My boss, Satur Ocampo, did not go straight to today’s rallies marking the 34th year of martial law. He went online — chatting with journalists and guests here and abroad in what Yehey.com argues could be considered the first online press conference to be held in the country.
Ka Satur arrived minutes before the 10:00 am appointed time at the Yehey.com headquarters, 38 floors up the Discovery Center building at the Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Some technical glitches aside, the online press conference started with Ka Satur taking his position in front of a notebook computer, raring to plunge but still hesitant. “This is my first time to do this,” he averred.
We didn’t have to teach him intensely. We just gave him general instructions what to read, what to do when he wants to reply. In a jiffy, he was a changed man. The Ka Satur who is most comfortable with the makinilya is now typing away briskly on the notebook computer.
The questions started on the technology side — about chatting and the net, about blogs and websites. Which quickly turned to politics and the role technology plays in it.
A true-blue editor, Ka Satur was focused in typing his replies. He quietly drafted his statements and was obviously thinking twice before pressing the “Enter” key. He was alert everytime he was asked questions and just paused for a few seconds before giving his ready answer in the same tone that we know is exclusive Satur’s — definitely progressive but not stereotypically tibak.
Ka Satur also had to contend with the same annoyances all techies face. Twice, we had to refresh the Internet browser he was using. Once, he had to rewrite an entire paragraph that got deleted accidentally and could not be recovered.
Midway through the chat with folks from the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia and the US, news crews from ABS-CBN and RPN came in to cover the press conference. They had to wait to get Satur’s attention. By that time, he was already hooked with his eyesight beamed straight to the computer screen, reading questions, typing his answers, and following the lively conversation. It took Ka Satur a few minutes to realize that the media had already set up their cameras and the reporters were looking at him, waiting to get his attention away from the computer.
Ka Satur said it was “exhilarating” to do a press conference online. Exactly his sentiments when the public embraced the Batasan 6 blog early this year.You could feel it in the accounts and reports of Joey Alarilla and Erwin Oliva of INQ7.net and Bryant from the CMFR.
Ninotchka Rosca, the award-winning US-based Filipina feminist and writer, threw the last question at Ka Satur. She queried what overseas Filipinos should do to help in the campaign against political persecution, especially the assassinations of hundreds of leftist activists. In sum, Ka Satur thanked Ninotchka for the OFWs’ ceaseless propaganda and education campaign that have helped inform their host governments about the situation. As we all know, many governments have since condemned the Arroyo government’s slaughter of innocents.
I suppose it was the enjoyable interaction in the internet chat and webcast that gave Ka Satur that different kick later at the Liwasang Bonifacio rally. At the rally, without any prodding and to the delight of the emcee and the crowd, this elder statesman stood up and danced to a rap number. At 67, boyish and youthful charm remains in Ka Satur.
At the rate he’s going, Ocampo and Bayan Muna will remain a force to reckon with, with the killings of activists only emboldening the entire party to wage more vibrant and bigger campaigns , pushing the frontiers of where New Politics could be broadcast, and helping Filipinos express themselves under a formal or undeclared martial law.
The question now is this, what’s next for Ka Satur?
(Photo from Joey Alarilla’s Babelmachine post on CNET Asia)