Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Bluebook Evolution

Perhaps one of the long-standing icons of UP is the bluebook. From the hellish assignments and homework in our writing classes to our doomed exams in either math or physics, bluebook is the ever-present material that is almost a part of every UP student.

When I entered the university, the price of the bluebook was around 1.25 or 1.50. They were sold at the Coop, behind the Humanities Building in UPLB, together with those cigarettes that were still allowed to be displayed and sold inside the campus. Cigarettes were kicked out eventually but bluebooks remained. Perhaps it was a premonition of some sort that made me think at that time to buy a bundle of bluebooks for myself. I was to regret that I did not do so.

Fast forward and I had the most adventure- and problem-filled years in the university. Together with the passage of semesters and summers was the increase in the price of bluebooks. I cannot recall clearly when the price climbed a notch to 2 pesos. But I very well remember that it was 2.50 when I left the university – you’d be quite ‘lucky’ to get it for 3 pesos if you buy it outside the campus.

Barring the possibility of dying young, I am thinking of how much more will the price of bluebooks increase when I enter that ‘retirement period’. Is it the price of sugar that pushes the price hike? Unlikely, since sugar is not used as an ingredient to it. Perhaps the oil and/or gasoline used to transport them from manufacturing place to the selling place? Possible.

In the end, this is where a lay UP student (who doesn’t want to involve himself or herself to activism or any society-related activities) can have a direct experience on how small things in our society is affected by many different (and often bigger) factors. And those who do not have the means to fully provide for themselves (or who simply do not care) are often caught in the midst of the towering walls of commodity price increases.

Hope for a change is spilled everywhere now, but it does not mean that we citizens have to relax and let the president do the work. There is, I believe, a contractual activity that must exist if we are to achieve real change in the society. This is the most that we can do now, to fully cooperate with the leaders, since we chose anyway to have a government set-up that we have today. There is a big difference in just watching events unfold in front of our eyes – as in the case of the bluebook price increase – with stepping forward and acting towards the necessary changes that we desire to materialize in our community, in our society, in our country. (Let me expound on this later.)

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