Sana umibig tayo na parang noong unang beses tayong nakikita ng bulalakaw

antoinette jadaone, filmmaker, manila, ph

Nung unang beses akong nakakita ng shooting star, hindi ako nakapag-wish. Manghang-mangha ako, gulat na gulat ako, gandang-ganda ako sa pagkakita ng bulalakaw na nakalimutan kong humiling, di-gaya ng nai-practice ko nang maraming beses sa utak ko.

Ganun pala ‘yun. Kapag nasa harap mo na ang shooting star, at sa unang pagkakataon ay bumabagsak siya mula sa langit na tinitingala mo, makakalimutan mo ang lahat. Makakalimutan mong pwede ka nga palang humiling, na sana mahalin ka rin niya, na sana hindi ka na masaktan, na sana makalimutan mo na siya, mawawala ka sa wisyo, at ang maiisip mo lang, sa loob ng isa, dalawa, tatlong segundo, putang ina, may shooting star na bumabagsak sa harap mo. Ang magagawa mo lang, magulat, mamangha. At sa hudyat na maalala mong makakahiling ka nga pala, wala na. Tapos na. Nakadaan na ang bulalakaw. Pero sa loob-loob mo, sa totoo lang, okay lang. Nakakita…

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Some three months ago, I swear I could actually write things down. Now, I can’t seem to finish anything at all. I carried with me my trusty yellow pages because I had the highest hopes that I could let out some things along the way. Three months later, all it had in it are still the poem my lover wrote me, and the word “malaya” in baybayin that I hope will be written on my skin soon enough.

It’s funny how things change so fast. Uhmmm, like some three months ago, I graduated from university and had all these crazy thoughts of conquering the world and finally be able to do what I love the most – listening to and telling people’s stories.

I know “hate” seems to be too strong for a word, but I can’t find any other way to describe how I feel towards my situation right now. I would often think to myself that things would have been way better if I transferred to another country back when I was in high school, or back when I was just about to start in college. At large, I would wish that all the countries in the world would just be economically stable by themselves that their citizens wouldn’t even mind transferring elsewhere to look for greener pastures.

I’m missing home so bad right now. And I swear, I am someone who has grown up to be very optimistic with every possibility that may happen along my way but right now, I feel kinda lost. If I were home, I could be at some far flung community and writing down their struggles. I could be joining the Lakbayan. Or simply, I could be in the comfort of my friends, my lover, my family.

Things are hard in here and the colder weather isn’t helping at all. I’m stuck at a job helping kids with their homework, playing with them,  and listening to their stories. I actually like working here. But I still find it sad, like why am I even settling at a point like this? My mom keeps on telling me that all I need is to have a “Canadian workplace experience”, and I would be able to get the job that I want after. But of course,  I can’t get the job that I want because technically, my university degree back home isn’t enough for the standards that this place has. And if only my mom could just stop blurting out the words: “Cum laude ka naman.  Kaya mo na ‘yan.”, things would somehow feel better. Because slapping that to my face isn’t exactly the answer to all my problems in here. In fact, it gets me sadder.

I can’t help but think of all the people I may have disappointed along the way, but most especially, I can’t help but think of how I’ve disappointed myself. Everyone I would talk to from back home would ask me of how things are going in here and I would just reply, “I’m keeping my head high and my heart sturdy.”.  Because, truly, I’m trying. I’m trying so hard  to keep my shit together. To not break down yet again, to keep up my optimism, and to just go on. This is the sturdiest that my heart has ever been, and I’m afraid it’s still not sturdy enough. But then again, I’m trying.

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Juan to John: The Colonization of Philippine Education

The Americans introduced a system of public education back in 1898 and since then, it has existed to gear the Filipino people with a knowledge framed through their American public school system. As it is seen to be a blessing to a lot of people, however, it has also been used as a weapon in the substantial colonization of the Americans in the Philippines. Up to now, even as Filipinos defend themselves to be out of the chains of American imperialism, the Philippine systems still get a hold of it even especially in education.

Tracing back to the time when the Americans first went to the Philippines, the emerging ideologies were in their favour since they’ve already had a hold of the Filipinos after waging the war against the Spanish colonizers. The rise of the economic and military might of the Americans went along with the decay of the Spanish empire. Americans then needed territories for raw materials and consumer markets. Hence, the Philippines became one of these territories (Agoncillo & Guerrero, 1987).

