Sometimes a closed mouth is better
by Evans Yonson
barcelona – one of the values that my mother taught me is the value of trust. if a friend trusts you, you are expected to keep his secrets for the rest of your earthly existence. unless some circumstances would force you to divulge such secrets then you have truly become a true friend to him/her.
what is trust? how do you earn it? how do you keep it?
my mother was a very silent woman. she was very observant and she kept her thoughts to herself. she spoke her heart out only when needed to. one time she said, “if you’ve got nothing good to say then don’t say at all.”
as a teacher, i am very open about my feelings towards students and their work. i have an open mind that most of them find me too straightforward to the point of being brutal. i always say what i have in mind. sometimes i regret saying really nasty words to my students. but i always warn them beforehand that if they feel that i am violating their basic human rights and their very existence, then they have to stop me. stopping me would never affect their grades in the end. being totally open about my thoughts has earned me lots of student-friends and less student-enemies. this is where the personal work of a teacher begins. students confide their problems and ask me for advice. i have heard thousands of stories and secrets from secret loves to family problems. students open up themselves because they have this sense of trust for someone they know who can be open to them and give them direct advice or answers to their troubled minds and hearts.
looking on the other side of the coin, people who are too trusting to others to the point of opening themselves up to the rest of the world is dangerous. this is where the danger of opening the floodgates to societal consumerism. filipinos are wont to gossip and talk about their neighbors and friends. they become vultures and thrive their daily existence on the lives of others. there is not much difference with the filipinos back home and those filipinos who are working abroad. gossip is even a more functional and stronger actions in the foreign land. they can last hours and hours of talking about the same person in a given time and place. gossip is the work of the idle mind, indeed.
in my experience of living here in spain and having known many filipinos, most of them thrive on gossip in the truest sense of the word. under the guise of trust, pinoys confide on others their life’s hidden secrets and they can be very good on-the-spot reporters, too. think of this way, most pinoys here are walking cable TVs. they can broadcast your clean and dirty secrets and acts for free and in less time. i remember very well when i was working with Noticias Pinoy, i was distributing our paper to every passing pinoy on Barcelona streets. in less than 24 hours, i received a message from madrid that i was so poor and i was only distributing papers in the streets of the Catalan capital.
when a new person arrives in barcelona, he or she becomes the talk of the town and probably the darling of the crowd. his/her openness is refreshing for the news- and gossip-vultures. he/she starts talking some sexcapades to almost everyone friendly and willing to give him/her the attention needed at that moment. in less than a week, that person has become the Mary Magdalene-incarnate. i guess i learned my lessons well enough. just observe but don’t gossip. it’s useless. you can gossip among friends but put that cable off. openness is refreshing but it can be very, very damaging in the end.