Thursday, December 21, 2006

Home’s Hope

MY father attended a La Salle faculty Christmas party last week and came out with a pretty good story.

One of his fellow part-time professors proudly told everyone that he encouraged his students to get out of the country. “If you can find a way to escape, take it!” The sense of hopelessness was overwhelming and he felt he was imparting wisdom into his students.

The reactions from the faculty ranged from calling the professor “too radical” to merely laughing the statement off. (Jokes deserve laughs, right?) Regardless, the part-timer found few who agreed with him.

My favorite response wasn’t my father’s—who said, “My son’s stand is that he’s not going to sell out”—but it was that of another professor who said the things that the part-timer was teaching his students were wrong. This professor alluded to La Salle’s slogan to tug on the heart and mind of the misguided alum cum teacher: Lasallians, she proclaimed, are meant to be “Christian achievers for God and country.”

Indeed, the part-timer’s statements are treasonous in both the Lasallian sense and most especially the Filipino sense. And giving up on the country is turning away from the culture and heritage God has given us to be a part of to help mold for the better.

My father used me as an example of a youngster who has yet to give up the fight. Contrary to popular belief, I interact with many of these youngsters everyday in the Ateneo. And I think there are plenty more—many of which are probably students in that misguided part-timer’s class—that have an even greater vigor in them. It’s a vigor that says NO—we will not leave, NO—we will not give up on home’s hope.

Much needs to change in our collective consciousness as Filipinos—we all know that; we’ve known it for years. But it takes many with a collective, pigheaded resolve to live out those changes. Well, that much-needed stubbornness exists in the youth today. I know it does.

All I ever ask from those Filipinos who have given up hope is to not take the hope that many of us still have away. You may call us stupid but allow us to be. Allow the pains of reality to bite us in the ass if that’s what the future holds. And if that time does come, don’t you dare say I told you so, for if that time never actually arrives, those of us who have never left will cordially invite you to come back home to the motherland and share in a brighter future.


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