Friday, August 31, 2012

Three Disjointed Poems

Nipped Bud
Teeny, weeny beauty,
Would you still see
The world exactly?
Buzzing bees must be busy

Come fair fortnight day
That, if no one had to cut thee!
Sorry, weeny beauty; just in the mood for poem! Ha!


I'm making my way,
Shallow and noisy;
I'm passing by,
Silent and high.
Oh, ocean so blue, wide
On your wave crest I ride!
But should I fall ten feet under,

My hopes and dreams let me gather.


Tireless Thought
Mobile and full of hale
Like an autumn gale
Among leaves you flirt
And blow girl's skirt!
With a pen on my hand
And a tarnished note
Alas, I pin you down,
Tireless thought!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Am the Tarzan of My Jungle

Each one of us represents a Tarzan in ourselves in a constant battle with the enemy gorillas. And life is like a huge jungle that is full of tall odds we must face. Like the famous story of Tarzan, we come to knotty situations where we have to face the gorillas in our own jungles. These gorillas are manifested in our real lives as problems, difficulties, trials, setbacks, pressures and frustrations.

As the timeline of our lives lengthens, we meet more gorillas in our own jungles. As little children, we used to dread those ugly bugbears we imagine lurking in the hasty nook of our beds. And we feel elated everytime we wake up the following mornings discovering that we had won over those hideous creatures under our beds. Of course, they are just in our imagination inside our heads. As we grow up swift and big, more invincible of their kind wrestle with us. Sometimes we are pushed in situations without choice as jumping between the deep blue sea or the bad devil. And mind you when we are in such situation, we oftentimes find the point of no return and face our destiny courageously.

In our gritty study-a-day college lives, we used to find ourselves wide awake not until wee hours of dawn, forcing our nutshells to function as humanly possible – to do school stuffs such as assignments, projects, thesis and many other requirements too dreadful to mention that the world might drown in trivia. Every morning, it feels worth a ton of strength just to walk straight going to school to attend classes again and try not to make the scene a sequel of “The Mummy Returns”! Funny but it is nonetheless the bare truth of life. Now, isn’t that just too melodramatic? Sue me!
Young Tarzan: I`ll be the best ape ever!
However, despite and in spite of all our pursuits to stand tall and firm to show those ugly manifestations of gorilla in our lives what stubborn stuffs we are made of, ours is still some of the failures. No matter how we strive hard to be triumphant in every battle we take, we end up losers with broken dreams and shattered hopes. Sometimes we even find ourselves staring at the blank wall, bitterly realizing that the gorillas had won over us. At other times, we lose right perspectives in life... We cry a bucket, vanquish our fate and breath our last.

But so much about the tragedy that we might come across under the fatalistic heel of el sol. Isn’t it a fact that after the downpour of storm is the promise of rainbow? Life is ugly enough that we need to see the paradise side of the jungle; take time to observe the pretty flowers of wild grasses around, satisfy your olfactory nerves with the acacia smelling air outside, or tell a stranger in the street that you still appreciate life after all!

These and among many little and simple things around us we get unnoticed remind us that life goes on and the world does not stop spinning just because we are broken. The wrestle against the gorillas in our lives continues. We know we may be knocked down a dozen times but, cliche as it may sound,  it is how we stand up and fight again that truly count. 

Who says now that life is like Cinderella with her shimmering shoes or like any other damsel in distress rescued by a knight in shining armor? Life is more like the Tarzan, and each of us has a share of our own jungles to face. So, banana, moy?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cry a Bucket with Small Voices

A sweet tug at your heartstrings.
One must really watch this 
critically acclaimed film.

A roll of tissue paper, please!

And hey, I really mean it this time when I say my heart really sank down and I held my tears back before anyone would notice it. The film, which has the original title Mga Munting Tinig, translated as Small Voices, clearly depicted the bare bones of the different facets of our educational system and exposed the grim realities that presently confront it through the eyes of a young, courageous and dedicated teacher.

The synopsis went that Melinda (played by Alessandra de Rossi) was a new substitute teacher in that rural elementary school in a far flung area. A young university graduate, her family expected her to look for work abroad, but in her idealism she took on a challenging job in the provincial public school, which lacked resources and had corrupt personnel.

