Kind Words in an Unkind Climate

If I was forced to name five Ilokano writers in this land of exile who have grey matter between the ears and thus who matter, I would easily recite their names without thinking twice: Ella Pada Taong, Loring Tabin, Sinamar Tabin, Terry Tugade, and Amado Yoro. They are all, veritably, my manong and manang, the words the magical ones when one grew up in that part of Ilocosland where not showing respect for the elderly means simply that your parents did not know how to instill in you what was called in those times as good manners and right conduct. I remember that this was the famous GMRC that we were supposed to know and that which would help us form ourselves in accord with, yes, among others, the verities and virtues of being human and humane.

In a way, this is an essay that will document the goodness of these five people. Even in my status of being fresh-off-the-boat, a term my first daughter reminded me with sarcasm one day compared to them (among them could be almost two hundred years of what we would call 'an experience of living the American dream'), I felt like an oldtimer when I am with them. I could see them eye-to-eye and in those images in there, I could tell them right off that this is one writer who does not know the meaning of argumentum ad populum and that flattery is not for me.



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