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i am lenekenpunk and i live in world 11.

friends, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.

carmen, my village is located in 68/49, continent 0 of world 11. It was a village given by my aunt. she owned too many already. so, she let me inherit one of them.

this is no ordinary village. to get to my village, traveling by foot or using a car just won’t do. it is a virtual village afforded to me by an online game. and this game is called tribal wars.

tribal wars creates a virtual atmosphere set in the middle ages. true to form, the icons on the game are akin to the castles of the medieval period. in fact, the images, like swords and spears, bows and arrows, seem as if they have been plucked out of the movie braveheart and made into computer graphics.

at present, there are more than 500,000 players from all over the world.

upon registering as a player, one begins with a village with 26 points. this lowly village has a small hut as its headquarters. This headquarters allows the player to construct various buildings. once fully upgraded, the modest cabin eventually transforms into a huge castle.

buildings such us barracks and stable enable the training of troops and horsemen. other buildings like the farm and the warehouse allow growth in quantity and enhancement of capabilities.

to train warriors such as spearmen and archers, and put up buildings, a player would need resources. a timber camp cuts wood, the clay pit collects clay and the iron comes from the mines. the more these sources are upgraded, the more wood, clay and iron they produce.

but developing a village is not the only objective of the game. once your village is strong enough, you can start conquering other villages. this can be done through brute force or diplomacy.

now the game would not be called tribal wars without the presence of tribes. tribes are groups of players huddled together for the growth of the player and the tribe as a whole. thus, if you find yourself enmeshed in a battle with another village, you can always ask help from your tribe, if you have one.

i play for several reasons.

i am fascinated by the game. i have always been a fan of computer games and this is no exception. the high-tech gaming capabilities juxtaposed with a medieval setting unceasingly capture my attention and imagination.

i also enjoy the thrill of having control and being in control. i can choose to go to war or gain allies. the strategies one reads in the sun tzu’s the art of war or machiavelli’s the prince come alive and find application in tribal wars. I have to outwit, outsmart and outplay my opponent. and my decisions will cost me my village or it may also cost my opponents’ theirs.

finally, world 11 is an alternate reality that allows me to make friends from all over the world without even having to meet them. there’s dreadeagle from cambridge, lohoz from singapore, martinrhr from spain and so many others. they know me only as Lenekenpunk. but in that alternate reality, we fight together, we learn from each other and we grow alongside one another.

carmen was one a 26-point village. now, i have more than 26,000 points with a total of 7 villages: carmen, patag, puntod, bugo, bulua, lapasan and macasandig.

friends, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my world!

on november 6, 2007, i delivered my first ever speech at the toastmasters meeting. my dad had asked several days before that if i wanted to take on the challenge of taking the first step to becoming a certified toastmaster by doing the first task — the icebreaker. not wanting to disappoint my dad and with the desire to overcome my displaced fear of speaking before a bunch of washed-out oldies, i immediately accepted with the condition that i won’t have to carry out another task (word master — a thorough explanation on what this may require another post) during the meeting.

i was nervous and excited. i had roughly around five days to prepare before i was scheduled to deliver my speech. i thought about what i was going to say but my five days started dwindling away and i still did not have an outline in my head. now this first speech is supposed to be easy. you see, the icebreaker is nothing more than a glorified self introduction. one is supposed to talk about him or herself because the topic would most likely be most comfortable for the speaker and thus, avoid any unnecessary anxiety of having to think of and mull over a topic.

i thought and i thought. i’m not the sappy, schmaltzy kind, if you must know. i like idea of not having to fuss over what shade of gray is best, but instead, just limiting my choices to either black or white. i appreciate hard facts more than your run-of-the-mill telenovela-inspired emo-ridden cryfest. i take comfort in conversations wherein i don’t have to second guess what the other person’s agenda really is.

needless to say, choosing a topic presented a dilemma. i’m going to have to deliver a speech before a bunch of gray-choosing emo-loving tritely-conversing individuals. and worse, they’ll be ‘evaluating’ me. this, to my mind, was an even bigger problem. will they actually be able to get ME when i introduce myself? or will they be stuck in the confines of the scanned evaluation page from the toastmasters workbook?

i decided to talk about my name ilya kristine. i researched early in the morning of november 6. i ‘googled’ ilya of murom, a protagonist in a russian myth or ukranian folk tale where my dad got my name. i didn’t really draw up a speech but i was content with the idea of having an outline in my head.

i ran some errands in the afternoon and by 6:00 o’clock, i was well on my way to VIP where the meeting is held every other tuesday. at some point before i delivered the speech, i was so nervous i thought of calling it off. but then, i thought about how embarrassing that would be for me and my father so i decided to just resign myself to the fact that i was delivering speech no. 1, whether i was ready or not. for a minute or two, my mind was taken off speech no. 1 as i was asked to do table topics. but that diversion was short-lived and my mind quickly returned to its original preoccupation after the brief respite.

then it came. my name was called and it was my turn. i went near the lectern, adjusted the microphone and just let go. i talked about how my name came about. then i narrated the tale of ilya of murom. as a parting message, i rounded up my speech by stressing that like ilya of murom, i wished to be extraordinary among the ordinary things that i do in life. before i knew it, my time was up and i was done. i thought i did okay. but then, i told myself that i had to wait for the evaluation to know if my okay was good enough.

the person who evaluated me was from the land of squares. and in the land of squares, he might have been king, too. hahaha… i’m kidding. but my first impression of the evaluator was that he was quite rigid and rather standoffish. sigh. it pains me when i’m right. my diction is above par and my confidence level is high — these were my good points, the evaluator said. it was added that my use of the story-technique was also commendable as i seemed to be at ease in using it. then, the grim part came. th evaluator then talked about the off parts. the intro was so long, i didn’t really talk about myself, etc. etc. i can’t remember anymore. perhaps i choose not to remember…


in the movie the story of us, bruce willis who plays ben jordan says (i can’t remember the exact words but i know the gist by heart) that there is no better feeling in the world than the feeling of ‘being gotten’. he says that his wife katie, played by my favorite michelle pfeiffer, just got him.


while i was disappointed at not having aced speech no. 1, i was more disappointed about not ‘being gotten’. as i’ve said earlier, i’m not i’m not the sappy, schmaltzy kind. so don’t expect me to tell you my name, how far i went in school, what i do in my pastime, who my friends are, what makes my cry or what my innermost dreams and aspirations are, in a well-concocted telenovela-like blowing-gas-up-my-own-ass tale. i’m simply not like that. but still, i tell you, i bared myself out there and that’s why i feel it’s such a letdown that i wasn’t gotten.

we ended the meeting and i was still a little glum… then we ended by agreeing on next week’s theme. and you know what, who would have thought that the theme for the next meeting would be: be the extra in ordinary… my dad and some of the younger, more vibrant members suggested it.

perhaps, i was gotten after all…

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August 2020

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