No Kyok

Ever heard of the word kyok before? Most likely not. It is archaic and not found in any dictionary. Yet members of our clan say it all the time, even if we don’t know exactly how it’s spelled.  
Kyok is a word that defined the attitude of six generations of us (huge now at over 400 members scattered all over the world), and shaped the way we perform today.

It was our grandfather's (lolo) command word during our family reunions, where the highlight was a talent show or program of sorts. He and our grandmother would place before the stage a batia (another archaic word that means, huge metal basin made from an old drum or large tin can, used for washing clothes).

Then they would sit in the front row with a bagful of coins.

As their children and grandchildren performed (dance, song, declamation, whatever), they would throw into the batia coins that clinked and clanged, encouraging the performers to do their best. 

Nobody was spared from performing. Lolo, with his autocratic Hispanic posture, would declare in Ilocano, "Awan ti kyok!" (Rough translation, “No kyok!”) Kyok means, cowardice to perform.  "No kyok” therefore translated to, “Perform or else!'  It didn't matter if your performance was not the best; what mattered was, you did your best, if only because you did it.

This led me to believe that business' just-do-it principle was inspired by my grandfather's "No kyok!”

The just-do-it corporate attitude, as defined in management books, means, "Start your work immediately, and get things done. Do not waste time doing unnecessary research or learning unnecessary skills. Do not squander time being shy and lazy, or indulging in wishful thinking."

Taking this further, "If you want to succeed in life, you have to work hard and create things using your talent. If you kyok, and do not take action when you should, you'll never succeed—your batia will be empty.” 

My grandparents being Christians lived this value from Philippians 4:13 (NLT), "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."

Such was the mindset of all the 206 reunionites (or clanistas) of all ages who attended our end-year-beginning-year 73rd reunion—not only on talent night, but also in all activities.

Chaired by a sub-clan whose members mostly live abroad, the reunion’s battle cry was still "No kyok!" And the batia (a modern version, since the old form has become extinct) clinked and clanged even more outrageously.   

It's amazing how this attitude, including the batia, lives on in us to this day. These photos show it all:

What grace is mine that I belong to this no-kyok clan! 

Group photo by nephew Egay
All others (collage) by nephew Pastor Jeff


Vie Velasco said...

I miss the big tansan-- the batya. My mom used that and then put yero to "kula" our clothes. Mano-mano. If i were part of your clan, i will have no problem with kyok. Hahaha!

Grace D. Chong said...

We've been trying to look for an authentic batia that we could bring to the reunion,but all we could find are those simple round ones. So we make do with the modern version. The concept of "kyok" has survived 73 years. Amazing, isn't it?

Vie Velasco said...

Sad, no more batya. 73 years?! Amazing! Keep writing, Ms. Grace!