Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Question of Tongue

Chinatown East Vol. 1 No. 20, June 14, 1982
On the cover: Marie Edwine Ng

This article, “A Question of Tongue” (p. 23), is one of the earliest I have written that got published. I was still in fourth-year college (BSCE) when I wrote this article about the Chinese curricula being taught at Chinese schools in Metro Manila. I am half-Chinese, and the first time I saw the magazine in a newsstand, I got interested in being a contributor and earn some additional money for school expenses. I found out that its office was at the Journal Compound in the Port Area, where I’m also contributing crossword puzzles for Times Journal International Edition. At the start, I also want to contribute crossword puzzles for Chinatown East, but the magazine already had a syndicated source. I was fortunate, however, to be given a trivia quiz column, “Quiz for the Wiz,” which started appearing on its third issue. Mr. Louie C. Camino, the associate editor of Chinatown East, noticed that “my English was very good” and asked me if I could write articles for the magazine. They assigned me this article. I had to go around Metro Manila, to different Chinese schools, and ask principals, teachers and students regarding the Chinese course being taught at their schools, and the which medium, Fukien or Mandarin, is the better medium of instruction. Luckily it was college summer break, though some of the Chinese schools were still holding summer classes and it’s the start of enrolment. It took about a week before I completed the article. I had so much materials, interview comments, survey statistics and a couple of chunks of researches, but I need to trim it down to less than 1,500 words (the limit that was given to me by the editor). I got paid 150 pesos, barely enough to pay for one engineering book, but that was an experience I will treasure! It is in this magazine that I got to meet Joe Quirino and Alejandro R. Roces, who would later hire me as a parttime researcher/ghostwriter. Through Mr. Roces’ mentorship, I became a very scrutinizing researcher.

“We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because GOD has poured out His love to fill our hearts. He gave us His love through the Holy Spirit, whom GOD has given us. – Romans 5:3-5, The Everyday Bible, New Century Version.

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