An Encounter with a Quote Enthusiast
By Apolinario Villalobos
I really do not know what to call the guy I met through another friend. He loves to quote other people and I admire his memory for he can even quote historical personages, with their sayings that I must admit are strange to me. We exchanged notes on blog subjects as he is also a blogger in his own right, though constrained by his busy schedule in their company as Operations Director. Practically, our styles do not have even a single similarity. While his blogs are full of “according to”, “as…..says”, or quotation marks, mine are simply stated and based on my own experience. However, we found out that two of our blogs tackled similar subjects.
We are both fond of history and biography. While I take note and absorb the essence of what I have read and tend to forget about the books later because of my short memory, he patiently takes note of statements of personages. While I am my own self in the course of our banter, his obsession shows no end about the personalities as he interjected quoted statements in our conversation which impressed me a lot. His memory is admirable.
He proudly told me about the “Tadhana…the story of the Filipino People”, supposedly written by Ferdinand Marcos. He also told me about the ancient books written by Greek philosophers, reprinted copies of which he found in a famous library in the United States. He even mentioned about Kahlil Gibran, and many more. I was humbled because although, I have read many books, I honestly could not recall their titles and authors, not even the history books that I was required to read as a high school and college student. I practically forgot about them. But, although, I hate Marcos, I have collected 7 books about him, especially, on his exploits as dictator, aside from those about his wife, Imelda. As regards Kahlil, I have two of his books.
I was dazed by the quotations that he impressed on me. All I could contribute was the “Golden Rule”, the author of which I do not even know. In the course of one of our conversations during a party hosted by a common friend, while I meekly told him about my AB course, earned from a then, struggling parochial school “sa isang liblib na bayan (noon, ngayon lunsod na) sa malayong lalawigan ng Cotabato sa Mindanado, at halos nasa paanan na ng Mt. Dagoma”, he bragged about his Master’s Degree earned from a university in the United States.
He slipped when he confirmed the fact that some students really copy/paste paragraphs from research materials in the internet. He admitted that he committed the same when he was finishing his Political Science course in a state university in Manila. His revelation was followed by a hearty guffaw to show that he enjoyed his act of plagiarizing materials from the books which made me shudder. In response to what he told me, I told him that I blogged about plagiarism a year ago, under the title “Plagiarism” a subject which also included plagiarized photographs and paintings. My revelation made him quiet suddenly and left me alone with my mug of coffee.
My encounter with the guy, made me ask questions such as, why some people have to quote others, even on simple subjects such as love, kindness loyalty, life, corruption, etc. when all they need to do is bring out their own experience or look around them for the needed input that can be shared. Why must they go to the extent, for instance, of quoting Mother Theresa or the new pope about compassion, love and charity when they can write about it based on the relationships that prevail among the members of their family or community? I cannot understand why they have to quote famous names when they write about corruption when all they need to do is open their eyes to what are happening around them. And, I cannot understand, too, why they must quote philanthropists when they write about poverty and other deprivations in life, when all they need to do is throw a glance at families living on sidewalks, and whose sustenance come from garbage dumps which is what poverty is all about-plain and simple.
On the other hand, if these “quoters” cannot help it, they should also try to absorb what they quote and put them into practice. I presume that the reason why the quotes caught their attention is that they are relevant, hence, worth remembering. But if they persist on just mumbling them to impress others, they become hollow “amplifier” of others or they are just acting like parrots. They cease to act as intelligent creatures who are supposed to use to the fullest what God gave them, by bringing out what are in their own mind, or better, act them out.
Finally, I am not saying that quoting others is wrong. What I am trying to imply is that, it should be done only when necessary, especially, when one is trying his best to emphasize his point, as quotes, especially, of reputable historical personages can help in the confirmation of ideas being presented.