July 27, 2011

Let It Rain

An ephemeral waterfall a few feet away from me,
A spectacle few are able to see.
Droplets dancing on the basketball courts,
The whole quadrangle has become their dance floor.
Finding their route down a convoluted maze,
From the treetop, through the branches, the children of rain race.
A sweet tap on a lonely tree’s leaves
A big wet spot on a janitor’s sleeves.
Let it rain, let them run
The athletes are racing for their lunch.
To the canteen, they paced up as if in sprint
Down the ground, they leave their wet prints.
The catwalk has never been tranquil;
In the mercy of the rain, the school has stood still,
The long stretch of benches found their repose
Inside the gates which today are closed.
Standing strong amidst the incessant spill
The trash bin defy the human’s will,
Today, he’ll receive no trash from us
A short vacation from all the rush.
Once dwelled by students, once teeming with noise
The campus today is empty and coy
Nature takes centerstage in presenting its show
We are the audience, all in the front row.
As classical music is playing,
The rain clouds slowly rolling,
Draining down the catwalk’s sides
Are families of raindrops forming waves and tides.
Let it rain, let them run
The drops will flow to the sea in trance
Until the next time we see each other, our little visitors
Let yourself rain, let yourself descend in stupor. #

This is a side effect of my classical music therapy at the Letran Catwalk. Thank you for reading.

July 20, 2011

The Right to Complain

            “Ano ba ‘yan?! Leche naman kasi ‘yung pagkatype, sayang six points!”

            Yes. That was me complaining about my prelim examination on Calculus. I lost six points on a major examination because of a wrong given.

            “Ako careless lang. Sayang din!” Charlie seconded my sentiments.

            Minutes went on and we keep complaining about the poor performance that we did this prelims – mainly blaming the new grading system for releasing the future hell at our DotLetran accounts. Maybe we are just not capable yet of adapting to this new system, maybe we are just used on getting pampered with the generous numbers on our previously 30% class standing, maybe we just relied on adjustments too much.

            “60-30-10 na kasi eh. Ang laki na kasi ng exams!”

            I can’t help but to agree with the outcries of my roommates. One mistake in a major examination and almost a full point would be deducted from your much prized grade. One little carelessness and the average that we so hope for would be far from reach. Now that is how crucial the major examinations are now.

            “Leche lalo na yung Ethics! Nadiscuss ba ‘yung mga virtues?” I added.

            Now that is a bigger problem. Examinations does not reflect a large portion of your overall comprehension during the term – one may just get unlucky on a particular set of questions or a class may just get equally unlucky on a particular set of questions that was not discussed at all.

            Kuya Jethro, a veteran scholar, entered our room. I started opening a sachet of Milo and Bear Brand and began mixing it in a glass with sugar. Charlie continued on contemplating about his grades; he’s probably thinking of his Filipino prelim grade which plunged to 89 [can be rounded off to 90].

            Charlie and I continued our loud conversation against the existing grading system and on how are we going to cope up for the midterms. We’re both vying for a high average set by other people’s expectations on us, and we are really pressured.

            “Kamusta grades?” Kuya Jethro asked.

            “So far, this day, no good,” Elvin, a batchmate and also a scholar, replied.

            “Ayos lang,” Charlie said.

            I was silent, for I’d rather not express my disappointment on my grades. I can’t help but to compare my performance as a freshman to my present performance, which should not be compared because they were obtained in a different grading system. I just continued munching on my powdered milk chocolate mix.

            “Paano kung sabihin ko sa inyo na ayos lang ‘yan, anong mararamdaman mo?” Kuya Jethro said.

            I was struck. That was a question I never asked to myself. I was amazed by how he had come up with that question. As a friend, or even just as a classmate, I usually say that to comfort people around me, if in case they really get around me.

            “’Yun tipong sasabihin na ayos lang ‘yan, kasi may midterms at finals pa, anong mararamdaman mo? Kunyari ordinaryong estudyante lang ako,” Kuya Jethro said.

            I kept my silence.

            “Ayos lang. Depende sa mood,” Elvin answered.

            “Base sa nakuha,” Charlie said.

