#TEDxUPM Ideas worth sharing.


Missed TEDxUPM? Watch Rappler’s coverage. (Start around 36:30)

A reaction and appreciation post.

Spoken Word by Abby Orbeta

I arrived just in time to watch Abby Orbeta‘s spoken word piece. I placed multiple hearts in my notes, because I want to remember the feelings I had at that moment:

♥ The appreciation of poetry in conversational Tagalog, a feat I thought would never happen (unless the poem happens to be about poverty or colonialism, to which I took previous exceptions to)

♥ Stepping even deeper into love with words and word play, and into the reason why, among essays and prose and nonfiction, poetry with all its metaphors will always have a special part

♥ Laughter and joy and maybe a tiny bit of #hugot

♥ A bit of inspiration [three hours later and I’ve banged out an inspired-by poem]

Thank you for that enjoyable piece of spoken word poetry, Abby Orbeta.

This year I promised to have my spoken word dreams realized. I want to (a) get up on stage, even just in Sev’s Cafe or during a random Manila art fair, (b) write more poetry and poems, and publish them in some sort of collective. So accordingly I’ve enrolled in Speech 11 and bought new pens, traversed the internet for interesting lit mags and essayist hubs. I’m not ready, but I’m going for it.

Tony Abad on the Power of Competition

“Casual” discussions on economics and market structures have always fascinated me. No matter how foreign they sound at first, economic ideas always seem to be applicable in daily life (and also debate).

The first thing Tony Abad mentioned was the power of choice. This is one of those values I have always assumed to be helpful. With choice comes better discernment and access to better opportunities; apparently lowered prices and quality products are also a product of the existence of choice.

I remembered an essay I once read attacking the way older generations perceive younger ones. There is always the criticism of millenials as the “ME” generation, carrying with them the tendency to destroy markets as we know it by being self-absorbed and transient consumers. Millenials are too quick to change the channel, they say. Children these days can’t appreciate what they’re given, they say.

But the beauty of the power of choice implies differently: millenials aren’t fickle, they’re picky. In an age of information and independence, with a plethora of ideas and options at our fingertips, millenials have the power to say no to a product if it falls short of their demands. Show too crass? Change the channel. Cereal too bland? Switch brands. The freedom of choice doesn’t mean the death of industries –just the death of very bad industry players, who forgot that consumers can pander to a different brand in an instant if they don’t step up.

Next, Tony Abad breezed through a number of topics ranging from the dangers of monopoly to the country’s socioeconomic inequality. At that point I was all ears for key phrases and catchy terms (which I could use in debate); phrases like “dynamic efficiency for increased innovation”, “entrepreneurial drive in a competitive market” and “democratizing economic opportunity” made the list. The Philippines also apparently has the only decreasing quality index in the ASEAN.

He also mentioned how the Philippines was set up to have anti-competition as a business model. It was all terribly interesting.

I also noted at some point that here was Tony Abad, CEO of the Philippine International Trading Company. Does he have the right to speak about and for the 99%? But I looked at what he was wearing (jeans and a smart casual shirt) and how he stood (authoritative but casual, like the hip dad I never wanted), and I recalled our lessons on speaker credibility from Comm 3. He was likable and inoffensive. He probably planned it that way.

Lastly, he brought up an example of how even just lowering the prices of food (apparently the most expensive commodity right now) can alleviate the struggles of the 99%. I suddenly recalled my brother’s impromptu lecture on finance, from the manufacturing side. It’s a bit tangential, since this will obviously not be to the benefit of consumers’ pockets, but producers are generally hesitant about increasing the prices of goods because they haven’t done enough research. They aren’t sure if the product they sell will survive raised prices, if it will be elastic enough to have continued demand the moment it gets P1 more expensive. ….so do your market research, basically.

I would like to thank Tony Abad for looking awesome and for being smooth about pushing his own legislative/political agenda. Go Competition Law. May you be approved in congress.

Abbey Sy on Life and Lettering

Hand-lettering and calligraphy are those passions of mine which I have no discernible talent for. But I do have a truckload of appreciation for it (and a calligraphy set I mean to practice on).

Abbey Sy was a cute speaker full of very relevant quotes:

As you improve and work on your craft, you get to know yourself more

Ages ago on Tumblr, I read about this artist who always felt like they fell short of “good”. Their art was always mediocre and bland, nothing special. Someone responded that this ability to criticize self-generated work is, in fact, very important. It shows that your high standards as a producer and consumer of art remain intact. There’s a clear path of improvement to take.


ABCs on Life and Lettering: Creativity takes Courage.

It really does, doesn’t it? I don’t post pages full of poems or prose bites because I feel like no one would be able to relate anyways. I don’t give out my personal Tumblr because I believe it’s a dumpsite of random things (though objectively, it really is). I haven’t performed any of my spoken word art, even though I want to. Even just online. Because I don’t think I’m any good yet.

Here’s to Abbey Sy, who got the courage to start on workshops and deliver a TEDTalk. Here’s to me, in the very near future.


And a big whopping applause to the organizers of the events (90% of whom I could probably call my friends). It was inspirational, lovely and worth it.

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