repeated.

“I hope that Laika will not be my partner this coming July. I’ll request for another partner this time.”

“But why?”

“I want to give my best. I want to perform well. But I don’t want it to be Laika this time because I want to know…I want to know if it’s because of me or if it’s because of Laika. I think now…that maybe Laika is not the reason why I can’t perform well, because she’s not good, but maybe, maybe I’m just the reason why I can’t perform well and not actually Laika. You know. On the next competition, I want to evaluate whether I’m good without Laika, or if I’m bad without her. If I can’t still perform well without her, then maybe I’m the problem. Even so, I wanted to know, and I will try my best.”

I smiled after that. How can a boy think something like this, he who wants to evaluate himself huh? But then, he is Egay after all, a boy who is very smart for his young age.

But I remembered something, “How will you tell Laika? That you don’t want her as your partner next time? She will feel rejected.”

Well, Laika has been rejected many times by her male partners for the same reason as Egay has. In fact, Laika has been doing dance sport workshops for two years, but only when Egay partnered with her was the first time Laika got to enter a real competition. In other words, Egay is the only partner who endured Laika for many months.

“I’ll ask Mam Eve about it. Mam Eve can tell Laika to switch partners, as an experiment, you know. I don’t have to do it myself, she will feel rejected. Just this one time, anyway.”

Our Egay is so gentleman! Even before the competition started, Egay was looking for Laika for a final practice. He was so troubled because Laika couldn’t be found, and he was nearly mad because of Laika’s recklessness, but then, when he found Laika who was actually just sitting on a far away chair, he composed himself. He didn’t let Laika see his mad face, instead, he went to her with a genuine smile, and with such grace of a young boy he offered his hand to Laika–as if Laika was a princess that he needed to take care of. From a distance, I saw Laika took Egay’s hand with a smile. I saw it all, because I was monitoring our Egay. Haha.

Anyway, back to his contemplation, I was so happy at his reflection that I grabbed his face and said, “Good boy! Let’s see then. You promise me that you do your best. When is the next competition?”

“I think on July 19, in Manila. Not sure. Why?” He said, struggling with my squeezing hands.

“Is it a free ticket?”

“Only me and Mom, I think.”

“I’ll go with you in Manila. I will watch the competition with my own eyes. I can’t promise but, I will give my best to save allowance and buy my own ticket, so I can go with you. A possible chance is that I’ll be so busy on that month, but I’ll drop any possible appointments on that day and go with you instead. Do your best, okay?”

“Okay.” He smiled.

My brother already knows how to evaluate himself at such a young age! Praise the Lord.

Now I have to save money to buy my own plane ticket ride! Brilliant haha.

Japanese Letters

This is my first entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge: LETTERS. Below are my Japanese books that help me to understand Japanese language in a self-educated way. I’ve been fond of Japanese culture ever since time immemorial, learning how to understand their letters and their way of speech entertains me. Well, learning a new language is like learning a new skill. And I just never stop learning!!!

This is College! This is IC.

I’m currently on my fourth year in college, sadly, I’m not an official 4th year, weird right? Well, to simply put, I’m irregular. I’m twenty-two years old, turning twenty-three this November, and often I feel like I’m already too old, yet I’m still stuck in my college department. I might sound like I’m complaining, actually, in reality, I’m just bored and often tired of my studies. However, just because I’m tired and bored, doesn’t necessarily mean I should give up my college.

I’m writing this because I feel accomplished despite my weariness from school, accomplished in a way that I’m too blessed to complain. Looking back, when I was a freshman in our department, I was so clean, neat, and a refreshing-looking gal. I go to school with polished school shoes, ironed uniform, young and innocent face masked with baby powder. I and my classmates, which I consider as my group of friends, often wondered why our seniors were so haggard-looking. We used to say, “What’s with them? They looked like they haven’t taken a bath!”

college life

A true comparison between a freshman and a Senior Student

I didn’t know then how it was like to live like a Senior. I didn’t know then how it was like in our Department. I didn’t know what it was like, not until when I became a Senior myself. Years and years passed, and when I climbed up the stairs of our College Department, I began to see the great change, the big revelation–

  • I’m no longer the clean, neat student
  • I’m no longer the fresh-looking first year from before
  • I’m no longer ironing my uniform, nor polishing my shoes
  • I’m no longer that student who participates in every Intramurals, time is gold, and therefore, Intramurals’ period means rest time from overloading projects
  • I’m no longer the shy woman, but the loud woman who laughs at every joke all because I lack sleep, thus, everything seems too funny for me

I’m not the fresh-looking first year anymore! I’m past beyond repair–oops–I mean, I’m past beyond that freshman years! I’m a SENIOR myself! And when I look in the mirror, I often remember those days wherein we used to say, “Look at the higher years, they’re so haggard, so stressed out.” I was like, “Okay, I am feeling what they’re feeling before.”

