Monday, August 24, 2009


I was listening to the way two deans were discussing on how to present the state of their discipline. They will collect from the past ten years of academic works from journals, dissertations, books, among others from four or five leading organizations or institutions on the field. One of them said, "there must be some sort of tradition that emerged such as Marxist, structuralist, etc." The other contended that the emerging trend now was more of interdisciplinary: a discipline informing other disciplines. Their discussions diverged a little bit to the local state of the discipline. One of them was very proud to announce that in his area the approach nowadays was to focus on an object and from that object map out the different aspects of life: culture, technology, livelihood, etc. He identified that "sago" (similar to tapioka) can feed the whole area and yet it was not tapped or accepted by the community. The other remarked that this is the point where culture work can come in. I replied "that was the same approach we did with our day care curriculum". From an object like a frog, the whole curriculum was designed: frog as an animal for biology; frog meat for food or nutrition, frog sound for music, etc. I hesitated to add that perhaps, there might be some sort of 'taste saturation' among the locals when they have been eating that stuff since the time they were born and grew up in the place.

Another debate was over what approach or perspective to take in making a better discipline: is it 'objectifying the object' or 'subjectifying the subject'. I was lost at this point because I was thinking of how a suicide bomber, having lived as both an object and subject of her/his culture, can come to that point in his/her life when he/she will 'sacrifice' his own life or be reduced to a point of nothingness or annihilation of the self. How can they eliminate the very subject/object which they have created throughout her/his one's life...That for me was a very interesting subject. But I did not bring it up because I knew the two deans were at the plane of 'materialism' and I'm lingering at the spiritual realm of life...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Revisiting Drama Workshop

We were ten participants, just enough for a small group therapy session. It was a very interesting group because it was multi-generational (from 17 to 63 years old; with 40s, 30s and 50s age representative) , across social classes (urban poor and middle class; educated and uneducated) and representing different cases of VAW (battering, sexual harassment). Some were also survivors-counselors. It started with introduction of oneself by citing one's most significant attribute. Then, we were grouped in dyads. A would introduce B and vice-versa. Another session which was very powerful was the sensory release exercises. They sat like "doll rags" and experienced relaxing exercises. Afterwhich, they were instructed to create their own mug. One must feel, smell and taste what's in their mug (the objective of which is to be able to become confident of creating one's life). In the afternoon, we drew our "24-hour" routine, based on our own interpretation. It was funny because one of the participants mentioned that her own mother verbally abused her at certain time of a day, almost everyday. The youngest, surprisingly, was the earliest worm among others. She wakes up at 4am so that she can reach her work at 7am. Then, we again plot our "lakbay-buhay" (life journey) by using Rudolf Steiner's seven year cycle. My own personal plot revealed that I did not remember my earliest memories of abuse because the 7-14 experience were littered with happy moments. But the teen age years and adulthood became sad because of the remembrance of abuse. Now, I'm on my way to spiritual quest...Life, I believe is marred with those "grief" to enable us to learn certain needed virtues...

Lastly, I personally learned that women underwent different challenges in life and came out as if unscathed but resolved to be more courageous and determined. I admired all of the participants because each of them came out with courageous stories of how they were able to overcome challenges in life. One was an uneducated woman who married young and now longs for a life-long learning experience and she found it in a women's group. Another was a former prostituted woman and now she vowed never to do that again. She turned to prostitution in the hope for easy money. Now, she learned that life is more precious when one is with people she loves, particularly her own children. Another one has reached a top position in the finance world (vp), and she realized that it was not that fulfilling! What fulfills her now is her relationship with God. Another one said that she also had had experiences of intellectual successes abroad but her own family tragedies forced her to reflect and change direction towards spiritual path. A younger woman dsclosed for the first time that she was sexually harassed by her own brother. Another maturing woman related her unrelentless quest for financial support from her husband. She persistently monitored the paper trail of her request and waited for the Secretary of Dep Ed so he can sign it personally. What a trailblazing act! The youngest participant also revealed the tragedy of her childhood years when she was kidnapped by her own father and witnessed him battering her own mother. Now, she initially blurted out that she does not want to get married.
I, for one, realized that being complete is being at peace with oneself...All of us were hoping this kind of session will continue, if not with the same group, maybe for different sets of women.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Touched by Cory

When Fr. Arevalo was saying his eulogy for Cory, I was touched by certain lines he uttered. First, he was narrating about how Cory described an abyss, she likened it to an open and eternal arms of the Lord. Second, he said that Cory did a "roses and crosses" painting and wrote a haiku at the back of it. Cory thought that her "sufferings" ended when Ninoy was incarcerated for seven years and seven months. But till she contracted a colon cancer, she realized that there is no such thing as "quota of sufferings". The last words that touched me was when he mentioned that Cory was a "self-gift". It means Cory was a blessing for the Filipino people. When I heard Cory uttered in her own words, "Ikinararangal kong maging Filipino", I truly felt she is a blessing for the Filipinos. I am touched to the bones, soul and spirit because I never heard such sincerity from a leader. She truly deserved her title of being a great Filipino. Hope our people will also lived up to her desire of what a great Filipino each of us can become. With her courage, selflessness and faith she has shown to all of us, I knew deep in her heart she can always utter, "you are what I am" and if we desire so, we can all become like her for the glory of ourselves, our people and our nation...