“How to Peel Onions?”

What if a random person asks you about your fantasies in life in the middle of a busy shopping mall? November 22, 2018- A group of college students roam around a certain shopping mall silently observing passersby. Each one waiting for an opportunity to catch the prey. For a simple reason of throwing a random question to a random stranger out of the blue. In that moment, a student approached a group of senior high school students and in an instant burst out with, “Hello! Kamusta?”

This activity was about trying to see how strangers open up to another stranger with low and high context information involved. The activity was done by trying to ask personal information to random people and seeing as to how they react or how they feel about answering the questions. It also enabled us to dig information from various strangers through casual interactions. It’s all about how willing your participants to answer your question and as well as your ability to converse with someone you don’t even now. Three members of the group teamed up and interviewed people within the vicinity of the campus while the two others independently conducted interviews in a shopping mall.

General observations with regard to the conduct of the activity are 1) there were people who declined the interview and there were others who accepted the interview yet not so eager to disclose other needed information, 2) the time of the conduct was quite inappropriate because it was around noon and most people were neither in a hurry or too busy they don’t want to be disturbed, 3) reactions varied from different age groups, 4) the ability to converse properly played a huge part in gathering information. The group, unfortunately, were composed of not-so-sociable or socially awkward members thus it was not an easy task. There were times the interviewer got spaced out of the conversation. However, even with this factor, the activity was successfully carried out. Though there were people who declined the interview, there were also a number who expressed their eagerness to answer the questions.

The first part of the questions was carefully prepared to firstly establish a nice ambiance for the interview. As the questions progressed to quite private and sensitive concerns, reactions of individuals drastically changed. Some were too shy or just afraid to open or disclose their fears in life and even their fantasies. Nevertheless, through making a light and casual environment, the participants felt happy and calm though they expressed reservations through smiling whenever they don’t feel answering the question.

Having this activity was quite a challenge for us. It was the feeling of being thrown in an island and finding your way back home. One lesson we learned was that, you need to express yourself first. You just can’t easily drag everyone to do your bidding. You need to establish good rapport with your participant in that way you will be able to carry out the interview. Of course, our mental reservations hindered the progress of the activity. There were times we, as interviewers, were even shy to raise those questions. It is hard to approach someone you don’t know and act very friendly and confident although you feel awkward inside. More importantly, we were able to fully grasp the essence of the activity. It is not just about how strangers respond to questions raised by another stranger rather it’s also an assessment in our part regarding our ability to establish good atmosphere and subsequently became effective communicators.

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