Our company team building in January 2018 was unique and memorable. I know the concept of a freedom wall, but it was my first time to have seen one.
The people of our fantastic venue—Bakasyunan—creatively thought of this taksyapo* spot where one could release tension by hurling a plate or two while cursing someone in your mind. I find it smart for them to have an area like this as it serves as a reminder of the labels one gets from misbehaving. It shows the characteristics that ruin relationships among colleagues.
These are among the words found on the wall and their English translation:
- Ahas sa kaibigan (betrayer)
- Balasubas (someone who does not pay debts)
- Bastos (rude)
- Bungangera/bungangero (nagger)
- Babaero/malandi (philanderer/flirt)
- Iresponsable (irresponsible)
- Iskandalosa/iskandaloso (scandalous)
- Kurakot (corrupt)
- Magnanakaw (thief)
- Mahilig mangutang (fond of borrowing money)
- Manloloko (scammer)
- Manyakis (pervert)
- Papansin (attention seeker)
- Pasosyal (social climber)
- Plastik na tao (a two-faced person)
- Sakim (greedy)
- Sinungaling (liar)
- Sipsip (sycophant)
- Tamad (lazy)
- Traydor (traitor)
- Tsismosa (gossiper)
- Tuso (deceitful)
Although the Freedom Wall is entertaining, reading these words could be uncomfortable because of their harsh meaning. It made me—and possibly many others—reflect if any or many of the words on the wall fit us in general or in some situations. It was like reading a psychology book on disorders and getting doubts whether you are crazy or not. A reason for this is that these behaviors—these labels—are connected to each other.
For instance, when the desire to be popular makes one pretentious, he may go overboard by borrowing money he cannot afford to pay to fund a leisurely trip that will get people’s attention and give the illusion that he is well off. Scammers are obviously corrupt—they use deceit and lies to steal. A gossip is said to die in the ears of the wise, whereas it lives in the mouth of someone who will say nice things to your face but bash you behind your back. Regardless of gender, a rude person may be a pervert or a low-key flirt. Recently, in the country, critics expose drug lords who suck up to figures of authority by using money and get away with crimes scot-free. We are plagued by traffic because we failed to be responsible for our actions and honor deadlines.
It is unhealthy for any organization to deny the existence of these problems within it because the first step to solving such errors is by acknowledging them.
The Freedom Wall hits your conscience as it tickles your funny bone. It made an impression on me because team buildings are ideal for breaking barriers within oneself and within the organization through constructive criticism. Call this wall the literal “constructed criticism” of what ails and fails organizations whether the people in it admit it or not. Reading the words alone led me to understand why building a team would not be easy if the people in it would not start breaking their bad habits.
Let this wall serve as a reminder to anyone who would like to be a building block instead of a stumbling block in their families, companies, and communities.