UP Naming Mahal

Oblation__UPLB_by_e1nav57

UP Naming Mahal, indeed.

I remember a time when my older sister needed only to pay 300 php for each unit of her university education (UPLB). They had no Apple PCs in the library, no Bangas lining the sidewalk, and no faster online applications then, but she was happy. Why? Because that 300 pesos per unit meant that my parents could send the rest of us, her siblings, to school without worrying if we would have proper dinner to eat that night.

When I entered the university a few years ago, the tuition was more than double what my sister paid. And now it’s risen again. What makes it worse is that there were no proper announcements, upon enterinng my STS application, I was happy to see a 33% increase; I did not know it meant 33% of 1,500 php. Neither did many of my friends. How sad it is that the administration expects so much from the student body when they themselves cannot properly dissiminate information as important as this.

It is hard to swallow that students are paying so much more than many can afford. I have friends whose families do not even have enough money to buy food thrice a day. But I do not only feel bad for the poor but also the rich. There is a flaw in our bracketing system. There is so much more that affects a student’s power to pay tuition other than their household information and income. Even a student whose family owns three cellphones may be struggling to send their children to school.

At this point, even students whose households earn more than a million per year does not have to pay for higher tuition fees, not when the university can spare money to build hundreds of “bangas” to cover the UP sidewalk.

They were my babies

Before Game of Thrones became a hit series, before J. Law became known as Katniss, before “Okay? Okay.” became a common expression, I was there. Well, me and a few select people who discussed the fandoms in peace and prosperity.

But then they all got popular and hell broke loose. 

These days, I can’t even open my facebook account without reading at least three posts about Daenerys or Oberyn (who I remember was significantly insignificant in the books). I can’t walk around the bookstore without young ladies discussing John Green at the top of their voices (okay, you read the frikkin books, we get it). And yesterday I got an email telling me President Snow has an announcement to make (more people need to read Battle Royale, btw), that and a few weeks ago, I read an article telling me Thai protesters have adopted the three finger salute (which is, I must admit, pretty awesome).

Don’t take me wrong, I’m happy and thankful Martin, Green and Collins (and many more) all reached these heights. All the above mentioned haunted me for weeks on end, and I have loved them to death (TFIOS… maybe not so much), but sometimes, I think things were much more awesome in the old days. Back then, if a person knew the word Panem, you knew you could be friends. Back then, if you saw that a person’s wallpaper was yellow with a stag on it, you knew you have finally found someone to discuss dragons and white walkers with. Meeting a fellow fan was like meeting a long lost friend, you have so little in common now, but that little thing is enough to make you click.

And what’s frustrating for me is how others go posting spoilers and whatnot all over the internet without considering those who are intentionally not reading the books and choose to only watch the series instead. What makes it worse is that these are the exact same people who I tried to convince to watch said series years ago, who so blatantly rejected me.

A few years ago, I remember trying to force a friend to watch the first episode of Game of Thrones, before she even got ten minutes into the series, she stood up and closed it saying it bore her.

Now she’s posting “Which Game of Thrones character are you?” all over facebook.

And a conversation, back in high school.

“Hey, you should seriously read Hunger Games, it has–“

“No thanks.”

Now said friend is tagging me to the new Mockingjay trailer. 

It was heartbreaking (you didn’t know what you were missing!!!), but I guess that’s what made me appreciate the few fans all the more. We could talk about the fandoms on end without having to post die hard statuses (though we were die hard fans) all the time. I guess what I’m trying to say is that some fans try too hard to announce their fan statuses when actually all they have to do is simply love the thing. And kudos for the fans who, like me, were there eagerly awaiting and loving before the first episode, or movie, or book, was even released. We are the pioneers (I’d like to think so).

Game of Thrones and the like? They were my babies. And now they’re all grown up but I’m still finding it hard to let them go.

When parents fight

I have so many questions about marriage: How does it last? How should one act in a marriage? Is there really a meaning to the vows that people take in front of the altar?

I don’t have the answers yet, and I’m not sure I will ever find them. 

But what I do know is that when I do get married, I will, as much as I possibly can, avoid fighting that inevitable fight with my partner, in front of our would-be children. 

There has never been a sound on earth that I hate more than the raised voices of my parents when they argue. I hate it more than nails on a blackboard, more than a boring three hour lecture, even more than Ariana Grande’s speaking voice. Parents’ arguments are like missing your monthly period. The first time, you know it’s normal. It happens, and like a zit on your face, you only have to wait and in a matter of time, the problem goes away. It’s when the problem becomes a regularity that you know you should worry. It’s when the shouting becomes a louder bedtime nursery that you know something’s wrong. It’s when you stop crying and hiding in your room, when you roll your eyes instead, and carry on as if nothing was wrong.

Listening to fights does something to the children. It is when they first question the legitimacy of childhood ever afters. Something inside them is forced to act like the adult they are not. And they take in and digest the hateful words. They push themselves to be harder and wiser, because maybe being those things would act as the glue that would hold their parents together. They are forced to question their value as a unit of the family–because no one who cared about them would have had the thoughtlessness to hurt them like that.

I think it’s a responsibility parents should take, because shouts in the dark destroy so much more than night time peace.

 

Accusations

A few years ago, when cyber bullying was climbing to fame, a close high school friend (hereby known as A) sent me a text at 11 PM in the night. These were her words:

Mamati ka kenyak, haan nga siyak diyay.” You have to believe me, it wasn’t me.

What she was referring to, of course, was a fake facebook account that quickly came to fame in our school. The said account went posting in different people’s profile’s, calling them “sluts” or criticizing them. People were outraged of course. How dare this fake account post words like that without even having the guts to tell us who they really were.

Fingers were pointed, and eventually everyone came into a conclusion, it was A. She was the person behind the account. She was terrorizing the other students.

And as it always does in high school, fire ignited and drama flared. Friends turned on friends, and people were isolated from others, forced to face hours of schooling alone.

It became clearer to me, after a few days, that a new kind of bullying was occuring. But it wasn’t the people whose accounts got posted in that were getting bullied, no matter how hurtful the words. It was the person who had to face all the fingers pointed at her. It was the person who got humiliated in front of a whole room of people, when she tried to beg them to see she wasn’t behind any fake accounts. It was the person who had to bare getting judged by hurtful eyes; eyes who thought they were all better than her, all because of sourceless rumors.

That night, when she sent me the text, I knew that the person who sent the message was innocent. And that she was alone. And that she was hurt. And I chose to believe her, despite what other people said. I’ve never regretted that decision.

But I do regret just standing by as people hurt her. I regret not doing more.

The truth came out, a few years later. And it turns out A was indeed innocent. People are saying it’s okay now, that at least we knew who was really behind all the hurtful words. But I know it’s not; because one fifteen year old had to go through all that humiliation and isolation, and no matter what you do, you can’t go back in time to bring all that back. You can’t put your arm around her and tell her it’s okay. Because it’s not.
To the person who was, indeed, behind the fake account. I only have one question: How could you have stood by and watched a person suffer like that? I hope to confront you someday.

Accusations go a long way, but so do apologies. And you owe her that.