Looking back, and writing now, I feel like I wanted to make a documentary about our college life, I think it will be fun. Lots of pressure and lots of fun.

Are you…a college student, too? From what school then?

Rancho Shamaldas Chhanchad, the wisest Idiot

rancho-chhanchadRancho Shamaldas Chhanchad, nicknamed as Chotte in his younger years, and is later to be known as the famous Phunsukh Wangdu. He is well-played by the Indian actor Aamir Khan—he is one of my favorite actors of all time. I have watched several of his films, too, like Ghajini and Fanaa, just additional information just so you know. Well, what can I say about this main protagonist of the film? Oh, he is definitely the man! The character of Rancho was not the boring cliché, he’s got the ordinary looks and upbringing but in reality, he’s not the usual typical guy that you’ve watched from other movies. He is the most intelligent of the three friends, but he is not the typical intelligent type—his intelligence is harmoniously aligned to his philosophies in life which makes him even more intelligent and wise. So yeah, I say that Rancho is not your ordinary intelligent man! He is extraordinary. He has his own view when it comes to education. And he has his own philosophies that would sometimes lead him to argue with his professors, in fact he outsmarts them one by one, especially Dr. Viru Sahasrabuddhe or Professor Virus. I can say that the latter was sort of the enemy of Rancho during his college years, but eventually he ended up in good terms with him.

Pursue excellence, and success will follow! — Rancho

Rancho began as an orphaned boy who served a rich family. He was called Chotte then. What amazes me about Rancho is his love for learning, his eagerness, and his impressive desire to know more. Because he was an orphan he wasn’t able to go to school, but despite that, Chotte didn’t stop learning. His loved for knowledge led him to pretend as Rancho, he answered all his homeworks and went to school as Rancho. When he was caught by the teacher, the real Rancho’s father allowed him to continue pretending as Rancho Shamaldas Chhanchad but with a condition that he can acquire knowledge as much as he can but all the credits and certificates will go to his real son. But then, to Chotte, certificates are just papers, what he loves is the knowledge. So he goes for it.

His young character in the film showed us how he loved to learn new things, and because of this we are slapped by the ultimate realization that it’s not all about education, it’s not all about certificates and diplomas, that it’s not all about papers, what matters most are the things you have learned and acquired and how you are going to apply them into your life—whether you have learned it through experiences, or not. Papers are papers. Documents are documents. But knowledge is power. This is what I realized upon watching the film, especially seeing through Chotte’s character. And to tell you honestly, it’s not just a realization, but it has great impact to me.

What’s so good about Chotte’s character is that he doesn’t let his emotions overtake his life, we see this when he neatly cut ties to all of his friends and even to Pia, his love interest, after their graduation. I think it’s not only because of Rancho’s father‘s condition, but also because Chotte thinks that is the best path—after all, knowledge and learning new things is what feeds him. He is already happy of what he has acquired in school, but his desire doesn’t end like that, he desires to innovate new things and impart his knowledge to little children. Well, he can become emotional most of the time, yes, especially when he is with his friends, but Chotte does not let his feelings devour him like most of us do. He is more rational and logical than being entirely emotional.

To Chotte, inventions and his contributions to the advancement of the society is far more important than his love interest. The negative effect of this is that Chotte tends to love knowledge more than himself, of which is quite alarming. He rather lives alone and invents things than exploring the world of romance and adventures of life. However, this doesn’t make sense to his character, because to Chotte, his inventions are his way of adventuring. I can say that he is pretty normal in his own way. He sees life differently, but because of his different views about life he has come to explore it in a way that will benefit all.

Chotte, on the other hand, has a great love for his friends. He sees them not only as buddies but as brothers, too. He is the type of person who values his time with them while there’s still opportunity to do so. He treasures every moment with his friends as if that’s their last time of being together. He’s not boring at all but in fact he has some pranks under his sleeves, too. He contributes a lot to his friends’ character development, and because of him, his two friends value life more than before. Chotte’s character helps us to evaluate ourselves, too. He helps us to realize that life does not end with a dot…that there are still a lot of chapters onward, and that “ALL IS WELL!”