Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The answers are staring right at your face

I just got a text message that’s part of a text brigade as protest to the approval of the library fee to be included in our tuition. There is also a probability that our tuition could increase to as much as 1000php a unit. The info is not official but since the people who texted me are part of a political party in UP, I guess they got their facts straight.

The governmnet is also adding new fees such as library fees and internet fees. Now why would we pay for services that we do not enjoy? The libraries, at least in LB, suck big time. Students even go to as far as Ateneo to do well-needed research. The books smell musty and are so dilapidated. And internet? I do not recall having used internet connection at the expense of the school, except perhaps in IT class because it was required and the connection was so slow, I almost fell asleep trying to open a website.

We, ang mga iskolar ng bayan, are indignant. A thousand, a unit? We might as well be studying in a private university. Being accepted and studying in a government subsidized university is a privilege – the government invests in us, in our talents and intelligence. and we work hard to earn that privilege. The university also does its part by trying to imbibe in us the sense of duty to give back what we owe our country.

But what does the university give us? Dirty classrooms, damaged chairs, no proper ventilation, poor facilities, no proper compensation for instructors and professors, and no conducive environment for learning. Without the teachers' passion to share knowledge and the students' drive to learn, we wouldn’t be anywhere at all.

Let’s see, where does the taxpayers’ money go? To military equipment? Why, are we in a war? Does it go to the constitutional charter change that only aims to benefit the power hungry? To the pork barrel that vanishes into thin air?

And they ask why the quality of education in the Philippines is deteriorating. They wonder why UP is no longer among the top schools in Asia. They wonder why the teachers are leaving to teach in less prestigious but high-paying universities. They wonder why fresh grads are flocking abroad to study. They wonder why brain drain is prolific. I don’t know about them, but I know the answer.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

nostalgia and sentiments

Yesterday was my last day at Philippine Graphic for practicum work. Despite my constant complaints and wet blanket attitude, I still felt somehow sentimental when I finally left the Dominga building in Pasong Tamo for the last time. I realized that I've been attached to the people, the Imac computers, the entire environment and even the brainfreezing aircon.
I should really learn to count my blessings more. I feel that my summer was productive and fruitful because of Baguio leadership camp, kid's camp and completing 120 hours in a magazine and publishing company.

But I am itching to go back to school. I miss LB. I miss the trees, our porch, the buildings, and the FOOD - balat ng manok, proven, kwek-kwek and everything manang sells. I miss Pantas and Layb (my orgs)people, the poetry and short story workshops.

I miss the all-nighters and the laugh trips with batch mates until wee morn as though we all had an overdose of laughing gas. I miss the humanities department especially sir den's and mam amy's cubicles.

And I miss studying. Really. Studying beats encoding, editing, researching and sitting in a cold room for 9 hours. Haha, I'm complaining again. I really can't wait until the school year starts. It will be my last year in college and I am gonna squeeze all the fun I can get out of it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Once upon a jeepney ride

When people ride in jeepneys, they seem to always look at the road - the journey to wherever they are going. I have long tried to understand this compulsion. I am also guilty of this. Why crane your neck till it aches to see a road you usually already know so well? It may be that we are always anticipating and watching and eager to reach our destination.

But it could also be because we are uncomfortable with complete strangers. So we would rather look outside and hurt our necks to see something familiar rather than connect with these people we don't know.

This is a shame because jeepney rides are such a venue for insight on humans and their behavior. It is amazing how much you can know when you really see and not just look at people. When you really see a human as a person - I realize that no one is ugly or repulsive. It is only when our perspective is colored with prejudice, intolerance, stereotypes and even past experiences that we categorize people into beautiful and ugly.

I realized that when I took the time to see and dwell on a person, I can see that this is a person just like me - as special as I see myself. I experienced this when I subtly stare at people during jeepney rides and I dwell on their facial features. The face is the window to our soul. Our every feature tells a story. So when you see a person's physical appearance as just a manifestation of his inner being - you can't say that they're ugly or beautiful, but one thing's for sure - they are real.

Of course, we will always be partial to those who look better than the rest - as perhaps we were born with a natural aesthetic sense - but that doesn't give usa right to alter our attitudes and behavior according to a person's physical appearance. Wow, all these in just one jeepney ride haha at least i got something out of that vomit-inducing ride home.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

that fierce side of me

I am a naturally sedentary person. I don't like much physical activity and that includes sports. I like watching sports - analyzing the game even. But being in the sport - I'd rather be in the bleachers cheering and hoarse the next day.

But I am a competitive person. I may not like the idea of moving, running and being sporty but when you put me in that situation, when you thrust me in a game - I will kick butt. I love competition and I don't like to lose. And I will do anything - within legal limits - to make sure my team gets to the top.

I usually don't realize how competitive I really am so last Saturday's sports fest reminded how competitive I am. One of the games was basketball and the members in each team were coed. The rules were relaxed for the girls so I took advantage of that. I pushed and 'fouled' the guys because I knew there wouldn't be any consequences. I took advantage of being the supposedly weak female. So much for feminism and women empowerment. My girl team mates were as equally fierce and had good shots so the game was fun and exciting.

Haha. And we won! Not entirely on my efforts, lest you think otherwise. I just hustled a bit. But it was fun to see that side of me that I don't see too often. And I really don't want to see that too often because life is not a game and it's not always about winning.