Break the Walls Down
I blame at least one thing to a generation gap: I don’t understand emo kids going into a mosh pit during a Bamboo concert while raising the corna.
Above is Coy’s video account of the violence that took place last Friday at the UP Fair. I wasn’t there, so I couldn’t give an objective evaluation of what happened, but the posts written by Rom Sedona and Alex Maximo – as well as the account of Tiffany Chua – got me thinking.
Stream of thought.
The way I see it, UP – or any university for that matter – is formed not only by traditions and ideals, but the people in it. The community within a university is a reflection of what is out there, beyond the four corners of the classroom. When you put people from the same socio-economic backgrounds – thus, pretty much the same way of thinking – in a single space, there’s your “university tradition” for the next four years.
If the lot of UP students – excuse me, “UPians” – today would carry all sorts of nifty wi-fi ready gadgets, and are dressed in designer clothes while driving expensive cars to school, then that’s as much a part of university tradition as the Oblation, “UP Naming Mahal,” and “Iskolar Ng Bayan, Ngayon Ay Lumalaban.” When you come into UP, you’re not only acculturated, but you also acculturate. You bring with you beliefs, traditions, norms, and ways of life that otherwise would not be found there, and those ways of life are then mixed into the “UP tradition.” Thus, every bit of your beliefs – and prejudices – are shared with everyone else.
What does this all mean? Out here, you have a society full of unwanted “jumping jologs” of all sorts. When was the last time you turned down a sampaguita vendor? Or told an emo-hip-hop dude at Katipunan to back off because you can park your car yourself? Told him to get a real job instead of being a parking space buraot? How many times have you (OK, in this case I) had the urge to wreak havoc at the malls and shopping centers of this metropolis because of emo kids congregating at elevators and public spaces without caring for your right of way?
Which brings me to the violence that took place at the UP Fair. Values like protecting your identity, declaring war against “posers,” exclusivity, and yes, some degree of elitism, was in that very space.
For the “UPians,” t was an “us-against-them” feeling, the “UP ako, ikaw?” sentiment that is irritating on the one hand, yet very much true on the other. That you hang on to every bit of your identity – secure and upheld – when you’re in UP, when you wear UP-branded apparel, when you see the Oblation. That as long as you’re in UP, you’re entitled to everything UP. That the “UP Fair” should be something exclusive to UP students, not to “outsiders.”
For the part of the “JJs,” it was the same “us-against-them” feeling, the “Gusto kong pumasok sa concert, ano ngayon” feeling that is irritating on the one hand, yet very much true on the other. That you look at those corrugated iron sheets with resentment, because it represents everything that has kept you from, at the very least, the full experience of watching a concert. That you’re entitled to that experience, and that wall and the security detail is yet another injustice.
Those attitudes, when brought into UP, is tradition. It becomes tradition. Every pro-poor mantra and agitation is offset – even cancelled out – by the beliefs that come from out there, from what is brought in, from those who can afford to enter the university. As much as it is UP’s task to correct these ways of thinking into something that truly solves the problem of class distinctions and injustice, you’re not in UP 24 hours a day to have your own critical and independent thinking washed in the way of a boarding school.
If anything, the idealized community that is UP Diliman is nothing more than a product of society, something so close to it, the best and closest example to a microcosm of Philippine society as we know it. UP mirrors society as much as it aims to change it. In the end, this will just be another internal affair that can be solved with a matter of peaceful student consultations and a literal iron will; that is to say, a gate.
Big, iron gates; just like in exclusive villages, where students live in houses with families that can afford to pay tuition fees. Big gates that will deter and prevent the “JJs” most hated and loathed right now. It will be irritating, disagreeable, resentful, and people will be up-in-arms about the idea of closing down UP with walls and gates…
I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. It’s none of my business to say what’s right and wrong, or to discuss planning. What I’m just saying, in very vague terms that will probably be more clear:
What is found inside is what is brought from outside.