It was the poet T. Mulya Lubis who once wrote, roughly translated, “Indonesia’s future is two hundred million mouths gaping.” As the Blue Bird taxi took me from the Soekarno Airport to Kuningan (sort of the Makati/Fort Bonifacio of our friendly neighbors south of the country), it was easy to see that the one marked, obvious difference between the Philippines and Indonesia is that we drive on the left.
I guess this is reason to believe in the wise words of my high school English teacher: there are more things that bring us together than keep us apart.
When I was a kid, I had the privilege of a private school education, where teachers were paid well enough and the school had enough funds for grade level administrators to think of ways for us kids to appreciate science. I had the privilege of having science as the core of my education from elementary, right up to high school. I had my Ladybird textbooks on everything from dinosaurs to how washing machines work, I had my encyclopedias, and I was able to spend countless hours away from the playground poring over astronomy textbooks in the library, or fiddling with microscopes in the science laboratory. I had Dr. Beakman and Lester on TV. Science was fun.
To quote Richard Feynman, “I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something;” much of which, I owe to my elementary school science teachers.
But many Filipino schoolchildren don’t have that today, much less an assured education to speak of. We owe them science; we owe them the way we’re taught and the lessons we learned from our days behind the school desk.
Now, thanks to the Department of Education, those kids won’t have the joy of science at all. In a report by Asian Scientist, the DepEd has decided to drop Science from the basic curriculum of Grade 1 and 2 students, although the DepEd says that the subject has not been taught in public schools for the past 30 years.. Education Secretary Armin Luistro says that science will instead be integrated into other subjects; as a subject, Science will be taught when the child reaches Grade 3.
It’s fairly easy to be outraged at this matter, but based on the K-12 curriculum guide for science education, science is pretty much integrated into other subjects and subject matters until the third grade, where it becomes a subject on its own. I’m not so sure how the most elementary ideas of botany and zoology and even human anatomy can be connected to things like say, civics and culture. While I think that the DepEd is trying their best in improving the state of education given the extremely limited budget offered to them, I think that it’s a grave mistake for them to not offer Science for Grade 1 and 2 students, or at least postpone the subject matter until the third grade.
What many of us missed in the news last month: in an AFP report from London, two billion tons of food (roughly half of all the food produced in the world) is thrown away every year. To give some sense of perspective to how much food we’re wasting, two billion tons is the annual increase of carbon dioxide absorbed by the world’s oceans every year. Globally, we produce a little over two billion tons of iron ore a year. A big contributor to food waste: ugly food and vegetables. Maybe the apples aren’t perfectly proportioned enough, or that there are a few blemishes in the cabbage. Our preoccupation with perfect-looking food contributes to the 725,742 Olympic-sized swimming pools we fill with wasted food every year.
It’s easy – and correct – to pin the blame squarely on commercialism, on consumerist thinking, on the excesses and wastefulness of the modern way of life. A company like Krispy Kreme, for example, won’t serve or save a misshapen doughnut: they would throw it away (which is probably the same case for other fastfood chains like McDonald’s or KFC or something). More than that, however, I think that our choices in food also require some rethinking.
After thinking things through properly and getting real with things (in more ways than one), I am taking back everything I said about Carlos Celdran, about defiance, and boldness. I think my mistake was in trying to put a little too much effort in blogging about it, aggravating (among other things) a bad sleeping disorder. Not to mention that I really looked ugly doing that.
Horrendously ugly. Uglier than the six or so clauses I cram into one sentence.
So really, Carlos Celdran should have done absolutely nothing.
I’m not a friend of Carlos Celdran: I know him, but I doubt he knows who I am. I’m not a fan of the “Damaso” stunt, either. That said, I’m not writing this entry to defend Mr. Celdran or condemn him. I’m writing this entry for the sake of the argument that Mr. Celdran was convicted for the venue of his stunt. The logic that – for all intents and purposes of the word – he should have raised his voice, and for that matter his “Damaso” sign, in the (drumroll…) proper forum.
I think that whenever we blurt out phrases like “the rule of Law” (yes, with a capital “L”) and “the proper forum,” we detract – and perhaps even deduct – from the argument. The reality is that the “proper forum” that we often defend to high heavens (pun intended) is not accessible to us. Everything we do, and every place we go to do the things we do, is a relationship with power: negotiating with it, managing it, and often, taking control of it.
He should have, just like all of us, genuflected, prayed, and reflected. Just like all of us, he should have just been the quiet spectator in the meeting, and waited until Mass was celebrated.
Just like all of us… the problem is, he isn’t.
This is not a rant on Ricky Lo’s interview with Anne Hathaway.
But what if Les Miserables was, well, “modernized?” I’m not talking about a take on West Side Story where the rival factions are the Wu-Tang Clan and G-Unit (more on that when I feel like it), but more of “Mamma Mia.”
So here you go: Les Miserables, rendered in… Bee Gees songs.
There is something very off-putting about the way the Philippine Roman Catholic Church frames the “right to life,” even more so after failing to defeat the Reproductive Health Law. For Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera, for example, the huge Philippine population is “part of God’s plan:” one that includes a divine mission to become the world’s caregivers and domestics, and for Filipino women to become “good wives” for foreigners.
It’s either a slip of the tongue, or Garcera pretty much says that the Philippine Roman Catholic Church endorses anti-development policies and white slavery. And for the wrath of God just this month: according to the chronicles of Broderick Pabillo, Manila Auxiliary Bishop, the casualties and damages of Typhoon Pablo were warnings from God against the passage of the RH Bill.
Truth be told, the Philippine Roman Catholic Church can be the “conscience vote” that it proclaims itself to be when necessary. When the Church leaders take a stand against mining, the injustices of sharecropping, and other issues that run counter to decent and productive living, it becomes a very powerful voice in the debate. But with the RH bill, the Church leaders ran counter to the very principles they fight for in the struggle for decent and productive living. The arguments aren’t made from the flock, but from the chair. They are arguments devoid of reality, detached from experience. In his statements, it was as if Msgr. Garcera takes the right to life as separate and distincts from the rights of the living.