One lazy night, I retrieved an old radio given by Rolando, a friend from San Jose. It’s a box-type vintage radio with rotary knobs for tuning AM or FM stations. When I saw this radio in the garage of Rolando, I remembered the Avegon radio we used in the hinterlands of my growing years as a rural boy. Rolando might have noticed my childish interest for he graciously offered that I can take it back to the Philippines. The old radio works when I plugged the 110 volts power cord. I tuned in to local radio stations and voices and songs came out that filled the stillness of the night.
I am not good on radio communications technology. Up to now I find difficulty understanding the electromagnetic waves composed of overlapping electrical and magnetic fields. It is still unclear to me how these electromagnetic waves are converted into sounds that we hear. All I know is that this radio thing has been part of my youthful years and of many people of my generation.
The simplicity of rural life was spiced by the Avegon radio in our house. It provided news of social and political events in other parts of Mindanao and provided the music and sounds of our times. The Avegon radio was really a treasure of information and entertainment during those times of spartan existence. The popular soap operas like Diego Salvador, Flor de Luna, and Agent X44 brought us unlimited actions, melodramas, horrors and fantasies that only our boundless imagination can provide. There was magical spell every time we huddle around that battery-powered radio to listen to our favorite radio program under the glittering amber of home-made kerosene lamp. Gathering around the radio was a respite from the humdrum of daily familiar routine. It gave us pleasure, the kind of pleasure that acts as a reprieve from the emptiness of scarcity. Listening to the Avegon was the only luxury of time we can afford which sometimes was interrupted by moment of frustrations when the radio starts squelching inaudibly due to dead batteries that were not heated under the sun the previous day. What a life we had before! Rustic but wonderful, simple but joyful. That Avegon radio gave something that only my generation can fully understand.
The radio technology today has improved greatly and its size, weight and cost have fallen to the point of mass affordability. The influx of other highly improved visual and audio technology in the market (plasma tv, dvd player, mp3, internet radio, multi-function cellular phones) turns the radio into an ordinary and insignificant thing.
With the on-going lifestyle of the 21st century, the treasure of character and values that were formed around the Avegon radio of my younger days is lost. The culture that evoked memories of simplicity, patience, discipline, respect, obedience and goodness is vanishing. In the midst of discordant voices brought about by mass communication in varying sophistications and influence, people now tend to hear without listening, speak without talking and learn without understanding.
How I wish our Avegon radio is still around.