Wednesday, August 31, 2005

alternative classes

maybe it's just because i have four major papers lined up for this sem, plus other talks, seminars, workshops, and many other small and big tasks to do here in my house that i have from time to time entertained the thought of the "no classes" scenario. how about going back to the old spirit behind the ACP (alternative class program) in Ateneo? it started in 1986 where students' classes were held in the streets, in EDSA 1. they may have missed attending formal classes, but i bet some other important things were inculcated in their minds, like the importance of nation and being involved.

presently, many of the college students are in fact in the dark about what's happening right now. it's not surprising to hear students who would ask, even at this stage of our country's crisis, the following questions: "bro, bakit po nag-sorry si GMA?" "sir, what's a rally?" "ma'am, sino po si lozano?"

in fairness to these students, they have lots of projects to submit too, and exams to prepare for (i don't know, maybe some professors think that their class is the single most important thing in the world) . add to that their responsibilities to their respective orgs. plus of course, being young, they have to spend a significant amount of time in waste. that's what being young is really all about. but normal students can only waste so much, and the time left for productivity is already filled up by what i said above.

doing all these intellectual stuff will surely educate them, will nourish their spirits. but why not take this current crisis, and turn it into opportunity for these students to nourish their spirits with other noble ideas and emotions too. crises as big as what we're having right now doesn't come too often (at least not as complicated as this one, maybe it's black and white to many who have access to a lot of info, but to these students, i doubt it). maybe Ateneo should seize the moment, turn it as venue for a different kind of learning.

and who knows, maybe it's time that some of the professors get a different kind of education on what education is also about.

more of the same

minutes before the impeachment hearing at the congress started, one of the pro-impeachment congressmen told us (who were standing by the doorway to the session hall) that today's going to be an MTS session. we asked what MTS meant. he said that nothing extraordinary will happen. there will just be "more of the same".

fast forward to 5 hours later. most of the opposition lawmakers walked out of the hearing, some of them throwing some of the piled up documents to the air, some waving "it's over" to the crowd watching them in the gallery.

though hearing the lengthy speeches of the congressmen and witnessing the regular "point of order" outbursts of congressman paras are enough to convince me that it was indeed an MTS session, the walkout was what drove home the point. these men and women have just proven that what they can offer is only more of the same. they were still in a unique position but then they opted to go the multitude's way.

i am pro-impeachment, but i just want to express here my disgust over what these congressmen and women did. shall we now go back to the streets? after having hoped for the peaceful and constitutional process of impeachment, shall we now go back to hoping for people power? my god, isn't this what these opposition congressmen and women hoped for in the beginning?

everyone, prepare now to witness more of the same. (see impeachment 2 post)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

impeachment 3/ the filipino saga

on tuesday i'll be supporting ateneo and simbahang lingkod ng bayan's call to march to congress to appeal to the congressmen to forward the impeachment cause. i am in fact calling and texting all the people i know to come.

i do not however have any illusion that these congressmen will heed our call. that march will not have any impact whatsoever on those congressmen who have eversince listened only to the call of their personal agenda.

i do not go there also to support the opposition who have filed the amended complaint.

i support going there because i believe that it's an opportunity for people, students more especially, to immerse themselves in what's happening right now in our country; to know what are the issues (political and moral) involved, on what basis must they build their decisions upon. when they march, they will feel that they are a part of this nation, and they will be pressed to form their own opinion. that in itself is a good thing to hope for. they must find themselves involved.

that is the reason why i am supporting this rally. nevertheless, i still pray that i am wrong about these congressmen...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Enemy of the People

7A:5 Mencius said, “To act without understanding and do so habitually without examination, following certain courses all their lives without knowing the principles behind this is the way of the multitude.”

It’s amazing how ancient thinkers from both the eastern and western philosophical traditions have emphasized the value of reflecting and examining one’s life. A “version” of the above text from the book of Mencius would be Socrates’ “the unexamined life is not worth living” dictum. There’s agreement even with contemporary thinker Paul Ricoeur’s “the untold life is not worth living,” for narrating one’s story presumes an attempt to reread and interpret one’s experiences. Agreeing therefore with the “understanding and examining one’s life” part of the above excerpt is easy. What’s difficult to accept upon first reading of Mencius is the latter part: the part about the way of the multitude.

Vox Populi, Vox Dei. This is the principle behind many of the procedures we follow. This is the main premise behind all democratic institutions, notwithstanding the possibility of having “godless” people behind these institutions. Many take it for granted that there is wisdom behind what the multitude decides upon. This is the wisdom behind “majority rule” and the democratic process we call elections.

