(May 24) — Johanne Jazmin Tan Jabines, a 20-year-old third year BS Business Administration and Accountancy student from the UP Dilliman Virata School of Business (VSB), won the 38th International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) held May 18.
The IPSC is the largest public speaking competition in the world established by the English-Speaking Union (ESU) in 1980. According to the ESU website, it now reaches over 600,000 young people in more than 50 countries “showcasing the highest standard of public speaking, while giving delegates an opportunity to meet and engage with other young people of different backgrounds and nationalities.”
Jabines is the third Filipino to win the IPSC after Gian Karlo Dapul (2008) and Patricia Evangelista (2004).
One hour at a time. Her winning piece “One hour at a time” talked about the circumstances of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and undocumented immigrants, drawing on the personal experiences of her OFW aunt.
She started her speech about her reunion with her OFW aunt who came home to the Philippines after 10 years of working abroad and talked about how OFWs like her aunt make daily sacrifices and endure being far away for the sake of their families.
“The stories of our overseas Filipino workers aren’t just stories of success. They are also stories of invention, of finding ways to succeed where none exist,” Jabines said.
While she is lucky to have a family member who could make the journey back home, she said “Not every Filipino working abroad can make the journey back home. Many get left behind. Many remain as TNTs (tago nang tago) or literally “those who hide.” They live as undocumented immigrants, playing an endless game of hide-and-seek with the authorities.”
She added that “It is an ironic fact of a migrant’s life that to show someone you love them, you often have to leave. But that doesn’t mean we can’t invent new ways to connect, to be as much a family as ever. Because we families do what we do best.”
“We rebuild our lives across the oceans, reinvent our ties with those we love, one hour at a time. Whether it’s the hours we spend on Skype calls, or the hours we spend with all our relatives back home for Christmas, or the hours we spend praying for those who are absent – every immigrant family invents its own unique way of sealing that distance and strengthening their love,” Jabines’s speech said.
The competition. This year, the IPSC was held at the Royal Institution in London with the theme “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
Fifty-one contestants across the globe joined the competition and only six made it to the grand finals, namely: Jabines, Harpreet Singh (Hong Kong), Andrew Chanho Kim (Republic of Korea), Alison Ruth Cohen (USA), Xiong Ziqing (China), Kamel Ali Wehbe (Lebanon) and Markus Aksli (Estonia).
Jabines said in an email interview that she was awarded two glass plaques, one for being a finalist and the other for being the overall winner.
Although the competition has no cash prize, “I suppose the main reward of the prize is the prestige and recognition. Personally, I think the best reward was being granted the privilege to speak about a topic close to my heart on a global stage. The wave of messages I received from OFWs who thanked me for speaking about their sacrifices was incredible,” she added.
Jabines’s writing and delivery coaches during the competition were respected authors Krip Yuson and Butch Dalisay, who are both members of the ESU Board in the Philippines.
When asked about her motivation for joining the IPSC, Jabines said “I’ve always had a passion for public speaking. I firmly believe that members of the youth are in the best position to make themselves heard through the art of public speaking. My main exposure comes from debate, since I’ve been debating competitively since first year high school. I’m currently a member of the UP Debate Society, and last February, I tried out for the national search for the PH representative for the second time; last year I was only first runner up. I was determined to improve myself and try again next year (2018), and fortunately, I was chosen and eventually won the international competition.”
To read the full text of Jabines’s speech, click here.