I had wanted to be a creative writer before journalism sucked virtually all of my creative juices. I found difficulty in balancing reporting and opinion writing with writing fiction even after I attended a couple of writing workshops. More than that, I struggled with what language to use when I tried focusing on creative writing.
Before SunStar Cebu’s Lam Ceballos encouraged me to dwell on creative writing in Cebuano, there was the late Ernesto Lariosa. Now Lam is back encouraging me to write short stories and poems in Cebuano again and contribute my works to Superbalita. That brought me into thinking about going creative again–yes, even in my old age.
In this sense, I may have to harp once more on the need for veteran writers in Cebuano to capture a younger generation steeped in Bislish (Bisaya and English) that sadly failed to make them masters of either the Cebuano or English languages. Jack of all trades, master of none. Thus, what we are reading online are trolls who could not comment in pure Cebuano, and even in pure English.
On this, writers in Cebuano should take the lead. They should make their presence felt online and help build a bigger audience. Even I myself am still uncertain on this matter. When I tried my hand on vlogging, I had to make some study on the language to use. Could Cebuano have a bigger reach than, say, English?
Actually, everybody has an opinion on the matter. Cebuanos, after all, are already everywhere in the world and can be a force online. That is still not happening though because that requires the cooperation of all Cebuano writers in building an audience and use the available online platforms well.
I still have to hear of Cebuano writers’ groups responding to the challenge of building a strong and wide online community of Cebuano netizens. How this could be done I actually don’t have an answer yet. But the truth is Cebuano writers have continued to cling to the old ways of doing things, meaning that they still hark back to the time when technology was young and less dominant than it is now.
Lam is one of the vanguards of the prestigious Bathalan-ong Halad sa Dagang or Bathalad where SunStar opinion editor Kevin Lagunda is now a key member. They should spearhead the quest to build a viable Cebuano presence online. There should be a thorough discussion on the matter by the Cebuano writers themselves. They could organize a forum of writers, veterans and newbies alike, to find ways to make the Cebuano language better serve the Cebuano community that now has a presence globally.
For now, the idea is still limited to building a website where Cebuano writers could submit their works. The matter of building an online audience has been left hanging. But actually, many things about advances in technology and how the Cebuano language could be developed into a strong online presence need to be discussed thoroughly and well.
March 06, 2023
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