One of the critical issues showed in the film is the notion that those who are apt to become teachers are those who are "below the average" in terms of mental capacity. This is an unfair notion still held by many even until now but is justified by the presence of incompetent teachers in the academe. Which leads me to wonder: What can one teach if he does not even know it? Among other issues are the unresponsiveness of school principal in actualizing activities that can further enrich the experiences of the teachers talents of the students, and abuse of a teacher of the authority vested upon her that should have been put in good use in the first place.

The film also showed several problems in parental involvement in the education of the children, which is also a real situation today. The common mentality among parents that you-are-just-a-girl and that to-be-able-to-read-and-write-is-enough are not only hindrances to the dreaming youths to become professionals but also barriers in the national goal to achieve a full cycle of basic education among the citizens. This leads to the wrong belief of the children that only those who are well off in life has the right to dream big dreams. The youths, as was illustrated in the film, were commonly forced by their parents to take absences from class so that they could assist during harvest season in the farm or simply so that they could help at home. The message is clear that by force or circumstance, many school aged children in the country are victims of child labor.

School related issues showed in the film reflect the incapacity of the government to provide facilities and resources in its educational system. Insufficient books shared by students and unfavorable classroom settings are nothing less than the bare reality so true today. Furthermore, a community problem in the film that is true to many war torn areas in the country is the social unrest which took away the lives of rebels who are also parents of the children in the film, and took away even lives of the innocent children, leaving the bereaved families of the community fatherless or broken.

However, one of the good sides that the film showed is the call of challenge to each and every educator - both aspiring and expiring! Melinda showed great qualities that are worth emulating for. She used her talent to discover potentials among her students. She shared her belief to her students that everyone can be a dreamer, thereby motivating the young ones to aspire and survive. She was a persistent teacher for despite all the hurdles that came along her way, she took the courage to draw the participation of principal and parents in realizing their dreams.

As a whole, I must say that this is a film that everyone must watch for. I hope that this is a wake up call to everyone as it is to me. Education is a social responsibility of parents, teachers, administrators, community stakeholders, political leaders and every ordinary citizen of this country. There is indeed a wisdom in the saying: It takes a village to raise a child.

Another roll of tissue paper, please!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Advocacy for Autism Awareness

I asked a few people around about their idea of what is AUTISM. While some gave answers, others just shrugged it off. Among those who offered responses, I was surprised to note that most of them described autism similar to those physically manifested disabilities like Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. 

Such is a tangible proof that autism awareness in our society is not yet fully disseminated. It is sad to know that the general public is uninformed and in other case, not yet willing to accept autism as part of today’s society. 

Let me just share to you briefly the definition I used to know when I was only beginning to be a part of this special community. Autism “is a developmental disorder that affects how a person sees, hears, touches, tastes and smells; therefore how he perceives the whole world.” Furthermore, it is characterized by triad impairments in the areas of adaptation, communication and social. And although there have been numerous claims linking it to genetic causes, it is still of an unknown origin and an unknown cure. 

I and my special student Leoben Alex D. Cordero
in our story telling presentation during  National Disability 
Prevention and Rehabilitation Week held at Robinson's Place, 
General Santos City.

Our country is not spared from this disorder either. Looking back a bit in 1992, the enactment of Magna Carta for Disabled Persons provided the government a stronger impetus to improve on its educational services for these children. Learning institutions are encouraged "to take into account the special needs of disabled persons with respect to the use of school facilities, class schedules, physical education requirements, and other pertinent consideration." 

But since inclusive education involves changes in educational philosophies, curriculum offerings, structural organizations, and teaching strategies,  however, special schools need huge funding for this program to be fully implemented of which the children with special needs will benefit most.

This whole scenario poses not a problem but a challenge to work harder in spreading awareness about this issue in every way we can do, little way as it may be. The advocacy to spread autism awareness must continue. And this requires more than just words from the mouth; it needs a welcoming society with an expansive heart that supports special children and families regardless of developmental condition, social status and economic circumstance.