Patience

By CARMELO JUINIO ©

(Editor’s Note: Delivered by the author at the Necrological Service, FEU University Chapel, 8 June 2005.)

I had to remind myself as I was preparing my little speech that I was supposed to deliver a eulogy, and not an elegy. The English majors here should know the difference. An eulogy is supposed to be a celebration, a formal expression of praise. An elegy, on the other hand, is a poem of lamentation, an expression of sadness.

So let us celebrate and not mourn Professor Jesus Quiason Cruz.

Now, let me be presumptuous and try to analyze Mr. Cruz. By the way, I’ve always called Professor Cruz Mr. Cruz, not out of disrespect, but because that’s the way he sort of introduced himself when we first met.

I think Mr. Cruz’s greatest quality as a teacher and as person was his patience.

If you want proof of this patience, look no further than the fact that he taught for nearly five decades —fifty years— in FEU. FEU has had its ups and downs, its good times and bad times. I can see that there have been improvements. FEU is looking up. If FEU was the stock market, I could say its prospects are bullish.

But when I was still studying here, FEU was the last place where you’d expect to run into Shakespeare, James Joyce or Nick Joaquin. I entered FEU during its bad times.

Maybe that’s why I dropped out, just six units short, IRC, of graduation.

But Mr. Cruz didn’t drop out of FEU. Or maybe he did. I remember him once tell me that he taught briefly at another university. But he returned. He returned to FEU. To witness its highs and lows, its good times and bad times.

That to me is patience.

This patience also expressed itself in the little things he did, in his writing, which is better read than spoken about, and in his love for classical music.

Classical music requires patience. You listen to Britney Spears, and in less than five minutes, you get a feel for the music. There’s always a strong backbeat to guide you. Sure you can always use classical music as background music. But to really appreciate classical music, you have to listen hard. And that requires patience.

His patience could also be found in the work he did for Transition — the literary journal founded in the 1950s by former dean of the Institute of Arts and Sciences Alejandro Roces.

Mr. Cruz was instrumental in the revival of Transition in the 1990s.

Mr. Cruz was for a long time also responsible for the “look,” the graphic design of Transition. He did the cover design and the illustrations that accompanied the stories and poems that appeared in Transition.

This was in addition to the “solicited” drawings that served as the section dividers. In his cover designs and illustrations, Mr. Cruz used a technique called stippling. Stippling is similar to the painting technique called pointillism and, believe it or not, to the print-out produced by your ink-jet printer. You use dots to create the illusion of a solid object.

And so instead of shading an object, Mr. Cruz would use dots, more dots for darker areas, and less dots for lighter areas. He would use lines only to set out the basic shapes or to produce sharp features, the way a watercolor painter might uses pencil or charcoal strokes.

That to me, if anything, is a graphic sign of his patience.

So now, having over-stayed your patience, let me now bid you “Good Day!” ©

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