The ruling ideas of the Americans articulate their ideal expressions as dominant in the material relationships. The material relationships that they have shown aside from the patterns in education were also their patterns in living or immersing with the Filipinos. This has become possible over those years because of the collaboration of the Filipino ruling classes with the Americans. With the expansion of the Americans’ knowledge in the way of life of the Filipinos, they have established a common bond with the natives enough for the natives to trust them.

According to Frances H. Engels, in his article, “An Educated Citizenry is the Foundation of Democracy”, the trust given by the Filipinos have gone a long way up to the point that when the lack of funding for keeping up the public school system arose, the Filipino people looked for means to keep the classes run without financial assistance. There have also been instances where Filipinos continued their classes by using the fines that they get from ordinances. These fines were donated for school purposes. The spread of education has become an agent in binding the Filipino community together back then also.

We see the many advantages for the Filipinos the moment that the Americans introduced education in the country. However, in this context, it shows that there exists struggle a struggle among classes or as I may say, races, in the widespread of education by the Americans.

According to the second law on Dialectics which is the Law of the Unity of Opposites1 , the things in the world exist in opposition. Though these things are opposite to one another, they cannot be totally separated from each other since one identity is dependent on the identity of the other. If we relate this to the case of the Americans and the Filipinos during the spread of education, the Americans needed the Filipinos for them to operate and spread their public school systems and the Filipinos needed the Americans for them to be literate. Despite having opposition between the two groups, neither can exist without the other.

As ideology expanded in the apparatus of education, Filipinos have continued to stay put with this up until now. Throughout the years, we have indeed come up to be the Little Brown Americans the Americans have educated us to be. This can all be seen and traced back at the history of the spread of education.

First, English was strictly used in teaching back when the Americans started their education to the Filipinos. While the Spaniards denied teaching Spanish to the Filipinos, the Americans disseminated English in order to organize their public school system. In this system of the Americans, Filipino materials of instruction were almost non-existent in the curriculum. American songs were used; American ideals and American ideologies were introduced for the Filipinos. (Agoncillo & Guerrero, 1987)

Another example, in the University of the Philippines, as it has started back in 1907, despite being proclaimed as a university for promoting nationalism and to cater the growing consciousness of the masses, it is still contradicting the ideals of nationalism by having most of its academic materials in studying based in Western references. The students, who are the largest constituents in the university, deem to have their understanding and develop their ethics according to the Western mindset that they get to study from their materials. This situation isn’t only happening in UP but also in other top universities in the country, of course.

Presently, the current trends such as the memorandum by the Commission on Higher Education No. 20, series of 2013 about the abolishment of the use of the Filipino subjects in college may also serve as a manifestation of the colonial-minded Filipinos that we are. Though the memorandum has received a lot of criticism from both the academe and student body, the fact that it was thought of in the first place holds a weight on the mindset of CHED as one of the educational offices here in the Philippines.

The existence of these ideas nowadays can all be traced back to the beginning of how power structures in the spread of education were back then. The concentration of the Filipinos for learning based on Western ideologies has contradicted the perhaps vision that education for the Filipino people was to boost up the knowledge by and for its people.

The existence of these western imperial scholarships in education can perhaps still be altered when a nationalist, democratic and mass-oriented system is pushed forward for the country… that when already implemented strongly, it can be able to fill in the gaps that should have been done at the start of raising the consciousness of the Filipino masses in promoting and learning for development.

1 Law of the Unity of Opposites in Dialectics states that all things in the world exist in opposition. But they do not really exist separately to each other. They form unions outside of which neither can exist. See Introducing Marxism (2004) by Woodfin R. and Zarate, O., pp 22-27.

Bibliography

Agoncillo, T. A., & Guerrero, M. C. (1987). History of the Filipino People. Quezon City: R.P.Garcia Publishing Co.

Cariga, C., & Giongco, A. (2014). A look into CHED Memo No. 20-2013: The end of a Language? Retrieved April 12, 2015, from The Lasallian: thelasallian.com/2014/08/15/a-look-into-ched-memo-no-20-2013-the-end-of-a-language/

Woodfin, R., & Zarata, O. (2004). Introducing Marxism. Singapore: Tien Wah Press.

