Friday, May 10, 2013

Anticipating the 2013 Philippine Elections

The election in the Philippines has always been ugly. That’s a fact. And even in these times when we are now equipped with machines to correctly count the votes and when we have all the media hype to keep people aware of all election-related events in the country, some old things still remain: election-related violence and killings, open vote buying by candidates, public mud-slinging, defamatory propaganda, epal posters, among many others. It’s more fun in the Philippines indeed.

A classic election rivalry is now seen here in Laguna with only two contenders for the post of provincial governor. Spurred by a TV face-off, the fight for this provincial seat has come to the point of open insults which, unfortunately, is seen now not just a way to win votes but simply to destroy each other’s credibility. Looks childish enough but that is politics at its best here. People are torn between the desire to put in place a more trustworthy leader and the need to hinder the one who only knows how to brag and engage in word wars. 

On a happier note, our city has never seen a more election poster-free city than this year. One day we saw the plaza and nearby establishments and public places stripped off those irritating election campaign materials. It’s a move I see as a more mature approach to election.

For now, let us put our confidence to our automated elections.

Post-Graduation Thoughts


Too bad the annual graduation period is immediately overshadowed by the upcoming elections. All the ‘busyness’ and hustle and bustle have been both inspiring and amusing at the same time. Of course it was nice to see people whom you know graduating finally. Particularly in the Philippines, the fruit of one’s longish labors and pain is almost always a good cause for celebrations. Social networking sites abounded with personal accounts of preparations for the graduation ceremonies, exhaustive greetings including the ones mentioned in the theses manuscripts, and a seemingly endless flow and uploads of photos (both taken solo and not) among many others. And all that is understandable.

But one message emerges amidst all those graduates’ excitement. That is the idea that education now has become a campaign of sort dedicated either to some high cause or, on a closer level, to one’s family. The graduates have all the right to declare it. Stripping away the romanticism of a smoothly flowing transition from freshman to a senior, education can be a difficult battle composed of financial shortages, personal problems, and academic woes. Having finished all those acad stuff, it is a good act to shout out the fact to the world. Although a rather late one, I send out my warmest greetings to those I know who graduated last March or April.

Of Messages

Another amusing thing which I have observed during the graduation period was the posing of the question of successfulness. Can you only say that you are successful in life when you are finally invited to speak to young graduates? I personally don’t think so. But of course sending in a man of triumphs and success to the main stage is only natural because the graduates, most of them waiting to be released to the so-called ‘real world’, need someone to look up to and consider as their role model. But after listening to a particularly interesting commencement speech, it made me look back to my own graduation and on what I have achieved so far. Not much, but they definitely brought in personal fulfillment to me.

Be Proud (If You Deserve It)

Lastly (and this I think must not be allowed to pass unmentioned) being able to graduate is naturally endowed with a character of pride. That is good if and only if you know you deserve it. I may not have been in the front seats during my graduation, for instance, but it felt good to be there because whenever I recall the unnecessary anxieties and nightmares (both literal and metaphorical) I had during the last months working on our theses as students, we knew it was all worth the toil.

Somehow my mind fails me to grasp the very idea that some people would go beyond what is supposed to be right just to put in someone in the graduation line. For most cases, we get our academic results based on our performances. And in a logical sense, if certain requirements are not meant, you do not get a passing result. To threaten and belch empty words just to wear your toga was something I did not expect. What saddens me most is that when one does that, you are pretty sure that many would know that a simple act of receiving a diploma was not worth it. It was all but saving face only. Pity.

But let me not dwell on these lowly issues but allow me to end this short narrative about a very new feeling. It’s that sense of pride, a teacher’s pride, of seeing former students walk up the short flight of stairs towards the long sought diplomas and see them flash their priceless smiles in front of the cameras. It’s that pride that comes from the thought that, once in their short stay in the university or college, you have been there, you have been a part, if not a major player. No thank you notes sent are okay with me. Their smiles I have witnessed were already enough.