It all started with my damned phone. I think I slept on it and the blasted LCD’s now broken. Pissed, I didn’t bother tinkering with it at all on my way to work that Wednesday. What’s even worse was I was sandwiched between two large people inside the UV express; the air conditioning unit’s not working as it should, like the government, and my arms are getting all sweaty from the two large people sweating profusely both on my left and right side. The guy on my left is texting someone who had a huge fishbone that got lodged in her throat she had to go to a hospital, while the girl on my right is talking to someone on her phone about surprising a friend; a birthday, or despedida, I think. I couldn’t remember.

Me? I was sitting there, trying to take my 30-minute nap, but couldn’t, so I did the other thing I usually do when alone in a public place: people watch. I like doing it, gives you a little perspective on how other people talk, walk, dress, and do things while unknowingly being watched by someone. And then out of nowhere, I remembered my teenage cousin, Shenggay, when I asked her what she was doing staying up late ‘til five in the morning. “Nagbabasa,” she said. I was a bit impressed as we all know kids these days would rather bore their eyes on their social media feeds than read. So I asked her what she was reading. “Wattpad,” she retorted. And so I told her, “Nagsasayang ka ng oras mo sa mga bagay na tulad nyan?” She just laughed. I thought poor girl reading things that are of poor quality.

I know I might get a lot of flak (again!) for even writing this bit, but most Wattpad shizz (I cannot call them books so for the sake of this post, instead of calling them crap or basura because some people think that that’s waaay too harsh, I’m calling them shizz instead) I’ve browsed in bookstores lately are so badly written I am at awe at how the standards been brought down just to hit book sales. Psicom and other sellout publishers, I’m looking at you. Shame!

A few days later, I was in a bookstore and saw this shizz while browsing for the next book to read, and no shit, I had goosebumps and could not believe my eyes that this shizz had been converted into a book. Like a book-book. I’ve read this thing online when it had been shared several times on my feed and frankly, I didn’t like it. Sure, it’s a new way of storytelling, but it’s just so shallow and unrealistic like who would actually be in a relationship sa text lang? Or whatever, cannot remember the entire plot, with plotlines a lot more (bullet) holes than the time I tried shooting a shotgun. So basically, didn’t like it. Not for me.

13473870_1214305661922608_620480431_nmy cousin sent this to me via PM

A bit piqued, I opened the copy thinking it had been converted into a real book – with a plot and all, and all I could say was, “WTF, ginawang libro ‘to?!” So I took a photo thinking I’d share it to my sister and everyone I knew who didn’t like it as well, and to my Twitter feed followed by 200+ friends. To cut the story short, sorry, mahaba talaga ko magkwento, one thing led to another and the photo had been retweeted on Twitter and without my knowledge, had been screen capped and shared on Facebook as well. WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE.

I mean, I never intended for my blunt opinion to be shared over and over, but then it did and now some people are actually hating on me my friends are now calling me “peymus.”

To be clear, I’m not a hater like how people assume me to be. I never hate on somebody I didn’t know, it was just an opinion. An opinion that clearly, a lot of people shared with me. If it was another shizz I got my hands on, I’d still do the same, take a photo of it and share it on my Twitter. Didn’t buy it ha, too many important stuff to burn my cash than this trash, I mean shizz.

Ooooh, the things I’ve been called lately…

I’ve read the mean things people have said about me, and frankly, I don’t give a flying fuck. Would you believe someone even said something about my wearing of two-piece swimsuit in my DP? Ang relevant! I would’ve replied to the comment if only he hasn’t said, “pice” and there’s another one who said, “now a days.”

The only reason I’m writing about this is because somebody said I’m inggit when I’m totally not. I mean, sure, I would love to see my name on a book as an author but if it’s something like that shizz, then thanks, but no, thanks! Like would I be proud of myself to tell my future grandchildren that I wrote some sappy, texting couples social serye kemerloo? HELL TO THE NO. I’d rather be the unpublished writer than be the granny who would have to explain myself that, yes, kids, I wrote that, in the littlest voice I could muster because I’m that shy to even admit that.

I’ve also read “nakakawalang respeto ka” like dude, your existence is nothing to me, you don’t matter, so why would I care if you suddenly lost your respect for me? I didn’t realize you are an important person whose respect I’d have to keep. And while we’re talking about respect, I have little respect for people who actually read things like this shizz, to be honest.

Malinis ka ba? Wait, naligo naman ako so yeah malinis ako. Charot. But if you want to be literal about it and talk about saving the environment because I said sayang ang mga kawawang puno and retort with a “never nagtapon ng basura or tubig o papel” and had been a good example to other human beings, then I’d have to admit that yes, nagtapon ako ng basura kasi anong gagawin ko sa basura? Tago ko? Nagsayang ng tubig? I think I did, like you and everyone else did at one point in their lives, but once I realized how precious water is, especially if you’re the one paying the bill, then magtitipid ka talaga. I don’t make “punit” papers because that’s just not my thing. But here’s the deal, I strongly believe that the x number of carbon footprint I’ve left is less devastating than the x number of carbon footprint publishers have imprinted on earth for printing nonsensical things that guise themselves as books so as to earn big bucks from it. Ang sarap pag-walk of shame-in ala GoT ng irresponsible publishers na ‘to.