LEAKED: SONA 2014 [EXCLUSIVE!]

The Professional Heckler

A PURPORTED DRAFT of President Aquino’s fifth State of the Nation Address was sent to this blogger. Here are [unedited] excerpts of the speech.

1INC

State of the Nation Address
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
To the Congress of the Philippines

[To be delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasang Pambansa Complex, Quezon City, on July 28, 2014]

“Naniniwala po ako sa kasabihang, ‘Ang pagsasabi ng tapat ay pagsasama ng maluwat.’ Kaya’t bago po ako magsimula, magtapatan na po tayo. Lahat ng may yellow ribbon sa kanilang suot, pumuwesto po kayo sa gawing kanan. ‘Yon naman pong wala, sa gawing kaliwa. Maraming salamat po.”

“Malinaw pong SONA ang matutunghayan n’yo ngayong hapon. Wala kaming in-advertise na laro o exhibition. Kung hindi n’yo po magugustuhan ang inyong maririnig, huwag umasa ng refund. Batasan po ang inyong pinuntahan, hindi Araneta Coliseum.” [Applause]

“Ito…

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UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES ISKOLAR NG BAYAN GRADUATES 2014: DEFY CORPORATIZED AND COMMERCIALIZED EDUCATION, SERVE THE PEOPLE! Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators on the 103rd General Commencement Exercises on 27 April 2014, UP Amphitheater

CONTEND

serve We, the members of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy, express our highest congratulatory praise to all the iskolar ng bayan graduates of University of the Philippines Diliman 2014! In spite of the gloomy prospect painted by our politicians that the fresh 700,000 graduates will add to the current 2.96 million jobless workers, we, your teachers, still nourish the unflinching hope that you will become part of the historic movement to transform our nation. Some of you had been part of our classes. Some of you even stood side-by-side with us in countless rallies, demonstrations, and pickets. Together we joined hands to create a better future, not only for our beloved University but for our nation. In such a short time of four years, we and the University have tried to radicalize your consciousness to enable you to imagine an alternative future, a better University that you will bequeath…

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Buhay

Nahulog na lahat ng bituin 

na dati mong pinagmasdan, 

nagkapalit-palit na ang 

tag-araw at tag ulan,

naghihintay pa rin ba ng tula 

mula sa isang binata? 

 

 

Sa mundo kung saan lumang balita na

ang karahasan ng kalsada,

digmaan sa kabundukan, 

at dahan-dahan na katamay;

talaga bang isang piraso ng papel

na merong pinagtagpi-tagping mga salita

(tulad ng “kasama kita”, “tunay”, “panaginip” 

at “walang katapusan”) 

ang iyong pinakaaasam?

 

 

Sa lipunang pinapatakbo 

ng kalalakihan at mga gahaman,

ay pag-ibig ay madalas nagiging

morpina na lamang, 

nagbibigay lakas sa bawat huling hakbang

pagkatapos ng huling hakbang.

Hindi kusang 

darating ang mapagpalayang pag-ibig sa

iyong harapan.

 

 

Naghihintay pa rin ba

ng tula mula sa isang binata? Kung pwede

naman ikaw mismo

ang sumulat ng mga talinhaga,

para sa kapwa babae,

para sa walang boses, 

para sa isang bukas na mas

banayad sa mga magkasintahan.

 

 

At doon,

meron tunay na kwentuhan, 

tunay na mga awit, 

tunay ang kislap ng mga bituin, 

walang

tagasulat at tagabasa, 

dahil lahat ay pawang 

mga makata. 

 

 

Kaya iha, 

tipirin mo na ang mga luha,

basahin mo na ang mga naghihintay na libro,

yakapin ang pingkian ng panahon,

dahil, 

pasintabi kay ka John Lennon,

Buhay ang nangyayari habang

naghihintay ka ng tula 

mula sa isang binata…

 

 

Ang tulang ito ay sinulat ng aking kuya at iniregalo sa akin noong nakaraang Valentine’s Day. Ito rin ang kauna-unahang tula na natanggap ko mula sa isang binata.