Going back to Mencius, what is implied in what he says above is that there are very few who manage to extract principles from the way they live their lives. Thus, the rest of humanity live their lives unguided. Is Mencius right? If he is, then it is totally irresponsible to leave important aspects of a nation’s life for example to the “wisdom” of the many. If Mencius is right in his regard of the multitude, then a great cloud of doubt is to hover around the principle of Vox Populi, Vox Dei.

So is Mencius right?

I recall a play staged by Tanghalang Ateneo which I watched two years ago. It’s entitled Enemy of the People. The message of that play is how the majority could be so devastatingly wrong. The one who knows what should be rightfully done is persecuted.

I actually don’t have to look very far. A story close to my heart provides a sufficient argument for Mencius. The story of Christ’s condemnation to die on the cross. The multitude wanted the head of Christ more than they wanted Barabbas’.

This is hard to say, I hope I don’t get judged as “enemy of the people” if I side with Mencius. My agreeing with him doesn’t mean I am regarding the majority’s opinion as containing no value. My agreement with the above saying of Mencius makes it imperative for me to rise above in terms of being more reflective and evaluative of my decision-making and my living of my life. It’s a call to rise above the multitude not because the multitude is in a “lower thinking class”. But because my every decision will probably have consequences not only to myself, but also to people around me.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


i learned something new today: the difference between mourning and melancholia. i got it from Ricoeur, citing Freud's essay "Mourning and Melancholia". mourning is about reconciling with a loss of an object of love. melancholia is reconciling with the lost object of love. melancholia therefore is an attempt at what is impossible, since it attempts to reunite with what is forever lost, like a loved one who passed away. mourning is reconciling with the loss, not with the object. it is therefore a reality check, an activity to keep us able to move on and deal with life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

looking for positive vibes

since the past several weeks have been so distressing due to the vast amount of work which never stops piling up, plus the hounding possibility that this nation has not reached its deepest, most chaotic state yet, i have learned to look for mini-sources of positive vibes to keep me going, to keep me from choosing to stop doing everything that i am supposed to do, and add myself to the growing number of filipinos who have called it quits, who have chosen to limit their circles of concern to as small as their immediate families or their personal lives.

one source i just recently discovered is that person filled with passion for anything. this afternoon, i just had to talk 10 minutes with this person about the stuff he's into right now, then there was a quick change in my inner disposition. i guess it's the belief he has in the importance of what he's doing that really struck me, cause sometimes when there's no immediate observable result in what one is doing (like in most of the work that i do), one can lose sight of what was once very clear in the beginning: that it's worth doing what you're doing right now.

whew, thank God for people like these. i'm sure there are many of them. thank God i got to talk to one of them today.

Monday, August 22, 2005


has anyone ever thought about what will happen should the impeachment debate in Congress end without PGMA getting impeached? here's one scenario.

in the event of a walkout of opposition lawmakers (which is highly probable), there will be mass protests again, with numbers just about the same as those which filled the streets of makati in early july, unless this newly formed black and white movement joins them, and call for the president's ouster. if they do join one another, they will probably have access to the edsa shrine. if it happens soon, then it will not succeed, since we are still in the rainy months, that's as simple as that. this is too sad but i think it's real. all our noble desires and hopes for our nation easily extinguished by rain.

then everything will still be "as it was in the beginning". in the beginning of all these mess that is. i expect lies to be thrown towards both camps, as it was in the beginning. i expect cayetano, escudero, golez, to say that the majority blocked their evidences, so they shall continue bringing their evidences to the media, as what was done by the opposition since the beginning. i expect PGMA to continue saying she will focus on her reform agenda, but continue politicking, visiting bishops and other moral leaders, as it was in the beginning.

our economy will be as it was in the beginning: going down. the faith of the people in our leaders will be as it was in the beginning: going down too.

lastly, the poor will still be as they were since the beginning.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

3 stars and a sun

In a speech before the Malolos Congress, Gen Emilio Aguinaldo added the following nationalistic interpretation of the meaning of the three colors of the flag:

Behold this banner with three colors, three stars and a sun, all of which have the following meaning: the red signifies the bravery of the Filipinos which is second to none, a color that was first used by the revolutionists of the province of Cavite on the 31st of August 1896, until peace reigned with the truce of Biak-na-Bato. The blue signifies that whatever will attempt to enslave the Filipinos will have to eradicate them first before they give way. The white signifies that the Filipinos are capable of self-government like other nations. The three stars with five points signify the islands of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. And lastly, the eight rays of the rising sun signify the eight provinces of Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Morong, Laguna, Batangas and Cavite where martial law was declared. These are the provinces which gave light to the archipelago and dissipated the shadows that trapped her. By the light of the sun, the Aetas, the Igorots, the Mangyans, and the Moslems are now descending from the mountains, and all of them I recognize as my brothers.