Aaaand my personal favorite: ano na bang nagawa mo sa lipunan and/or e di ikaw ang magsulat! I do not owe anyone of you and tell you what I have done with my life, my own parents don’t even judge me for sleeping all day, ‘no. So why would I tell you that I have been published twice in a reputable newspaper? Or that I have been writing for TV for almost four years? Or that I have been part of a team that won a New York Festival Award? Or that we made a documentary that was aired in Singapore? Or that I am part of a group of media practitioners who are fighting the disgusting media treatment and contractualization and that we have actually won the case na? Bakit ko naman sasabihin yun sa ‘yo when all you think is I’m a whiny-stupid-tanga-ni-ate-nakakawalang-respeto-ka-crab-mentality-little-bitch ‘di ba?

So ito na nga kailangan ko talaga i-explain bes…

They say, you are only responsible for the things that you write or say, but you are never responsible for how people interpret it or take it out of context. Like WTF, na-Duterte ba ‘ko? Here’s my point:

Bakit kailangan pa itong i-publish sa libro e available naman siya sa internet? May mga mas makabuluhang bagay na mas sana na-publish at na-promote kaysa dito.

The Philippine literature is dying, not because we don’t have enough or talented writers, because believe me, the country is teeming with talented people, I know a lot of them, but the thing is, they are not given the chance to ink their names and be part of those names in lit because they are not masa enough, or their stuff are too high brow, or not as entertaining as reading the text message of the person sitting next to them on the bus, or the jeepney or the freakin’ UV sauna. It’s because most publishers would rather publish a substandard kilig-inducing shizz than look for the next F. Sionil Jose or Ricky Lee or Bob Ong, because why would they when they could easily publish a sure ball, “e sumikat na sa Facebook, wala na tayong marketing na gagawin dyan.” Don’t you ever wonder why the likes of Pepeng Pinakamalupit who has been accused of plagiarism and even the mundane hugot lines of Marcelo Santos III gets thumbs up from publishers? Kasi they sell. Fucking sell out publishers.

And this does not only happen in the publishing industry, did you think that these singing contests really choose the winners base on their voices? They choose because of winnability and sale-ability of albums. Most of them are rigged. There are a lot of super galing indie acts but they remain indie because businesses no longer gamble their money for substance or talent, it’s all about the MONEY.

And we all gladly chump them down like the sheeple they so believe we are.

That’s my point. And let’s not even get into how these shizznits influence the young minds of today. Que horror. This is getting too long already, but you get the point. If you engage yourself with things of poor quality, you’d have poor taste. Remember what Bianca Stratford told Chastity in 10 Things I Hate About You?

10+Things+I+hate+about+you

Bianca: There’s a difference between like and love. Because I like my Sketchers, but I love my Prada backpack.

Chastity: But I love my Sketchers.

Bianca: That’s because you don’t have a Prada backpack.

Explain ko pa ba ulit?

It’s not to say I have generally good taste in all things. Because while I’d like to believe that that is indeed true, there have been some bad choices and jologs stuff I like. Some cringe-worthy ones that I would gladly have “eternal sunshined” out of my mind if only I could, the only consolation is, at least  I don’t have a Facebook post, an Instagram photo or a “book” to document that.

I tweeted that to give my friends/followers an idea at how the Philippine literature as we know it is now inches away from oblivion. And it’s going to continue because that is what we allow, heck, we are happy lapping up substandard stuff after substandard stuff they feed us. I believe that we are more than this. I hope we are more than this.

In the end, if this wasn’t blown out of proportion, would I have still tweeted it? I believe that if you can’t say it in person, you better not say in social media. So, hell yeah. I’d say it again, it is in my opinion that these kind of shizz are trash, crap, nonsense to publish. Basura. And if you think that my attitude is basura for voicing my opinion, I think your taste in literature is basura, too.

At one point, I thought that maybe, we are too far gone. But the number of RTs and quote tweets I’ve read on my notification box gives me hope that we are indeed better than just reading stuff masquerading themselves as epistolary novels, because they’re not! For reference, read Perks of Being A Wallflower and my personal favorite, Lover’s Dictionary, for comparison.

——————

And then there’s this seemingly nice guy, who out of the blue, came up to us as we were debating on which book to buy next. Nervously, he asked us if we could give him a book recommendation for someone who hasn’t read a book that is prescribed by the university. He was a book virgin who was scouring the entire bookstore for a good and quality book to read and we seem like people who know a lot about books, he said. It was a really hard question; recommending a book to someone you don’t know is like shoving a person your beliefs and letting him get a peek into your iPhone’s music playlist. But after a few seconds, and without hesitation, Kaye and I told him Bob Ong would be a good start for people who want to dip their toes and test the waters of reading books. If we can prevent one person from reading shitty Wattpad/socialserye stories, then the world will be a little less substandard-ly thinking, I guess?

P.S. Just to be clear, not undermining aspiring writers in this post. Go write and explore yourselves and your art!

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