            “Kasi may prof ako nun,…” Kuya Jethro began to tell a story.

            He had a professor on one of his minor subjects. His professor, he told us, suffered all the possible misfortunes that the world could offer. Loved ones dying, financial crisis and members of family getting sick all add up to the clutter of negative things in his professor’s mind.

            Whenever he is comforted by his friends, he gets offended when they say “okay lang ‘yan” or “ayos lang ‘yan”. How can a situation be alright when obviously it’s not? How can you say that everything is going to be fine if in the first place, you have started wrongly?

            Maybe we are comforting our friends by blocking the reality from their sights, by concealing what is already evident on saying that everything is alright.

            “Joke nga ni Vice Ganda eh, ‘yung dun sa namatayan siya ng tatay, tapos tinanong siya ng kaibigan niya kung ayos lang daw ba siya, ang sabi ni Vice Ganda, ‘e kung patayin ko tatay mo, ok ka kaya?’ o kaya ‘yes, success, namatay tatay ko!’” Kuya Jethro added.

            I was now sitting nearer to him; I got more interested in what he is going to say more.

            “Ako kasi prelim grade ko lang e 75,” he said. Everyone was in silence. “Hindi ko na alam kung papahalagahan ko pa ang scholarship para makatulong ako sa mga magulang ko o hindi ko na papahalagahan dahil 4th year na rin lang naman ako.”

            “Alam mo rin, napipissed off ako. Lalo na kapag may mga naririnig ako na nagrereklamo sa grade nila. ‘Yung tipong ‘sayang, nagkamali ako sa exam, 90 lang tuloy ako o kaya 85’. ‘Yung tipong ang ingay-ingay pa. Hindi ba nila alam kung gaano kahirap para sa akin ‘yung makakuha ng line of 8 sa sitwasyon ko ngayon. Parang bad trip na bad trip sila sa line of 8 nila, ano na lang ang sasabihin ko? Ano na lang ang iisipin ko?”

            I was hit. I can’t turn my eyes to Kuya Jethro. Charlie and I were just complaining about our grades awhile ago, and here comes a realization.

            It came into my mind that it is high time to be sensitive about what we’re complaining about. What could be a failing grade to you might be a life-saver grade to others. One may look at 86 as a disappointing grade and begin to cry amidst a class, while another person may look at 86 as a grade to brag to his or her parents.

            If I am on the situation of the latter, of the person who treasures an 86, and I saw the other person cry in sorrow because of it, because he is not satisfied of 86, because he sees 86 as the lowest grade that he could have – what then will I think? Why is he sad of 86? Pasalamat na nga siya 86 ang nakuha niya, kung palit kaya kami ng grade?

            Different persons have different grade expectations, and even grade retentions. Disappointing as it may seem, maybe we just have to think about what the others’ situation could have been. Maybe, we feel that we have our worst grades ever, that our families will persecute us for such a grade, but maybe, before we start complaining vocally and explicitly of the grade that we had, we must first assess on who might hear, if we all share the same sentiments and if we will or not appear grade-consciously perfectionistic.

            “Ang baba nga eh, 95 lang,” how degrading, discouraging or irking could this line get?

            One word, oh yes, contentment.

            Contentment. I know that contentment is never an answer if your grade is below a scholarship retention grade, if your grade could disappoint a million people around you, or if your grade is a stain on your squeaky clean transcript of records. Rather, contentment will help you in controlling your disappointment, on convincing yourself that you must not complain, on telling you that complains would bear no good, and most importantly, on pushing you to strive harder and not to complain harder.

            A 70/80 Calculus test paper lies victorious in front of me. Who am I to complain about that silly mistake? It was silly, it was a result of carelessness, it is a question that I could have easily gotten correct yet I got it wrong. Who am I to complain? Who am I to get pissed with myself? I did my best and 70/80 is already a good grade. What word again? Contentment, that is.

We have the right to complain; we have the right to scream whatever is on our mind. However, every right bears a responsibility, and that is what’s lacking.

            “O sige, alis na ako, aral na kayo ah,” Kuya Jethro ended. #