(from -

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

adversity quotient

my teacher in one of my philosophy classes pushed through with giving us an exam this morning even if she hadn't checked and returned our previous exam papers. this is against the magna carta for students here in Ateneo. this is also against what she promised the class at the beginning of the semester; that she will not give a new exam unless she has checked and returned the previous one.

i am disappointed a little. she talks a lot about how everyone seems to not be doing it right. how some of the recent actors in the current gloriagate issue have failed to go straight to the facts before acting. how ateneans seem to be too laxed, owing to having very low "adversity quotient"

above anything else, i think it's how people have continuously dishonored the words they utter, whether promise, vow, or oath, that have really pulled our country down. we find it in many promises broken during election campaigns, in religious and matrimonial vows unkept, in teachers saying one thing but doing another. nobody asked her to make that promise, but she did.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Just got wind of news claiming to have come from a reliable source which says that the attempt to impeach PGMA is not really serious. The opposition are not really interested in placing VP De Castro to the highest throne since they will not benefit anything from doing so. Speaker JDV and cohorts also are allegedly allowing the creeping impeachment and the amended impeachment complaint to blackmail PGMA to doing things favorable to them.

Whew! I actually am pinning my hopes on this process. And news such as this really kills the faith one has in the value of going through legal and constitutional means.

I hope this is not true.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Helped by Confucius

(17:2) Confucius said, “By nature men are alike. Through practice they have become far apart.”

Consoling is how I will describe the analect. The consolation comes not instantly though, but through a difficult struggle. I believe that I am in the same situation as many Filipinos who see past the issue of whether PGMA committed more than just a “lapse in judgment” but observe how fragmented our nation appears to be at the moment.

I have been following closely the events surrounding the “Gloriagate” scandal hounding our country today. There’s no clear resolution to this political impasse yet. For me that’s sad. I also try to read every opinion and statement that come from different groups and personalities. And this is where it gets even sadder for me. Everyone seems to be not only split but totally disjointed. The different universities (UST, UP, La Salle, Ateneo), the academe (e.g. Ateneo faculty), the leading opinion makers (Amando Doronila, Fr Joaquin Bernas, Solita Monsod) Church hierarchy (CBCP, AMRSP), business groups (Makati Business Club, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry), former presidents (Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada) have all called for different actions, have different and oftentimes opposing views. Even the so-called “United” Opposition is not united.

This is the state of the nation right now. Through practice they have become far apart. I am also not sure if the Jesuit brothers I share the same house with - and “break bread with” - are of the same mind.

Through practice they have become far apart. I think the wisdom which led Confucius to say this may lead me to say the same thing about what I see now. Even if I assume that everyone wishes the country good, everyone seems to have different ways of how to analyze the data that they receive. Also, everyone perhaps gets different information about key sub-issues, thus leading them to differing conclusions.

This is the part where I struggled a lot. It’s not that I wish that everyone of good conscience will have come up with the same views. I take that as a natural fact of life. What I struggled against was the despair that this fact seems to carry with it. Despair coming from the possibility that there will never be continuity through this cacophony.

However, what I think will help me through this dilemma is the first part of the analect. By nature men are alike. Though not totally dismissing the truth of the second part of the analect, my hope will come from the first. This is what brings me consolation. When I say consolation I mean a greater faith in our nature (and not far behind is a greater faith in Him who created us this way). There must be something in our nature that would help us unite as a nation. Shared values perhaps, or principles. Or a sharing of this hope itself.

Will this come in the near future? Many experts say no. This however does not mean that I will cease to hope.

Friday, August 12, 2005

About "My" Picture

para malinaw lang, hindi ako ang nasa larawang nasa kaliwa (kahit alin dun sa taas at sa baba syempre naman). nagkataon lang na walang thumbnail view dun sa pagpipilian ng mga litrato at nagmamadali ako. pero baka bukas makalawa meron na akong sariling litrato. hindi naman sa itinatakwil ko ang lalaking may-ari ng litrato sa kaliwa, kaibigan ko rin yan. hindi lang kasi bagay na intsik na intsik ang litrato dun eh halata namang pilipino ang gumawa ng blog na ito, three stars and a sun nga eh. intsik nga pala siya, peter wang ang pangalan, at hindi tsinoy.

Test Post

Si Weng Bava ay guwapo daw.