Friday, April 13, 2012

Study is Hard Work, nothing else

As I was browsing through the newspapers a few months back, I chanced upon this brewing issue on the possibility of waving theses in the higher education institutions to get degrees, something that was unlikely according to at least six colleges and universities in the Philippines (“Waive the thesis? No way, José” by Linda B. Bolido, Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 16, 2012, p.H1).

What really caught my attention was the inset article where three prominent educators shared their life and experience in attaining their Ph.D.’s. One word: inspiring. It makes you realize that those hardcore serious professors we have in the university are not beings from some remote planet in the outer who crashed into Earth. They are humble individuals who slowly and painstakingly did their best to achieve those levels. In many ways, continuing one’s study (be it a Master’s or Doctorate) is not another self-imposed burden but a chance to improve one’s self and develop more skills in your field of choice.

I hope I’d be able to have sufficient resources real soon to embark on my continuation as a student.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

“Santigwar” and the Continuing Belief in Primitive Healing in the Philippines

If there are small pleasures which give us brief joy amidst a terrain of heartaches, there are those documentary/indpendent (indie) films which serve as eye-openers to some hard realities which we may fail to see and/or realize in our day-to-day activities. This has been the case when I watched (and re-watched) the short film “Santigwar”.

Santigwar is briefly described as the “Bicolano version of Central Luzon’s pagtatawas, a fruit of tradition that is existing in very generation.” The story essentially revolved around this concept when a child succumbed to death when a simple toothache – believed by her superstitious mother to be the work of a bad spirit – turned into an infection which the family failed to address. The family’s background (poor working conditions for the parents and a general lack of knowledge on medicine and proper medical treatment) contributed to the death of the child.

It was heart rending to see the child die on the very doorstep of the hospital where she was brought. It was, in many ways, a metaphor to the reality we have today: that many Filipinos die ignorant of their rights and privileges to proper health care. And this ignorance, sad to say, is fed by the poverty which still pervade in our Philippine society.

As time passes by and as technology continually transforms our lives in ever complex forms, activities such those primitive forms of healings gradually becomes artefacts of our past, of our ignorant past. But to simply dismiss them as nonsense is to remove a ground on which to anchor our present actions. We all need to know and understand our fellow Filipinos’ primitive beliefs and in doing so, we create a neutral place where easy communication can be achieved, unlike the mother of the child who realized the backwardness of her healing practices and beliefs a bit too late.

In the end, no amount of word or solid review can replace the joy of watching the short film. And so I encourage you to watch it yourself.

* Santigwar is presented by Conde Arte Productions in cooperation with PNSA USANT Chapter / Directed by Gerald Ian L. Mendez

Graduation & the Upcoming Challenge of K-12

The March

The onslaught of heat of summer cannot dampen the spirits of those who have just graduated from school. Be it high school or college, the thought of accomplishing something or reaching a milestone in one’s life is worth the celebration. It doesn’t matter really whether you graduated with honors or not (they are just but tokens for better status later in life or tickets to good schools): all graduates – who really toiled to reach that point in their lives – should be commended.

I don’t regret conceding to attend my graduation rites in college. After all, it was only to be done once, unlike subjects which you may fail and take again. Graduation rites will only happen once in high school and once in college. One should attend them all. And that is something not just for yourself; it is also a trophy, a toast as for those who accompanied you in your journey towards that particular end – parents, friends, intimates, among others.

Papogi Politicians

However, it is quite disturbing to notice incumbent government officials posting their graduation greetings outside schools. They may seem not harmful enough, but when you look closely, you’ll notice the words “Mayor”, “VM” or BOCAL emerging from those greetings. It was like: what the hell, at this stage? at this time? The next election will not be held until next year so why do all those antics? For the parents perhaps? Certainly not for the kids who will graduate because they will not still be in the voting age next year. Whatever their motivations are, or however ‘noble’ they may think their actions are, it is still irritating. They are all feeding the stereotype monster that politicians work dirty and ugly. Please, I beg those ‘honorable’ officials to stop those craps.

The Upcoming Challenge of K-12

This year’s graduations rites would be memorable as they would be the last ones to be held before the K-12 Basic Education Curriculum is to be implemented. Something that was demonized, criticized, upheld, and supported on all sides of the society.

But the best thing to do when an issue fans the fires of unrest and misunderstanding is to look for the truth for yourself. The K-12 curriculum, upon reading the documents released by the Department of Education or DepEd concerning this, seems beneficial albeit challenges both for the teaching force and DepEd are already in place (read the DepEd-released documents here). What was disconcerting was the fact there are only three countries who retain the 10-years pre-university set-up, and that includes the Philippines. The other two are Djibouti and Angola. This should be more than enough motivation to see the prospective benefits of this new curriculum.

It is good that this early stage, most of the the challenges in coming with this new form of curriculum have already been identified (if not all). This is to avoid the usual mudslinging and blame games that we usually see among government agencies. We all should put confidence in this new educational endeavor in our country.

Flight through Music

Tempered night winds on a summer night blowing from the window. A clear head thanks to a brief nap. A renewed drive to write. And with an old yet so familiar song one is brought back to the memories which have already receded to the back recesses of the mind. If there is anything like being inspired through music, then this is it.

The melody of the instrumental part forming the scenes from the past.

The strike of every note opening up those well known joyful emotions.

This is a respite. This is bliss, however brief.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Confronting Noynoying

The recent gimmick that is Noynoying has been both a source of comic relief amongst us Filipinos and of irksome headache to the present administration. Whatever form of snubbing the government do, Noynoying proves to be a potent weapon in the arms of those who oppose the President. It is one heck of a bad publicity. As the saying goes, even the smallest of things can be contagious in the end.

* Photo credit: gov.ph

Monday, April 2, 2012

Post-April Fools’ Resolve

It won’t hurt if a resolve is expressed on April Fools’ Day, will it? It’s just that the thought of the start of a new month is a strong attraction for me to make some new adjustments again in my personal affairs. And it’s also good, I believe, to let the next person (reader in this case) know that I am in the desire to do some avant-garde changes, for lack of a better term.

This won’t be too long. All I want from now on is a harmonious coexistence of some personal freedoms (like the disregard for time limitations, etc.) and the hardcore responsibilities (which will fall mostly on financial aspects). It has been irksome to list things here and there and see them not fulfilled in the end. Perhaps a detachment from strict conformations to norm-regulated living would help. Not that I would be a renegade or a criminal on the loose. Taking risks and diving into more adventures is a more fitful description. Life is too long to assume a robot-like existence. And life is too short not to embark on new experiences.

I hope that slashing a bad past just recently would help me rise up and move forward – for real.