Campus journalism: The words of Christmas 1

Campus journalism: The words of Christmas

Buddy Gomez — Cyberbuddy

Posted at Dec 25 2020 09:28 PM

“Christmas disdains big words, shuns fancy sentences, abhors tangled thoughts.

"Peruse the words of Christmas and delight in how majestic they sound in their ordinariness: star, angel, shepherds, wise men, good, joy ,glory, God.

"Parse the sentences of Christmas and marvel at how so much elegance can flow from constructions as simple as: ‘She shall bring forth a son and you shall call him Jesus.’ ‘There is room in the inn.’ ‘Fear not, for I bring good tidings of great joy.’ ‘You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.’ ‘Lo! The star, which they saw in the East, went before them, till it came and stood over where the child was….and they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.’

"Ponder the thoughts of Christmas and know that in all history no message can be found as clear and sure; no philosophy as deep and true, as these: Darkness comes but light follows. Nothing is bad that hope should be abandoned. After primal sin, the promised Redemption. The man with eyes shall be a staff to those who are blind. We are not just our brothers’ keeper, we are our brothers’ brother. Christmas is merry because the Savior is come.

"In keeping then with the style--and the spirit--of Christmas, to this Savior this writer this Christmas this prayer breathes: Keep the earth good and give men peace; and for you, my cherished friends: this wish--Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…..”

For the observant reader, you may have noted that the foregoing Holiday sentiments are in quotation marks. There is a simple reason for that. It is not original. It is borrowed. 

The author is a school friend of very long standing, from early teens to manhood through fatherhood, and on to peaceful demise. He has passed on years ago. Raul S. Gonzalez was a San Beda College (Mendiola) classmate of mine from the grades through parts of High School and College). Raul was a newspaperman (Manila Chronicle) and was the last Press Secretary of Diosdado Macapagal, the 9th President of the Philippines, a mentor to a great many journalists as adviser to a prominent Campus newspaper. 

A great writer: “Goodbye is not for Us” was a love ‘short short’ story that had become code and favorite expression among us, a small group of “loverboyniks” in the 1950s. Even as adults and as professional communicators, we remained connected. During vacations in high school, Raul and I would write each other ‘friendly letters,’ as they were then known. We were co-workers in the Cory Aquino administration, too. Many years after, ever since I found the above Christmas greetings, I have used it repeatedly, recommending it to all as well. Succinct and sincere, it is for always!

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Many journalists and writers began their vocations and avocations for the written word, advocacies and apostolates thrown in, with their respective campus papers. Campus journalists, we all were. Raul was the Managing Editor of “The Bedan” the student journal of that venerable school. My very first by-lined article, a feature item, was a “Letter to St. Nick,” an unavoidably sophomoric prose writ sugarcoated lovelorn at Christmas time! It was Raul who read my draft and wrote in caps along the margin: “PRINT.” And sent it off to the linotypists in the ground floor of Carmelo and Bauermann (1887) printers, along Azcarraga street (now C.M. Recto). It was a Christmas issue (1954) of the Bedan that inspired me to write ever since.

There was another school paper, the “DAWN” of the University of the East, of which Raul S. (for Santos of Navotas) Gonzalez became its long time mentor and adviser. I think, more than most other campus newspaper, the Dawn has produced quite a harvest of dedicated journalists who have graced Philippine media, many of whom continue to be stalwarts for freedom of speech to this day. There are quite a number of them, I dare not make a list for fear that I may embarrassingly miss some, but they do know who they are. 

Campus journalism has immensely and profoundly provided the roots of the continued struggle to keep robust and enduring the constitutional cornerstone of free expression. Campus journalism is the beginning and the capacity to sustain and strengthen our country’s ‘democratic experiment.’ We must not fail. I wish for ourselves fitness and wellness, physically and morally.

Once more with feeling, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Y’all!

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Tomas 'Buddy' Gomez III began his professional media career in ABS-CBN's (previously Chronicle Broadcasting Network) DZQL-Radio Reloj in 1957, after which he spent 25 years with the Ayala Group.

In 1986, the then Pres. Cory Aquino appointed him Consul General to Hawaii and later served as her Press Secretary.

During the Ramos administration, he was chairman and president of state-owned IBC-13 Network.

After government service, he became an ‘OFW’ in the U.S., working as front-desk clerk and then assistant general manager of a hotel. He also worked as a furniture and antique restoration specialist.

He is now retired and lives in San Antonio, Texas. 

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.