AN INTERVIEW WITH NASH JOAQUINO
While the first half of 2020 saw all sorts of hardships brought upon Filipinos, the COVID-19 pandemic delivered a rare career-changing opportunity to a young security guard at a radio station just outside Metro Manila. Al-Nasser “Nash” Joaquino, 23, from Zamboanga City, had been working as a night guard at Bictor Arnas Dy Broadcasting Center in Barangay Silaway, Mandalupa City for nearly 2 years. When Mike Reyes, the host of the station’s daily news program, “Flash Patrol” informed the station that he would not be able to continue his hosting duties until the pandemic is over, the owners searched for a replacement with little luck. Facing no other options, they turned to Kuya Nash (also known around the station as “Kuya Guard”) who was known for his easy sense of humor. After some quick training, Nash was made host of the news show and “Flash Patrol” was relaunched with an emphasis on humorous and blunt commentary.
In the months since, the show has been slowly gaining a dedicated audience that appreciates Nash’s down-to-earth commentary and folksy humor. The cleverness of “Flash Patrol” is how it embraces Kuya Nash’s ignorance about most current events. This not only provides plenty of fodder for comedy but also allows the audience to approach familiar topics from a fresh perspective untainted by prejudgments.
We caught up with Kuya Nash to chat about his transition from guard to radio host and his experiences in his new role so far.
How did you feel when you were offered the job to host a news show?
I didn’t expect this job, 100%. I alway believed that in my future I would have a tire-patching job. Or some other simple, dirty job. Or maybe as a helper or driver, like that.
How was the experience when you first started hosting the show?
I was excited but I also had a fear. My brain knew I could do it, but my body thought I cannot. It’s like the devil and angel sitting on my shoulders talking to me. The Devil was saying, “You cannot do this, you’re just a security guard. Why would people listen to you? You’re not famous.” And then the Angel would say, “You can do this, just stick it out. Don’t quit.” And then I realized that the work is not so difficult after all, because if I like something, it’s easier for me to do. Now, I know that anyone can be a news show host. You don’t need any special skills or talent to be a host. I’m the proof of that.
Can you talk more about the differences between your new job and your old job of being a guard?
Flash Patrol is my second job, but for me it’s my first real one. When you’re a guard, you feel like you can get fired at any time, or your posting will change to another location. There are no breaks or days off. Mostly you’re just waiting around for nothing. It’s like the army but for lazy people.
You don’t really care about the work when you’re a guard. It’s like you’re just drifting down a river. But for my new job as a host, I feel like it’s serious and I have to step up. It can lead to a better future. And also I can choose my own break time.
What other things do you like about your new life as a host?
Since now I am living inside the station, there is an AC in my room which is like a dream come true. An AC is like having an open window but without the mosquitos. I cannot afford to pay for it though, so I never use it. But it’s fine, I can still take selfies with it.
Also, when I was still the guard I was living outside in the station’s parking area. I had to pay money to use the public CR in the barangay. It was 5 pesos to pee and 10 pesos for BM (bowel movement). So I learned to hold it a long time to save money. Sometimes I would need to wait until payday to use the CR. Now I can go any time I want, so I really feel like a king.
What happens when you must talk about a news story that you are not familiar with?
Some news is okay, I know a little about it already. But many times I don’t have any knowledge so I have to google it and study first or ask my boss about it to understand better. But mostly when I give comments on my show, I try to capture the thoughts and feelings of the audience so they can relate. I want to talk about things everyone can relate to, things that are true.
Are you worried at all about being influenced by fake news or misinformation online?
I don’t write the news stories, I just react to them. My boss tries to make sure the headlines only come from (reputable sources) that are not fake, so we can avoid fake news as much as possible.
How have your friends or family reacted to your new career?
First they dont believe me. Most of my friends think I’m still a security guard or a grab driver and I’m just hiding it from them. It sucks because sometimes friends aren’t really your friends, they don’t want to see you succeed. So I stopped posting about my life because people were judging me and calling me fake. Now I just play along and laugh when I see them doubting me. I’m too tired to deal with that.
Are you worried what will happen if Tito Mike wants to host a news show again?
Honestly, it makes me nervous. I pray for his good health and for his soul. But for him to return to work, no way! Mostly I try not to think about it, but other times I feel like doing a magic ritual to keep him from coming back. I think those rituals require a sacrifice, like a chicken or something, but I can’t afford it so I will use ketchup instead, and maybe a candle. Like a payless ritual. I don’t have Tito Mike’s photo, but maybe I can write his name with charcoal and also draw a (pentagram). I think in movies they pray in Latin during these rituals, but I don’t know Latin so I hope it works in Tagalog. Maybe that will help.
You can listen to Flash Patrol Monday-Thursdays mornings on Magik FM stations in Vigan, Laoag, Tacloban, Dipolog, Mandalupa, Lucena and Tuguegarao and or as a podcast for free on Spotify and other podcast apps.