By Cherrie Sing
My name is Cherrie Sing and I was a writing fellow at the 35th National Writers’ Workshop last 1996. Our batch holds the distinction for being the last batch Dr. Edilberto Tiempo handled before he passed away the same year.
My Siliman workshop experience was something to cherish. My proudest moment in the workshop came when I had a chance to talk to Dad Ed. We were walking on a beach when he told me: “Your stories are bad, but your poems are good. Do you like to take up creative writing here at Siliman University?” At that time I was a fresh grad and had started working at my family store. I told him then that my family (a conservative Filipino-Chinese family) would not allow it as I had to work in the family business. He left me at that and we went on to talk about more mundane things.
Flash-forward 15 years and I have often wondered the what-ifs that might have happened had I taken his offer. I had been too cautious and too afraid to defy my family for a passion deemed as frivolous. Now, I no longer write, having exchanged my craft for business operations. I and my sister now manage the family business after my father passed away three years ago.
I have stayed in touch with some of my co-fellows and am delighted that they have gone far with their writing. For me, relieving the magic that was the Siliman workshop experience is all that I have; the rest are simply lost dreams left unfulfilled.