Olsim: To the third

AFTER about a hundred articles, our “Eternal Student” column in this most respected paper is finally moving forward to its third year since its first mainstream appearance in 2017. Certainly, in this world that only glorifies the big wins, we still consider this a great feat that we hope to sustain in the next years of this fleeting, but definitely colorful life.

“Why do you write?” they always ask. There are perhaps three reasons which this “humbled” mind can suppose. First, we write because we were given that rare opportunity to do so – not everyone is blessed to have a column, or a platform for written creations. Second, we write because we are development communication practitioners (yes, there is such a thing). In this noble practice, writing is certainly an effective communication tool for the development of our society and our country. As civil servants, our written work can also serve as useful records of our official accomplishments and “PPAs”, or as academic references for the community. Third is much more personal; we write because just like any artistic endeavor or skill, writing requires continuous practice.

Admittedly, however, sustaining a weekly column is challenging to say the least. Half of our articles were crafted in only about 30 minutes just to beat the deadlines (although surprisingly, some turned out to be good pieces). Nevertheless, we cannot rely on too much luck in this world – some articles are marred with grammatical errors, clashing thoughts, and what have you. Just like our remarkable lives, there are good, bad, and ugly pages in our books. On this column’s third year, we can only hope for better contributions, not only for myself, but for our growing “readers”.


“Readers” I say because there are certainly more than one reader of our column I suppose – surely, there are two: my mother, and of course, myself (Hahaha!). But jokes aside, we express our deepest gratitude to our readers and supporters, some who even emailed us with their reflections and suggestions. Last year, when I was on my way home, an elderly man pulled me to the side to confirm if I am indeed “Mr. Eternal Student”. “So you are still a student? You haven’t graduated yet?” he asked. I smirked with the realization that indeed, I haven’t joined in the last two graduation ceremonies of my life (post-graduate and college graduation). Not because I haven’t completed them, but because of some petty reasons like having a hangover, or some teenage rebellion angst. Such may be the subconscious reason behind our column’s title – we are still students who have not yet bowed on that final stage.

I also recall sitting at the park one Saturday afternoon when a lady approached me nervously. “Are you Valred of Sunstar?” she asked. After I nodded, she expressed how she shed a tear over one of our written pieces, “I was touched by your ‘The Bus Ride’ article. It hit home for me. I also lost my father when I was younger.” The friendly chat made me realize how we underestimate the repercussions of the pebbles we throw into the chaotic waters of our present society. Despite our doubts, some of the things that we write can make a difference, can touch lives, can make us feel real again. (For comments and suggestions, please email the author at valredsmail@yahoo.com)


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