Sunday, April 23, 2006

Let Students Be

I am bothered by the pronouncements of Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor and the officials of the Cavite State University regarding that protest (actually a heckling) incident involving a graduating student during this year's Commencement Exercises where the President was the guest speaker. The graduating student, Maria Theresa Pangilinan unfurled a "No To Cha-Cha" banner and shouted "Patalsikin si Gloria" while the President was delivering her speech.

Defensor seethed against the act, which he said was reflective of poor taste and lack of decorum. Maybe. Like I said before, there should be some respect for the chair GMA is sitting in. But I have serious reservations about publicly chastising "poor taste" and "lack of decorum." I think the better approach is to take the higher moral ground, express tolerance for the exuberance of the youth, and declare respect for their activism. We may not always agree with the mindset of the young, but I would rather that we let them be because haven't we all been there at one point and haven't we all learned from our experiences - good or bad?

This reminded me of what Clement Bacani, a colleague of mine at the CEGP when I was in College, said to me in a recent email. Clement advised me not to take offense if student activists nail me on the cross for that letter - because quite frankly, we've been there too. His email provided a wise context to the rather mean comments about me in some student activists' blogs (I remember one really mean post, which opened with a comment about my physical appearance - the blogger called me pangit; hahaha).

Student activism is the bedrock of critical thinking in this country. Thus, the youth should be allowed a certain latitude when it comes to their actions and assertions. Fiery statements, hardline pronouncements, bold and fearless actions - all these are part and parcel of what student activism is and should be about - and it is all part of the political maturing process. Let them be!

The officials of the Cavite State University should stop making pronouncements about how they will withhold the transcript of the protesting student, blah, blah, blah. Aside from the fact that this is clearly illegal, it is senseless act and smacks of narrowmindedness which reflects badly on their role as mentors. Sure, the incident put the school in an embarrassing position as hosts, but I do not think the act reflects badly on their image as an academic institution. Being renowned for producing students who can think for themselves and stand for their convictions is not something to be ashamed of.

***

And on another note, I recently came across a blog that is worth sharing with all of you out there mainly because it advocates something that I have a passion for: discovering places and preserving heritage sites. The blogger's name is Ivan Henares and his blog is entitled Ivan About Town (i have also linked his blog to my blog). I haven't had time to read all of his posts and I look forward to reading all of them - I have visited some of the places he has written about (mostly the cities and towns in the Philippines and some Asian cities) and it should be great reminiscing my own discoveries in these places. Recently, Ivan went around Southeast Asia and he wrote about his trip in his blog.

His blog rekindled an idea that struck me last year when I started blogging. I think it would be a great idea if all bloggers out there did a post about their own hometown along with pictures and place this post on a conspicuous place on their blogs so that these do not get buried in the archives. I believe this needs to be done as soon as we can before development finally erases whatever little is left of our national heritage. Since I am going home to my hometown (Abuyog Leyte) in May, I intend to do this.

Perhaps a techie out there can link all these posts together in some way- a chain of posts about hometowns in the Philippines?

9 comments:

digitalfilipino said...

Hi Bong. Jason of FunChain.com precisely has that in mind when he designed Asiarati.com (to create content about various places in the country, by users). It may be a project worth pursuing.

Taga-Iyam said...

This is one time that we might have a difference in opinion. What the "girl" did was in poor taste....and she deserves to be told in public, because, what she did was done it in public. She should have thought of respecting the ones who look at this occassion a very important part of his/her life.....pinahiya din niya ang mga kabataang hindi naman katulad niya ang paninindigan. Why does it has to be done this time? If she does like what PGMA does, if she is mature enough, she could have put that extra effort in a mature meeting with the school officials and let them know her concern. Yes, she deserves the treatment she got. Right is not to be equated with privelege....and this is the problem with some people in our country....they abuse their privilege when they think they have the right to speak out their mind. What she did is not just immature....it was completely rude and inconsiderate. She knows what is right and what is wrong. She and those who participated in her action were very wrong.....may pinagaralan naman sila, and this occassion is a strong proof.....bakit nila niwalang halaga ang mga taong ginamit nila sa pagkuha nang karunungang para malaman nila kung alin ang tama ang wastong asal. Inisip na lang nila ang ibang tao hindi na lang sarili nila.

james said...

the president was there as the graduates' guest. It really is poor taste-- "parang walang pinag aralan" or "walang delicadeza". If we shame our guest that way that reflects the kind of upbringing we had. And its right, she did not only embarass herself but her school and the rest of the graduates that have nothing to do whatsoever with her personal sentiments. If this is the kind of attitude we nurture unto students I don't know what will become of us.Maybe she will be one of those who are loud and noisy who are going to "burn this country down" for her convictions.

