At the end of each academic year, some schools and universities feature creative outputs by their graduating class through special recitals. In the performing arts for example, the school of music (or dance) comes up with concerts and such, and these are always gobbled up by the public (…er parents and friends mostly).
A similar event happened at the UP campus here in Davao a couple of days ago. There, we were very fortunate to witness excerpts from the final theses of UP Mindanao’s English class during their annual Sinews of Syllables showcase of short stories, essays, and poems.
Alrighty, at first this activity might just seem like those countless year-end programs we have all attended (or endured) when our children were still in kindergarten or primary school, where the audience and the proud parents cheer as their children rack up merits and ribbons. Best in Maths, best in attendance, best in sports, and best in haircut even (it was awards galore in these programs). Guilty as charged, my mate and I have seen it all, with me sometimes as a doting stage father.
This time however, what we witnessed was different. The creative renditioning by which the students read their literary work (some of which were enhanced by multimedia, theater, and dance), had me all excited as though I was a first-timer at a concert. Then it slowly dawned on me that this here, was actually the voice of youth reaching out, and it was wondrous.
This rare showcase, was a rich mixture of Mindanao’s little-heard tales, authored by each graduate, and all stitched into one intricate tapestry that depicted the hurt, fear, longing, laughter, and other emotions that, while still new and raw for the young souls, were harshly magnified in today’s social realities. Some have written about deeply-personal experiences in calamities, the countryside wars, abuse, death in the family, resentment, and hinted loneliness. Their pain and anguish, so transparent and unadulterated that they seem to burst out from the text that imprisoned them to scream in your face.
Mindanao’s dark times, are magnificently depicted in the oftentimes brutally frank, but beautiful rendering on a young mind’s inner canvas. One realization however, and I speak on behalf of my older generation: the often-misinterpreted inner voice of the millennial generation needs to be heard, and not merely be myopically viewed for its youthful anguish and innocence.
I am ecstatic in the thought that a robust arts and literature throb healthily in these young minds, and because of this, the future of Mindanaoan literary scene is secured and well.
It not always that the old impart on the young. The freshness by which their voices carry off into the wind tells us that there lies a lesson, a message, or a plea that we all must heed and not ignore.