Lies My Yaya Should Have Told Me

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rj ledesmaI am trying to recall the lies that my yaya (caregiver/babysitter) often told me while at the book launch of RJ Ledesma’s Lies My Yaya Should Have Told Me. The book Lies My Yaya Should Have Told Me is not actually a listing of lies told by RJ’s yaya but rather, RJ Ledesma’s Imaginary Guide to Whine and Women. I can’t help but reminisce over these lies as told by my yaya:

1. if you don’t behave, the mumu (ghost) will get you.
2. there, there, the ghost is there…behave now.
3. Don’t sleep with your hair wet, you will get blind.
4. That old woman across the street is buang (crazy), and she will kidnap you if you cry.
5. Close your eyes now…Sleep… or else the ghost will appear. sige…sige

And so on and so forth as the yaya taunts me to scaredom. The theme often centered around a ghostly apparition or crazy person. It was the yaya’s way of trying to discipline me. Maybe I was a naughty kid. I don’t know. Or she didn’t know any better.

When I showed the book to the girls, I asked them if their yaya ever told them lies. In deep thought, Lauren shook her head, “I don’t recall any lies”. Ah, so I taught their yayas well. I faintly remember giving instructions to their yaya never to relate false stories or lies. Or watching TV soap operas in front of the girls.

Try to use logic and reason, I’d lecture the yayas. If a kid got cranky, bored or tired, I used alternative play activities. The yayas didn’t have to resort to scary tactics to discipline my adorable kids. Besides, as a stay-at-home mom, my kids never had to rely on the yaya to nurture their emotional well-being. That made the task easier for the yaya and the helpers in my household.

As a mom, I trained the yaya, my unique philosophy of discipline and other child-rearing ideas. My yayas were fresh high school graduates, eager to be taught and learned quickly. I set the example of discipline and supervised closely so that whenever I had my breaks or went out of the house, they will know how to treat my kids in a loving manner.

Any lies your yaya should have told you?


book launchWhile at the book launch, I could not help feeling sad that Filipino authors often do not get a huge crowd on the day of their book launch. Mayor Binay, Senator Loren Legarda, Margie Moran, Millet Mananquil, Johnny Litton, Mo Twister and a whole lot of “Who’s Who” in Philippine society were probably there. Parental connections and a PR agency can go a long way in a successful launch of a book.

How many talented authors can avail of this opportunity to be published and better yet, have 1,000 books sold in less than two years?

Butch Dalisay mentioned the dismal sales of our Filipino literary books.

As a recent study by Prof. Patricia May Jurilla notes, ““the readership of Filipino literary books is not at all very wide. It is usually limited to a small circle that includes authors themselves indeed but also academics, critics, teachers, and students.” Editions are very small, at a standard 1,000 copies for a print run—in a country of 90 million people, most of whom are at least nominally literate, many in English and/or Filipino. Sales are slow, taking at least two years for 1,000 copies to sell out.

I hope Fortune Favors the Bald (FFtB), an alternative author’s company, with RJ Ledesma at the helm really gives writers a chance to showcase their craft. ““Our vision is to define FFtB as a new multimedia company that will bring in a lot of fresh new talent,” explains RJ Ledesma.

But look again…

FFtB is especially proud to announce that a particularly stellar ensemble of creative ingénues including renowned writer and fashionista Celine Lopez; comedian and TV host Tim Tayag; as well as fashion icon and eventologist Tim Yap are among the next big things for FFtB.

Tim Tayag, Tim Yap and Celine Lopez are very well-know personalities. I hope RJ Ledesma opens doors to fresh, talented and relatively unknown writers and not just celebrities.

Now if there should have been ONE lie my yaya should have told me, it is this : Read well, be a great writer and your books will be published and sold out in one day!