James

Anonymous said...

Well who is more civilized GMA or the girl. Sorry for the girl, I don't like GMA but the more I don't like you. Talagang wala na sa kabataan ang pag asa ng bayan pero I think not all our youth are like her.

Anonymous said...

James,
I agree with you. she is one of those who will burn our country down.

BongA said...

thanks, will check out funchain.com.

Taga-iyam and james: I do not disagree that the behavior was in poor taste and showed lack of decorum. I believe these are issues that are best censured privately and through counseling. The analogy I would use is being in a private party where someone does something that smacks of lack of breeding. I would privately talk to the person, get him out of the party, apologize to the guests, and then leave it at that. I wouldn't go about town talking about it the way they do at sunday afternoon talk shows. From a political standpoint, it can be argued too that the president must be prepared to face these kinds of behaviors; and I think she understands that, which is why the newspapers carried stories that said the president did not make a big fuss about it. She chose to rise above it. I must, however, note that I glanced through CDQ's opinion about it today at the PDI, and I completely disagree with the way he chose to see the context of the incident. But then again, that's CDQ - he has a specific template in mind when he writes (everything is about why GMA is the bigger disgrace). But I think you guys have a point too; I guess we differ on what is the best way to handle such a situation.

Bong

Taga_Iyam said...

I was just watching the interview of Teresa, the graduate from Cavite. She is a verbal person and seems to be less watchful of what she says. She has more issues to handle than what she did during her graduation. She needs to understand that she may not be violating any laws, but, she is being disrespectful. Ako mismo ay nangliliit sa kanyang lack of respect di lang kay PGMA....pati na mismo sa kanyang pinagkalakihan.She seems to be a talented and bright individual....but, she has to learn to be more assertive without being offensive. I think this is one of the things that some of our youth are losing or need to develop.....be tactfully assertive.....and as a Christian....be considerate!

Taga_Iyam said...

I was just watching the interview of Teresa, the graduate from Cavite. She is a verbal person and seems to be less watchful of what she says. She has more issues to handle than what she did during her graduation. She needs to understand that she may not be violating any laws, but, she is being disrespectful. Ako mismo ay nangliliit sa kanyang lack of respect di lang kay PGMA....pati na mismo sa kanyang pinagkalakihan.She seems to be a talented and bright individual....but, she has to learn to be more assertive without being offensive. I think this is one of the things that some of our youth are losing or need to develop.....be tactfully assertive.....and as a Christian....be considerate!

Anonymous said...

Let us contextualize this using GMA's speech that day. Her main points:
1. "Bagayin ninyo ang inyong pag-aaralan" sa nakikitang bukas na trabaho, referring to nursing, caregiving, and foreign-owned factories in the Calabarzon area.
2. "Inaatasan ko ang CSU na magkaroon ng call center finishing school," dahil
dahil "kulang pa ang kaalaman sa ingles na kasanayan ng mga Amerikanong kausap sa telepono o sa internet."

If your graduation speaker, regardless of personality/position, has the gall to tell you this on your graduation day, I would understand your outrage. Call centers and foreign-dependent jobs? Is this what we are supposed to celebrate in all "solemn"-ness?


Frankly, I am sorry that not all youth are like Ms. Pangilinan. Because it means that not all of our youth can smell a rotten egg, even if it dresses in a toga and talks to them in person.
Ms. Pangilinan did a great job. Nagsalita siya hindi lang para sa mga magtatapos, kundi para sa mas nakararami pang hindi man lang aabot sa kolehiyo, o sa hayskul man lang, dahil sa pagbaba ng budyet at kalidad ng edukasyon.Walang "tamang lugar at panahon" para ipakita ang protesta. Dahil ang pagsasamantala ay nangyayari 24/7 sa buong bansa. Ganun din dapat ang pagtutol, at pakikibaka. And if you need to stick it to the woman, in her face, to be heard, then so be it. After all, sa commencement exercises, yung mga magsisipagtapos ang bida. Hindi yung guest speaker.
After all, sa commencement exercises, yung mga magsisipagtapos ang bida. Hindi yung guest speaker.

(At paalala lang, kahit ang Kristiyanismo ay nagtuturo sa atin na labanan ang kasakiman, kasamaan at opresyon.)