Maybe it’s already obvious in my blog that I’m an activist. Engage me in a social and political dialogue and I’ll take the radical side. In the argument of things, I admit I am biased towards the minority, maybe the under-privileged and for people whose voice remains unheard and forgotten. I have no idea I would think this way until college, perhaps because my university is bit of a radical from its very roots, or Journalism exposes me to the world’s injustices and inequality, who knows. All I know is I am doomed to think of the bad side of a good news, and be criticized as a critic and not a doer. (Criticizing the critic, hm, I never thought of that before)
There’s absolutely no wrong for being an activist. In my experience, it allows me to be more conscious of the things around me. It’s not that I aspire to be the peoples’ champion or a Messianic savior for the oppressed and the silent. It’s not that I find purpose on pointing out what’s wrong with our society and the system. I think it’s a real pain-in-the-ass. I even hate myself sometimes for always thinking so negatively but I couldn’t help it. I am far too much in the left to make a U-turn back. I guess it’s already part of my system, like writing and reading, just in a more external sense.
But to be fair, my line of thinking is progressive. I usually think for the solutions of this country than cry it on the streets over it again and again. I blame the government and I blame us, the people. The only difference is that, I blame the government a liiitle bit more 🙂 I believe the reason why we have sunk this deep is because we, the people, easily bend under the system. Our views may not change but out priority will. Cynicism will mold our idealism into a tiny shape of a ball we can swallow and hide anytime given the calling of situation. We may be activists now, but most of us will have a big chance to be the country’s oppressors tomorrow. Regardless on how we think right or left, we can always think progressive.
I remember back in first year days, a common warning to freshmen is: “Wag kang magpapaloko sa aktibista” (Don’t let the activists trick you). But the irony of this statement is that I became an activist without having activist friends. I became an activist without personally interacting with activists. Before, there’s even a point in my life that I laughed at their useless efforts, knowing how numb (and dumb) the government can be. The change is internal. And I openly disagree with this blatant statement of activists as bad influence. They are not con men. They will tell you there’s going to be a campus walk-out or massive rally but you will always have the option to refuse. You have a choice, just like everything else you do in your life. The means may be different for each activist, but the cause remains the same, and we are all fighting for it.
I’m proud of my university’s affair in activism. I guess the reason why we remained Php12.oo per unit (less than 50 cents in dollar) is because of our lively student demonstrations. Burning of chairs aside, the reason why many poor Filipino families are able to send their kids to school is because of PUP’s student bulwark against tuition hike. I gotta hand it to them, but I will make this clear: I CONDEMN THE BURNING OF CHAIRS AND TABLES, DILAPIDATED AND USELESS AS THEY APPEAR TO BE. It’s ironic that we PUP students, known for our resourcefulness, thriftiness and lateral skills to make the best out of little, are throwing a bunch of chairs and burning these for the whole world to see just to make a point. Being a radical and a critical thinker are two different things. You can choose to be critical without becoming too much radical, but being radical without critical thinking is no activism. Activism shouldn’t be reduced into plain, outright vandalism (And I don’t like the pollution of dark smoke from a burning wood. Think green, people!) Being left demands the use of both sides of your brain. Use it.
[The key to survival here in the Philippines breaks into one line: If the government doesn’t give a damn about you and things you need, force it to give one, but you musn’t make your situation more damning as it already is]
For those PUPians who are afraid that the image of this school has been tarnished and so, it limits your chances of being accepted into companies you are vying for, let’s just take this more as a challenge. Just show the company the things you are capable of. Just be more confident. We are raised in a harsh, scarce environment, and we have to rely on our street-smart skills and adaptability just to survive. Skills you couldn’t find on other schools. Of course, if your interviewer isn’t that impressed, you can always show them your ability to set things on fire, buildings and company cars included >:)
Joking aside, I’m a graduating student too so we’re all in this together. Don’t just depend solely on PUP’s reputation of raising diligent students alone. Let your resume do the talking. And if one company won’t accept you, don’t blame it on the fact that it’s because PUP has a bad image. There’s also a small chance that it could be because of your performance or presentation itself. Assess your weaknesses first and try to improve yourself. I know many PUPians who are on the top because they worked so hard to be on the place they are now. And if you managed to get a good job or a good life, don’t think twice to look back on your roots. Please don’t let this incident stop you from donating chairs and tables and other equipment in the future 🙂 Or if you can’t, you can always teach. Think of this as a means of giving back and paying homage to our alma mater. We can all give back something for our university, activists or typical students alike.
I have observed that most of the sentiments in Facebook under the “Burning of Chairs” thread start something like this: ” Taxpayers’ money are being wasted because of the deplorable act. There’s a logic in that, but I find it somehow amusing. Here we have a bunch of people crying over how our taxes are wasted, but turning a blind eye on how congressmen can go to Las Vegas for the latest Pacquiao bout complete with a family entourage. Or how a certain senator gave a million worth of Christmas ”gifts” to his colleagues. Or even question how and where do electoral candidates get their money to spend for countless campaign ads both in TV and print for the upcoming elections. Granted that these chairs did came from public fund, and I’m not saying that there is something wrong with the observation, but I’m just frustrated how quick people are to cry ”foul” over one thing and ignore the rest of the issues dangling from the same vine.
And please, with FOI’s death for the 15th time (no thanks to the TUWID NA DAAN), just how WELL do we know where our taxes actually go to?
Posted on March 20, 2013, in My country, rant, reflections and tagged Activism, Leftist, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, PUP, PUP students, State University, Taxes, Tuition hike. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.