Thursday, August 09, 2012

creativity here, creativity there

“Ba’t andameng creative sa Visayas at Mindanao?”

Or, “Why are there so many creative individuals in Visayas and Mindanao?” A few days ago, someone I recently talked to put forth that loaded question. He was referring to people in the field of literature, visual art, dance, music, etc. He sounded earnest. I did not exactly know what to say, but the first thought in mind, without linking myself to the individuals he was referring to, was that maybe people in these regions have less distraction to deal with.

It is not that the provinces in the VisMin area are deficient of any standard, time-killing fare (i.e. cinemas, politics, parties, anything Apple); it just feels to me that way, especially for someone whose education from kindergarten to college is rooted in Bohol and Negros Oriental. I have lived and breathed in these islands’ atmosphere firsthand.

But it was an unsatisfactory response to a very objective question. Why, really? And, in the first place, what accounts as “many?” How is that, or could be, measured? By affiliation? By influence? By collective output?

When I was mulling the question over and over like an agitated patient with his stress ball, an assumption (yes, assumption, because I couldn’t prove it) made itself clear in my head: Competition.

Maybe there is this less spoken rivalry palpable in this land (where I currently resided on) but which is less spoken in the other island groups. Maybe the circles here just never intersect, their opposing ideals explicitly brandished or publicized in journals, anthologies, and even in pedestrian conversations over beer, that the possibility of a Venn diagram of shared understanding is unheard of.

Maybe with this competition, all eyes are only set to the champions who wave the flags in each side, or to those newly minted with some sort of bestowment, or to anyone who is raised to higher ground of attention. Thus, maybe, the idea of the creative is limited to those who are frequently exposed, thus the feeling that creativity somewhere else is profuse, thus the left field question of my acquaintance. Maybe the goal is sheer publicity—whether it is in a very, unflattering shade or not—and whoever is on the sidelines better luck next time and try perpetually harder.

But Visayas and Mindanao, of course, are not saints in this department. Each has its own conflicts when it comes to this tangible asset which is creativity. The two have competitions, but as what I have said earlier, maybe in a less spoken degree, downplayed. Maybe, maybe.

Yes, competition encourages discourse, brings more works, making the nation’s archive of visions richer and more original than the previous generation, but I think it is not the end all, be all of a flourishing, borderless, Filipino creativity. There must be another way.

And I, or should I say we, will now have to think what it could possibly be.


Anonymous said...

Competition can either bring the best in us or crush us. I remember a friend in school giving up after moving here in Manila because according to him, he was the best back in his province in Visayas but here he was just another number in class. And it wasn't even about the academic standards because he was a talented freak too. But that mattered less to him because the one who comes up to the stage to deliver the valedictory address wins. In the end it comes down to one's attitude towards competition, to personal preferences. But even that is attributed to the people around you and what they value more.

f. jordan said...

: Yes, attitude. I agree. That could be one thing. It could also be exclusivity, opportunity, preference, luck, and a whole lot more. It could be a combination of all things, too. But I digress.

Mugen said...

Maybe it's with the land. Or perhaps, because of the region's preserved traditions. :)

f. jordan said...

Mugen, someone actually considered that (me thinking it could be too), but isn't Luzon as colorful and rich as VisMin? And the way I see it, though Luzon is almost always the gateway of things new, anticipating for the next novelty and noise, VisMin on the other hand, maybe, culls the new from the diversity it already has.