We hear this age-old saying from time to time: Actions speak louder than words. At a time when social media has become exceedingly prevalent in our day-to-day lives, what we see is often not what is really being done.
Today, more than ever, words have somewhat become secondary to actions and images. Emojis and memes have gradually replaced the way younger generations attempt to express what they think and feel. Because of these forms of mediation, even the simple ways we once had to try and connect with our friends and family about things that matter to us, has fundamentally changed.
A contemporary thinker once said that words are “never mere words,” that words matter because they show us the limits and shapes of “what we can do.”
The real question is deferred here, but it remains to be heard today: what is to be done? What can “mere words” do to help us learn to love and perhaps grow wiser, to help us understand and transform society today for a better tomorrow?
This is one of the many ways poetry helps us become better persons, better communities. More than a decade ago, a specific genre of poetry called “spoken word” was introduced to our local scene. Through the humble efforts of Kooky Tuason, spoken word poetry was established and general interest in poetry reading was renewed.
Inspired by Tuason’s spoken word album of the same name, the show’s early attempts were first supported by an executive working at Jam 88.3 back in 2007. “Bigkas Pilipinas” went on to become the country’s first ever spoken word radio show, instantly becoming a hit among poetry enthusiasts and curious listeners alike.
After a few years of sharing and gathering some of the country’s best spoken word poetry talent, the groundbreaking spoken word show went on an indefinite hiatus. Resurfacing briefly in 2011, the show went on another hiatus as several radio networks at the time faced challenging circumstances due to the decline of FM radio audiences, a result of wider and easier access to the internet.
As an artist, graphic novelist, and performance poet, Tuason’s early engagements with spoken word poetry has helped establish the art form in the mainstream, inspiring a new generation of young artists and poets to create and weave words relevant to our time.
After years of hibernation, “Bigkas Pilipinas” has returned to the airwaves, coming home to the radio station where it began over a decade ago. The show went live on air and through internet streaming last June 5.
Tune in as Kooky Tuason brings spoken word poetry back on air every Tuesday night, 9 p.m., at Jam 88.3.